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Our Magnificent Journey
Chapter 11
England / Scotland / Ireland


On the coast of Ireland  
Day 12

Slept amazingly well. We love the Abacus B&B and we would love to adopt young Louise but she already has parents.

Our wonderful little Nissan Micra

We exchanged our mid-sized Opal for a tiny Nissan Micra– more suitable for these narrow roads – then found our way out of Galway City and headed northwest on Rt. 59. Soon the city gave way to lush green pastoral farmlands dotted with sheep, cows and horses. The day is gray, cool and misty – a perfect day, in our opinion, to explore the verdant mysteries of rural Ireland.

Carol in the cool, lush, green Irish countryside

Came to Aughnanure Castle where we parked near a babbling brook and took photos of the ancient stone castle.

Aughnanure Castle

Then continued northwest. Spotted a sign for the Quiet Man Bridge seen in the popular John Wayne movie. It was so quiet and peaceful that we spent some time there taking photos and videos.

Carol on The Quiet Man Bridge
Picture of John Wayne at The Quiet Man Bridge
David with our terrific little Nissan Micra

An hour or so later we found ourselves in Clifden, along the Atlantic Coast. Sat and had lunch of seafood chowder at Fogerty’s.

Clifden, Ireland
Clifden, Ireland
Sign in a pub in Clifden

After lunch we walked along the narrow shop-lined streets of Clifden. The town is fairly deserted on a drizzly Sunday but we enjoyed its charms.


Then back into our tiny 5-speed Nissan and out into the wonders of the Connemara. We found our way into narrow (really narrow) Sky Road for spectacular, wind-blown views of the Irish coast along the Atlantic Ocean. I am liking our little red car more and more.

Typical scenery in the Connemara
Typical scenery in the Connemara
Wind-blown on the Sky Road
Carol tasting berries along the Sky Road

Stopped at several places along the bogs to examine peat, which fascinates me. It is dug wet out of the earth in blocks and allowed to dry in the sun and the air in piles that can be seen all over the rolling green landscape of the Connemara; then it is used as fireplace fuel. We will never forget the sweet scent of burning peat wafting in blue smoke from the chimneys of thatched roofs along the winding lanes.

Peat being stored in a stone shed
David with a mountainous peat pile in the Connemara
Typical scenery in the Connemara
Castle in the Connemara

We did the popular “figure 8” through the Connemara and by 6 pm we found ourselves back at the wonderful Abacus B&B in Galway. Somehow we managed not to kill ourselves or anyone else on the road today. I REALLY like our little red Nissan Micra. What a fun, sporty, spunky little car!


Resting and recharging at the Abacus, we visited with lovely Louise (who is definitely worth her weight in gold.) She helped us plan tomorrow’s excursion to the Aran Islands.

Louise and David at the Abacus B&B in Galway

We took Louise’s suggestion and drove to the nearby Huntsman Inn for a sumptuous dinner accompanied by delicious Bulmer’s Irish Cider.

The Huntsman Inn in Galway

Louise is truly a wealth of knowledge and represents Ireland so well. We learned from her this evening that the language that we Yankees refer to as Gaelic is called “Irish” here. The “other” language (the one we speak) is called “English.” In many places here, Irish is the first language. Indeed, many of the road signs that we passed today were only in “Irish.”


After a very delicious dinner at the Huntsman Inn, we drove the mile back up the Dublin Road to the Abacus where we fell into bed after a truly magical day exploring such a beautiful part of Ireland.


Important note – we have never seen a more courteous people than the Irish. The drivers on the road epitomize courtesy. When we returned to the USA, we had small signs made for the steering wheels of our cars that remind us to "Drive Irish."


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