Yesterday we took a bus tour to the Cliffs of Moher. I have to take this moment to rant a bit. I’m really not a fan of bus tours in general, and while the bus was not full of blue hairs (which I realize I will one day be — and maybe then I’ll enjoy bus tours), it was full of bad jokes, quick stops, and superficial sightseeing. I like to explore at my leisure, even if we have a time schedule. Also, when I explore, I read up on what I’m seeing. And while a guide explains things, I can’t see the map, and I don’t know how to spell the names, etc. It didn’t stop me from reading up on it this AM, but I like to go with guide book in hand and steer the exploration, or at least have a say in it.
So, we first went to the Burren, a section of Ireland in County Clare that is full of blocks of dolomite. It is wonderfully rocky, but between the crags grow tufts of grass and wildflowers. Farmers work the region, mainly by having their sure-footed cows graze on the lowlands in the summer and the hilltops in the winters. John, a young man whose family owns a 1,000 acre farm (yes, like the novel), gave us a tour of his land. We hiked up one of the dolomite-ridden hills, enjoyed luscious views of green countryside dappled with brown and lines of stone fencing (which the British hired the Irish to build during the great famine so as to keep people employed without actually building and economic infrastructure, thus keeping Ireland under its colonizing thumb). It makes me want to build a stone fence, and actually, we have some missing fence. Perhaps that will be my post-wedding project.
Which, come to think of it, while I have missed Sujal terribly (I woke with such a sadness and longing for him this morning), I haven’t thought a hell of a lot about wedding planning, which frankly has been nice.
Nonetheless, John, our walking guide, was handsome and all the kids commented on his handsomeness, though I believed the word they used was “hot.” Even past visitors remarked about his attractiveness on a graffiti wall. When Alex said he wasn’t sure how Sujal compared, I assured him that while John was handsome, Sujal is irresistible. On our walk, we lay down at one point to “feel what it is like to be a cow.” It was a marvelous walk.
Then we hopped back on the bus for a very quick stop at some ancient burial site. And I frankly have little to know idea what it was. We had next to no time to read any placards, so I saw some burial site, and I have photos of it…. Woo-hoo. I also photographed sheep.
Okay, so I found out it was the Poulnabrone Dolman. Dolmans are ancient burial sites located all around western Europe.
Then we went to the Cliffs of Moher, which were quite beautiful. It was also tourist-infested, but cool. It wasn’t until we were on our way back that we stopped at lower cliffs (cliffs nonetheless) that I was really wowed. Here I could feel a much closer relationship to the rock and water. Also, there were nowheres near as many people, so I could really focus on the sound of the wind and water.
Then we stopped at a castle — don’t recall the name, but I have it marked in the guidebook. It’s now a banquet hall. What was great were all of those little towns, farmers’ markets, coastlines, etc that we sadly drove right on by. It made me want to rent a car to go exploring, so I may do that and take some kids on a little adventure.
We came back to the rooms to find we were locked out. Our card keys stopped working. Sigh, another glitch, but we just got new card keys. Jeff has locked himself out now many times. Several of the kids have as well. The card keys are a pain in the arse! Then we raced into town for dinner. I took 10 kids to an Indian restaurant, which was much better this time. It was a lot of fun. I helped kids to navigate the menu, and we had a good time. Then we went to see this play, “How the West was Won” by Peadar de Burca. It was at the Town Hall Theatre. This was a VERY different play from the one we saw the other night, farcical, more Beckettian. It was about poor (semi-homeless??) people from Galway at a time when Reagan came to Galway (1984) to get an honorary degree from University College of Galway. It was odd, hard to follow at times, and funny. It liked it better than “A Month in the Country”, but it did go on a bit too long. I was curious to know what the kids were thinking during the first act, because it was such a non-linear, non-traditional play, and mainly they seemed to like it. Then we strolled home just in time before they closed the gate on us.
This AM we did some writing and a longer workshop session. It was good to hear the variety of pieces, just about everyone’s. Then we went into town, and I had lunch with the girls at Busker Brown’s. We had paninis, which were good. The girls ate there the other day, too. While Caroline and I were in the toilet (the word used here), there was a little girl who got locked into a stall. When we came in, her older sister was trying to help here out. The older sister was maybe 6, but could not fit underneath the stall door. She went and got her mother. When the mother came in,she was instructing the little girl how to get out, and the girl would say she was at the door trying to move the latch but could not. Then Caroline got in the stall next door, climbed onto the toilet and peered over at the little girl who was NOT at the door trying to unlock it. Instead she was on the toilet seat, sitting there saying, I can’t get out. Caroline finally instructed her that she first needed to get off of the toilet, then go to the door, grab the circle, and pull it toward the wall. Caroline will be a very good mother some day.
And then I came to this very expensive internet cafe, and here I am. Tomorrow we leave for the Aran Islands — specifically Inis Mor.