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“Like the warmth of the sun And the light of the day, may the luck of the Irish shine bright on your way.” ~ Irish Blessing

June 24, 2018

After a rare but much-needed sleep filled night (and a filling breakfast) we were once again on our way.  Our first stop was at an Irish Portal Tomb called a dolmen.  Most date from the early neolithic age and consist of one or two vertical stones supporting a large flat horizontal stone. This one was in a particularly different sparse landscape, called the Burren, which consisted of limestone blocks and crevices formed from eons of water erosion through the limestone. At the entry to the area sat in a strange tent like structure a man playing a wind instrument.

 

We stopped to see the Dunguaire Castle, which is a 16th century tower house in Galway Bay.  Then we saw some homes with traditional thatched roofs.  Thatching is the craft of building a roof with dry vegetation such as straw, reeds etc and laying it so as to shed water away from the inner roof.  It is densely packed and traps air and is used to insulate as well.  There are traditionally 36 layers to make a good thatched roof and it can last over forty years.

Near the castle were some young children playing violins and it was charming and sad at the same time.

It was a long day in the van today over narrow and hilly roads.  We stopped for lunch at the Hungry Monk Cafe  in Cong, a small village which straddles the counties of Mayo and Galway.  It was a lovely spot and is known for where the movie The Quiet Man was filmed. We spent some time after lunch walking through some shops and wandering through the ruins of the Cong Abbey.

 

We drove past the Connemara National Park where the landscape was drastically different from this morning.

We arrived at one of the highlights of the day, a sheep farm!  The farmer did a wonderful demonstration of using his Border Collie to herd some sheep, then he (and some volunteers) sheered a sheep and then fed some baby sheep.  It is hard work on rugged terrain for little money.

 

“The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests and his own are the same.”

 ~Stendhal

We arrived at our hotel for the night, Abbyglen Castle in Cliffton Connemara.  Tom was immediately singled out from the group to be our leader  king.

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“Dilly, Dilly.” ~ King Tom Haas

“When Irish eyes are smiling
Sure, ’tis like the morn in Spring
In the lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing
When Irish hearts are happy
All the world seems bright and gay
And when Irish eyes are smiling
Sure, they steal your heart away.”

~Bing Crosby,  When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.

 

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