Posted by: aboveandbeyondtravelblog | September 25, 2012

Journey Through Ireland: Day 9 – Bunratty Castle to Aran Islands

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Well, typical Irish weather has finally caught up with us. Today is cool, rainy, and windy. We finally get to wear the clothes we packed! Eamonn is not very encouraging about the results of the coming touring day. The plan is to grab a ferry to one of the Aran Islands. This is where the wool comes from for all of the beautiful cable knit sweaters they sell in the gift shops. It takes about 1 hour on the bus to get to the shore.

The boat dock weather is worse than it was at our hotel, more rain and wind. Eamon calls the island and they say the weather is bad. The ferry ride is over an hour over rough water to the island we had planned to go. We choose a closer, but smaller island instead.

The ferry boat was well used, to put it nicely, and small. They managed to put 80 people on a boat that had 40 seats inside. The rest sat or stood out in the wind and rain. The ride over was “rock n rolling”. It was “take the Dramamine” or “take the consequences”. After 35 minutes of this we came ashore, kissed the ground, and then saw our mode of transportation around the island…small tractors pulling sheds on wheels. The only blessing was that the walls were Visqueen  that we could sort of see out of.

After a blessedly short tour we were dropped off at a café for a warm meal and Guinness. The island is a series of uneven pastures with stone walls around them. The stones came from the pastures so now there is a bit of grass growing. There isn’t as many sheep on this island as there use to be. Most people depend on the summer tourism to bolster their income. Maybe 200 people live here year around.

While we were standing out in the rain and wind we ask the guide what winter was like. He replied, “About like this.”  Remember this is late August…when was summer?  I am being a bit rough about the experience. Truthfully, the island was beautiful in its barrenness but I don’t see how these people survive.

For our last night in Ireland we get a large table at Dirty Nelly’s, the local pub. We have our last Guinness, our last fish and chips, and still are enjoying each other’s company. All in all, the whole trip exceeded our expectations and we gelled as group. Hopefully, we will travel with them again.

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