Ireland Day 07: Galway to Enniskillen
Ireland Day 07
Galway to Enniskillen
Later in the afternoon we would cross over into the United Kingdom as our tour took us to Northern Ireland. Although we made the cross that afternoon it wasn’t until the following day that I could sense any difference between the two portions of Ireland.
The day allowed for an encompassing journey of Ireland’s beautiful landscape and countryside and allowed us to explore some of Ireland’s history. We learned about such icons as Grace O’Malley but as we travelled deeper into the Connemara a larger lesson concerning the Famine.
I grew up near Boston so the topic wasn’t new to me; many of the Irish who left during that era came to my city and state to settle. I thought I had a decent understanding of what had occurred but I learned a lot more than I anticipated on this trip. Our tour guide told us that 8 million people had lived in Ireland prior to the Famine but at the end only 6 million remained; it is estimated that 1 million died and 1 million fled.
The drive through Connemara reminded me of the Scottish landscape with all it’s majestic mountains and valleys but there was more growth. We stopped in the town of Leenane for Irish coffee and an impressive view. The next stop, as we progressed through the Connemara, was in Westport for a lunch break. I got myself lost in this city and explored for the hour we there. It was a really quaint city that I enjoyed exploring.
County Sligo to Enniskillen
Next we made our way through County Sligo and stopped over to see the resting place of famous poet W.B. Yeats in the shadow of Ben Boulben. Ironically enough Yeats chose this area as his resting place because it was out of the way and that would deter fans from visiting it. I found it to be underwhelming but that was what he would have wanted; in it’s own way it was perfect.
Along the road to Enniskillen we stopped at a waterfall to stretch our legs and for a photo opportunity. It was a small park off a backroad. It was so perfect for photo opportunities that as we left the park we came across a groom and his bridal party. And as we boarded the bus we caught a glimpse of the bride.
We spent the night in Enniskillen (instead of Derry due to crowding at the hostel) which allowed us to explore the smaller town and mingle with the locals. We went out drinking at the pubs that evening in a large group and got to experience the mating rituals of cougars (hint: they go after drunk younger men).