No comment on the quote above. It's yours to interpret however you like. It's a fine quote.
After Inis Oirr, the next two places we went to were Clifden and Louisburgh. We returned to Galway, where we picked up a rental car from Budget. AAA had helped me arrange for this car, which I truly appreciated. AAA was very helpful with travel insurance, the car rental, and questions about money..i.e., Euros. Ok, we got the car from Budget, without the extra insurance they wanted to sell us. In hindsight, I probably should have gotten it considering the conditions of the roads. I did end up buying a wheel cover and getting the rim fixed at a Nissan dealership in Ennis, Ireland. Probably much cheaper than what Budget would have charged me. Next time in Ireland, I'll take the wheel covers off the rims and store them in the car, to be put on after we're done with the car. Consider that tip #1 in renting a car in Ireland. Actually, tip #1 is to video the car as soon as you get it, so it's date-stamped as proof of what it looked like when you got it.
After loading our luggage into the Nissan Micra, we headed to Clifden. The roads were quite different than what I was used to in the U.S. More narrow with barely a shoulder, even the bigger roads. I was very happy to be driving a small car! In the picture below, the road is as narrow as you think it is.
|A road outside of Clifden on the way to the beach. 80km is about 50mph.|
|Main street in Clifden.|
|Lowry's...great pub with some fun music.|
Next day in Clifden, we headed to the beach and hung out...actually got a might sunburned there. Blue sky, sunny, and a warm day. No sessions that night in Clifden.
|View from the restaurant where we had dinner in Clifden.|
|Kylemore Abbey outside of Letterfrack.|
Next town, Louisburgh. What a quaint town. Really just a crossroads village, but with several pubs and more than a few good restaurants and a grocery store. This is what we'd planned our vacation in Ireland around...the Feile Chois Cuain. We stayed at the Springfield House in Louisburgh, which was just a few minutes walk to every thing in town. Clare Kenney is the owner and she's quite a nice host, I might add. As in my family, she "slagged" me a bit from the minute we met. "Slagging" means gentle, humorous teasing.
|Eileen warming up next to the peat fire in the fireplace at The Springfield House in Louisburgh.|
|I'll let you guess where we were when I took this photo.|
The music in Louisburgh was fabulous. Now, I'm not a connoisseur of traditianal Irish music by any stretch of the imagination, but this was good, even to me. Eileen had several opportunities to play in several sessions over the four days, which she enjoyed immensely. We met up with Antoin MacGabhann (pronounced Antoin Magowen). What a nice man. Truly a gentle spirit with a gift of fiddle playing. While out to dinner one night, we also had the pleasure of meeting his daughter, Bernadette, a musician in her own right. Mike, Patsy, and Antoin all told Eileen that the Feile Chois Cuain was the best festival in Ireland to attend for music and not be overwhelmed by the number of people there. It was small but lots of really good musicians showed for this festival. We met up with Dierry (pronounced Thierry) from Belgium, who, like Isabella and Yves, had moved to Ireland as soon as his kids were in college. His wife and he sold everything and moved to Ennis. He is a very good traditional Irish fiddler and goes to as many festivals as he can. While fiddling, he rarely drinks more than tea because he says the pint of plain interferes with his music.
|L to R: Eileen, John Kelly (back to the camera), Dierry, Antoin (back to the camera)...first night in Louisburgh.|
|Eileen, Dierry, Antoin...the last day in Louisburgh.|
|Matt Molloy's pub in Westport. The funeral procession walked past, and stopped in front of, the pub.|
|City center in Westport.|
All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our time in Louisburgh and will be back, hopefully, for the music festival and to stay at The Springfield House once again.
Now, a tune to exit with...John Sr., John Jr., and James Kelly of Clare...we saw John Kelly, Jr. in Louisburgh and Eileen got to play in a session with him (see photo farther up).