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Aunt Eda in Ennis by Ann Treacy
July 19, 2009, 9:37 pm
Filed under: Clare

On Monday we all took the train to see Patrick’s Aunt Sister Eda. She lives in Ennis, County Clare. We started out by taking the DART (train) into town, changing to the LUAS (another metro train) to the Irish Train at Connelly Station. We took that train to Limerick, another train to Limerick Station and finally on to Ennis. The good new is that my mobile broadband worked the whole time so at least I was able to work.

We met up with Patrick’s aunt at a hotel for lunch. We had a nice lunch. The kids were pretty good. After lunch we went back to the convent where the kids could run around for a while. Then it was back on the trains to do the whole routine in reverse. All in all we were gone about 13 hours.

Moher Hill Farm by Ann Treacy
May 23, 2008, 9:40 am
Filed under: Clare

Sunday was our final full day in Lahinch. It was a little rainy and kind of cold – so we pretty much ruled out a day at the beach, which was very OK with us. Patrick took the bus back to Dublin on Saturday to get some work done and the beach would have been tricky without him.

We decide to visit Moher Hill Farm. It’s about 5-7 miles from where we were staying. There were a bunch of animals, most of which the kids could feed. There were ponies, sheep, llamas, goats, rabbits, chickens, roosters, a peacock, and more. Aine was pretty much jumping over the fences to feed the animals. While I can’t believe I got a picture of Kate feeding the animal she dared to feed.

There was also a bouncy house, play area inside and out, and a go kart track. So the kids had a great time playing. We were the only non-nationals at the farm, so while it may not make many of the guidebooks, it’s a fun place for kids.

Sunday night we had a nice dinner at the Atlantic Hotel.

Saturday in Galway by Ann Treacy
May 18, 2008, 11:47 am
Filed under: Clare, Galway

On Saturday we took off for Galway and the Early Music Festival. It was about a two hour drive, which surprised us since in was only 10 miles. Not quite – but nearly. The roads around Galway Bay and the Burren were crazy. I’ve included a picture of us on Corkscrew Hill overlooking Galway Bay. If Kate looks a little green, it’s not your computer screen – she was.

We thought we were late – but thanks to my keen sense of direction in Galway (Anita and Darla would have been impressed with how well I remembered it!) we were there on time for the kid’s play about Noah. Well, my keen sense and the fact that nothing starts on time in Ireland. The play was in the King’s Head Pub, it was free, and we really enjoyed it. Aine and I scored some seats with our new best friend stranger in the front.

The show was very cute – and includes a remark of Summer Night that you can watch below.

After the play, we saw s demonstration of early music (recorders and bagpipes) and some dancing. Aine was quick to jump up and partake. The rest of us were active viewers. The music demonstration was in the Galway Museum. We didn’t see much of it – but we liked what we saw. They have a fun interactive kiosk where you can take a picture of yourself to get added to their digital montage. Also they had a beautiful display of glass balls like water drops hanging from the ceiling.

After the museum we took a walk in the medieval part of the city. We had pizza for lunch in Fat Freddie’s. Patrick duped me into sharing a potato pizza with him – thankfully Aine took pity on me and gave me some of her pizza. Patrick can be evil.

Galway is a great city for walking. The people-watching was great. Lots of people were celebrating with beer – even before noon, which was something I remembered from my trip with Anita and Darla. (That is, I remember observing this – not joining in.) We walked through the market and to Eyre Square and eventually headed back to Lahinch.

We took a longer, yet quicker route home, which included a stop in Coole Pak, near Gort (in honor of WB Yeats). The we got home and enjoyed a mean game of Cluedo while we relaxed.







Friday Lahinch Aquarium and Pool by Ann Treacy
May 18, 2008, 11:10 am
Filed under: Clare

The aquarium and pool are under one roof – though we didn’t get to actually swim with the fishes. The aquarium was pretty cool. My favorites were the camouflage fish- I have a video of them.

The ugliest fish was the baby conger eel. The fact that they are hanging out in the North Atlantic is enough to keep me out of the deep. We also saw some baby lobsters. They were tiny – about the size of a quarter – and they are slow to slow. At about two and a half years, they were still small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. The staff members were feeding them with a tweezers. Lobsters live to be about 50 or 60.

We were there during the feeding and that was fun to see too. We were the only ones there for the feeding but the guy feeding the fish gave us a nice explanation about the fish and what they eat. Apparently they only eat twice a week.

After the aquarium tour we went into the swimming pool.

Friday night we had a nice dinner at the Liscannor Hotel – which is halfway between our place and the Cliffs of Moher. Grandma and Grandpa are staying at the hotel in about a week when they come back to go golfing.




