West Ireland

This past weekend I was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel with my Irish Life and Cultures class (mandatory for all study abroad students at DBS) to Western Ireland. We left our dorms early Friday morning we were loaded on a bus for 3hrs to make our way to Galway. We stopped briefly at our hotel to drop off baggage and then were whisked away into the city of Galway for an afternoon of leisure. Some friends and I first walked around for about 10minutes to find some lunch. We stopped at this modern looking pub that seemed pretty cheap. After lunch we strolled around the main city square for a while and looked at the different shops. Galway is home of the Claddagh ring so there were lots of different jewelry shops everywhere. I really wanted to get a Claddagh ring so I figured here would be the best place to do so. After shopping around for a while I finally found the perfect ring! We also were able to tour Thomas Dillions, which was the first place to invent and sell Claddagh rings. In addition to their store there was also a small museum that told the history of the ring. There was a sweet older woman working at the store who told us how each ring sold there was hand casted individually and that every other ring sold elsewhere was just a copy of this one. Even though I would have love to get a ring there the cheapest ones were 240euro which was way outside my budget. After getting my ring we walked around Galway’s main park and finally headed back to meet our bus. We were brought back to the hotel where we were provided a 3 course dinner which was splendid. All the students included myself really enjoyed our hotel rooms with our big comfy beds (unlike our very springy ones back at school) and normal showers instead of wetrooms.

 

The next day we all ate breakfast at the hotel and then headed on the bus for 40mins as we drove to meet a ferry that would take us to the Aran Islands. A friend and I sat on the top deck so we could have the best view as we sailed to the Island. It started to sprinkle for a few minutes but then stopped and revealed a small rainbow! Somehow seeing a rainbow in Ireland just makes any day that much better. Once we arrived to Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands with a population of 800, we hopped off the boat and boarded a bus that took us to the large fort on the island. The island was beautiful filled with rocks and cliffs that made the scenery one of a kind. We walked up to the fort, which held the most spectacular view of the island that most of use spent a multitude of time taking photos there. After the fort we checked out a few small shops on the island that sold the iconic Aran sweaters and grabbed some tea. We then went and visited the oldest cemetery on the Island were we saw another rainbow! This time however it stretched the entire way across the sky. Finally we headed back down to the harbor were we grabbed a lunch of fish and chips and headed back to Galway. Once again we had dinner at hotel, which was as good as the first night.

 

On Sunday we got to sleep in a little later till we hopped on the bus for 2hrs with our luggage to head towards the Cliffs of Moher. The Cliffs of Moher is easily one of the largest attractions in Ireland due to its incredible view and deadly drops. Once arriving to the cliffs we were able to have 2hrs to walk the cliffs taking lots of pictures. Everyone’s hearts were beating a little faster as we stood toe to toe with edge of a drop that could end anyone’s life. Though it was very windy and cold I would one hundred percent recommend this trip to anyone. The sites were to die for and led to a really relaxing hike. Finally I grabbed some seafood chowder from the small café inside and boarded the bus to head back to Dublin. I really enjoyed this weekend especially since all of activates and meals for the most part were prearranged for us which allowed us really relax and enjoy Ireland without the stress of planning.

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