Ireland, Day 3

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Doolin, Ireland

You should all be impressed that I have captured photos that make it look bright and sunny, because 70% of the time it’s been raining and COLD.  You know that scene in Sense and Sensibility where Marianne sprains her ankle running down the hill in the rainstorm and is rescued by Willoughby?  Yeah, that was me about 10 minutes before I took the above picture-drenched by rain and nearly blown off the road by gale force winds. Sadly, no handsome stranger on horseback though.  Darn it. There’s always tomorrow I suppose.

Despite the weather, I’m settling in nicely.  The jet lag prevented me from doing anything too ambitious on Saturday.  I must be getting old, as I don’t recall ever having a problem with jet lag before.  However, after a solid nights sleep, my internal clock seems to have reset itself, and I was good to go yesterday, which was fortunate because my first full day and I was put straight to work!

I’m staying with Michael and Mary Jo O’Connell at Seascape B&B in Doolin, County Clare. The O’Connell’s have been delightfully warm and welcoming, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the past two mornings serving guests breakfast at the B&B.  I love meeting other travelers and visiting with them.  It’s a wonderful way to connect with people on the road.

Killilagh church and graveyard, just up the hill from Seascape. The church dates from the 15th century, and the grounds were used as a cemetery until as recently as the 1980s.

Killilagh church and graveyard, just up the hill from Seascape. The church dates from the 15th century, and the grounds were used as a cemetery until as recently as the 1980s.

Doolin is small village on the west coast of Ireland situated just north of the Cliffs of Moher, with convenient access to the Burren and the Aran Islands, making it a popular tourist spot.  In fact, most of the village is made up of dozens of family run B&B’s, a handful of pubs featuring live music each night, and a few gift shops selling Aran sweaters and leprechaun figurines.  Despite its tiny size, its fairly spread out, with lots of farm and grazing land in-between, so it takes me some time walking through the main part of the village.  At least I know I won’t grow fat and lazy!

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View of the cliffs from Doolin. Ambitious hikers can walk the 7 km or so to the highest point (which can’t be seen from here). Others can opt to take a bus or drive to the top and hike back, or drive both ways!

The big tour busses come through town about noon each day, bringing lots of business to the restaurants before continuing on to the cliffs or Burren Nation Park.  According to my hosts, there are mixed feelings about this amongst the locals.  The restaurants do very well, but it brings nothing to all of the B&Bs, and tends to congest traffic, which is a problem for a village with only one main road that’s barely wide enough for two small cars to pass one another.

There are no grocery stores or banks in town.  The nearest market town is Ennistimon, about a 15-20 minute drive away.  I’ll be going with Mary Jo tomorrow to do a little shopping, and hopefully find an ATM!

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