Friday, April 24, 2009

Galway and Mayo in the Rain

Got to read about the "Pirate Queen" when I get back home. The remains of one of her castles was behind our B&B on an island in Maam, County Galway. Evidently, she was quite a character. Wonder why I didn't know about her.

More typical Irish weather lately. As one pub keeper put it, "It only rains three hundred days a year." But even when it's raining sideways, sometimes filtered sunshine peeks through and illuminates up a mountainside far off, lending a mystic aura to the landscape.

Some visitors describe Galway as "melancholic" and one can see why. Others praise the solitude and stark beauty. I wonder what it's like living day-to-day in that white cottage in all that lonely countryside.

I pick out routes with remote mountain passes as we make our way north to Crossmolina. We pass lochs with centuries-old sporting lodges built and maintained by British aristocrats and off-limits to Irish tenant-farmers in the old days.

As I mentioned last year, memories of the Great Famine permeate the country. If you've forgotten about it for a day, there'll be a memorial beside a lonely road in the middle of nowhere to remind you. In Westport, Country Mayo, is the national memorial - the bronze sculpture "Coffin Ship" with skeletons strung about as rigging.

It's eerie, but poignant. Makes me appreciate the Irish breakfast I ate this morning.

Just got an email from my daughter, Annie. Our next grandchild is a little girl! We'll see her in September.

Life goes on.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Tom with your comments and me loosing myself in the pictures, I feel like I'm there! Now I know that some day I will be.

Your favorite brother!

SboroMA said...

Wow, Tom, those shots are incredible. They just keep getting better and better. All of you must be in awe of the beauty. Enjoy!! Dad will sure have some memories and shots to create some wonderful paintings. I'VE GOT FIRST DIBS!! lol

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing the incredible photos with us this morning. I have enjoyed all the photos that you've shared and I can see why Ireland holds such a special place in your heart.

Congratulations on the new granddaughter. I remember the joy I felt looking forward to our granddaughter's arrival and know that you must be excited. Try not to spoil the new one too much, ok?


Anonymous said...

check the map...

Anonymous said...

...silly question, but where's all the trees?

Tom McLaughlin said...

Not a silly question. Trees grew there after the last glaciers melted around 9000 years ago as they did nearly everywhere, but were cut down over the millennia. It's been an agrarian economy over the last several centuries, so there has not been incentive to plant more until very recently. Lately, government has offered landowners incentives to plant firs in various parts of the country and you'll see groves of them here and there.

Anonymous said...

It's sad that you have been able to pass your ignorant, intolerant genes onto another generation.