My latest tour, with my group from Pensylvania. started on Sunday, when i collected them at Shannon airport on their arrival there. This group consisted of Paul and Barbara Gray, Joe and Betsy Roche, and Lee Kowalski, and Jean Hurd.
Today was our day in the magical area we know as God's Country, also known as the "Quiet Man country", where the great Irish movie by that name was filmed, and starred John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. Best known as Connemara, this was one of the worst affected areas during the great famine, and huge numbers of people from that area, fled to the USA during and after that period.
Before setting out today, we toured around some of the main sights in Galway city. The picture above shows my new friends standing in front of the famous Lynch's window in the center of the city, a window from which the then town magistrate, a man by the name of Lynch, hung his own son, after he had been convicted of murder, and because nobody else would hang the young man, as they believed that the man he killed deserved to die, as he had seduced the defendant's fiancee. They say that that is where the term Lynching came from in the English language.
From the left we have, Lee, Jean, Barbara, with Paul behind her, Joe with Betsy, behind him. (you know what they say, behind every good man there is a good woman.)
Now we are in Connemara, and if you have seen that famous movie, maybe you recognise this bridge. It is of course the Quiet Man bridge, and a place visited by thousands of people every year.
We are of course, standing on the Quiet Man bridge.
The Sky road, outside the town of Clifden, is a really spectacular place to visit, as it overlooks the Atlantic, and three thousand miles of ocean between there and the USA. It was a little overcast today, so unfortunately we could not see Cape Cod.
Connemara is famous for its beautiful Connemara ponies, two of which you see in the picture above. These horses swan ashore after the Spanish Armada galleons, carrying a large force of their army and cavalry, were wrecked off our western coast during a terrible storm. They bred freely there, and are now one of the most popular breeds of horses in our country. As they are smaller than a full horse, and have a wonderful temperament, they are most popular as suitable for younger people, and children. They actually saved the lives of many sailors and soldiers, who clung to their tails and manes, and were then dragged ashore to safety.
I could not leave out this ram, and some sheep, who were grazing on this mountainside. The Connemara sheep are most popular for their wonderful tasty meat.
Enjoying a tasty lunch snack in Clifden, Lee, Jean, Betsy and Joe. Note that Paul and Barbara and i are missing from this photo. We went for a sensible walk as some people need to set an example when it comes to controlling the intake of calories.
I think you can see for yourself just how many calories are on that table. I am not sure if they had dessert afterwards, as i was not there, but i know that they did last evening.
We took the coastal route through the lovely little harbour town of Roundstone. What a lovely scenic area this is. It surely is God's Country.
Finally we stopped off at my own home, and in this picture, we have the full group, with my own wife Sue joining them. (Back row, on the left)
What a lovely day we had today, and a great start to what i know will be another most enjoyable tour. How do i keep finding all these great new friends, it cannot be just my looks. Can it?
Tomorrow we are off to the Cliffs of Moher. Come along and join us. Ireland beckons.