Friday, August 8, 2014

A little work, a little play, and a lot of driving

Recently we took another trip to Ireland - and probably our last before we come home.  We quite enjoy these opportunities to see beautiful country and meet with wonderful people.  It is a long day when traveling to Ireland.  We left our flat about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday morning and drove about 2 ½ hours to Carinryan to catch the ferry to Belfast.  The drive is beautiful and has become familiar as this was our 5th time going to Ireland since arriving on our mission.


This is South Ayrshire just out of Maybole.  Down the hill towards the water is the Trump Turnberry Golf Resort.

It always is amazing to me what they load on the ferry for the 2 ½ hour crossing.

In addition to about 8-10 Semi-trucks, they loaded at least 5 big tour buses full of people.  They also loaded nearly 100 cars.

When we arrived in Belfast it is then a two hour drive south to Dublin and then two more hours west to Galway.  We reached Galway about 5:30 p.m.   Galway is a lovely town and we always enjoy wandering through the old part of town. 

 This view is looking back to Galway across the bay.  Notice that the tide is out and the boat is sitting on "dry" ground.  This is common with many harbors in Scotland and Ireland.  The "coming & goings" must be timed with the tide...

Wednesday we drove to the Cliffs of Moher.  The drive was quite a challenge as the road was very narrow and traffic was more than expected because of all the tour buses.

This was a wide spot in the road where I could  pull over to take a picture.  For most of the drive the road had no shoulder and there was often a stone wall about two feet from the pavement.

Standing 702 feet at their highest point they stretch for 5 miles along the Atlantic coast of County Clare in the west of Ireland. From the Cliffs of Moher on a clear day one can see the Aran Islands and Galway Bay, as well as the Dingle Peninsula to the South.  

The Cliffs of Moher have appeared in several films, including The Princess Bride (as the filming location for "The Cliffs of Insanity"), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Leap Year.  Note the little "dots" on the top of the cliff - up the path - there are people standing on the top right near the edge of the cliffs.

From the Cliffs we drove to Limerick for some meetings with the District Presidency and the District Employment Specialist.  Thursday morning we drove to Dublin but stopped first at the village of Adare, just south of Limerick.

Adare village is an architectural mix of centuries blended into everyday life.  The main street of Adare is lined with original thatched cottages which have survived for hundreds of years. Some of the cottages are kept by local restaurants and Arts & Crafts shops, but many are still privately owned.

We had meetings in Dublin Thursday evening and then Friday took a day to explore some of Ireland.  We drove to Belleek to tour the factory where the Belleek Pottery is made. 

 This is the bridge at Belleek
The pottery made at this factory is amazing.  This piece was made in the 18th Century.

 This shows the delicate baskets made of china that are all hand painted.

We then headed to the north shore of Ireland to visit the Giant’s Causeway.

According to legend, the columns are the remains of a causeway built by a giant. The story goes that the Irish giant (Finn MacCool), from the Fenian Cycle of Gaelic mythology, was challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Benandonner. Finn accepted the challenge and built the causeway across the North Channel so that the two giants could meet.


In one version of the story, Finn defeats Benandonner. In another, Finn hides from Benandonner when he realises that his foe is much bigger than he. Finn's wife, Oonagh, disguises Finn as a baby and tucks him in a cradle. When Benandonner sees the size of the 'baby', he reckons that its father, Finn, must be a giant among giants. He flees back to Scotland in fright, destroying the causeway behind him so that Finn could not follow.


This is the backside of what was showing in the previous picture where one only sees the tops of the columns.  Across the sea, there are identical basalt columns (a part of the same ancient lava flow) at Fingal's Cave on the Scottish isle of Staffa, and it is possible that the story was influenced by this.


We arrived in Belfast Friday night and taught a Career Workshop on Saturday, stay for Church and more meetings with Stake leaders on Sunday and took the ferry back to Scotland on Monday.

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