I still have a ways to go with my unpacking and laundry chores, but I have finished sorting out my photos from the three weeks I spent in Ireland. I couldn't wait to look at them on a bigger screen. I didn't know where to start my story--I'm overwhelmed--so I decided to plunge in to the middle, actually near the end of my journey, and show my dear readers the Connemara region of western Ireland. Kathy and I took a bus tour from Galway last Sunday and enjoyed the scenery as well as the narration by our driver, Martin.
|Low clouds over the Maamturk Mountains|
|Gawkable Connemara scenery|
Speaking of fields, many of them are inhabited by Connemara Black-faced sheep. Sheep are a big part of the economy here, and I almost hate to tell you this, but these sheep are mainly used for meat and the wool of the survivors is not spun into sweater yarn. It is spun into yarn for carpets. Typically, farmers have anywhere between 100 and 500 sheep in their herds and they brand their own with big splotches of color on their backs. We saw red, blue, and orange.
Have you seen the John Wayne/Maureen O'Hara movie, The Quiet Man? It was filmed in this region of Ireland in 1951. There's a little bridge here that we saw from the bus. It is seen in the movie and now known as The Quiet Man Bridge by the locals. The movie in DVD form is available in gift shops all over, but I'm confident my friends at the TCM channel will show it soon. I'm going to make a guess that old-fashioned thatched-roof houses also make appearances in that film and in another, The Field (1989), starring Richard Harris. These houses still exist, but they are mostly used for tourist "holiday" houses now, and the roofs are no longer straw but reeds. (Underneath is a layer of metal to help prevent fires from spreading.) These and other houses are heated with turf taken out of bogs. The turf is dried and burnt as fuel. We saw from the bus where turf has been removed in a few places, and Martin the driver told us there are laws limiting how much turf can be taken out. It takes hundreds of years to form.
|Actual thatched-roof house|
Waterfalls are found all over Connemara, and our bus driver Martin knew we'd be interested in photographing them.
|I look confused.|
|What ARE these?|