Tuesday, June 4 & Wednesday June 5

On Tuesday Bridget, Zeke, Amy, Fionn and I went out to the Aran Islands. We traveled specifically to the large island of Inis Mór, Inismore. Here’s the Wikipedia page on the islands if you wish to learn more. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aran_Islands.

They are low lying Islands inhabited for at least 3,000 years. Once you’re out there you can see that they are made of the same limestone seen all over this western part of Clare called The Burren. There is no soil to speak of, potatoes are grown in a mixture of sand and seaweed. This method has created the meager top soil that you see between the many walled fields. Grasses take root in the created soil which allows for sheep, horse and cattle. Originally it would have been a very meager life but the early inhabitants were driven there by that maniac Oliver Cromwell. Thousands fled his bloody march across Ireland, many of them to the Aran’s.

We took a tour bus out to a small village, had some lunch, shopped for some sweaters and then started walking back towards the ferry. Amy loves to cold water swim and had a little dip in some gorgeous colored water. As she was getting ready to jump in I muttered “you’re really going to do this?” Yes she did! On the walk back Amy, Zeke and Fionn made friends with a couple of horses by feeding them hands full of sweet grass. A shuttle bus stopped and asked us if we wanted a ride back to the ferry. We were hoping to walk all the way back but it became apparent we weren’t going to make the 4:15 which was the last one back to the mainland. Joe Gill stopped and drove us back. He’s Aran born and I believe he said he’s lived his life there. The wind had been blowing all day, on the mainland and the islands. I asked Joe if it was always this windy and he said no, it could be calm. We had a sit down in the local pub and then walked to the ferry and had a much smoother ride back with the following sea and prevailing wind. We were glad we made the journey.

Today we pack up and head north to Westport, County Mayo. We’re going to stop in and visit Tom and Fintan Cussen at the Clareen Banjo workshop. Fintan and Tom are going to lend me a guitar for the sessions up in Westport. I’d like to have it just in case there is a smaller session and too many bouzouki’s and also so I can sing songs to it.


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