It was a bit rainy but that didn't matter, the scenery was wonderful. We walked along a rocky path and looked at the water beside us as Gerry led the way talking about the Fjord. Gerry knows many facts about the places on the tour and can easily fill our heads with history and archeology, very impressive. Along the way we saw sheep, heard sheep and saw evidence of sheep. The sheep are lovely and certainly common almost everywhere you look. I never tired of the sounds and smells surrounding us as we walked. Below, a little traffic jam one can encounter while hiking on Connemara.
About halfway through our hike we stopped for a little break and a classy lunch carried by Brian Hughes (impressive that he carried all this food on his back, including wine!). We lined ourselves up and were served smoked salmon with freshly squeezed lemon juice (just because we were hiking, didn't mean we had to rough it where food was concerned). The salmon was divine (or 'grand' if you're Irish) and the second course was sandwiches. All the food was complimented by a delightful splash of wine and the fresh strawberries and yogurt were our dessert. To top off our lunch we had a small piece of chocolate and I think it is safe to say we could not have eaten any better had we all been sitting in a restaurant. Thanks for a great lunch Brian! This photo was our food lineup, and a great example of appropriate footwear too.
We all went to the pub after supper and enjoyed each other's company before retiring for the night in our clean quite rooms. I couldn't wait for the scenes I would see the next day!
Gerry also stopped us when we arrived at the old defense walls which were now knocked over and spread out. But we could still see the line of the wall used to keep out invaders and it was amazing to think how hard the land's previous inhabitants worked to defend themselves. I loved seeing the remains of other civilizations which really brought the anthropology and archeology to life.
With beautiful sunny skies, we enjoyed the vastness of scenery as far as we could see. There was water, mountains and sky all of which were very therapeutic for me and others on the tour. The land is untamed and is soaked with the smell of fresh ocean air. There was always a nice breeze on my face, as though Ireland was caressing me as I walked and I appreciated what it had to offer my soul.
This energetic man in the car is a local on Inish Bofin named Michael Joe and I loved the charisma coming from his face. His dogs shared the same personality and the island life seems to be doing them all well.
We came back to the hotel and had a wonderful lunch of sandwiches in the pub then loaded up our luggage and walked down to the ferry where we set off for Inish Turk. Once we docked on Inish Turk, we were greeted with smiles from our hosts of the B&B and were led to our rooms for the night. Supper was delicious, everything tastes unbelievable here, and we rested up for our next day of hiking, this time on Inish Turk.
This is Leo, from Inish Bofin, a local in the pub up the road. If you go on the tour, you must go say hello. Leo has lived on the Island his whole life, which I find amazing. When I showed him the picture I took of him, he told me that I would be a millionaire because of this photo. I already feel quite rich though!!
The little church is beautifully frescoed on the ceilings and walls with many pictures, which were all explained by our knowledgeable guide Gerry. He pointed out what each painting was and what it meant. The windows were shaped like flickering candles, very unique, and we spent almost an hour learning all about Grace O'Malley. I will be going out to get the book by Anne Chambers about her, I am told by Gerry it is well worth reading.
Hiking further up the mountain, we were given the option to continue on to the old lighthouse at the top, or walk back down. I opted to go the distance despite my complaining feet (my poor planning kept me from wearing proper shoes). The view at the top was superb and worth the extra half hour hike. We all sat up there and soaked up the wonderful smell of the ocean, and the scenery.
Such wonderful memories I take with me from this tour, friends I have made, my soul is richer, the world is smaller and I know I will be back. You must come and do it for yourself, and don't forget to look for Leo on Inish Bofin, tell him hello and shake his hand.