Ireland: Cleggan, Galway, Connemara, and Inishbofin

My last two days in Ireland were a thrill, consisting of horseback riding and deep sea fishing.

On the second to last day we woke up early to get to Cleggan for horseback riding. I now have a new appreciation for people that ride horses as my groin is still sore from telling the horse to go faster. When we arrived at the Cleggan Riding Centre. I had no idea what to expect. We were giving riding boots and helmets after we filled out a survey to say how many times we have rode a horse. Ironically, they gave me Henry to ride -- the same name that Emily's godson gave my Toyota. He was a nice black Clydesdale.  I remember as we were getting ready to leave the stable flies were attacking the horses and the riders and the horse were getting quite unsettled. They tried to do everything to get them off, while not throwing us off their backs! They gave us a quick 10 minutes tutorial on how to ride a horse -- showing us how to turn, walk, and trot the horse... and most importantly how to stop!

We rode to Omey Island, which was this gorgeous little "tidal" island that was hardly an island during low tide. During low tide, a gigantic beach created a rode to the island, which you would drive on if you wanted to get to Omey. On the beach in between the mainland and the island, we rode the horses. We even took them in the water to trot. At one point, Brenny's horse Barney, the alpha of the group, started to run past me... Immediately my horse started to gallop! Scarred the daylights out of me.

By the time we got back to the Currarevagh House we were all conked. However, we had a one hour turn around before we headed into Galway for dinner and a show. After eating a lovely meal at the Galway Bay Hotel, we went downstairs to the basement to see the "show" that Mr. Quinn had been talking up. While some wanted to check out the Galway pub seen, the Trad on the Prom ended up being a fantastic show. Top musicians and a whirl of Irish Tap Dancers caused the audience to roar. It was really a spectacular show. One of the step dancers twisted his ankle and they gave a quarter-by-quarter update on his injury status. It was almost comical how in depth they were going about his injury.

The next morning was another early wake up because we were going to go touring around Connemara on Shane's boat and then go deep sea fishing. This was probably my favorite day. We got to the Shane's boat around 1030 and left the mainland. On our way to Inishbofin, we stopped by these incredible cliffs. Towering over 200ft high, the cliffs had tons of different birds flying around -- every kind of Puffin and their cousin. Our captain's boat had a very shallow draft so he was able to get within ten feet of the cliffs. I was scared we might crash! While some rave about the Cliffs of Moehr, I really think these are far more exciting and breath-taking.

                                   Brian and Brenny

                                   Brian and Brenny

After we toured around the cliffs, we stopped at an island called Inishbofin, meaning "Island of the White Cow." The only pub on the island, we had a fantastic lunch of burgers and lobster. Unfortunately, I think Mr. Quinn got food poisoning and didn't feel very well for the rest of the day. After lunch, we went deep sea fishing. Unlike America deep sea fishing, the Irish like to attach 4 or even 5 hooks to their line. So sometimes people were catching up to 4 fish at a time, unbelievable! We must have caught over a 100 fish in a span of two hours.

                                                          Why didn't we ever think of using four hooks per rod?

                                                          Why didn't we ever think of using four hooks per rod?

After the fantastic day on the boat we headed for our hotel. Over looking Connemara, the Rose League Manor was one of the most spectacular hotels in Ireland. We had a very nice meal. Everyone around us was sitting in twos or threes and being very quiet. With our group of seven we lit up the dining room. The meal was remarkable and we all shared some great laughs. Unfortunately, it was my last night with the Quinn's. I can't thank them enough for including me on the trip. Furthermore, Mr. Quinn did an amazing job planning a stellar itinerary full of amazing attractions. The trip was magical and I am truly grateful for the experience.

Now I am in the Philly airport waiting for my transfer to Boston. I will spend the night at the Villa's and then head for the Vineyard to lead Vineyard Service. I hope Emily is enjoying her time on Cornwall and am so excited to see some of her photos and blogs from the weekend trip.