Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I woke up this morning to a beautiful, sunny day. I had been preparing myself for a rainy, Ireland… but we have been very fortunate to have had no rain what-so-ever. This apparently is very unusual and everyone keeps joking we brought the Florida sunshine with us. People in Ireland have misconception about Florida, as we get a lot of rain ourselves.

Report on Ty – Ty woke up this morning still hurting, but not nearly as bad as the day before. He said he felt well enough to go ahead with our plans for the day, which we were both glad about.

We had been looking forward to this day, the entire trip. We planned on driving into County Clare to visit the Burren Perfumery, Ailwee caves, the Burrens and the Cliffs of Moher.

After breakfast we headed out and arrived at the Perfumery first. I was interested in visiting the perfumery as they make their all-natural-products from flowers/herbs found in the Burren. The Burren holds over 70% of Ireland’s different plant species.

Inside the Burren Perfume shop:

I was purchasing some items for myself when Ty saw some Arnica balm. He rubbed it into his neck and shoulder and instantly felt some of the pain draw out of the muscle. I then immediately bought some of the Arnica balm. It is great stuff!

After we made our purchases, we went strolling through their wonderful herb garden.

I love the little signs which named the herbs and told what medicinal purposes they have.

Ty hanging out in the herb garden

After the perfumery, we made our way through the Burren to the Ailwee caves. The Burren is absolutely beautiful and Ty and I kept stopping to take pictures. The mountains are made up of limestone, which also covers the land. Even in such a harsh terrain, many beautiful plants and flowers grow all over the land.

The Burren (We took hundreds of pictures… here are some of our favorites)

I am fascinated by all of the man made stone walls that cover the Burrens. They are not held together by anything… the stones are simply stacked. They are all over Ireland, but in the Burrens they form a patchwork pattern, lining every property. It is amazing when you think of all the hours put into putting up these walls.

Another thing about Ireland, is around every corner are ruins. Ty and I are fascinated by ruins and they are a big deal to us. I wonder if the same is true for the people who live in this country and see them everyday.

I though this tree was beautiful. I have seen several that grow just like this in the Burren

We then headed to Ailwee Cave which is an undergound cave system discovered in the Burren back in the 1940’s.

Just before the cave is a Predatory Bird exhibit. We went through there first, before heading inside the cave. They had many gorgeous birds but they were all caged, making them difficult to photograph.

Trainer and his Falcon

After the birds, we headed to the cave. There is nothing like a five minute walk up a steep mountain slope to let you know how out of shape you are.

This sign should have really read “5 minute walk of death”

They had these cool statues carved out of tree trunks on the path to the cave

European Brown Bear remains found in the cave during the 1970’s. (This bear has been extinct in Ireland for 1200 years now!)

The tour guide called this formation “pillowing”.


A waterfall inside the cave. We couldn’t get a good picture

Quartz in the cave walls

Walking down the mountain side is so much easier that walking up it

After the Ailwee caves we headed to the Cliffs of Moher. We drove along the Atlantic shore, it was so beautiful.

We stopped in a little town called Doolin and had lunch at a pub. We have learned that the nicer restaurants do not hold a candle to good pub food. With our bellies full, we made our way to the Cliffs of Moher. It was a lot of uphill/up-steps walking but very much worth it. I have never seen anything so stunning in all my life.

O’Briens Tower – a look out point on the Cliffs

It was cold and very windy standing at the tops of the cliff. This poor dog was crouched down along the wall trying to shelter him self from the wind. When Ty bent down to tie his shoelace, the dog came over to him. Looks like Ty made a new friend.

Chilly Ty and Hope at the Cliffs of Moher

We drove back to the B&B exhausted and sore. We did so much today and really had a great time. I feel fortunate to have almost checked everything off my to-do list, while here. I can’t believe we go home day after tomorrow.

I leave you with one more picture… of a sign we found amusing (can’t go a day without one). It may not be funny to some, but we thought our kids would get a kick out of it.


