A blog about "nothing"!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ireland, Part 2--Connemara

I couldn't help noticing on our train ride across Ireland that things were a little on the brown side.  I found out after we arrived in Galway that they were under drought conditions in some parts.  That ended the night we arrived when it rained overnight, and not only rained enough to start making things green again but created an incredible amount of fog in some areas.  We met our bus tour out of Galway in the morning and spent a good bit of it just taking the tour guides word for what we were seeing because you really couldn't see much.  About all I remember of the first part of the tour was seeing the bridge that John Wayne leans against in the movie "The Quiet Man".  Oh well.

The Connemara region is in the northwest corner of Ireland, north of Galway and is most famous for it's rugged scenery, Connemara ponies (which we didn't see any of!) and Connemara marble, a green marble that is exclusive to the area.  Connemara marble can range from a light green to a deep forest green and is very pretty.  I would love to have kitchen counters made from it.  They make some nice gift items out of it such as coasters, trivets and lots of jewelry items. 

Our first stop in Connemara was in the village of Leenane.  And I mean small!!!  There is a pub, a little store, a post office and 1 or two other businesses and that's it.  We had a few minutes if you wanted to use the restroom and get a drink in the pub, I opted instead to wander around and get a few pictures.  Leenane is perhaps most famous for being the town in the movie "The Field".  I will warn you, it is a very depressing movie starring Richard Harris, a very young Sean Bean and Tom Berrenger. 

 What we could see of the mountains thanks to the fog!

 The Field Bar--it was used considerably in the movie.  It's hiding behind our tour bus.

From Leenane we continued our tour of Connemara on to Kylemore Abbey.  Built originally as a private home, it has been many things since--most notably home to a group of Benedictine nuns during World War I and later turned in to a girls boarding school.  It has since been closed as of 2010, but remains open for tours.
 Kind of reminds me of the movie "The Woman in Black"!

 Some interior shots.  I had to resist going behind the barriers to straighten out the candlesticks.......
While I was walking around Kylemore I heard a "tap tap" and looked up--one of the girls from the boarding school was frantically waving at us from her classroom!
From Kylemore we drove around the region and viewed a lot of scenery that I'm sure was gorgeous, but so fogged in that you couldn't see much.  I didn't take many photos because of that, it was just kind of blah.  Normally fog can create some good photo opportunities, but not this time.

Before returning to Galway we stopped at a group of old Irish cottages that were in ruins.  They have been left that way as a memorial to those who left Ireland during the Great Famine in search of a better life, and to those who perhaps died because they stayed.  If you want a good movie to watch that I think accurately depicts the struggles of the Irish during some of that time period, rent "Angela's Ashes"--and have a box of Kleenex handy. 

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