Sunday we spent a day on the largest of the three Aran Islands off the coast of Galway. I was too tired once we finally settled back into our hotel last night to blog, and this morning we head out soon, so this will be a bit brief (though there are lots of pictures to share!).
We took a bus about 20 miles to the ferry port, and then we rode the ferry about 45 minutes to the island of Inishmor. It is a lovely little island, about 8 miles long and 2 miles wide. Our guide was local and full of wit…lots of zingers. 🙂 I could imagine him and Uncle Jeff in some sort of battle of one-liners!
We visited a few sites on the island, including a 2500 year old fort, Dun Aengus. This was probably the highlight, as it is perched atop a 300 foot cliff on the edge of the sea. If you google it, you will see pictures of people laying on their bellies with their heads over the edge looking down. Yes, some in our party did this as well. It was quite a hike up the rocky path to get to the fort, but it was well worth it.
We lunched on sandwiches, soup, wraps, and fudge at a nearby cafe and enjoyed the sunshine. We reboarded the minibus and went to the Seven Churches, a monastic settlement dating back to the 8th century with the remains of some 11th century Celtic crosses there too. Only two of the churches are in tact, and it is still used as an active cemetery with new headstones mixed in with the old ones.
We had a little time for refreshments before getting back on the ferry and heading to Galway. The kids, Reed, and some students passed the time playing “slappy hands” and “zip bong”…extreme silliness! It was a nicely paced, though long, day. Sean Finnegan was with us but he let the local guides have the spotlight. Tony stayed behind to take one of our students to the doctor as she has been dealing with a rash on her hands (diagnosed as hand, foot, & mouth so we all are taking precautions to keep healthy while helping her recover).
We got the kids fed and settled in for some gaming time, and the four of us went out for dinner. The busy Shop Street was less crowded, though still fairly lively for a Sunday night. We ate at The King’s Head, an historic pub we had learned about the day before on our walking tour. Mom had her first mushy peas and fish & chips, so she is adapting well to the local fare! Oh yeah, we snuck in some gelato too, but don’t tell the kids. 🙂 Onto Cork and the Blarney Stone today before returning to Dublin…we will go by the Cliffs of Moher if the weather is good, so fingers are crossed!