Day Eight began with a trip into Galway. Our tour guide explained to us that the floor at Galway Cathedral is made of the red (really orange) and green Connemara marble which is in very short supply. These days it is produced into mostly jewelry and a few larger pieces such as vases and bookends. We did not spend much time at the cathedral but I did get a photo of the floor (which really is beautiful).
Mary and I love churches but this one was built in the 1960's and didn't hold the same allure for us as most of the others we had seen. We were far more interested in getting a better look at the fisherman we spotted standing in the River Corrib as we drove into town on the bridge above them. It was really quite striking, much more so in person than in the photos. The roar of the water was quite impressive and much bluer than it looks below.
Detail of the above photo (see the house to the right of the bright blue awning) given the dry brush treatment.
I think we were in Galway for all of 45 minutes. We then headed into Donegal which had a very different vibe than any other Irish city we had visited. Downtown was quite small but it had a variety of more modern style shops rather than traditional. We took very few photos here because we spent most of our time shopping and looking for gluten free food (I was feeling pretty food deprived, in general, by this point).
Donegal had some architecturally interesting buildings.
This blue one was a multi level clothing, jewelry and china store.
We were in Donegal for about an hour and a half (I think I had Irish Rocky Road for lunch--yum!) and then we headed for the little factory where Connemara marble jewelry is made. We had a tour and I was very taken by this piece of tile that looks almost like a landscape painting.
The factory was really quite tiny and we walked through a narrow room that was lined with tables and workers on each side. Many of them were high school aged kids. We spent most of our time in the showroom but everything was far too expensive for our budget. We hadn't been to Belleek yet and that was where I intended to drop most of my blunt (spend most of my money--hey, I write regency era books, doncha know) so we just looked. Then we went across the street to the museum. I thought that the vintage and antique pieces pictured below were far more interesting than the ones currently for sale.
The museum smelled like heaven thanks to the peat fire that was going. Note the angel face set into the niche on the right.
Dry brush version of angel face detail . . .
Another room featured this glorious statue of Mary and the Christ Child. I am not Catholic, nor were my ancestors (in short, it is not in my blood) but I do think this is beautiful.
I couldn't resist snapping a picture of some dried out peat logs to show the Irishman I married. After all, peat logs ARE in HIS blood.
We then drove to this lovely spot where there was enough room for the coach to pull over and we could get out and take photos. It was a glorious half hour and I took way more photos than perhaps I should have. However, this looked exactly the way I have always pictured Ireland to look. So little of it actually does, at least not the parts we spent most of our time in. We were happy to see all that we did but Mary and I would love to rent a cottage right about here and live in it for at least a month. (Actually, Mary said that if someone would just toss her some food a few times a day, she would literally live right here.)
Dry brush version of a detail of the photo above . . .
I just love the photo above but I think I love this one below even more. She is surrounded by so much beauty and yet she is still the most beautiful thing in the picture. It was a half hour of pure happiness for her. One of the horses came up and actually licked her camera. She was in heaven.
Here is some of the gang taking photos while I was taking photos of the pink house behind the tree (natch).
Dry brush version of detail of the above photo . ..
Really, we would have been happy to stay right here . .
It would have been so fun to just hop on its back and gallop away. (Next time: Cong--the city in which The Quiet Man with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara was filmed.)