YES, I am back in Ireland – third trip since I realized in 2011 that it would take five trips to give justice to this beautiful and small country (1/140 the size of the US – about the size of Indiana). I left Boston at 9PM Friday night, arriving in Dublin at 8AM, Saturday 12 October, and was on the road to Galway (due west) at 10AM. I took the motorway across country to be able to have a half day in Galway. The area I traversed is essentially open and flat. I arrived at my B&B in Galway by 1PM. My hostess had said I could check in early, so once I freshened up, off I walked the 5 minutes to town. After some words and itinerary this is mainly a picture show (sorry it has been cold and overcast), and make sure you see the last one. (remember to click on any thumbnail to open up a slideshow/gallery)
Galway is small – main sites are walking. A “city” of 70,000 (with 20,000 students), the population can jump to 150,000 during the summer and festival times. I toured the square and pedestrian shopping area (sadly the museum was not worth it), and decided I should get on a tour bus. Timing was perfect, I found the stop minutes before the 3PM start, the last of the day. In fact, if I had not walked up they would not have left with the one other person. I got a nice overview of the city and surrounding area that I would not have achieved driving. Guide was good, and an hour well spent to get the overall feel of Galway. Then back to walking around to some spots including the Saturday market the guide mentioned.
But with over 5 hours on my feet after only a few hours rest on a plane I knew I was not going to last, so back to the B&B to plan Sunday and sleep.
For Sunday, get out your road map of Ireland, and if that is not in your travel collection bring up the maps on your IPAD (I make screen saves of everyone I may need) or on Google maps. I had read that about 23 kilometers back to the east is the medieval walled city Athenry, which I decided I had to see, and was not going to be out of the way because I wanted to backroad to Ennis and then head back up to my next B&B in Ballyvaughan in The Burren.
Here I am, “SHUNING” the “SHUNPIKE”
And this is what I can find … probably a medieval Norman 11th or 12th century remaining tower on private land.
So from Athenry, follow R347 to R446 to Loughrea to pick up N66 to Gort, and continue south on R458 to R462 then passing through Tulla to get R469 back towards Ennis. Plan was to see a medieval tower and museum of medieval life in Craggaunowen (supposed to be open early Oct – now closed), and then stop at the Knappogue Castle and Walled Garden (well at least I got to tour the garden – castle was closed). From Ennis follow me along R476 north to R480 which enters The Burren. Words cannot describe The Burren, but I will try with my next post. The drive over R480 is amazing, and I will be repeating it tomorrow.