Distilled Water—A Precious Commodity in Ireland

A few years ago I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, and as a result, I travel with a CPAP machine, which uses distilled water in the humidifier portion of its program. It takes about a cup to fill the reservoir, and that lasts several days. I buy distilled water at the local grocery store; it costs about eighty-nine cents for a gallon.

Remember that. Eighty-nine cents for a gallon.

The first time I traveled to Ireland with my CPAP (2012, I think), I asked Gerry to pick up some distilled water for me. They don’t carry it at the grocers there; you have to go to “the chemist’s” (Americans would call this the pharmacy) to purchase it.

Half a gallon (actually, two liters) of distilled water cost eight euro. Eight euro! That’s sixteen times what it costs in the States! (But wait—there’s more. When I returned in 2013, the cost had more than doubled, to seventeen euro. That’s what it cost in 2015 too.)

WHY? This is the question. Why is it hard to find (you have to order it and wait for it to come in; it’s not kept on hand to sell to the public), and why in the world does it cost so much? My mother, back in the day, kept distilled water on hand to put in the iron, for steaming (this is no longer necessary, by the way). It has never been expensive nor difficult to find in the States.

But it sure is in Ireland. I’ve spent a lot of time searching for answers—which I have mostly found on various message boards. No travel website on either side of the Atlantic has addressed it, as best I can tell. So here’s what I’ve gleaned about the availability of distilled water in Ireland:

  1. Pharmacy: The chemist will be able to get it for you. Be prepared to wait a couple days, and pay through the nose.
  2. Boil and cool: Water in Ireland is very hard, so you don’t want to put it in your CPAP as is. However, you can boil it and cool it. Takes more time, of course, and when you’re traveling it isn’t particularly convenient, but it’s a solution. Most hotel rooms are equipped with electric kettles.
  3. Health food store: I found this chain of health food stores in Galway selling distilled water in one-liter bottles. But a check online of several shops in Dublin yielded no such convenience, though it may just be they don’t get enough call for distilled water to add it to their online product database.
  4. Car-parts store: Because distilled (or deionized) water is used in batteries. I have yet to walk into a car-parts store in Ireland to find out. I’d call ahead.
  5. Babies: I’ve also read to try the baby section of supermarkets (for humidifiers and such, I guess). Again, I have yet to try this, and I’m not going to count on it until I can. But at €17 for a half gallon, who could afford to run a humidifier in baby’s room, eh?

Finally, a reminder that deionized water is not the same as distilled water; check with your CPAP manufacturer before you put it in your machine.

Bottom line—if you’re traveling to Ireland and know you will need distilled water when you get there, do some advance planning. If you’re visiting friends or relatives, they can help. Otherwise, call your hotel’s concierge or your B&B and ask them to track some down for you (and remember to tip the concierge well when you arrive).

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Revisiting Achill Island

13 October 2015, Tuesday
So … a reboot. Today we …
left Galway headed north on the N84 …
saw some interesting things just along the road (and took lots of photos of them) …
visited a couple places we visited twelve years ago (and saw lots of change): Burrishoole Abbey and Achill Island … realized that change is inevitable, though we might wish time could have stood still on Achill …
had an early supper in Westport, Co. Mayo, which is the perfect size town for meandering (large enough to have plenty of things to see, buy, eat, drink—but not so big that parking is difficult) … saw lots of beautiful scenery, most of it not caught on camera …
and probably more than that. But that was enough.

We wanted to revisit Achill Island, a place we’d both found purely magical in 2003. I checked the map in the room, even sketched out a rough map of Achill, and knew the route we would take.

But we had a little trouble convincing Ms. Emily Gp.S. that we were the boss of her and that we really did want to leave town on the N84! Crazy. You can become so dependent on GPS but sometimes you just have to throw caution to the wind and follow the signs! 🙂

It was a pretty day, and about twenty miles up the road … what is that?

See the birds? We disturbed them.

See the birds? We disturbed them.

We pulled over into the parking lot of a pub across the street and jumped out. It was an only-in-Ireland moment: “Oh look, honey, it’s a twelfth-century tower house!”

It’s lovely. Look at those bartizans at the top.

It’s lovely. Look at those bartizans at the top.

Bartizans have multiple uses, all of them defensive in nature.

Bartizans have multiple uses, all of them defensive in nature.

I know now this is Shrule Castle.

