Saturday, July 18, 2015

Inisheer, Aran Islands

Ishineer Island

No sooner had we returned from our road trip to Sligo we decided to take another.  This time to the Aran Islands.  To the smallest Aran Island.  Inisheer.  The day dawned bright and beautiful with strong winds and sunny skies.

This was our ferry over to Inisheer.  I said to Joe, "That is the ferry?  We have friends with bigger boats than that!"  I was a little concerned because the winds were strong.  We had to sail through some open ocean.  Everyone reassured me that the ferry would not go out if the conditions were too dangerous.

There were loads of holiday-goers on the sailing.

The wind was howling and the boat was rocking deeply from side to side.  We were happy the trip only took an hour.

Happily tucked into my seat for the ferry ride.

As soon as we got settled at the B&B we headed outside for a walk.  We walked and walked and walked some more.  Inisheer is one beautiful island.  Especially in the sun!

A memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives at sea. 

An 8th century church.

This dolphin hangs out at the pier every day.  A local man was swimming with it.

The holiday goers call this beach 'The Caribbean of the North Atlantic'.  They told us that two days before we arrived, the temperature was a balmy 20 degrees and everyone was laying on the sand and swimming in the ocean.

Bronze age burial mound dating from 2000 BC in the foreground with a 15th century castle in the background.

10th century sunken church in the cemetery.

Not a bad spot for one's earthly remains.
I am fascinated with drystone walls.  Inisheer is covered with them!

Joe bought a knit cap to keep his head warm in the stiff breeze.

Walking the 'Great Rocks of Aran'.

We turned up this lane when all of a sudden we heard someone yelling, "Stop!  Stop!"  We stopped.  We thought we were trespassing or something.  The farmer yelled to us, "Quickly!  Open the gate!  Open the gate!"

Joe opened the gate for two cows and their calves.

"In ya go, now."

See what I mean about drystone walls?  They are an art form!

After our long afternoon of walking, we stopped at a teahouse for some refreshments to soothe our weary legs.  A chicken stood beside these women on the patio patiently waiting for scone crumbs to fall.  Apparently the cafe owner has to keep the front door shut because there is a robin who keeps hopping into the restaurant.

Roses grow very well on Inisheer.

After dinner we went to the pub for a pint and met islander Tony Costello.  Tony and his wife conversed with each other solely in Irish.  When he spoke to us in English it sounded as if he was still speaking Irish, his accent was so thick.  I couldn't make out a word he said.  I just smiled and nodded a lot.

Our B&B at dusk.

The next day did NOT dawn bright and beautiful.  It was raining hard with powerful winds blowing in from the west.  We checked out of our room at 11:00am and our ferry wasn't leaving until 4:30pm.  We had over five hours to occupy ourselves outside in the storm.  So we decided to circumnavigate the island on foot to pass the time.

Note to self:  Put on your cheap vinyl rain poncho BEFORE you head out into the gale. was windy.

Not only was it cold and windy, the rain stung our faces making it hard to see at times.

Thank you to whoever built this rock wall and bench.  It was a nice reprieve from the wind and rain.

The lighthouse at the south end of the island.  Miles and miles of stone walls!

Towards the end of our walk we were joined by this adorable little dachshund.  She waddled in front of us and kept turning around every so often to make sure we were coming.

The ferry crossing back to the mainland wasn't bad at all.  Joe and I slept most of the way.  Once we landed on terra firma we did what we always do.  We went to a pub!

Sitting in a thatched roof pub by an open peat fire drinking a pint of Guinness is the perfect way to end a road trip.

Thanks, Inisheer.  You were grand.

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