Hanging in Lahinch by Ann Treacy
May 17, 2008, 9:36 pm
Filed under: Clare

On Thursday we took it easy. Lily learned how to play Gin, and has now clocked in about 100 hours of Gin with Grandma or Grandpa. We have played a ton of Clue (aka Cluedo). I think everyone has won at least one game – except me. The big girls have played a lot of tetherball in the back. We’ve been keeping an eagle eye on the cows that live around the yard. And Grandpa knows every shortcut in West Clare.

We went to the beach on Thursday – unfortunately the beach had moved. I guess that happens with the ocean. Fortunately, it didn’t move far. But we had to take quite a hike and climb down giant rocks with our gear to get to the beach.

The water was freezing! But Patrick and the girls spent a lot of time in the water jumping into the waves. Aine and I made a world class sandcastle and we buried Kate in the sand. It was a very relaxing day!

Inis Mor by Ann Treacy
May 15, 2008, 8:11 am
Filed under: Clare, Galway

On Wednesday, we went to the Aran Island – well we boated past the first two and landed at the largest – Inis Mor. We left from Doolin on a very turbulent boat ride. I felt like we were on Deadliest Catch. (I have become a faithful Deadliest Catch watcher here – partially because I don’t always love Irish TV.) The waves got half of the passengers soaked. I think we were all relived to reach the shore.

Once off the boat we found a bus tour of the island. Here’s a quick scoop on the Island. It’s off the west coast. It’s politically in County Galway. It’s a Gaeltacht area, which means people speak Irish. They speak English too – but they seem to speak Irish to each other. Patrick impressed us all by ordering his lunch in Irish.

The island is 9 miles long and 2 miles wide – but I suspect that’s 2 miles at the widest parts. There are about 300 houses and 760 people on the island.

Our tour started with Dun Aengus – “the most spectacular semi circular Celtic stone fort in Europe”. It was super cool. The fort is built on top of the cliff. It’s all built by stone. The road to the fort is built by stone and the big fort is too. It’s 3200 years old. It’s about a half a mile up to the fort – and an amazing view once you get there. It was interesting to think about how people ended up on the Island and what got them to pick such a scary place to build a fort. Well, clearly the scary feature also made it hard for enemies to sneak up on you – but it’s hard to imagine being more afraid of enemies than a huge drop off.

Then we got back on the bus. We drove around the island. We saw cows, a baby donkey, seals from really far away. We also saw people living their day to day life. It’s a far cry from Dublin and I was so glad that we got a chance to visit. The weather could not have been better. I’ve always wanted to visit the Aran Islands.

On the way off the island we visited some roosters that I had spied from the bus. I have to say – roosters are surprisingly beautiful. Their colors are vivid.

Then we got on the boat home and the sailing couldn’t have been smoother. It was like night and day – and a very pleasant surprise.

And the biggest bonus of all – we saw puffins from the boat. Grandpa spied them first. They were flying very close to the water. The others on the boat thought we were crazy making such a fuss about their puffins, but it was cool.

We had a nice dinner in Doolin at Gus O’Connor’s Pub. I don’t know if we were starving or if it was the best fish and chips in Ireland – but it was good. O’Connor’s is a big place to see traditional music – unfortunately we were there at 6:00 and the music starts at 9:00.

Then we had a very scary experience on the way back to Lahinch. We were driving around a very curvy part of the road and a motorcycle popped past us in the other direction. Then we saw a motorcycle pop past us behind him half in our lane. Then we saw a motorcycle not pass us. Thankfully, Dad had stopped the motorcyclist drive right in front of us into a hedge of brambles and nettles. The motorcycle flipped over and the driver flipped over the hedge. We thought he was done for. We were hopping out of the car when the driver climbed back onto the road. He was not a young guy. Thankfully, he was dressed from head to toe in leather – but we could not believe he walked away. He was so lucky that Dad stopped.

Doolin, Burren, Beach by Ann Treacy
May 15, 2008, 8:10 am
Filed under: Clare

On Tuesday we went to Doolin. We had a great time. We just walked on the rocks on the shore. It was so sunny and no nice. Patrick and the girls chased the waves. But it was Grandpa who caught a wave – he got soaked and I was so sad not to have the video camera going. The terrain was so different. We must have been climbing over limestone layers. We watched Aine pretty carefully – as it was a little dangerous but it was worth it.

Grandma, Aine and I focused on the life in the big puddles on the shore. We saw lots of shells, tiny fish and a tiny crab. It is a whole other world. It would be great to snorkel or otherwise take a look at the sea life.

The Burren was very cool too. So much of Ireland would pass as Wisconsin – but not West Clare. We climbed around the limestone here too – just no water. We were going to take a ling drive through the Burren but in the end we just got a glimpse and decided that we needed to go home – to eat and not drive.

