Aran Islands have always meant to me beautiful cabled sweaters. Now I’ll forever associate the name with the patterns of rock walls (and sweaters as well).
It was supposed to be a blustery and rainy day, with the end of “Storm Brian” affecting western Ireland. I have no faith in weather reports, and leave it up to the universe. Almost always not as bad as they say it’ll be.
We drove south through Connemara, heading to Galway. First stop area was around Croagh Patrick, though we didn’t have time to climb. Another year. Across the way is the National Famine Memorial, a very moving sculpture of a coffin ship with skeletons forming the rigging. Nearby, the ruins of the Murrisk Abbey. Then through the phenomenal Doolough Valley, where people collapsed and died of starvation while seeking relief during the potato famine in 1849. A very stark landscape. Considered buying a sheep. Decided against it. By the southern end of the valley, we were in pouring rain for the remainder of the afternoon.
After a few days in Dublin we rented a car and drove a few hours west/northwest, ending up in Westport, in County Mayo. Chris dislikes mayonnaise intensely, but now we know that it’s really Contae Mhaigh Eo.
Ithaca College’s London program has its fall break, so Chris and I have used the extra time to explore Ireland. We flew to Dublin on a Sunday afternoon, hours before Hurricane Ophelia was due to strike the island. Where we were it ended up being just a windy day, but we hunkered down in the pub and had REO Speedwagon’s “Riding the Storm Out” stuck in our head for hours.
We based ourselves in Buttermere, a tiny hamlet in the northwest portion of the Lake District National Park, and braved the weather for some wonderful days of walking, eating, eating, and walking.
After trips to Egypt (Diana) and Copenhagen (Chris), we settled down for a few “regular” weeks at home in London.