Day Five - Hike on Clare Island

We ferried over to Clare Island Friday morning and started hiking right away. We took a little break at the coffee shop up the road (up the road is not necessarily close though, everything in Ireland is bigger and farther away - I love it!). After we had our tea out on the grass, we walked up to the old church where Grace O'Malley, the Pirate Queen of Connemara is said to be buried.

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.

This little local girl came running down the driveway and saying hello to all the tourists, very cute!

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.

After hiking all the way back down to the dock, we ate another picnic lunch on the beach. Wine, smoked salmon, sandwiches and chocolate, then boarded the ferry to head back to the mainland. The bus ride back to the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel was quiet and reflective, driving through the Delphi Valley is always full of green mountains and quiet waters. Many of us stayed on at the hotel for one last supper and fun in the pub, loads of fun, lots of craic and now with our new friends to help us enjoy ourselves.

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.

by Nathalie Ellison


Canadian Destinations

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