Thursday, September 9, 2010

into the west

We were lucky enough to have our own Irish tour guide this past weekend for our trip to the west of Ireland. Along with our Betty’s Town girl we also had our dear Venezuelan friend come in from Atlanta for 6 days. The entire team piled up in the two cars Friday and we made our way to Westport.

It was a bit of drive, but we got there in time to pop into Matt Malloy’s. This is apparently the most famous pub in Westport and from the size of the crowd packed inside I imagine the entire village was present.

Aside from the beautiful pints, the highlight of this place is the live music. They had a guy in the very back room playing pub tunes and top 40, but in what probably used to be the original back room there were about 6 or 7 people sitting around a circular booth playing traditional Irish folk music. It was deliciously intimate and purely Irish. I think it was even more special for me and the Wife being from the South since this music is at the very root of bluegrass and country.

Actually, Ireland feels like going home to me in so many ways. Aside from actual genetic connections to this country (most of us have them, I know I do on my maternal side) I really think any true Southerner would have to be blind not to see how much this culture shaped our own. The food, the music, the hospitality, the storytelling…it’s like visiting a distant relative. You don’t really know each other, but you can’t deny the connection or familiarity.

Saturday we made our way through the tiny winding roads to Galway. As with any good road trip, it was more about the journey than the destination. We stopped off at beaches, bogs, rolling green hills, waterfalls, lochs, tower houses, an abbey, a Celtic graveyard, had lunch at the foot of Crough Patrick and dinner in a little village by the ocean…

Sunday was all about getting to the Cliffs of Moher. The weather had pretty much held out for us all weekend, until of course we got to the cliffs. It was rainy and windy, but it would take more than that to dull the beauty of these dramatic cliffs…

Our last stop was a tomb dating back 5800 years which was much smaller than the photo makes it looks. It was a miracle we even found it out in the middle of nowhere…

All in all it was a lovely weekend spent with lovely people and surrounded by the all the loveliness of Ireland. Thanks so much, Razel for showing us your country!! We all fell in love!

This weekend we’re headed to Northern Ireland to take a tour of Belfast and see the Giant's Causeway.

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