Cyd & I got up in time for a full Irish breakfast cooked to order by Estelle, and were on the road to Shannon Airport on time just after 10am. We had smooth sailing on better roads all the way, found gas near enough to the airport, and still met the tour managers before the choir was off the plane so all was good. No one had claimed the back row on the bus, so Cyd & I camped out there, me trying to snap some photos out the windows when I could. We arrived at the Cliffs of Moher to nice weather with even some blue sky peeking through the clouds. These cliffs are in the running for the New Seven Wonders of the World, and they are quite impressive!
Cyd & I hightailed it up the hill to climb the tower first since we only had an hour to get back to the bus. When we got to the top, we saw some guys standing on the very top of the roof, so we got up there too. Tracia stayed at the bottom to get photos of us peeking over the tower crenellations, which I don't have yet, then she came up when we were still up there. Tracia's legs were too short to boost herself to the top, so I helped, then took photos of her "flying" in the strong winds...heehee! Cyd & I got back up & pretended to be falling, lovely acting skills. Only when we finally went back down did we see the sign on the door...oops!
Back in the bus, more pretty scenery out the windows but driving too fast for any photos to succeed, then we made a short stop at the Burren, a barren wasteland of all rocks where nothing much grows. The pounding surf on the cliffs was a force to be reckoned with, and Cyd laughed at being so fascinated by west coast surf when she lives so close to similar at home. ;)
After a long but pretty coastal curvy drive, with several slow bus squeezes between cars down one lane roads, we arrived at Galway at the Menlo Park Hotel. From our placemats at dinner, we learned they named the hotel for the CA Bay Area town, which was originally named after the founders' hometown of Menlo in Galway. Funny circuitous naming but it sure made us laugh that we came all this way to stay at Menlo Park! ;) After dinner several of us wanted to find some pubs and hopefully some traditional Irish music, so we got directions for the 15 minute walk downtown, stopped in a couple pubs, and found some nice music for a bit.
Unfortunately after dinner my throat started getting raw, suspected cigarette smoke reaction by the symptoms, sipping whiskey on the rocks at both pubs in hopes of killing germs didn't help, and now my nose is running too. The Australia trip this spring was my first international vacation where I did NOT get sick like this, so I was hoping that curse was finally broken, but alas no, so I'm trying to go to bed early. We have to be on the bus to Kylemore Abbey by 8:30am to sing at noon!