The Burren

Outside Connemara

Outside Connemara

Dawn said with photography, you have take the picture right when you see it – otherwise, if you wait and try to do it later, the light is different. The same may be true with writing. When I was working for a small newspaper just out of college, I had an editor who insisted I write my stories right after the events I was covering. She said the most important thing was to get people’s names spelled right. The same is true in corporate America, on email.

We are well into our last extended European trip, this one in Ireland. Yesterday may have been my favorite day in EuropeIMG_2264 thus far, due to the relaxed pace and the amazing countryside. We drove around Slea Head out of Dingle, and stopped along the road to take pictures and visit prehistoric stone hut structures. These abodes were made out of stone without mortar, and stacked in a manner that is so tight and precise they can actually shed water.

Rather than trying to see all of Ireland in eight days, we chose two primary destinations on the west coast: the Burren and Dingle. The Burren appealed to me as it was described as “a moonscape of limestone rock.” Coming upon it from the north, via Dublin to Galway, it appeared like a light dusting of snow on the hills with that blue-indigo color you get near dusk in the winter. We stopped many times on the shoulder to try to capture it, but no photo will do it justice.

We stayed the first three nights in Ballyvaughan, a small village in the heart of the Burren off the N86. The place is called Cappabwhaile House (pronounced Cap-a-wall-ya), and I’ve already recommended it three times, to other travelers. Our last night there, one of the owners and his son played live music for us, with acccordian and Irish pipes. He encouraged us to join in, and Dawn sang Eva Cassidy’s “Fields of Gold,” a cappella. I held the lyrics for her on my laptop, then later, played Tom Waits’s “Two Sisters” for everyone – also on the laptop (my instrument of choice).

We did the obligatory Cliffs of Moher, and found ourselves caught in an unusually perfect, sunny day in mid-October. The cliffs are set back from a visitor’s centre, but amid the tour buses and flocks of sight-seers it just doesn’t feel natural. I think I would prefer to camp there, but I can understand why they don’t allow that.

There have been several pubs along the way. I bought a naggan of Paddy at the first, then discovered Power’s at the second, and started all of my meals with a Guinness. It does taste better here, of course.


About pinklightsabre

William Pearse publishes memoir, travel journals, poetry and prose, and lives in the Pacific Northwest.
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