I know, I know. Again we are being a little inaccurate. It’s a tower house. Wikipedia says there are more than two thousand of these still standing in Ireland, of the eight thousand built during the Middle Ages. This was an age when a family (of wealth) had to be prepared to defend its home against rival tribes. Tower homes were rendered obsolete as a defensive strategy with the advent of guns and cannons in Cromwell’s era (1600s).

Here’s a detailed early history (and photos from inside the tower) from Visions of the Past:

Shrule Castle is situated near the banks of the Black River, on the Mayo/Galway border. This imposing three storey tower house was built circa 1238 by the [Norman] de Burgh family. It passed from Richard Óg de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster, into the hands of his son John de Burgh in 1308. The castle was captured in 1570 by a force consisting of Sir Edward Fitton, President of Connaught and Vice Treasurer of Ireland, and the McDonnells of Knocknacloy. The McDonnells of Knocknacloy were an infamous Highland Scottish clan who served as Gallowglass mercenaries mostly in Tyrone and Antrim. Mac Uilliam Ochtair, Lord of Thomond, the de Burghs of Mayo, and McDonnells of Mayo attempted to retake the castle but were unsuccessful. However during a battle on 18th June 1570 Edward Fitton was knocked from his horse seriously wounding his face, and the chief of the McDonnells of Knocknacloy, Calvagh McDonnell, was killed in the battle.

William Burke then occupied the building and granted it to his son John Burke in 1574. By 1619 the castle was leased by Richard Burke, 4th Earl of Clanricarde to Piere Lynch, the Mayor of Galway City.

What happened after that? How long did someone live in it before it was abandoned? I don’t know. We know that it was the site of a massacre of Protestant refugees in 1642, but after that … not much. (There’s a description—scroll down—of Shrule, written in 1837, which describes the castle as “remains,” so it was abandoned, it would seem, by the 1800s.)

But … what a ruin! What a landmark!

But … what a ruin! What a landmark!

I’ve always been attracted to these old ruins and the antiquities—things human beings built. I don’t romanticize them, but I do like to imagine what it was like, and looking at them in person gives me a sense of awe. We made no attempt to cross the fence, though I’ve since read there’s a stile that’s been overgrown, so once the public was welcome to explore. Nowadays the ruin is clearly unsafe, unsteady; the public is advised to stay out of it.

It’s a pretty setting though.

It’s a pretty setting though.

Then we walked back across the highway to the parking lot.

This is the pretty little house tucked behind the pub’s parking lot. Gorgeous color!

This is the pretty little house tucked behind the pub’s parking lot. Gorgeous color!

And we drove on, though Kilmaine, Ballinrobe, Ballintober, Ballyhean … headed north along the N84. We’d stop and take pictures if we saw something pretty.

Or interesting. Strange landscape here. How did all those piles occur? A mining operation? Who knows!

Or interesting. Strange landscape here. How did all those piles occur? A mining operation? Who knows!

We’re getting close to our destination, here, because I can see mountains in the distance. What a pretty day it was!

We’re getting close to our destination, here, because I can see mountains in the distance. What a pretty day it was!

In Castlebar we got on the R311, following the signs west to Achill Island. We paused again in Newport, for a look at this.

A beautiful bridge.

A beautiful bridge.

It’s the historic Seven Arches Bridge, built in 1892 to carry the Midland Great Western Railway across the Newport River.

A view at low tide.

A view at low tide.

Brickwork is characteristic of the Victorian era.

Brickwork is characteristic of the Victorian era.

The railway is now defunct, and has been turned into a greenway for hikers and bicyclists. The bridge is restored—as a pedestrian bridge. At this junction, we caught the N59, which runs along Clew Bay (the harbor here in Newport is one of the most sheltered in the bay).

This is the less impressive bridge that carries the N59 across the river.

This is the less impressive bridge that carries the N59 across the river.

We were close, now, but had one more stop to make—Burrishoole Friary, which is about a mile or so on the other side of Newport. We’d first seen it in 2003 and had fallen in love with it. We wanted to see it again.

Burrishoole Friary. Just as pretty as we’d remembered it.

Burrishoole Friary. Just as pretty as we’d remembered it.

Well … hold that thought. Wikipedia does note that the grounds are an actively used cemetery; we noticed ourselves twelve years ago. And time marches on. There was more paving, a new road …

This road on the left goes up over the hill and disappears into the distance. Twelve years ago there was just grass on the other side of the friary boundary wall.

