Saturday, June 18, 2016

Saturday in Ireland

I thought I'd include a picture of our luggage stacked up in the back of the van and poor Bèbhinn trying to load it up!  Finally the last day or two she let some of the guys help her.  She said it was like a puzzle every morning trying to load the biggest/heaviest first and then fit all the odd shapes in.  She did a great job and we really appreciated her taking such good care of us!

We passed ruins like this all over the west of Ireland.  The story we were told about this one, the Lamanach Castle was that Maura Rua's family was thrown out of the castle during the Cromwell period.  She married one of his soldiers to get back in the castle and then threw him over the battlements.

Our next stop was the Poulnabrone Portal Tomb.  This was fascinating because the tomb was constructed from great slabs of limestone over 5,000 years ago.  Archaeologist have discovered the remains of over 30 people at this ancient site. Radiocarbon dating has shown that those buried in the chamber died between 4200 B.C - 2900 B.C. placing them firmly in the Neolithic or New Stone Age. The information said that some of the remains appear to have been moved to this time from somewhere else, probably around 3000 B.C.  It's amazing to think of the people living that long ago.

Surrounding the portal tomb is the Burren Karst landscape, which is in itself quite fascinating.
"It is composed of carboniferous limestone, a sedimentary rock type formed over 320 million years ago on the floor of a warm shallow sea. It is composed of the compacted remains of the animal and plant life of these ancient waters, visible today as fossils in the rock. Over time, massive glaciers scoured and sculpted these limestone beds to create the distinctive terraced hillsides, while dropping rounded boulders called erratics in their wake. Ancient earth movements fractured and folded the limestone, and solution by rainwater expanded the hairline fractures to form deep cracks called grikes, separated by blocks or clints. These are the classic features of a karst landscape." The Burren is very rich in fossils.
That is probably more than you wanted to know, but it was quite fascinating walking around out there.  Cattle graze here in the winter months, and if the grazing were to cease, the site would gradually disappear under a covering of shrub.

Our next stop was Corcomroe Abbey, founded in 1194 by Dónal Mór O'Brien, King of Thomond, who built many churches.

Following are some pictures of the remains of this beautiful structure.  The detail in the ceiling, arches etc. is just incredible.

Above is a typical stone wall, we noticed that they were constructed differently depending on which part of the country you were in.

This is Dunguaire Castle - just a photo stop.  Like I said they just pop up everywhere!

We finished up the day in the city of Galway, where Michelle and I did a little shopping :)  This is a pedestrian only section of the city, kind of like Grafton Street in Dublin.  It was a Saturday, so it was busy and there were a lot of street performers, which was fun!

I kept seeing these "Ladbrokes" gambling places, where you can go place your bets.  I felt like they were appropriately named :)

On the home front, I'm still trying to catch up on things, but hope to get in the sewing room soon!

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