First thing’s first: I totally lied in yesterday’s post. There is no way I can finish this week without writing absurdly long posts or skipping bits. True, there are bits that aren’t critical to the story, but then again this whole story isn’t critical, so if I’m setting the threshold at the things you “need to know” I should go delete the whole run and start blogging about the NSA leaks.
No. No, that wouldn’t be right. I’m so close! Right. So, the previous night (technically this is a post-script to “Day Fifteen”) we made it to Galway and checked into the gorgeous Hotel Meyrick. Classic, old-world appointments, no contemporary blah-blu here. Remember, months ago, when I mentioned how Lisa was shameless in playing the honeymoon card when making reservations? She hit the jackpot here, where we were upgraded into a phenomenal suite for the first two of three nights (big wedding on the weekend, couldn’t be helped). It was divine. We snuck down to Eight, a casual restaurant Lisa found through Chowhound… wow, I think I just mentioned Chowhound for the first time; Lisa should write about that site, it was her dining Bible for this trip… and it wasn’t bad. Most notably, we completely reworked our itinerary while we sat in their window, looking out at the docks. See. we were beat. We’d been having a great time, but we had a couple days’ hard driving ahead of us and were really feeling like we’d had enough of the road for awhile. Plus, and Lisa disputes my recollection of this, I feel like we were warned off of heading toward Giant’s Causeway, our last major tourist stop, because of some nutty motorcycle rally or some such. The roads were going to be clogged, no treat, plus all the inns and restaurants along our likely route were going to be absolutely swamped. So, we bailed. We worked out a few days of leisure time where we were before making our way back to Dublin for the finale. And so, we began to spend one day too many in Galway.
Day Sixteen Proper was largely consumed with a bus tour… yes, the very same type of thing I railed at back in the day for clogging holy sites up with every stereotype you can think of, tourist-wise. Nevertheless, it kept us out of our car and we saw some nice things in Connemara (a poorly-defined district that contains … well, some portion of Western Ireland). Cong Abbey made the list, in Cong of all places – yet another 1000+ year old remnant of a religious site. The town itself was also charming… (if you’re thinking “that’s all you’ve got to say?” well, like I said before, all of these sites start to run together a bit.) The main attraction of the tour was Kylemore Abbey.
The abbey was originally a private home (must be nice), then a school for many years, staffed entirely by nuns, but a lack of nuns, or girls, or both, eventually shuttered it in 2010. It has a going tourist concern to upkeep the place and it sees a lot of visitors. The abbey is nice, but the real draw is the Victorian walled garden. It does not mess around – acres and acres, walled in, providing all of the veg for the nearby restaurant as well as flowers of… I don’t know if “all types” is right, but the variety certainly impressed me. Put it this way, the head gardener has a house within the garden, and it’s just tucked away in a corner. Check out this map on their page for a better idea. We had lunch in the Abbey, and I bought a hat! I hadn’t worn a hat in decades, but I’ve worn it a lot since. The ride back was scenic but otherwise unremarkable. Oh! The bus driver told hooooooorrible jokes, but charming in their own way. And dinner that night? We were wiped and just went to the sports bar in the bottom of the Meyrick.
Tomorrow – we split up!!!! … for the day.