I awoke this morning in a castle. It was spectacular and I was in good spirits. I wanted to milk the stay as long as possible, so we decided not to leave until check out at noon. I was delighted to finally have internet again so I planned to spend time in the sunroom (online) after breakfast.

Unfortunately Ty woke up in horrible pain and couldn’t turn his head. We think he might have pinched a nerve in his neck somehow. He had a difficult time eating that morning as the pain was making him nauseous. He went back up to the room after breakfast to lie down and I spent some time on the computer.

We checked out of the castle and started the hour long drive to our Bed and Breakfast in Galway. We stopped at a “Chemist” shop (aka a Pharmacy) and found some Ibuprofen and some kind of muscle cream.

He was able to get the pain dulled enough to make it to the B&B. We found our B&B with little trouble. We are both getting very used to finding our way around in Ireland at this point… and Ty has become a pretty good left-side driver. I hope he remembers how to drive on the right side when we get back home ;-)

Our B&B is The Bayberry House located just outside of Galway city.

The outside of our B&B (taken at night because I forgot to get one when we arrived)

The sitting room

The dining room

Sweet Kitty Cat, Molly resides at Bayberry

We were greeted warmly by our hostess, Marie once we arrived. She was very pleasant and LOVES to talk. She noticed Ty’s discomfort right away and went and got him a hot water bottle. She showed us to our room, which is small – but clean and cozy.

The garden view from our room

All bed and breakfasts in Ireland seem to have a full size bed and a twin. We have liked this so far, as we can put our suitcases on the twin. Marie suggested Ty sleep in a separate bed so he can better have more room to get in a position to support his neck.

Here is Ty trying out the twin bed. He titled this picture “Gimped Up in Ireland

I really liked our new B&B especially because there was FREE wireless internet. Marie was very sweet and offered to drive us into the city, so we could have lunch and avoid parking charges. She told us it would be cheaper to take a taxi back than to park. During our drive she asked what brought us to Ireland. When telling her I am of Irish decent she asked the surnames of my family. I told her Murray… and she tells me her Grandmother was Elizabeth Murray. I also tell her Allen… and she says “You’re not going to believe this but my great-grandmother’s maiden name was Allen”. I laughed and told her we must be related (didn’t want to burst her bubble by mentioning Murray and Allen are VERY common names in the U.S.). She showed me a picture hanging in her hallway, later when we returned to the B&B. It was of her Grandmother, Elizabeth Murray. She insists we look alike, LOL. I don’t see it, but I need to remember to get a picture of the picture to show my mom.

ANYWAY - Galway is a college town and it is also a growing city. We liked it instantly as we strolled through town centre. We wandered through shops and ate lunch at an Organic sandwich shop.

Streets of Galway City

These pictures are of a banquet hall dating back to the 1300’s. They are in the process of excavating and it is currently the oldest ruin they have found in Galway.

We decided to hang out and have dinner there as well. We ate at a sports pub and both had muscles. They were so delicious and one of the best meals we have had in Ireland. I believe what made them so good was the butter in the wine/garlic/butter sauce. Butter in Ireland (as well as the cream) is like Heaven. I seriously was to bring some home with me if I can figure out how.

Not the prettiest pictures but sooooo yummy!!

We strolled around town after dark and there were young musicians everywhere playing instruments and/or singing. A lot of them were very talented, so we stopped to listen to some of them play.

There were also fire breathers/twirlers

Galway has a fabulous feel to it and though we didn’t do too much (and Ty was hurting) it was a nice day.

We returned to our B&B and I noticed that the moon was shining so brightly. I thought of everyone at home, knowing in a few hours – they would be seeing the same moon.

Upon retiring to our room for the evening, I was delighted to be able to talk to a friend online… and Ty was delighted they had Discovery channel on t.v.

Hoping Ty is feeling better tomorrow, we have a busy day planned.