Saturday, January 16, 2010


Tuesday, September 16th, 2003 Kylemore Abbey & Galway Bay

We left the hotel this morning in the rain, but soon it started to clear as we enjoyed a view from the bus window of The Killary Fjord, a long, narrow inlet with steep sides, created in a valley carved by glacial activity. This is the only one in Ireland.

Our first stop was at a Benedictine Abbey called Kylemore Abbey. A beautifully restored Chateau and small chapel. Now it is used for a girl’s boarding school. We were only able to tour the ground floor of the Abbey; but it was beautifully decorated and the table was set for dinner in dining room. The setting of the Abbey was on the edge of lovely Lough, or lake as we would say in America. We had a lovely stroll through the woods to the small church on the grounds that was open for us to tour.

The entire day was spent traveling through Yeats country along the lakes and mountains of Connemara. The district is preserved as a National Park and no more homes can be built in the area. We made several photo stops during the day. The road was very twisting and narrow…many times sheep were loose and ambling along the side of and in the center of the road. And, the sun finally came out in the afternoon.

About noon we had our first major shopping stop at Standun Spiddal Company outside of Galway. We were served only drinks and scones as they wanted to keep us shopping. Barbara found a tiny Irish sweater for Kevin’s new baby boy Arden. Jim found a smart green blazer on sale that he couldn’t resist. As we were on the tour if you were over 100 Euro they subtracted the VAT right there in the store. (Jim left his paperwork in the shopping bag that he graciously returned to the clerk after he decided to wear the coat!) We were later billed on the credit card for the VAT after we were unable to mail back the paperwork at the airport in Dublin! So much for saving money!

Back aboard the bus by 1:30 we were on our way to the major city of Galway. Arrived about 2:30; we were on our own until 4:30. Our first stop was a local Internet CafĂ©. Found lots of junk emails and a few that we read. [So different from today when we are able to sign on just about anywhere in the world with Wireless.] Walked about the town and then had a turkey sandwich at a Subway near the Tourist Information shop where we stopped for some browsing for post cards. Back to the center of town for the bus by 4:30; we were off to the Galway Golf Course where we had hotel reservations for the night. It was a beautiful place with a view of the Galway Bay and the Championship course designed by Christy O’Connor Junior, a former Ryder Cup player. We settled into our room; rather unusual with a second bedroom with 3 single beds and a kitchenette. The door said suite. Seemingly designed for a family; yet it only had one bathroom. This was our first hotel with actual metal keys; as we left the next morning they made a special request for keys! Seems as though the previous morning the guest left with half dozen of their keys!

Phil and Mary headed for the golf course and a photo session to impress the golf buddies in Indiana. We walked round the hotel and then spent a pleasant hour with Ron & Gayle from Grand Rapids, Michigan. She was a nurse working in a school for Handicapped Children and he ran the water department for a town in Michigan.

Instead of dinner we headed toward the forest path and enjoyed a stroll for about half an hour. Found the old area manor house; totally in ruins and nearly covered with vines. They had erected a very tall fence to keep the public out of the ruins. Turned around before we got to the water and headed back to try to catch the sunset over Galway Bay…got there in time but the fog obscured the final dip on the horizon. Off to bed and the end of another day of Irish History and fun.

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