Thursday, September 29, 2011

October 1, 2011 - The Great Gaze

We first became aware of the West of Ireland in the early 90's. We were having dinner in Dublin with a couple of Americans who had located to Galway for business and they asked us what we had seen so far. We rattled off a loose list of historical buildings, famous sites, statues, a couple of mountain ranges, 18th century churches, 16th century castles, breweries, ruins, ringforts and all sorts of relics, volumes of pubs and every golf course we had read about...filled with confidence that we had certainly seen just about everything you could possibly see in this country. Our friends gave each other a quick glance and then gave us a very long look...the same glazed gaze our son-in-law gave us when one golden October afternoon he was going out the door to the biggest football game of the he had looked forward to for an entire season.......and just realized he had swallowed 2 Excedrin P.M. instead of 2 regular Excedrin.

To our surprise, we were told. "You haven't seen anything till you go to the West!" Up until this point we had been travelling on main roads and following what we later would call the "bus routes." You see.... in Ireland the buses can only travel on main roads being too large to fit on the back roads. That is how some sites, roads and routes got famous....not because they are necessarily the greatest things to see but because they are accessible by bus. Also, if you stay on the main roads several things will occur: wherever you go it will be possibly crowded with tourists and you will most likely see an Ireland that has been somewhat transformed by accommodating tourism. Since all of Ireland seems to be stunningly beautiful, your head and heart will be fooled by letting you think and believe that you have seen the best that this country has to offer......and there is nothing wrong with that....but if you are curious and if you have a deep seated desire to go where you can see mile long beaches totally unscathed and so remote you have to park your car sideways against an old stone wall and crawl over a giant sand dune to see them, don't be complacent about choosing your destinations. Would you get a kick out of spending a night in a pub where whole families play traditional Irish music while passing around different instruments? Does the thought of cruising through wee villages that have not changed since Charles Dickens was alive delight you? Would you find it thrilling to sit and chat with some real Irishmen in a "snug" in a 200 year old pub with no big screen TV and hear Gaelic spoken in the background? Then.....go West!

-On Deck:

-Our First Night in the West: A Plein Air Piano

-What's Up with County Clare

-The 60th Anniversary of The Quiet Man

-The Quiet Man Sites

-How To Have A Quiet Man Party in Your Community: Things You Need To Know

-Kilkee: Undiscovered...We'll Only Tell You About It If You Promise Not To Tell Anyone Else