Now, back to remembering where we were a week and a half ago.

We were about to reach the train station to hop aboard for our journey westward when we got the phone call that Karen’s dad had passed. After returning to our quarters and phone calls back to the states, discussing details with family, it was agreed that we should continue with that portion of our trip.

{photo} We arrived in Galway late afternoon, and our hosts were ready to show us their city. An immediate stop at this pub gave us our first serendipitous moment. Typically, traditional sets start late, around 10pm, but this place had an early session, meaning the kids could attend. If I ever return to Ireland, I will plan to visit a pub with music every night of my stay.

What made this spot so memorable was the man who tapped Karen on the shoulder as we were about to leave. “Yer gonna wanaa stey fer this next song.” he said. And so we did.

Most of the music we heard was instrumental, but it seemed as part of the tradition, when someone began to sing a song, it was courtesy to lower the conversation and turn attention to the performer. Now to know Irish history is to know its familiarity with conflict, struggle and oppression. When the young man, early twenties, began singing, the his lyrics reflected this awareness in an extremely poetic way. This is the beauty of live music. It only happens once. Sure it can be recorded, but the real moment happened at the venue, not on video. I have a short clip of it posted on Facebook.

The best fish & chips of the trip were found here in Galway at McDonagh’s. {photo} Fresh, light and flaky fish that was battered in an equally pleasurable crust. Their chips were voted best in Galway as well.

The next day, our host took us for a personal, day trip through County Clare out to see the Cliffs of Moher. Along the way we made several stops of interest, one at a spot referred to as The Burren. He managed to snap this shot of me walking gingerly across the rough rock surface high up on the hill. {photo}

Photos can’t do justice to beauty of the cliffs, but you can get a little perspective at their magnitude from the size of the people in the photo below {photo}

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