Leaving Gaiway, we stopped at the ancient fishing village of Claddagh, which, because of their open sewers and unhealthy conditions and the deseases that come with them, was destroyed and rebuilt in 1930.
John Ford, the movie director, was from Spiddal on the northern shore of Galway Bay, and brought the movie, The Quiet Man (John Wayne and Maureen O'Sullivan), to these parts to be filmed. If you are planning to visit Ireland and have never seen The Quiet Man, you might rent it before you go. They are still talking about it in these parts.
Along the way, we learned that both Gaelic and English are the National Language, that there are three sheep for every person, that the average, three bedroom house is $150,000.00, that gas is about $3.50 to $4.00 a gallon, that cigarettes are about $3.00 to
$4.00 a pack, and that the highest taxes are on gas, cigarettes and alchohol. We also learned that Ireland and England are, in reality, the tops of mountains and that at one time they were part of Europe, until the ice melted.
We lunched at the Visitor's Center at Kylemore Castle, now an Abby of the Irish Nuns of Ypres. The castle was originally designed as the home of one Mitchell Henry, a surgeon and financier in the mid nineteenth century. It was erected in 1868. In 1874 Mrs. Henry died of a fever during a trip to Egypt. Her body was returned to be burried in the mausoleum. Dr. Henry died thirty-six years later in 1900 and is entombed
there also. In all my travels, I have never seen a more beautiful and exquisit castle. And, of course, it is in Ireland.
We stopped at Connemara and listened to another lecture at the Connemara Marble Factory on (what else?) marble.
At Knock we stopped at the Knock Shrine and Cathedral. In 1879 they are said to have experienced a miracle apparation of Our Lady, St. Joseph and John the Baptist. The Cathedral is quite beautiful and very modern. As it was Sunday, we stayed an hour or so. Some went to church. My buddy and traveling companion, Kay, and I spent the time exploring the grounds and their lovely gardens.
Later on, down the road a piece, in Sligo, where William Butler Yeats was born, we spent a little time at the Drumbcliff Church. St Patrick, patron saint of Ireland was associated with this church, which has been rebuilt two or three times. Also it is here where St. Columba (Columba
Colin Kell) is traditionally thought to have originated the Book of Kells, the first four books of the New Testament, now housed in the Trinity College Museum, in Dublin. There is much contraversy regarding dates but our tour guide gave us the date of 563 AD. Also, there is debate as to the actual location where it was begun
as St. Columba traveled all over Europe, spreading the Christian message. I found it interesting to see,
what remains of the original abby, fifteen hundred years old.. .a thirty or forty feet structure that looks like a small silo.
I believe we all smiled when, later, we witnessed Irish "cowboys" herding cows down the highway in a red car with a couple "walkers" on both sides of the herd.