One thing I've noticed as I've gotten older is that my memories fade so much more quickly. I dedicated time each day of my trip to writing in my journal, and I took a lot of photos. These posts are a great way to help me sum up the most memorable parts of my days..
The third day of our trip gave us a little more sunshine and a little less blustery wind. I decided to schedule one "hard stop time" in our day - a short boat voyage up and down the Killary Bay. I had been leery of committing to exact times for anything, since we had no idea how long any drive would take us. What's the worst that could happen, right?
Our first stop was at Cong Abbey.
"In the village of Cong, County Mayo, visitors can see the ruins of a 12th-century Augustinian abbey established by Turlough O'Connor, High King of Ireland. The land had previously housed a 6th-century church associated with St Feichin. At one time, the abbey had 3,000 inhabitants, who were excellent scholars and skilled craftsmen. It is also the location where Rory O’Connor, Ireland’s last High King, died." from DiscoverIreland.com
We parked along a lovely street, directly across from the entrance to the small ruins. The yellow is a cafe, where I got a nice cup of latte. They had a "lending library" shelf that I wish I'd also captured with my camera.
There were even a few spots where we could climb up onto the walls - where old towers would have stood. Though the site wasn't quite as empty as I would consider ideal (yes, I prefer solitary sites and lonely vistas), it was still quiet enough for me to drink in my fill of the past.
It's the little things that jump out at me in these old locations. The smooth, worn steps. The spots of green and vivid colors where small plants peek out from the face of the stone. I even started taking photos in each ruin of the little glimpses of nature forcing her way back through the rock.
As we left the Abbey, I had my first unexpected deviation from the plan.
This is a Harris Hawk. Several falconers from a nearby castle were out socializing their young birds. You may not know this about me, but I adore birds of prey. One of my "non-negotiable" items for our Ireland trip was planning a falcon walk. This lovely, unexpected meeting made my day, and made me even more excited about spending a full hour out with a hawk.
|Lego Leia joined us for most of our|
adventures. This is the view of Killary Bay.
Thankfully, we were able to find a place to pull over and get that tire changed. Even better, we were still able to make it to our next destination in time for our departure. Getting that tire actually fixed would just have to wait until after we relaxed on the boat.
After our lovely lunch and boat trip, we found a mechanic on the way to our next location. Amazingly, he didn't seem at all surprised to see our damaged tire. (Oh, wait.. they call them "tyres" across the pond.) I'm guessing we weren't the first tourists - or locals - to drop a tire off for repair. He promised to do his best to pound the rim back into shape and sent us on our way to our next sight-seeing stop. Yes, we experienced the very best of Irish hospitality even at the mechanic's shop!
Kylemore Abbey is a testament to love - and a whole lotta money. This beautiful home was built entirely to please a woman. After her early death, her husband built a gothic style chapel to ease her soul. The main building is now home to Benedictine nuns, and the chapel is still in use.
I'm going to be honest, I spent a bit of the time we wandered the grounds worried about the tire. Not worried enough to ruin the beautiful day, though! The mechanic was wonderful, and had us all fixed up shortly after we returned. We handed him the last of our cash as a tip for being so helpful....
Which directly led to unexpected deviations of their own.
We spotted signs for a quarry and pulled in to take a tour. Chatting with the young man behind the counter, we got ready to head underground. I mentioned we took the "old rocks of Ireland" tour, right? To our dismay, the only took cash for payment. No tour for us! The time we spent browsing that shop and getting ready for the tour caused us to miss the last tour at a small castle on the way back to our bed & breakfast. Slightly frustrating, yes... but overall it had been a marvelous day.
Unexpected Deviations and all.
In case you'd like to see a few other photos from this day - my Flickr set link. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mselke/sets/72157634310363958/
I'm participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by the amazing educators at Two Writing Teachers. Now that March is over, we write and share on Tuesdays. Stop by to see what others are posting!
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