We all had a great night’s sleep at the house, waking to make a nice breakfast, lunch and packed up the car. We headed north out of Tobercurry. We aimed first for the town of Foxford to see the woolen mill. I thought it would provide a good juxtaposition to all the handweaving. Unfortunately, the mill workers were all off this week, so it didn’t make much sense to pay for the tour. We admired their retail goods for a bit, then headed toward Downpatrick Head.
This was north to the edge of the coast, with the cliffs by the Atlantic. We passed small villages and farms with mostly sheep and cattle. Not many cars, much to our delight. We reached the headland, parked and walked out.
A few rain drops and lots of wind. Lots. Really lots. But we walked out to the edge to see the sea stack, called Dún Briste, that broke away from the headland in 1393, leaving the residents stranded until others came to the rescue. Though legend had it that it was where Saint Patrick led all the snakes to rid Ireland of them.
The cliffs showed all the stratification from over the centuries, all the erosion with the holes and inlets. The waves crashed into the cliffs, with mesmerizing swiftness and strength. The kids, of course, not only wanted to walk around all the spits, but near the edge. At times I couldn’t watch them, fearing the wind would blow them off the edge. My trip insurance wouldn’t cover such a mishap. But the view and the power of the wind and sea was hard to resist. At one point as we watched it appeared like snow blowing upwards, but was actually all the sea foam so strongly spewed it reached us up on the cliff.
We finally pulled ourselves away from the cliffs and drove on to Creide Fields. This was the oldest megalithic site in Europe, showing how the people set up farming over 6,000 years ago. They have found many acres of remnants of stone walls used to delineate fields for animals and crops. Much of the land is private property, with only about 5% excavated. They’ve done a wonderful job of preserving the site, located under layers and layers of bog. The tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and fascinating to follow as we walked a small portion of the site. Afterwards we watched a short movie about the archeological efforts.
Then it was a long drive through the countryside, with Kevin doing a remarkable job driving, no matter the roads, with Mandy navigating expertly and me tallying what we saw. Today was our most massive count of sheep and cows. Apparently county Mayo is one of the three with the largest sheep population in the country, with me counting over 200 sightings today alone. I believe it.
Eventually we drove into Galway, our stopping point for the day. We found the parking garage next to the hostel we had booked, parked and went in. Once registered, with packs in the room, we wandered out for dinner. Mandy led us to the second of the two Tuco’s taquaria restaurants in the country to have a vegan burrito.
And then it was time to find some good music and beer. We walked through the part of town by the hostel that seemed to be the center of things and found a walking street with lots of street musicians, pubs and plenty of people watching. We stopped at one pub where we sat outside to listen to a trio playing a guitar, a banjo and a violin. Amazing. After awhile we got cold enough to mosey along and found Murty Rabbit’s and went in for another pint. A fabulous duo was playing mellow songs from my era, including lots of Simon and Garfinkle. Once we finally decided it was time to call it quits for the evening and we were exiting the pub one of the musicians called out “And now we’ll say goodbye to the Green Team”. Well, we do all have green raincoats. We were quite amused.