Saturday, September 19, 2015

Day 6 of the 12-day Giant Irish Adventure

On Day 6 we boarded a ferry to the Aran Islands.
The ride was a little bumpy.
The ferry was crowded with young people all dressed up. Some got off on the big island, and some got off with us on the smaller island, Inis Oirr. We found out later they were Jehovah Witness missionaries.
Approaching the ferry dock at Inis Oirr. We can see the ruins of a castle above the beach.
You can see how we had to disembark the ferry.
Coastal rocks, carved by erosion.
Clear blue-green waters.
Some of us decided to tour the island by horse and cart first.
We passed the beach.
This type of boat is called "currach." The original Aran currach, made 9000 years ago as a sea vessel, consisted of stretched skins over a willow framework. Later canvas was used over a timber frame. Rowing with two oars each, Aran islanders used curates for fishing and carrying cargo and passengers. They are little used today.
Another tour guide on his way to the ferry dock.
We passed a team practicing the game of "hurling." 
Dee would later teach us the basics of that fast-paced game.
Headed out of town toward the end of the island.
Cemetery on a hill.
A trio of houses with thatched roofs.

The whole island is basically a big rock. Stone fences have been built creating small pastures, and sand and soil had to be carried to create a place for grass and other plants to grow.
There is a small lake on the island.

This is what the island looked like before the pastures were created.
Our guide tells us the stone house on the hill was built for tourists to photograph, we did.
A lighthouse in the distance.
All of the tour wagons stopped here.
So tourists can walk out to view the old shipwreck.
We can see the Cliffs of Moher from here. Our return ferry will take us there.
Trotting down the narrow roads between the stone walls.
Looking back at the shipwreck.
The photo op house.
Want to clip-clop along with us? Click on the video.
Another old stone house with a modern one behind it.
A modern island home.
Seaweed is a big commercial enterprise in coastal Ireland.
Bicycling is another way to tour the island. Katie from our group did that.
It was a good day for sailing too.

Our ride ended below the castle where we got off to finish our self-guided tour on foot.
Climbing up the hill.
View of the ferry dock.

Entering the castle.

Tina in the dungeon.

Next we followed a maze of roads and stone walls back to the village.

Stone cisterns gather rain water for the livestock.

Close up of the walls and stone placement at all angles.

I took a picture of the bright orange flowers and didn't notice the birds until I put them on the computer.

We stopped to look at the church.
Tina tries out a unique entry to the churchyard.

We saw cats and dogs roaming the island.

And lots of birds.
An Irish gate.
This was a National Monument...I forget what...maybe an ancient tomb.
We  had lunch here.

We shopped in a craft store.

I saw this painting in the craft store....looked like the wagon we took.
Tina bought a sweater here and we learned the stitch patterns have different meanings.
More scenes from our meandering.
A water pump....
A well or cistern.
Another National Monument...graves and a chapel.

I noticed solar panels in use.
And fresh water tanks.
We've also seen many hostels on this trip.
A fisherman coming home.
A nicely thatched roof.
Our tour guide chats with a friend as he awaits another fare.
They also use tractors for larger tours.
Some lobster pots.
Our ferry is here to take us to the Cliffs of Moher. This is the same ferry and captain that was used in the filming of the Harry Potter movie.
Approaching the cliffs.
One of the old signal towers can be seen atop the cliffs.
Sea birds flying by.

You can see how high the cliffs are next to the boat below.

A waterfall....
Heading for the ferry landing.

Some of our group got out here to walk along the top of the cliffs to the Visitor Center. I stayed with the van and did my walking there.

Outside the Visitor's Center
View from the hike to the top of the cliffs.

Views from the trail.

Looking out to the Aran Islands.
The signal tower.

We spent the night in the Cliffs of Moher Hotel in Liscannor.

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