Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Cliffs of Moher, Galway, Knock and Sligo

We were returned to a group breakfast table with more of the same. I love adding sautéed mushrooms, broiled tomatoes and beans for breakfast to my eggs and puddings.

Today was one of lots of riding and napping. The scenery all along our way changed from verdant shades of green that resembled a patchwork quilt to the more barren-looking Burren (beautiful in its own right). The quilt stitching was of stone walls. More sheep, cattle and horses lay, eat and stand staring at gates at every turn.

Ruins of stone dwellings: farm and tower houses with castles are everywhere. It is the most historical landscape I've scene. Between the sad songs sung that remind me of a type of blues in Celtic style and the ruins of abandoned homes from the famine, I want to feel sad. But I don't. Reclamation and restoration is everywhere too and this makes me happy. That and the glorious, albeit atypical, weather we've been enjoying the past two days all contribute to my light heart and smiling face.

My new friend from India is wealthy but seeks to "be happy like you", she told me in the elevator yesterday morning in front of her husband. I suggested she find the happy key in her head and turn it. She's been following me ever since.

She followed me, Larry and Julie up the hill to view the incredible Cliffs of Moher. What a sight! They are just magnificent. I told her I was happy she joined us and gave her a thumbs up.

There was a flora and fauna exhibit in the visitor center built into the side of a cliff.  A viewing window was built into the cliff off the cafe area. An architecture contest design winner determined the building form. It is very well done.

In an hour we were traveling through the gorgeous Galway Bay where we learned that a hooker here refers to a traditional, black - bottom fishing boat.

We spent two hours in charming Galway enjoying lunch in a fine old building of dark, carved wood and shopping.

Next stop was a Catholic pilgrimage site in Knock. In 1879, fifteen ordinary village people saw what appeared to be the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, St. John, an alter with a plain cross and a lamb on it on the gable end of the church. Rome authenticated the event and in 1979, Saint John Paul II visited the site declaring it to be the goal of his visit to Ireland.

I went to the site which now is a chapel where Mass was being said. A lovely rendition sculpture all in white is now where the vision occured. I was very moved and prayed. I purchased a candle that was lit for me in a separate area outside and behind the church and said another prayer. Lastly I popped into the Basilica where Mass had just ended and an attendant was wheeling a large statue of Mary with her golden crown surrounded by beautiful flowers outside on a cart so we could photograph her.

I have never been to a purported visitation place but have always wanted to. I thought I might get to Majagoria in Croatia, but never did. My heart was full at receiving this wish come true in Ireland.

Now we're at the Radisson Hotel in Sligo waiting to go to dinner. We're too far from town so this is where we'll stay tonight. Larry and I just finished off the bottle of Jameson Gold Reserve we bought in Dublin. We vow to get a larger bottle to take home at the duty free shop in Heathrow.

Night, night for now. Slainte!

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