This road on the left goes up over the hill and disappears into the distance. Twelve years ago there was just grass on the other side of the friary boundary wall.

… and a lot more gravesites.

A lot more! My goodness.

A lot more! My goodness.

It is a pretty site for a graveyard.

It is a pretty site for a graveyard.

We caught our breath—this is as it should be—and went inside. Here’s what we saw.

Burrishoole Friary, October 2015.

Burrishoole Friary, October 2015.

Standing in the doorway of the nave, looking into the chancel.

Standing in the doorway of the nave, looking into the chancel.

Closer.

Closer.

Standing in the chancel, looking into the nave.

Standing in the chancel, looking into the nave.

Burrishoole is a national monument now. About its history, Wikipedia says,

Burrishoole Friary was founded in 1470 by Richard de Burgo of Turlough, Lord MacWilliam Oughter. It was built without the permission of the Pope. In 1486, the Pope instructed the Archbishop of Tuam to forgive the friars. Richard de Burgo resigned his lordship in 1469 and entered the friary he had founded where he remained a friar until his death four years later. This was not an uncommon occurrence and serves to illustrate the connection between patrons and their foundations at the time.

The church and the eastern wall of the cloister remain.

Closer.

Closer.

Beautiful.

Beautiful.

A closeup of the harp.

A closeup of the harp.

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You can see our car in the distance.

You can see our car in the distance.

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O Lord, have mercy … a gravestone from 1795.

O Lord, have mercy … a gravestone from 1795.

We wandered around outside, in the breeze and the sunlight, thankful for this magnificent day.

This would have been the backyard of the friary, although now it feels like the front, since we enter the grounds from the direction we’re looking. The road is on the far side of the graves.

This would have been the backyard of the friary, although now it feels like the front, since we enter the grounds from the direction we’re looking. The road is on the far side of the graves.

This would have been the front yard. The door to the nave is behind me.

This would have been the front yard. The door to the nave is behind me.

I took a photo of this gravesite twelve years ago too. It’s cleaner now.

I took a photo of this gravesite twelve years ago too. It’s cleaner now.

When we were here before, it was high tide on the small river (called the Burrishoole Channel) that empties into Clew Bay on the North Atlantic Ocean. It connects to Lough Furnace, which is connected to Lough Feeagh to the north.

IMG_1435river

Cows in the next field also enjoying this fine day.

Cows in the next field also enjoying this fine day.

And then we drove on. It was a very fine day, and Achill was calling us.

Achill is the largest island off the coast of Ireland—though you might not realize you’ve crossed to an island these days, there are so many bridges you’ve already crossed. When we stayed here in 2003, it felt like the land that time forgot … and it hasn’t changed that much.

We crossed on the R319 and made a little detour onto the Slievemore Road to have a look at the deserted village, then circled back to Keel and the beautiful Trawmore Strand. But first—a decompression stop.

To stretch our legs and have some ice cream, just sitting on a stone wall by the side of the road, watching the world go by.

To stretch our legs and have some ice cream, just sitting on a stone wall by the side of the road, watching the world go by.

We took a lot more photos at Burrishoole than at Achill, mostly due to the fact that the roads were very narrow and there were few scenic overlooks, places to safely park and admire the view.

This is taken from the R319 looking west at the village of Keel. The little patch of green in the center right is a golf course. That’s Keel Lough (the lake) on the far right.

This is taken from the R319 looking west at the village of Keel. The little patch of green in the center right is a golf course. That’s Keel Lough (the lake) on the far right.

The majority of Achill is bogland—peat bog. It can feel bleak and lonely.

We are on the north side of the island, here, looking west.

We are on the north side of the island, here, looking west.

The roads are small, the sheep are everywhere. Be careful!

The roads are small, the sheep are everywhere. Be careful!

The day was getting away from us, though. When we found the deserted village, we didn’t hike in.

The deserted village from a distance. It was farther than we wanted to hike.

The deserted village from a distance. It was farther than we wanted to hike.

So we turned the other way on the Slievemore Road and made our way toward the water.

We’re headed to this bay, at Keem. You can just see the water on the right at the horizon; the bay is encircled by those cliffs.

We’re headed to this bay, at Keem. You can just see the water on the right at the horizon; the bay is encircled by those cliffs.

I was kicking myself, again, for not having a paper map. For all our technology—and I love Google Maps, which helps me reconstruct our travels—sometimes an old-fashioned map is a good thing to have.