Once we got home we ate lunch and headed to the beach. The beach was beautiful. Patrick and the big girls went pretty far into the water, which I thought was amazing since the water in the North Atlantic is absolutely freezing! Aine and I enjoyed building a sand castle and hanging out in the shallow water. We really enjoyed it. Once big plus of the beach in Ireland – no one is tanner than we are!

At night we played Clue. Grandma won but only because she guessed what Aine told her to guess.

Cliffs of Moher with Family by Ann Treacy
May 14, 2008, 8:13 pm
Filed under: Clare

On Monday we went to the Cliff of Moher. The Cliffs are amazing. There are 214 meters high – which means a 214 drop over into the ocean. But there is a little wall built to keep people (by people I mean Aine) away from the cliff.

I visited the Cliffs with Anita and Darla last month. There are a lot more flies this month.

After we visited the Cliff we went into the interpretative center – the coolest part was the virtual reality video taken of a bird – then fish – eye view of the Cliffs.

Also we learned a little bit about the area – for example puffins live near the area. I didn’t realize that and I love puffins. At the Como Zoo the puffins and the polar bear are in the same building – it’s my favorite building.

Grandma and Grandpa are Here! by Ann Treacy
May 13, 2008, 3:52 pm
Filed under: Clare

The big news is that Grandma and Grandpa are here. Everyone is so excited. Our plan for the week is to stay in Lehinch on the West Coast of Clare – about 5 miles from the Cliff of Moher.

On Saturday we started the drive. Seven of us and our luggage just about fit into the car. Well, we fit if some of us sit on the golf clubs – but we made it. Grandpa is doing all of the driving. Aine told him he was doing a very good job – we all agreed. Driving here takes some getting used to – adding in the driving on the left, the mini-van status, the shift, and the Irish road signs.

We took a detour to see the Rock of Cashel – my favorite castle of all times. The weather was perfect. Most of the pictures are from there. I wrote about my trip to Cashel with Anita and Darla last month so I won’t write too much again.

At about 5:00 we arrived at our house in Lehinch. It is amazing!! It’s big, it’s new, it’s the best of American and Irish features. There are 2 couches near the TV with full able/Sky so that was a big plus. The girls may be sick of Disney before we leave. There is even WiFI for me, which is great! We are about a 20-minute walk from the beach. And we’re living amongst the cows – there’s an electric fence to keep them out of our yard.

Monday Road Trip to Galway by Ann Treacy
April 9, 2008, 8:51 pm
Filed under: Clare, Galway

Monday Anita, Darla and I set off for Galway. Well, really we set off for the Cliffs of Moher – which are pretty much directly west of Dublin on the other side of the country.

We stopped at Conghlan Castle on the way – really just to take pictures.

Next we stopped by Yeats’ Tower in Gort. WB Yeats was a Nobel Prize winning poet, whose works include The Tower.

We stopped to take a picture of the “natural borders” that Darla loves. Today the natural borders were stone fences between properties.

What’s nice is that the Cliffs are about 5 miles away from Lehinch, where we’ll be staying with my family in May. I think it was about 3.5 hour trip. We stopped in Ennis for lunch – but I’m factoring that in. (I know at least 2 readers want that much info on getting to Lehinch.)

The Cliffs of Moher really are amazing. Picture a coastline and now picture it up 214 meters. You can see the Aran Islands and the Twelve Pins (rolling mountains) of Connemara. The weather was perfect although we could see a bad storm blowing in, which of course we ignored until it hit us. Thankfully we were ready to leave when the hail hit. (Proving that God loves us best.)

After the Cliffs we drove through the Burren to get to Galway. It “is a karst landscape, which is “a landscape shaped by the dissolution of a layer or layers of soluble bedrock, usually carbonate rock such as limestone or dolomite.” So in other words, the Burren rocks.

We stopped on the way to Galway on Galway Bay. Maybe the town was Oranmore; maybe not. The waves were washing water unto the bridge and we saw our favorite sign of the trip, pictures below.

After doing so well with driving and directions we had a horrible time finding the hotel when we got into Galway. Luckily we had my friend Kevin to help us – twice. Then we were happy to have Kevin show us the nightlife of Galway. We had a wonderful Indian meal and visited a couple of pubs. They were all pretty lively. One had a band playing and one had a session going on.

The pubs were actually much nicer than many of the pubs I’ve visited in Dublin – in that they were cozy and had fireplaces, which I love.

Finally we took a picture of Lynch Castle for our cousins in Chicago.

I really enjoyed Galway. I recognized almost nothing from when I visited 15 years ago – but the nightlife still seemed good and there’s an artistic feel to the city.

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