Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ireland, Day Four

I'm getting behind on my installments! We drove from the far east side of Ireland to the far west side on Monday (about 3 hours). We got most of the way there in two hours but the last 18 miles took an hour, off the motorway, in and out of roundabouts, with stop and go traffic in every little town. It was a bit nervewracking.

We explored Galway and a bit north of Galway into the Irish countryside before deciding there wasn't that much to see or do there. It was an exercise in nerve control: the roads in the country were hardly enough for one car, and several times we had other cars approach us and practically had to pull into the embankment. After we had our fill of countryside, we headed off down toward the Cliffs of Moher, which were supposed to be spectacular. That was a long and winding drive into the Irish countryside as well, and when we got there, we had to climb a long way up to get the pictures we wanted. But in the end, they were cliffs. The sea wasn't striking them in any dramatic fashion, the lighting was terrible because it was overcast, and all in all, it was just okay. I wasn't overwhelmed.

Leaving the cliffs, we were starving. We decided to go to a restaurant in Lahinch (luh-heenk) that was highly regarded by one of our books' writers. It wound up being about 20 minutes' drive even though it was only four miles. Another four miles of nerves. As we were about to pull up, I went for the book one last time to see how late they served, because everything in Ireland closes early! They served until 10, but only then did I notice their schedule of hours didn't include Mondays! Oh, hell!

Jess determined that we would check it out anyway, and when we did, sure enough, the lights were on and they were serving. Hooray! It was a tiny place, but the people were very nice and welcoming. (The Irish are very friendly!) The dining area was a glass sunroom that faced the ocean. It was a lovely setting (pictures when we return). They had a 45-euro prix fixe dinner, so we opted for that. The presentation of dishes was just beautiful...I only wish the taste of the food had matched the presentation and the view, for it would have been truly stunning.

We didn't finish dinner until 10:40, but it was still a bit light out. The sun doesn't set until very late here, and there is daylight until well after 10:00 p.m. It's pretty amazing. We have some pictures of the place as we were leaving, you'll see what I mean when I post them.

At any rate, because it was about the same distance to go back to Galway and take the highway back in, or go to Limerick and take the highway back in, I made the decision that we should go to Limerick since it would be taking a different way back, and we probably would not be back in this area of the country again during the trip. The roads on the map between Galway and Dublin, and Limerick and Dublin, appeared to be of the same type, so I figured the driving time would be similar as well. Um, right. While it was late, and there was far, far less traffic on the road than the road to Galway (and even that road didn't have very much traffic), there were stops in every town along the way for more than half the drive. We finally made it back to the hotel at about 2:00 a.m., exhausted and hurting from 16 hours of riding in the car. We would not be repeating that. We went to bed around 3:00 and didn't get up until 12:30.


At 12:23 PM, June 18, 2008, Blogger Greg said...

You guys get some serious kudos for all that driving (and on the wrong side of the road...if indeed these roads can be said to HAVE two sides...). Who's been behind the wheel, or are you sharing the "pleasure."?

At 3:24 PM, June 18, 2008, Blogger Marc said...

JESS has been doing all the driving. Had it been me, we would have been killed (kilt) already.

We shouldn't have added me to the Hertz rental (it cost an extra 100 quid!) but we thought I'd be helping drive. So far, I think Jess has thought better of that. Better to lose 100 quid than your life! :-)


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