On the Slievmore Road, coming into Keel. Those magnificent cliffs are the Minuan Cliffs.

On the Slievmore Road, coming into Keel. Those magnificent cliffs are the Minuan Cliffs.

Sheep are everywhere.

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You really do have to be vigilant. They’ll step out in front of you.

You really do have to be vigilant. They’ll step out in front of you.

A view of the Minuan Cliffs from the Trawmore Strand.

A view of the Minuan Cliffs from the Trawmore Strand.

It was getting on to five o’clock, and we had a couple hours’ drive ahead of us, so we headed back toward Newport, and instead of retracing our route through Castlebar, we stayed on the N59 to Westport. We’d read about some good restaurants there.

Here we learned that—at least in the western counties, in the smaller towns—“real” restaurants don’t open until six o’clock. I felt a bit gauche when inquiring about this in a store in Westport; the Yank from a country where restaurant is an all-purpose word. But, no, we could get food in a hotel bar, or in an an establishment called a café or bistro—a real restaurant, however, would not be open at the time of day we wanted to eat. What a bumpkin I am!

So we ate at the Mill Times Hotel bar, and had goujons. For the rest of you bumpkins, goujons are chicken fingers/tenders. 🙂

I did enjoy this lovely room divider at the Mill Times Hotel.

I did enjoy this lovely room divider at the Mill Times Hotel.

And then we made our way carefully back to Galway City.

 

Getting Cranky in Galway

12 October 2015, Monday
We’d slid into a routine of rising early, going to breakfast, then coming back to the room to chill for a bit before heading out. During the chill phase, I’d hit the interwebs and research a little about what we might do.

This was a change from all my previous trips, which I’d always researched in great detail before I ever left the house. But … this had been a difficult year, in terms of time and planning (and other things). I’d had a lot of work. And when I wasn’t working, I had things that I had to prioritize way above travel plans. It’s not like me, but … I left Tennessee only knowing where we’d sleep each night. The rest I pulled together each morning.

I was interested in Galway, I was. We’d been here twelve years ago but hadn’t spent any quality time in the city. Since then, my nieces had raved about it, I’d read more, and my curiosity was piqued. Lonely Planet calls it “arty, bohemian,” which is right up my alley. It has an interesting history, too; it’s a medieval-era town. But now I think what makes people love it is it has a great nightlife—food, drink, theater, music. The operative term, there, is NIGHTlife. And Gerry and I aren’t so much for that these days. (And we’d already done plenty of shopping.)

Anyway I poked around online and decided I wanted to see the Galway City Museum. And the Spanish Arch. So we drove into town. Found a parking lot near the area, and we got out and started walking toward the river.

I’ve posted the map so you can see that there was probably lots more to see, had we had a map and known where we were. But here’s what happened. The parking lot was on St. Augustine Street, which may be the single most boring street in Galway. I don’t think we passed a single shop. When we got to the museum, it was closed (Monday!). And the Spanish Arch had had a chain-link fence around it (presumably for repairs).

At that point, I was like a balloon with a slow leak. I’d paid for an international plan for my smartphone, but it never did work right. (It never did work, full stop. Even after long distance phone calls to Verizon.) A map would have been helpful. We weren’t that far from other items of interest, but we didn’t know—and my little balloon of enthusiasm was rapidly deflating. I didn’t take a single photograph.

We came back to the hotel and I worked, stewing. Later we watched the movie A Little Chaos, which we both enjoyed, but that was the best thing about the day.

I make no excuses for my bad attitude. Maybe some other time, Galway.

Falling in Love With Clare

Thursday, 18 September 2003
Ennis, Co. Clare – Salthill, Co. Galway

Leaving Ennis, we modified our route to take in Kilfenora, a tiny village with a lovely twelfth-century church and some ancient high crosses. (Interestingly, quite a few of the early high crosses one might see are now … um … fakes. Which is fine with me. They take them down, out of the elements—often housing them right on the premises somewhere—and put an exact replica in place.) So we detoured to Kilfenora.

We wandered the churchyard—it was actually raining for the first time during my visit—and then Gerry motioned me to walk out the back gate.

Kilfenora Cathedral churchyard, 2003.

Kilfenora Cathedral churchyard, 2003.

The spots you see are raindrops.

The spots you see are raindrops.

I liked this one for the shamrocks. Kilfenora Cathedral churchyard, 2003.

