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Galway Travel Blog› entry 3 of 6 › view all entries
June 30th, 2007 – by: ebowe
I don't remember if Rock of Cashel, Cobh, and Waterford were before or after Cork (that just shows how many places we've been too!) So I'll write briefly about them too.
The Rock of Cashel is a huge cathedral on a hill above the town of Cashel. This is the cathedral where St. Patrick first baptised the King of Ireland. The views of the Tipperary were amazing, as was the cathedral itself. Next was the colorful town of Cobh. This was the staging point for the majority of the Irish immigrants to America. It was also the last port of the Titanic before it hit the iceberge and sunk crossing the Atlantic. St. Colman's Cathedral overlooks the city atop a large hill. It had amazing stained glass windows (rivaling the Notre Dame, in my opinion) and boasts the largest church steeple in Ireland and the UK. The sole purpose of our one night stay in Waterford was to visit the Waterford Crystal Factory. We took a one hour tour where we got to see the master craftsman blowing, cutting, and engraving the crystal. They had an impressive gallery which housed pieces only available for purchase in Ireland.
The Ring of Kerry was pretty spectacular, with rocky green fields and impressive views of the Atlantic. We went to Valentia Island and Portmagee which both offer amazing views of the Skellig Islands. Skellig in Gaelic means "splinter" and true to their name, these islands were nothing but a block of jagged rock jutting up from the ocean. It is amazing that monks inhabited these islands, seeking spiritual solitude. After crossing Valentia Island, Jeff and I did a two mile hike uphill in the rain out onto a peninsula overlooking the Atlantic. The views of the cliffs and the Skelligs were amazing.
Then it was off to Dingle. I think we all loved Dingle; a small little port town steeped in Irish tradition. If you walk down the street of this town at about 9:30 you can hear Irish music floating out of every pub.
From Dingle we drove up the coast, taking a car ferry at Tarbert and then through the Burren. The Burren is nothing but a rocky plain. When the English first saw the Burren they described it as being so desolate that there was not even water to drown a man, nor a tree to hang him, nor soil to bury him- they weren't exaggerating. We then made our way around Galway Bay and here we are! Today we drove out to Aughanure Castle which housed the O'Flaherty clan in the 16th century until Cromwellians took it over in the 1700s. It was very impressive.
Tonight we are going on a pub crawl through Eyre Square and in the morning, it's off to Sligo!
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