I wasn’t planning to blog again til Glasgow, but I can’t resist telling you about our stop in Galway. Although the best music we heard was in Dublin, Galway has to be my favorite large Irish town (tough to beat Kinsale for small hamlets, though). It is a city of 60K which is perfect for walking and visiting the shops and pubs. And, since it is a seaside town, we walked 2 miles up and back along the promenade. We didn’t take any pics of the town but here is a shot from across the River Corrib, which dumps into Galway Bay.
There are no shortage of large swans in this region as well. Our day trip was to Connemara National Park (there are 6 in Ireland, and they are all free entry). Just outside the park, we visited the Kylemore Abbey. This 19C home was built by the Randolf Hearst of England; a guy named Mitchell Henry who was not into newspapers, but like Hearst, visited an area and decided to build a summer home there. This “castle” changed hands twice after his death; the second time it was purchased by a nunnery who still operate the home today. It includes a school and a place to make chocolate (what the nuns do when they aren’t praying). The garden grounds are worth the price of admission, some 6 acres total.
The highlight of the day, though, was the afternoon spent in the national park. If Bohm is in the name, no trip is a success with out a “hike to hell and back”, as our kids often said when hiking around with Grandma. Diamond Hill (Hell) is a 6.7K hike to the top of the mountain and is the feature of this Irish Nat. Park. From sea level, one ascends 1800 feet in less than an hour and a quarter. The view all along the way, and from the top, are absolutely beautiful. The coastal range lies right on the coast providing panoramic views. The first pic is of “base camp”. And yes, we hiked over the top of that thing.
Heather covers large swaths of the mountain before ascending the craggy dome.
And of course, the view. The house in the left corner of the pond is Kylemore Abbey:
I await our Aer Lingus flight, relieved to know that the Europ Car that Liz insisted on renting, is back in the rental fleet unscathed. We did have our hair raising moments, however! See you in Scotland!