28 November 2009

Ireland - The Burren

After going from Dublin to Newgrange and Trim Castle we stayed in Galway which is on the west coast of Ireland. The intent after Dublin, where we reserved rooms, was to just find B&Bs where ever we ended up that night. The plan this night was to stay in Galway at The Spanish Arch which was recommended by the Michelin Green Guide, but unfortunately it was booked.

So we asked them if they recommended any place for a family of 4 near there and they directed us to the hostel two doors down. So we headed there and they were booked and so we asked them the same question. Then they got on the phone and called someone they knew near there who had a B&B and that she would come and pick us up and we could follow here to her place.

It ended up being a little old lady who had a B&B in her home with two bedrooms. So we took her up on the offer and stayed there. We had dinner at a little Irish pub near her house which was fantastic. It was here that we first tried the Black Pudding which "is a type of sausage made by cooking blood with a filler until it is thick enough to congeal when cooled." It wasn't horrible but I will tell you I would not order again. I asked several people what one is obligated to eat while in Ireland and they all said "Black Pudding" without skipping a beat. I truly don't know why they like it.

We got up that morning and the plan was to head south toward Bunratty where we'd go to the castle and stay the night around there. The problem was that we had a tough time getting out of the B&B because the very, very nice lady would not stop talking. After talking with the people at the hotel in Dublin and after listening to this lady talk about her cat named Elvis and her pilgrimages to Catholic sites for 30 minutes straight without taking a breath it became clear that the Irish speak English faster than any other English speaking culture that I've ever experienced. I think we had whiplash after that visit.

So after successfully escaping we got in the car and drove south through the Burren on the way to the Cliffs of Moher. The rock in this area was amazing. Not only was the ground covered with it, according to Nicole, it is purple (I couldn't tell because I am colorblind). According to the website:

The word "Burren" comes from an Irish word "Boíreann" meaning a rocky place. This is an extremely appropriate name when you consider the lack of soil cover and the extent of exposed Limestone Pavement.

The Burren is underlain by limestones of the Lower Carboniferous (Visean) period. The limestone formed as sediments in a tropical sea which covered most of Ireland approximately 350 million years ago. These sediments were compressed into horizontal strata and contain fossil corals, sea urchins, sea-lilies (crinnoids) and ammonites.


Kim said...

Oh, the Burren...now you are truly breaking my heart. That is my singular most favorite place in the world. When I am dead I insist on my ashes going there.

On your way from Galway to the Burren you most likely passed through a little village called Ballyvaughan; there is an art school in a castle there where I was accepted for a graduate program but couldn't get American financial aid to cover it. I sobbed for weeks.

Hoxworths said...

That is funny that the picture you posted on facebook is almost the exact picture we took.

The Burren was cool. I wanted to see those stone altars but unfortunately we didn't have time nor did we run across any.

Sorry to hear about the school. That sounds like it was a real bummer.