Saturday, March 16, 2013

Galway Gallivanting

Where we goin' today, Momma?

Friday, March 15, 2013
Day 3 in Ireland

Time for a big city. No, I'm not talking about Dublin, though I'd very much like to see the most famous attraction in Ireland. I'm talking about Galway. Yes! Pretty special place to my heart; my BFF who writes kick-butt YA paranormal/fantasy from her California home has an entire saga based on a royal family from this busy, yet beautiful place steeped in Irish history.

So, DH, DS, and I headed out for shopping and who-only-knew-what-else (stuff kind of happens that way here; we call it "turning off the paved road") and stumbled upon a gorgeous site outside of Kinvara, Co. Galway.

That's Dunguaire Castle, folks. Built around 1520 by the Hynes Clan, this tall fortress sits on a wide stretch of marshy bogland. As the story goes, the castle was first occupied by newlyweds--two tribes who made an alliance by joining a son and daughter. They were nice, too. Good to their tenants, generous beyond the norm, etc. Rumor has it that the Lord of Dunguaire Castle was, in fact, so generous that his kindness extended beyond the grave, and that 'til this day, if one stands at the gates and asks a question, he or she shall have an answer by sundown.

We didn't get to go inside (a lot of the castles here are seasonal), but I did take the tiny trail which led all the way around the perimeter, as well as enough pictures to fill a shoebox. During the summer months, performers put on medieval style shows while you eat an authentic 8-course medieval meal. Kind of sounds like Medieval Times but, like, way cooler because hello! You're in a REAL 16th century castle!

Afterwards, on to Galway we traveled, where everything was way busier than I expected. We parked in a garage, then loaded DS in his stroller and headed onto the people-packed streets. It was cold, windy. But the stuffed pork, potatoes, roast beef and, yes, the Guinness at The Skeff, one of many local pubs, was outstanding, and the smiling faces a welcome sight. They even filled DS's bottle with steamed milk for free. Bonus! Making our way through the crush was... interesting. I mean, neither of us are accustomed to that many people in one place. Not all the time, anyway. Lots of tourists wended their way through the park, rolling suitcases in hot pursuit. Others carried armloads of shopping bags from unique shops we've never seen in the States.

Me? I found the one shop the Pixiwoo sisters and Tanya Burr (my fave makeup gurus on YouTube) consistently refer to for their products--especially the drugstore ones.

Talk about squealing, jumping up and down stoked. Girls, this is sorta kinda like our Ulta, but with a pharmacy and most of the department store lines, as well (Clinique, Lauder, etc.). I picked up two foundations, a concealer, and a body lotion, none of which we have back home, all of which come highly recommended by the Pixiwoos and Tanya.

My day thus made, thanks be to the goddess of makeup and hair, we scrambled to our little VW Passat rental and set to hightail it back to Mountshannon. And proceeded to come across this:

Aughnanure Castle in Killarone, Co. Galway. Constructed by the O'Flaherty's in the 16th century, this gorgeous structure sits close to the still waters of Lough Corrib. In Gaelic, Aughnanure translates to "field of the yews" and is one of 200 tower homes constructed by Gaelic and Anglo-Norman landowners. But the really, really good part? My husband, who will go to the ends of the earth, bless his pea-pickin' heart, to make sure I have whatever my little heart desires, climbed over rails, turrets, and curtained walls to acquire some of the most gorgeous pictures.

Oh. Did I forget to mention the castle was closed?

Soon after, another chick's hubby followed suit, and we all had a good laugh over the total law-breaking-ness of it all. Thank goodness I've seen plenty of signs for solicitors (laywers).

Tomorrow? It's official castle day. So, put on your wellies and a warm coat (it's cold between those stone walls!), and get ready! Until then...

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,


Andrew Leon said...

I'm a Flaherty.

Is that Boots as in Boots Pharmaceuticals? They have (or used to have) a plant in Shreveport. I went on a field trip there when I was in middle school. They were just coming out with ibuprofen at the time.

Alyssia Kirkhart said...

@Andrew How cool! Well, your ancestors built a mighty big home. The surrounding moat was particularly beautiful. The Hubby almost swam across it to get better shots. Ha! And as far as Boots, I am not certain. It did have a pharmacy, but I was too goo-goo-eyed over the cosmetics to notice much else. ;)

Anonymous said...

Awww...kiss my baby for me!!!!

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