'Round the Salthill Prom with a Galway Girl...

Trip Start May 01, 2010
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18
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Trip End May 24, 2010


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Flag of Ireland  , Western Ireland,
Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Today was the most refreshing, chill day of the whole tour! A bunch of us got up nice and early to go out to the Aran Islands. Not everyone who paid to go on this excursion ended up going, due to a pretty big night the night before... But they missed out!
We took an hour long bus ride out of Galway to the port where we caught a 45 minute ferry ride out to Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Island chain. Today was the only day we encountered an all day rain, but it wasn't even bad. Just misty, mostly. I was hoping to maybe rent a bike and tour the island, but once we got there and saw the weather, Maria and I decided to opt for the guided van tour from the locals. Before we started the tour though, she and I went to the Aran Sweater Market, to see if there were any potential souvenirs to take home, The sweaters were really nice, and would have been great souvenirs, but they were really heavy and expensive, so neither of us ended up getting any. We walked back to the main road where a whole line of guys had vans that you basically hire for a tour around the island. We just randomly chose one, but I think we made the best possible choice! It was a man named Thomas O'Toole, who had lived most of his life on the island. He had to be the funniest, most informative and animated tour guide ever! He knew so much, and told us random little facts, and just made us laugh. He picked us up from that main road (along with a family of 6 French people), and drove us up the island, pointing out various things along the way, before dropping us off at the bottom of Dun Aengus, the ancient fort in the middle of the island. It's super cheap to go through the little visitor's centre and walk up to the top, and absolutely more than worth it.
It's a bit of a walk up there, and it can be a little slippery with the rain, because you're walking on rocks, but it is the most incredible thing when you get to the top. You can go right up to the cliffs and hang right off of them if you wanted to. I inched myself as close as I could, but my fear of heights prevented me from attempting to dangle my legs off the edge! The island is 31 square km, and you can see everything from atop the fort! It was absolutely incredible.
We walked back down and had a bit of time to kill before the van would be back to pick us up, so we stopped for a quick lunch in a little restaurant on the side of the road. When the van arrived back, we got in and got to chat with Tom for a bit before the French family came back. He told us all about his family and his life on the island, as well as how the movie Leap Year was filmed right on the very spot we were sitting. He told us how he stood next to Amy Adams and didn't even realize it. He truly was the funniest, nicest man I've ever had the pleasure of meeting!
When everyone else got to the van, he drove us to the ruins of an old church, where there is a cemetery which is still used now. It was insane. There were graves of Romans from the 9th century. It was insane! Then he drove us to the very far tip of the island, while pointing out his own home, before driving us back to the road where we started off. As much as I had wanted to bike around the island, I'm so glad we decided to do the van tour, because I feel like we just got to learn so much more about the island!
We then just walked around the small area of shops for a little while, until it was time to meet up with the rest of the group and head back to the mainland. I think everyone pretty much slept the whole ferry and bus ride back to the hotel, it was a relaxing, yet exhausting day! Back at the hotel, those of us that went to the island struggled to stay awake through supper, then it was early to bed for most of us!
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