Week one of Easter break finds me in Ireland with my study abroad program. With 45 other Americans in tow, this is the polar opposite of my solo trip to Amsterdam. My 2 1/2 days in Galway on the West of Ireland have seen me at the Cliffs of Moher, an Irish cinema, a McDonalds (oh the shame), and Innismore, the biggest of the Aran Islands.
Cliffs of Moher
We passed Dunguaire Castle on the road to the cliffs. I’d read about a legend there, that says the lord of the castle was so generous, when a beggar went to his grave, a skeletal hand reached out of the soil with coins (sounds creepy to me). Supposedly, if you ask a question at the castle gates, you’ll get a response by the end of the day, but it didn’t work for me.
The Cliffs of Moher:
After the Cliffs of Moher we stopped for ice cream in Lahinch, a seaside town with stellar views.
My first non-American movie theaters (or cinemas, as everyone this side of the Pond calls them)
Divergent premiered in Ireland the day before I saw it with some friends. I enjoyed the film, and enjoyed just relaxing at the beginning of break. Then in Dublin I saw Captain America. Us three American girls and one Irish guy were the only ones to stay through to the credits (come on, you never leave a Marvel movie before the credits roll!). I enjoyed watching Irish commercials. :) Time away from classes is just what I needed after the midterm rush of essays.
I finally broke down on my steadfast avoidance of American fast food chains while abroad. It was wet and we were hungry. Mozzarella sticks, salad, and ice cream. Oh well.
Spending the day on Innismore was one of my favorite parts of this entire semester. Innismore, the largest of the three Aran Islands off Ireland’s West Coast, is in the heartland of the Irish language.
We boarded the ferry after dire warnings of the necessity of Dramamine, and set off under heavy clouds and wind. I stood at the rail and watched the waves with the wind in my hair.. the same wind that whipped my eyelids shut. It was cold but exhilarating, as the boat skipped through the waves.
The luck of the Irish must’ve been on our side, because once we reached the island, the sky cleared and that elusive orb smiled at us from its perch in the sky.
We rode around the island on bikes, past soft cows resting with the cobalt sea in the background, little Irish cottages, rocky landscape, and sparkling sea views.
We stopped at a little beach with white sand and tropical-toned water. Of course I couldn’t resist shedding shoes and socks and wading in the waves. Luckily the Oregon Coast has prepared me for icy waters, so I stayed in the waves for a happy half hour while my midwestern compatriots froze.
Muscles straining, we pedaled up the hill towards Dun Angus, the ancient and epic stone fortress. Dun Angus is perched on sea cliffs with the most incredible view… if you’re willing to crawl down on your belly and look down to the waves crashing below. Which I totally did!