I liked this one for the shamrocks. Kilfenora Cathedral churchyard, 2003.

There, ahead of us, alone in a field, was a truly magnificent high cross (still the original, they told us in the shop later), a simple crucifix with the short, round Christ representative of art of the 1100s. It was probably fifteen feet high; I took some photographs with Gerry in it, for scale.

The West Cross, Kilfenora, 2003. Blackbird on top.

The West Cross, Kilfenora, 2003. Blackbird on top.

You see, it’s huge. A raindrop obscures the crucifixion.

You see, it’s huge. A raindrop obscures the crucifixion.

You know, now we see these crosses as grey stone, with their carvings softened by age … but in its first life, this cross would have been brightly painted—a pretty impressive sight, if you use your imagination. High crosses were used much the way totem poles were used by the indigenous tribes of the Pacific Northwest of North America: to tell a story. The crosses, of course, told the gospel story to an unlettered populace.

It was peaceful, and quiet—a “soft day,” the Irish would say (just as the Eskimos have dozens of words for snow, the Irish have quite a few ways to say “rain”!), just a misty rain, and yes, soft. We were pleased that we’d come someplace so spiritual … and then a tour bus pulled up, so we left, grumbling.

Standing beside the West Cross, looking at what lies beyond it. Kilfenora, 2003.

Standing beside the West Cross, looking at what lies beyond it. Kilfenora, 2003.

From Kilfenora we were off to the Cliffs of Moher (pronounce this “mower,” like lawn mower), one of the most famous sites in Ireland, and one I really, really wanted to see. They are wild, rugged cliffs stretching along five miles on the western edge of the island, two hundred meters high, falling straight into the sea.

This is the path to the edge of the cliffs. Even on a rainy day there was a busker, playing his tin whistle. Cliffs of Moher 2003.

This is the path to the edge of the cliffs. Even on a rainy day there was a busker, playing his tin whistle. Cliffs of Moher 2003.

Unfortunately, the rain had intensified, and by the time we got to the cliffs, it was so misty that we couldn’t actually see them, even though they were literally right there under our noses. Naturally, I took my camera on the hike out to the edge, to take a picture of the thing I couldn’t see!

All you can see here is the flat top of the cliff; the rest is shrouded in mist. The white you see in the lower right is the foam of waves breaking against the cliff.

All you can see here is the flat top of the nearest cliff; the rest is shrouded in mist. The white you see in the lower right is the foam of waves breaking against the cliff.

There was a busker on the path, playing a tin whistle in the rain (I took a photo of him too). It was disappointing, to arrive at that place on a day of such thick mist, but it couldn’t be helped. Rain happens. So we repaired to the gift shop to purchase postcard photographs of the thing. I was single-handedly keeping the Irish postcard industry alive.

From there we headed to Doolin, a little village situated right on the northern boundary of the cliffs, and right on the sea. The view from the main road, in fact, was humbling.

Doolin looks like any other tiny sea village, but it is known for its heritage of Irish traditional music. The village and the surrounding area is home to many talented musicians, and other musicians come from all over the world, year ’round, to hear and participate. We couldn’t stay around for evening, when the music would begin, but we did visit a local music shop, where we bought a very cool T-shirt for Jesse.

Leaving the village, we had a very Irish experience: we encountered an Eireann bus stuck on a tight turn, and we were blocked in. The driver got out, noticed the rain, reentered the bus for his raincoat, came back out and had an animated conversation with a local chap who’d been watching. All the while, we waited. Finally, the passengers—a dozen or so European kids with backpacks—disembarked, headed up the road behind us for the youth hostel, and we were directed, very carefully, around the bus, a limited area next to an unforgiving stone wall.

We were driving through some of the most bleak country on earth. It’s called the Burren, a unique geological occurence of miles and miles of a limestone plateau, characterized by outcroppings and layers upon layers of rock. Everything is stone, both field and fences. I’ve called it bleak, but this bleakness has a profound beauty, and in fact geologists and botanists and archeologists converge on the Burren (from the Irish boireann, meaning a rock or a stony place) to study it, be4cause there are flora and fauna and prehistoric phenomenon found here and sometimes nowhere else.

In the Burren, there are plenty of rocks for fences.

In the Burren, there are plenty of rocks for fences.

Not a particularly hospitable place, though, the Burren.

Not a particularly hospitable place, though, the Burren.

