Island Day!!

Hat tip to Trail Journals: Global Backpacking Journals from Long Distance Hikers for this great post about a day trip to Inis Méain by -Bluebearee

Island Day!!  I love visiting small working islands.
Have long wanted to go out to the Aran Islands, today was the day!

We made a last minute decision as to which island to visit. I had been interested in Inishmaan as being the least visited and touristed. B wanted Inishmoor because of the Fort. He left it to me and I went with -maan. 50E and we were off on a smallish ferry.

The day actually had some sun to it. The crossing was rough in my estimation, water coming up and over the bow crashing against the windows. I have to fight back panic on my phobia of capsizing in a boat.

A cute dog was the 1st off the ferry, Sailor, a 13 y/o who gets to spend some time as an island dog. Gaelic/Irish is the language out here.

We walked up towards the village amongst incredible stone walls. Like none we've seen yet. Not even describable. So many squared off plots of them, far as the eye could see, really quite amazing. One stone thick unlike our multi-width ones @ home. I couldn't have placed the differences, but frost and the lack of it here would be the reason they can stand.

Eventually we reached settlements, a Post, a church, a closed B&B. And the local archeological fort, Dun Choquoin. I can't say it holds total fascination for me. We wandered around in the rain, climbing up onto the ring of stones, steps carefully placed but also precarious and occasionally loose. I wasn't comfortable after almost getting stuck trying to descend, had to downclimb the silly thing.

Stopped @ the little shop open for 2 hours today, when we were passing by amazingly. Didn't plan on a t-shirt but they had some there and a size small. I believe Inishmaan or inis meain translates to Island Middle.

Walked on and found the island's only pub. As most islanders, talk with tourists is limited or not at all. We were the only tourists out there today and on the ferries. The pub scene was something else. The barkeep/tender was the teenaged (14? at most) son of the taciturn owner. Okay.... 4 20 y/o boys from the island sat at the bar drinking pints and watching TV and bantering about what 20 y/o guys talk about. Others came in after us, diluting our nonp-native status. I had a 1/2 pt of Guinness and we ordered 2 sandwiches. It was as authentic a scene as you get. Just what I wanted. Hey-we spent a bit of $$ there. After lunch we headed in the other direction and ended up @ a smaller fort, missed seeing the cliffy coastline, could look over to Cliffs of Moher and the other islands: Inishmor and Inisheer.

Capped the afternoon with a walk back to the ferry pier via the airstrip. Waited in the cold and wet for the ferry to take us back. B had been worried about us getting there on time so we started walking from town earlier than necessary, I knew if we ran behind likely someone would give us a ride in their car. Sure enough 1/2 hour after waiting in the cold and wet, cars started to file down from town, I am betting they wait til they see it leave Inisheer before starting down. I was not relishing the heavy seas a second time but barring a last minute flight, what choice did I have?

The boat was very full which either bolsters confidence or leads me to think of all those ferries that go down in Asia overloaded. I sat and tried to breathe and not freak out about the rollers. This phobia of going over in a boat, trapped underneath it in the ocean dates to my childhood, though I don't really know why. I think it would be the worst way to die yet the anticipation of this event or anxiety it could happen never hits me ahead of time or prevents me from taking ferries. Go Figure. I did ask B to make sure he grabbed me a life vest should we need one. I think he thought I was kidding.

Anyhow, 1/2 across we were out of the big seas and I could relax. We headed north out of the car park, bound for Connemara, driving in the dark. There isn't a lot of ambient light around though the moon appeared full. Tried to stay @ Ben Lettery hostel but they had shut for the season. It was on the N59 but in the middle of nowhere. Pressed on to the booming metropolis of Clifden, which actually boasted THREE supermarkets!!?? All closed of course on a Sunday night.

We landed @ the Clifden Town Hostel and were quickly oriented by Sean to the building and the town. Headed across the street to a pub still serving. It was quite empty though the usual suspects trickled in and out. There's seems to always be a local Irish couple who come in for a pint; the woman typically has a half pint. It's cute. Then the random single man....

 Got the low down on Irish whiskey from the bartender. He described one as "ruff as fock" I crashed tonight, long tiring day.


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