Traveling West

25 Sep

Last weekend wad our first group trip outside of Dublin. Our destination? A town located on the west coast of Ireland: Galway. We left for Galway on Thursday night, at about 6PM. When we arrived, 3 hours later, we were tired, but ready to explore. That night I had the unfortunate pleasure of dining at the local McDonalds because other eateries in the area had already closed. Afterwards, we checked out the local nightlife, and thoroughly got a feel for the Irish party spirit.

The next day we began our sightseeing adventure. A 1.5-hour bus ride brought us to a ferry terminal, where we boarded a large boat that furthered our journey. An hour later we set foot onto the Aran Island of Inis Mor. From there we transitioned into yet another vehicle and began our bus tour around the island. We stopped periodically to view certain sights, most notably the Seven Churches, an old monastic site which is now home to a cemetery. Our guide Robert explained that this church had seen many glory days, as well as dark ages, throughout history. Our next stop was Dun Aonghasa, a prehistoric Fir Bolg fort. The fort sits literally perched on the cliff, ready to plunge hundreds of feet down into the Atlantic. Sitting on the edge of the cliff was definitely one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. IMG_1648

When we returned to the port of Inis Mor, we checked out the local sweater shop, which sold hand spun wool sweaters. These sweaters were important in the past as they were used to identify the bodies of fishermen lost at sea by the design of the sweater.

The next and final day of our sightseeing tour, we traveled to The Burren and the Cliffs of Moher. While in The Burren, we visited the Ailwee cave, which used to contain an underground river. After walking through the cave we began our trek to the Cliffs of Moher. Along the way, we took a walk around a “fairy fort” which is rumored to have granted wishes when walked around clockwise. When we reached the Cliffs of Moher, we were greeted by a wall of fog, that look impenetrable. Walking along the cliffs we caught slight glance of the ocean, which seemed miles away. Sitting on the edge of these cliffs was even scarier, as the wind blasting into us seemed determine to throw us off. Nonetheless I managed to snap a picture of my feet dangling on the edge.
On our way back to Galway we stopped for a final time at a rocky beach to see literally hundreds of fossilized shells in the rock. These fossils were thousands, maybe millions of years old and were trapped in the rock when the land rose out of the ocean.

Overall, our trip to Galway was exciting and terrifying at the same time. I definitely plan to return to the Cliffs of Moher on a less foggy day. Being at such an old site such as Dun Aonghasa really put my own life into perspective and made me realize how far the human race has come. I hope to make it back to the West one more time before the semester is over.

-Sachin Mehta


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