…in which we bid farewell to Galway and travel to Doolin, County Clare.

The previous night’s indulgence in beverages of alcoholic nature were felt this morning upon waking up. We had thought about getting up not too late so we could have the whole day for the next segment of our trip.

Well, that idea went to hell!

It was a slow start, involving coffee and Tylenol. We eventually got our butts out the door around 11AM, but weren’t ready to hit the road. We strolled around the streets of Galway, taking in the fresh morning air and stopping in to see some of the shops. It’s true, what I had been told – the Irish are definitely a friendly people, and talking comes easy.

Finally, around 1PM, we pack up and head out of Galway. We are now heading about 1.5 hours south to a small village called Doolin, in County Clare. However, it takes us about 5 hours to get there!

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We aim first for the town of Kinvara, where we come across Dunguaire Castle, a tower house built in the 16th century. We stroll the grounds a bit and take pictures. I also take some time to call my Mom, my Dad and my brother, in order to give them news about our trip. My Dad and my brother are accessible via Skype, so I can show them in real-time where we are and what we’re seeing. Very cool!

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From Kinvara, we aim next for Ballyvaughan, located on the southernmost tip of Galway Bay. We stop at a local pub and have a seafood chowder, which is excellent – and very filling! We stroll around the small town, as I snap multiple pictures – there are old buildings, and the colours on the doors and window frames contrast with the textures of the stone walls. I can’t wait to get to work on these pictures and see what comes out!

Getting out of Ballyvaughan, we have the choice of continuing along the N67, the main “highway” through the region, and then take a short turn west into Doolin.

Now, let me explain something about these regional “highways” – they are simply two lanes, one in each direction, with each lane barely wide enough for one car; there are no shoulders whatsoever, so if you see some beautiful scenery, forget it – you can’t stop! The roads are narrow and winding, but the speed limit is 100kms/h!! I couldn’t imagine going that fast on those roads unless I had a death-wish!

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We’re not in a hurry, so rather than continue on the N67, we veer off and take the more scenic coastal road. There are beautiful vistas all long the way. We now understand why Ireland is referred to as the “Emerald Isle” – the greens are amazing, brilliant and vibrant. The contrast with the stone walls that are found all over the landscape is simply beautiful.

As we get closer to Doolin, the landscape changes to more open, barren, rock-strewn hills. We are getting closer to the Cliffs of Moher, so it is normal that the terrain becomes rockier.

We find our B&B, a lovely, cozy home with four rooms; it is the end of the tourist season, so only one other room is taken. Compared to the hustle and bustle party atmosphere of Galway, this little country village is incredibly quiet! We should have a good night’s sleep, tonight!