Here are the things I miss about home today: sleeping in my own bed, knowing where everything is when I need it, buying, cooking, and eating my own food, and driving my own car on the right-hand side of the road. And here are the things I love about Ireland: the people, the history, the incredibly picturesque landscapes, and the music. I’m heading home in two days, and part of me wants to leave now and part of me wants to stay here (or at least take Ireland home with me!). There are some vacations where I want to soak everything in because I don’t know that I’ll ever be back (the Cotswolds is a recent example of that). There are other places I’ve traveled to where I absolutely know I will be back (I had that feeling on my first visit to Turks and Caicos and returned a year later). Ireland definitely falls into the latter category: I will definitely be back.
Today I made the drive from Doolin to Galway. I spent some time working on my TripAdvisor reviews this morning and poking around the shops in Doolin before I got on the road. It was foggy and drizzly (again), so I didn’t stop much. I wanted to see Poulnabrone dolmen in the Burren and enjoy the coastal route. The Poulnabrone dolmen dates to the Neolithic period and more than 20 adults and children have been determined to be buried there. After that I stayed on the main road until a roadsign Lillanlla’s homemade ice cream shop attracted my attention. It was noontime and what’s better for lunch than ice cream? I followed the narrow road 5 km and enjoyed yet another creamy and delicious Irish ice cream cone.
Once I made it to Galway, it was obvious I wasn’t in the countryside anymore. Galway is the fourth largest city in Ireland. After checking into my hotel (thankfully on the outskirts of town), I took the local bus into the city center. Have I mentioned I hate cities? I wandered around the jam-packed pedestrian area, past leprechaun -filled souvenir shops for about an hour. Then I sought out Taaffes Bar, where I knew they had early trad music sessions. I enjoyed a half pint of Bulmer’s while listening to a group of musicians playing fiddles, accordions, guitars, and more. By then I was ready for dinner but I was surrounded by touristy-looking pubs. I wandered for a while before I stumbled upon Trattoria Magnetti. I’m glad I did! I had a delicious beef and pork ravioli with a marsala and mascarpone sauce. Yum! I made it back to my hotel in time to “watch the sun go down by Galway Bay”.