Friday, September 25, 2015

The Wild Atlantic Way: From the Burren to the Bay

I thought the Wild Atlantic Way was a publicity term made up by the tour company, but no, it was the name of the road we were to take from the cliffs back to Galway.
 Our route took us along a strange landscape of barren rock or "karst"--the Burren. Karst is a made up of limestone surfaces that have eroded over time to form a hodgepodge of pavement-like areas. The Burren is crisscrossed with crevices called grikes and there are odd, single boulders called clints that were left behind by glaciers that dot this oddly beautiful land. I was told by someone on this trip that the people of the Burren poked potatoes and seaweed down into the grikes to grow potatoes during the time o Cromwell's rule because they had no other way to get food. Imagine such a life.

The Wild Atlantic way follows the curves of the shore, winding along its narrow way through breath-taking scenery.

A clint stands alone beside the road.

More stone fences, like those on Inisheer, line the beautiful shore.

 A photo stop along the way. I took a shot of Theresa taking a shot of the Burren above us.

Many parts of this road hug the coastline closely,

and it can be a little nerve-wracking when other cars--or pedestrians--are met up with. See that lady in the yellow top? She didn't move or even seen phased when we passed so close I bet she could feel the ripples in the bus's paint.

A gorgeous stretch of road with The Burren in the distance.

Just look at that rock dome up ahead!

And those rich green fields just below it--a testament to centuries of work, I am sure, building soil from the rocky crust. The limestone provides excellent nutrients for crops, as one early historian noted: "During counter-guerrilla operations in Burren in 1651-52, Edmund Ludlow stated, "(Burren) is a country where there is not enough water to drown a man, wood enough to hang one, nor earth enough to bury him...... and yet their cattle are very fat; for the grass growing in turfs of earth, of two or three foot square, that lie between the rocks, which are of limestone, is very sweet and nourishing." From Wikipedia

Ruins of a great house or possibly a church just below The Burren.

A few more turns, a quaint village or two,

a little fishing boat called a Galway Hooker in the bay,

Dunguaire Castle where we stopped briefly for a photo shoot--we had to climb over a stone wall and down a steep slippery path to get these photos, but they were well worth the trouble.

And then suddenly we were back in Galway and this incredible, memorable day was over.

I highly recommend the Galway Tour Company for an excellent tour experience. And if you're lucky enough to get Tom as your driver, count your Irish blessings!

For more about sites, sounds, food, festivals, watersports, history and much more, see the Wild Atlantic Way website.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

1 comment:

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Glad you had such glorious weather for your tour, Sue. It's not always like that on the Wild Atlantic Coast - it can be, well, WILD!

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