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Friday, April 8, 2016

Ireland, Day 4

March 27 was Easter Sunday!

We started the morning with breakfast.  This hotel didn't have a buffet but had a menu we could choose from.  The kids and I chose pancakes but were very disappointed when crepes arrived.  I like the idea of crepes but in reality they are a little too eggy for me.  (I believe I've mentioned my disdain for the egg before.)  And when I asked for maple syrup to try to make them a little better, the waiter had no idea what I was talking about!

We attended Mass at Immaculate Conception in Oranmore.  The church was within walking distance from our hotel which was very nice.  That meant would could sleep in a little longer and still make it to church on time without worrying about where we were going or where to park.  However, in retrospect, I wish we had driven to nearby Galway to attend Mass at the cathedral there or even driven over to Ennis.  The Mass at Immaculate Conception was your typical Easter Mass except there was zero music.  No choir.  No organ.  No piano. No cantor.  No nothing!  .

And there were no flowers!  NONE!  

It was a bit of a let down...honestly it made it feel like we were still in Lent and not celebrating the Risen King. But the order of the service, the scripture readings, the liturgy, everything else was the same as every other Catholic church all over the world. And ultimately we are there to receive the Eucharist so in the grand scheme of things music and flowers aren't that important.

After Mass we headed to nearby Galway and noticed what looked like the remains of an old castle.  So we pulledup to the gate.  A car was parked inside the gate and a little dog came running up to greet us.  We assumed it was a private residence so we snapped some picutres and left.  I've since learned that they give tours of the castle in the summer and you can host events like small weddings  at the castle.

In Galway we spent a lot of time walking the streets.  Galway is a great little town with lots of shopping and different sites to see.

 We had lunch in Galway:

A big hunk of Irish beef on top of mash with a side of veg.  "Mash and veg" are very common side dishes in Ireland!

Shepards pie with a side of chips!  Don't call them fries in Ireland!
After lunch we walked the streets of Galway some more and came upon a street entertainer.  He gave a great performance.

After leaving Galway we headed to Knockmoy Abbey.This abbey was built in the 1100s.

There are old medieval wall paintings in this abbey but it appeared that they were in the process of being restored and were covered up so we weren't able to see them.  

Next up we tried to find the elusive Turoe Stone.  Dan has looked for this stone several times before but hasn't found it.  He was determined to find it this time.  A lot of things on Ireland are marked on the map but then there are no signs near what you are looking for to indicate you are near it.  And also, many times it is way off the beaten path.  However, if you ask a local you will be sure to find it.

So we pulled over on one of the country roads and asked a woman who was walking.  She gave us perfect directions.  We got to where it was supposed to be but couldn't find it so we asked someone else.  Apparently we were in the right spot but it had been removed for restoration.  So, we didn't get to see the stone.  But, here it is thanks to Wikipedia:

The stone is granite and dates to 100 BC to 100 AD. It is decorated in Celtic style.  I hate that we missed seeing something that old!  Maybe next time!

While Dan was asking about the stone, this beautiful rainbow appeared in the sky!

 We could literally see the end of the rainbow but alas, no pot of gold!

Our next stop was Yeats Tower.   The real name of this tower is Thoor Ballylee and it was a fortified tower house built in the 15th century.  It's called Yeats Tower because author William Butler Yates once owned it and used it as a summer home for 12 years.

Next stop was Ennis!  Ennis is the town that Dan's maternal grandmother and grandfather grew up in.  We toured around Ennis and showed the kids the church where his grandparents got married:

The Cathedral of Ennis

And he took the kids to visit the location of his grandfather's house.  His grandfather grew up in a house right behind Knox's pub.  The pub is still there and it's still called Knox's but all the houses behind that street have since been torn down and there is  a parking lot with a public toilet where the front door of the house used to be.  But here they are in front of the restaurant:

Dan remembers his grandfather telling stories about taking empty beer barrels from Knox's and rolling them down along the banks of the river.  And here's the river which is steps from the restaurant and would have  been in his grandfather's backyard:

We were able to enjoy some traditional Irish music after our dinner:

It was another great day in Ireland!


Mari said...

You have been seeing the most amazing things, but seeing things that have a family connection are extra special!

Madeline said...

That's so cool you are seeing the family history! I have such fond fond memories of Galway. I am glad you were able to make some as well. Too bad the stone stayed elusive. Maybe Dan's next trip it will be back?

Laura Pearl said...

I agree with Mari--the fact that there is a connection to your husband's family makes it so much more special. My husband's grandfather came from Cork--so that's one place I'd really like to visit someday. I've just got to get to Ireland!

In the meantime, I'm living vicariously through you!