It would have been a hard, hard existence here, eking out a life from this rough landscape. Indeed, the area has a bitter history associated with Oliver Cromwell, the English Lord Protector (he’d refused the crown of England after his victory in the English Civil War) who’d engaged in a ten-year war of extermination against the Irish, and by the mid-1600s had forced them to surrender. (Actually, Cromwell had it in for Catholics, full stop, not just Irish Catholics.) Cromwell tried once and for all to crush the Irish resistance to English rule by deporting thousands of land-owning Irishmen to west of the Shannon, saying he would send them “to Hell or Connaught!” (The Burren is a part of the province of Connaught.) At the sight of the poor and barren province, even one of Cromwell’s own generals observed that there were “neither water enough to drown a man, nor a tree to hang him, nor soil enough to bury him.” The area of Connaught to which the former landholders were assigned was—and still is—barren and totally unsuitable for the amount of farming that would need be done to sustain a population as large as that which was forced there by Cromwell.

There’s strong evidence of a thriving prehistoric life in the Burren too. There are megalithic stone hilltop cairns (graves), wedge tombs, and portal tombs (called dolmens) that date as far back as 3800 BC (although they were used well into the Bronze Age, which is put at 2200–500 BC). There are over 300 fulachta fiadh—horseshoe-shaped mounds of burnt stone, built around stone or timber water troughs, which are the remains of giant Bronze Age cooking-pits (remember, we saw a small one of these at the stone circle we found near Toormore), and there are stone circles too. There are several impressive stone forts that date from the Iron Age (500 BC to AD 500). And early Christianity is represented as well, with up to 82 ecclesiastical sites—church ruins, cemeteries, hermitages and monastic enclosures, holy wells, saints’ seats or beds, and penitential stations—covering a millennium of worship.

I find this all quite amazing, considering the terrain.

So we drove through the Burren, in the soft-turned-soggy day, on roads barely wider than the car we were in, searching for some of the prehistoric sites I’d read about and longed to visit.

Driving around in the Burren in the rain, 2003.

Driving around in the Burren in the rain, 2003.

We found one (Cahermacnaughten, a stone fort which was inhabited down to late medieval times, where native Brehon lawyers carried on a celebrated law school until English rule in the seventeenth century finally ended such Gaelic traditions), and failed to find others in the pouring rain.

It doesn’t look like much now, Cahermacnaughten, 2003. But it was very important.

It doesn’t look like much now, Cahermacnaughten, 2003. But it was very important.

We drove through Lisdoonvarna and on to Kinvara, where we stopped for lunch at Keogh’s Bar on the main street. I had an open-faced sandwich of ham, tomatoes, cheese, and red onions on a thick slab of brown bread. The bread was so good—and this in a country that truly makes an art out of a humble loaf of bread—that I asked the proprietress about it. “Baked right here,” she told me, and thus “not in the shops.” She sensed my disappointment in that news, and offered to sell me a loaf if the chef would part with one. He did, and I snacked on that bread for days!

From Kinvara we drove on to Galway city, and straight to the city centre, where we parked and got out and shopped a bit. Although its population is only about 60,000, it is the fastest growing city in Europe; with a couple of universities, the city has a young, vibrant feel to it, yet it is grounded in its ancient roots as well.

But we weren’t staying in Galway city—we were going to Salthill. (Aren’t these names just great?) Thirty years ago Salthill—a little seaside resort town on the north shore of Galway Bay, Ireland’s answer to Atlantic City—was distinct from Galway city, but now is simply a part of it. It has a beautiful long promenade on the strand for strolling, with a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean … and our B&B, the Star of the Sea, was right across the street from it.

Our B&B, right across from Galway Bay, 2003. Looks small, doesn’t it! And yet there are six suites plus a kitchen and dining room. (Count the cars in the parking area and you’ll believe me.) We had one of the claustrophobic basement rooms.

Our B&B, right across from Galway Bay, 2003. Looks small, doesn’t it! And yet there are six suites plus a kitchen and dining room. (Count the cars in the parking area and you’ll believe me.) We had one of the claustrophobic basement rooms.

Galway Bay, just across from the B&B, at low tide, 2003. See the man in the lower left? He was walking a dog, which didn’t make it into this shot.

Galway Bay, just across from the B&B, at low tide, 2003. See the man in the lower left? He was walking a dog, which didn’t make it into this shot. Don’t forget, you can click on the photo to enlarge it.

Next we’ll head to the wilds of Connemara, so stay tuned!