Thanks to laptop issues and travels, I missed blogging for a quite some days now. I wanted to get this post going in the first week of August to celebrate the two year anniversary of my trip to Ireland. But better late than never, right :)
I was on a week-long trip to our office in Galway, based off the western coast of Ireland. Sight-seeing seemed pretty tough given the tight schedule, but nonetheless, the avid traveler in me had decided to make the most out of the weekends I would be there. I had looked up bus tours and since decided to go with a day tour with the Galway Tour Company.
I landed on a saturday morning at the Shannon airport (direct flight from Boston, thank god for that!) and after a two hour bus journey reached my hotel in Galway afternoon-ish. I was delighted when I found out that it was quite centrally located; walkable distance from the bus station (lugging the baggage was an easier task now). After freshening up and a healthy lunch, I walked the main streets in Galway. Though it was the first week in August (which is a pretty glaring in the US), it was windy and cool there and I had my jacket on me all the times. In Ireland it pretty much rains all the time and anytime, so a a rain-jacket is highly recommended during your stay.
The city layout was typical European; walking streets laden with shops, cute boutiques, restaurants, and of course Irish pubs, people drinking beers, merry-making and of course good-looking Irish lads (ahem ahem). I am glad I took the stroll out on a Saturday; I got to experience the true Irish spirit! My pit stops for sure included a shack serving fresh fish and chips and a cutsey bakery to taste the yummy goodiness. Looking at the pubs, I for sure longed for company to step in and gulp down a pint, but guess that had to be for some other time.
Sunday was reserved for the day long bus tour with the Galway Bus Company.The tour started at 9 in the morning from the Galway bus-stop and took us through the Irish countryside to Kilfenora, the village of Doolin, the Cliffs of Moher, Ballyvaughn. Must say, it was kinda weird traveling alone. So without further adieu, presenting you my pictorial travelogue..
First stop was the grassy lands and the historic structures at Poulnabrone dolmen in the Burren.
It's a portal tomb dating back to the Neolithic age!
Pretty greenery and cloudy skies - a common sight in Ireland
Directions in English and Irish language - Gaelic
Spotted this magnificent beast in the perfect backdrop of Burren. A stunning visual to experience for sure!
The Burren is home to 75% of Ireland's native flora and location of numerous ancient monuments like the Dolmen (in the pic above) and the Ballyalban Fairy Fort - home of little men with green hats and orange beards!
My tour companions - our cute bus driver and his little friends
Glimpses of the coastal village of Doolin. We lunched at the Gus O'Connor's, a traditional Irish pub
An Irish woman was strumming the Celtic Harp at one of the tourist spots in the Irish countryside. The scenery, the music and the ambiance..it was all simply magical! My trip would have been surely incomplete without this musical experience.
Irish countryside is simply breathtaking to say the least!
The ubiquitous 'Chicken Tikka Masla' and chips (aka french fries). This dish is served in almost every Irish pub.
I was happy when I saw it on the menu - not so much when I tasted it. We always crave for something homey and comforting after a long day at work, don't we :)
My antics at the 'Hat shop'..I guess I should have bought one!
Doesn't it look stunning - of course ignoring my tired-and-end-of-long-day eyes that is!
old castle in ruins
Cute row houses in the city
Stay tuned for the part 2 of this travelogue to Cliffs of Moher (Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was filmed here) with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, views of Connemara and the Burren landscape including the huge Leprechaun Head carved in the rocks.