July 23, 2016
In case you’re new to this series on our Ireland trip, you can find the first posts here:
(I’ve got to work on title consistency! Haha!)
After closing down Kylemore Abbey, we were back on the road again.
You may remember I mentioned plans for tea in a castle. You may also remember I mentioned that never happened. HOWEVER, we did have a chance to drive by Ashford Castle as we went through the area, and it was beautiful! I’m already reserving a portion of time in my return Ireland trip just for tea there.
Like I’ve said before, many of our greatest experiences on this trip were somewhat by accident. Our stop in Cong was just that, because as we left Ashford Castle, we weren’t really certain as to where we were going. We happened upon the tiny town of Cong completely unaware this was something I had planned for the day. I had given up on making it through this area when I thought we made wrong turns leaving Ashford.
As we walked around Cong Abbey, the two couples separated. Later, as I gathered these pictures together, I found out this is where Julie and Jonathan went…
Meanwhile, Seth and I continued into the woods near the abbey to The Monk’s Fishing House.
This structure is on the property of the abbey and would have been just as its name suggests- the monk’s fishing house. It is built over the water and equipped with a chimney, stairs down to the water, and small holes built into the floor. Monks would have stayed in the house during the cold and fished through those holes in the floor, while still staying warm by the fire. Now, that is ingenuity!
Throughout the trip, Seth and I took turns taking both iPhone photos and photos with my DSLR. Before leaving, I had given Seth the basic rundown of manual mode, and he really did so great on our trip! Below are some photos he took that I am thrilled about. We had not talked much about composition, leading lines, etc., so I love that he has a natural eye for those things.
A few more photos around Cong, because… COLOR!
The days are quite long in Ireland during the summer, so as we continued out of town and in the direction of our hotel, time was nearing 9 pm, but the sunlight was still going strong.
Back on R346 and turning south on R334, I knew we were headed in the direction of another of my “If We Have Time” itinerary items- Ross Errilly Friary.
Stuck several kilometers off the main road, the friary sits amongst rolling hills dotted with cows and small cottages and will forever hold some of my dearest memories of this trip.
From the moment I spotted the place, I knew this would be my perfect picnic! Oh boy, was I right! But, first, we looked around a bit.
As the sun began to set, we brought out our goodies from earlier in the day, retrieved our leftover airplane blanket from the car, and spread ourselves out on the grassy knoll just outside the front of the friary.
Oh, what I would give for more of that peppered salami about now! That freshly whipped cream, however, not so much my taste.
After the picnic, we took our €1.50 tulips back into the friary and spread them across several of the graves.
As we sat together, marveling in the beauty of the countryside; drinking wine out of the bottle; snacking on meats, cheeses, fresh bread, fruits, and sweet snacks; and genuinely loving life, I carefully and deliberately etched each emotion and heightened sense into my memory. Seth and I often comment during moments like this that, “these are the moments we’ll remember all our lives” and “these are the moments we’ll tell our kids about.”
Just a year into marriage and I’m supremely thankful that we have many of those memories already cultivated, and I know those will grow tenfold as the years progress.
As the clock neared 10:30 pm and the sun made it’s final descent over the hillside, we gathered our things and piled back into the Kadjar headed for Galway.
Because this would be our last night there, we wearily changed clothes and walked to a nearby pub for some nighttime entertainment.
I asked the bartender what was “the thing” to drink, and he recommended Jameson and ginger ale. I soon came to learn that is one of the most common mixed drinks for the area and with good reason. I’m a believer. (Especially after our Jameson Experience in Midleton… stay tuned for that!) Also, it is common that the drinks are served unmixed, so you can choose to adjust the strength as you wish. I was initially smitten with the tiny bottle of ginger ale, but once I had a sip of the two mixed, I was hooked.
Shortly after midnight, we were all so tired we could barely hold our eyes open. We made the short walk back to the hotel and called it a night in preparation for Tuesday’s journey south to Killarney.
Until next time…
Happy travels, lovelies!