Badass European Adventure Day 3: Galway

Day three dawned gray, gray, gray and coooooooooold! We had our slow start morning (with the yummy breakfast, cooked to order), packed up all our sh*t (again), and struck out for Aasleagh Falls. We had a plan to hit the falls, then backtrack slightly to see Joe Joyce and his sheep dogs. This was a bit more country driving than the day before, when we were mostly on highways – today we had no shoulders, rock walls, hedges growing right up to the road, sharing with BIG TRUCKS– Which, I must say, if those drivers can keep THOSE trucks on their side of those TINY ASS roads, then the assholes here in the States should be 100% capable of keeping their stupid lifted oversized overcompensatingforsomething truck on their side of our LARGE ASS roads– and if not, I’ll take the truck, since you obviously don’t deserve it. Ok, rant over. Sorry about that.

Back to the Falls! At the risk of sounding repetitive, they were GORGEOUS!

Parking was minimal (keep going up the hill after you cross the bridge and there’s more), things were damp, muddy, and squishy, but you don’t really have to walk back to see them – you can see them from the bridge. One benefit of walking back there – besides the fact that I looove the energy of waterfalls (and that cool sheep guard step thing in the fence), was that (SURPRISE!) we made a new friend!!!

I’m pretty sure she was looking for treats, which we did not have, but she was sweet and made my day! Little did I know, it was only going to get better!!!! We finished here as a tour bus pulled in (perfect timing), and back tracked to Joe Joyce’s place.

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This is where Joe Joyce, his family, sheepdogs and sheep live. I am 100% sure you could get tired of this if you lived here, but I was blown away by the beauty! Even with the storm rolling in (leftover from the hurricanes), it was stunning! Remember how I said the day was only going to get better? Observe:

PUPPIES!!!!!

Yes, the sheep dog demonstration was super cool. Joe Joyce- probably one of the nicest people we met on this trip. But let’s be honest, the puppies MADE THE DAY for me! It was so cute to watch them trying to “herd” the sheep – until they started getting too close and scary and then off they’d scamper – leaving it to the professional! One thing that really stuck out to me, in all of the experiences we had is that everyone really took their time. I never felt rushed, and I never felt cheated. Joe showed us one dog, and her style of herding, and then  brought us inside to let the rain shower pass. While waiting, he taught us about herding competitions, told us about meeting Jennifer Aniston- “she’s as nice to talk to as she is to look at” (and Owen Wilson, but he doesn’t mention him as much), and his business breeding and raising these pups. The second dog had a much more calm style of herding, and it was all very interesting! (The paint on their wool is so they can tell who the sheep belong to when they’re all out free range – his range on that mountain across the lake!)

Afterward, we doubled back toward the falls – I’d seen an interesting little pub I thought would do for lunch. I won’t share the name, as I wouldn’t recommend it. But, here’s the highlights: delicious Irish coffee, funny bathroom sign and the hurricane leftovers blowing in.

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I was pretty stoked that I had done my driving for the day, and Padre got to deal with the monsoon-level water on the roads (and that I had enjoyed aforementioned Irish coffee, to help me handle Padre’s driving in aforementioned monsoon). The original plan had been to make a big loop around to Kylemore Abbey & then to Connemara National Park before we headed into Galway to check into our B&B. The intensity of the drive to Kylemore and what awaited us when we arrived changed the plans…

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We popped into the gift shop area – bathrooms – and I snagged an Irish coffee for take away (WIN!). Long story short, we made it to our next B&B – blood pressure elevated, but alive. After getting situated, we walked through Grattan Park and down to Monroe’s Tavern. The beef and Guinness stew was AH.MAZE.ING. Great service, and laid back feeling – no live music while we were there, but that was okay because we were exhausted! A stop at the grocery store (beer) and ATM on the way back, and we retired to our third floor bedroom.

Kiltevna House was relatively easy to find, with decent parking. Bernadette’s home was clean, she and her husband were very kind, and breakfast was a hearty, traditional Irish breakfast. To me, Bernadette was the quintessential Irish Grandmother – traditional decor, kind of abrupt- but in a kind way- who wanted to make sure you had enough to eat. The only downside – I hate to be negative – is the house smelled like cigarette smoke. I only mention it in case you are sensitive to those things.

Traditional Irish Breakfast (minus the black and white pudding)!

I wish we had planned more time to explore Galway – it seemed like it had a fun night life, and lots of great places to hear traditional music – as well as other kinds- music, eat delicious foods, and enjoy delicious drinks! The next day we had a LOT to do and a LOT of driving.

Please let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns! Thanks for reading! 🙂

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