We left Lisdoonvarna and drove to Galway by way of the Burren. As Melanie instilled in us, “The Burren means Rocky Place!” It is a limestone cropping that is something like 123 kilometers large. In the Burren stands a prehistoric tomb called the Poulnabrone Dolmen. It predates the pyramids. It is quite small in person, but pretty incredible to think it’s been there for something like 5000 years. That is so hard for me to grasp, coming from the US. Here, if something is 200 years old, it’s old. 5000 years old is kind of hard to comprehend.
Unfortunately, it was raining. But, as a sneak preview, this was the ONLY excursion we had where it rained while we were there. Pretty incredible, if you think about it. I would love to go back there in summer. The Burren is also home to hundreds of types of wildflowers, some of which are not indigenous to the area. They have no idea how the flowers got there. But because it was fall, most of the flowers were not in bloom. I can only imagine how beautiful it would be in summer. All those flowers sprouting up between all the limestone rocks.
We then made our way to Galway and found a place to stay. As I stated in a previous post, the first item of business was getting me a Claddagh ring. I love it!! I love that I bought it from a local jeweler who made it himself. And that I met him and got a picture with him! So cool.
It was neat being in Galway on Monday because the All-Ireland Hurling Finals were the day before. It was Galway vs. Kilkenny. Everyone had been talking about it around the country, so when we rolled into Galway, we asked how it went. It was a draw. I learned that they do not do OT or anything. So they will play again two weeks from now. The flags were out everywhere, as were the banners wishing Galway luck. It was a fun time!
Loren and I walked around a bit after getting our rings. Galway is really beautiful (are you noticing a theme? I think I need to utilize my thesaurus a bit more because “beautiful” is getting way old!). The River Corrib, which is the shortest river in Europe, runs through the city. It has two little tributaries, for lack of a better word, running beside it with two cute stone bridges. The Spanish Arch is at one end, which reflects Galway’s history when the Spanish Armada landed there. That is where the term “Galway Girl” comes from. The dark (black) hair of the Spanish mixed with the blue eyes of the Irish. My Irish ancestors come from County Galway, so with my hair and eyes, Galway Girl is my favorite song!
Galway is also home to Eyre Square, which Loren and I checked out. There’s not much there, but it’s a cute little green space in the middle of the city. We also spent a lot of time during the evenings in the pedestrian mall area. Lots of cool pubs and restaurants. We had a nice Italian dinner (Loren’s treat, thank you!) one night and an incredible seafood dinner the next. I had the lobster. So fresh!
We also did a bit of shopping in Galway. We checked out this amazing store, called TK Maxx. Haha! Yes, it’s TJ Maxx, but we’re not sure why it’s “TK” in Europe. And it seemed a LOT more expensive than TJ. We tried, unsuccessfully to shop at Topshop. See my previous post…it was always CLOSED by the time we got around to it! I did get to experience some of the stores I read about in my British chick lit novels, though: Boots, Marks and Spencer, Selfridge (window shopping). We found two new stores that we hadn’t heard of, too: Dunnes and Penneys (not JC). I got a pair of ballet flats (12 euro) and a cute pair of black heels (3 euro…no joke!). I also thought I scored a great pair of tannish-grayish Mary Jane heels for 50 cents!!!…but it turned out at the register that they were both left shoes. What the what now? Why anyone would purchase one left shoe was beyond us. But before we realized that, I had the sales clerk check the price because it didn’t seem right. She didn’t think so, either. She came back and said, “would you believe it, they ARE 50 cents!” She was about as excited as I was!