Arrival

Touchdown at the Iron Age fort.

A plus of our carriage rental was the round-trip fare.  Upon arrival, our driver waited for us with no time restrictions.  

At the foot of the hill-top ruin was a pleasant gravel paved courtyard with low slung, metal roofed venues.  The cafe serving local fare and shops of local handcrafts.  

Click the link for my Getty IStock photography of the Aran Islands

We enjoyed a leisurely lunch, shopped for presents, and began our approach to Dun Aonghus, a half mile of gentle incline on a well maintained foot path.

This is the plaque on the fort entrance.

Click me for the first post of this series, “Horse Trap on Inishmore.”

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Stiffed

The bicycle rental place got the short end…unfortunately.

Admittedly, I over-planned the Ireland trip.  For every day possible the venues were pre-booked and paid.  In theory planning provides more flexibility when life interrupts.

For the Inishmore planning, a perfect day, for me, was tooling around on a bicycle stopping where we pleased with welcome exercise in between.  That was unrealistic, the day worked out otherwise. 

Click the link for my Getty IStock photography of the Aran Islands

Upon disembarking from Queen of Aran, our ferry out of Doolin, onto the Kilronan quay we walked toward the bicycle rental and Pam refused to bicycle. Her objections were many, safety, impending rain, time. She did have a point about time, the ferry leaves at a set time leaving errant tourists to fend for themselves. We were unused to cycling, still Dun Aonghasa is just over 5 miles from Kilronan, less than an hour round trip. With our starting time of 11:30 am there was 3.5 hours slack for returning to the quay before the 4 pm departure. Plenty of time for wandering the ruins and stopping along the way.

We followed Pam’s advice. Still there were the many bicyclists. Perched on our horse drawn carriage, on the uphill runs, each bicyclist we passed was proof positive to Pam of the wisdom of our choice. I was silently envious of their freedom and overlooked the many mini-buses on the narrow road.

When the day comes to mind, not often, I am left with the guilty feeling of not stopping into the bicycle rental office to cancel the reservation. An email was waiting for me the next day, asking where we were. Thus, the title of this post, “Stiffed.”

Pam’s Response to this post.

Pam’s reasons for not wanting to ride a bicycle around Inishmore:
“I hadn’t been on a bike for approximately 20 years.  However, if it wasn’t going to rain (it did), if the narrow road was larger, if there weren’t any minibuses loaded to the gills or horse traps sharing the same single lane, I would have considered it.  Sitting back and enjoying the beautiful view on our private horse trap and listening to our very knowledgeable tour guide/driver was the highlight of this adventure for me. I am sorry you felt like you didn’t have a choice.”

Pam’s correction of my statement about her being concerned about time:
“Time wasn’t a factor in my decision making.  I also didn’t have a problem with you biking but there was no way I was going to do that.”

Click me for the next post of this series, “Arrival.”

Click me for the first post of this series, “Horse Trap on Inishmore.”

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Settled In

Inishmore Cottage among fields

An island cottage among fields along the Galway Bay coast, the twelve pins of Connemara beyond.

Click the link for my Getty IStock photography of the Aran Islands

Notice the playhouse, a replica of the larger cottage.

Click me for the next post of this series, “Stiffed.”

Click me for the first post of this series, “Horse Trap on Inishmore.”

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

The How of Soil

Time and Hands

From the heights of Dun Aonghasa the karsk of Inishmore falls away for the sight of the twelve pins against Galway Bay.  These unworked, barren slopes have a pale green covering growing seemingly on air.  

Click the link for my Getty IStock photography of the Aran Islands

On approach to Dun Aonghasa, Cottage Road dips closer to the road for this view of a field with enough dense grass for five cows to feed, the rest on the cushioning green. Where did this come from?

The answer is simple hard work, hundreds, a thousand years of hauling seaweed and sand, mixing it on the barren limestone, allowing the rot of time to work. Hold it down with roots, till and refresh.

Click me for the first post of this series, “Horse Trap on Inishmore.”

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Stone on Stone

Wide enough

Enjoying travel on a horse trap, a type of carriage, on Inishmore (Inis Mór), the largest Aran Island in Galway Bay we headed up Cottage Road from Kilronan, the main island settlement.  It was there we embarked from the Doolin ferry, hired the driver, his horse drawn trap.  Our destination an iron age fort, Dun Aengus (Dún Aonghasa, the Irish language name) and the sights along the way. 

The feeling of this blurry photograph is too good to let lie.  I just kept snapping away from the moving carriage, here we are descending a hill and moving a bit faster, the elevation provides this view of Galway Bay, Connemara and the Twelve Pins beyond.

Click the link for my Getty IStock photography of the Aran Islands

There’s a gate in the cow field, though some fields with cows were gateless. There is a simple answer to the mystery. At one point our driver stopped by his field and and demonstrated how the wall is pulled down to make an opening, the rocks stacked to make this easy. When the cows are in, the rocks go back up, a matter of 10 minutes or so to make a cow-width passage.

Click me for the first post of this series, “Horse Trap on Inishmore.”

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

What is a rock? What is a stone?

Daisies are a plus

Enjoying travel on a horse trap, a type of carriage, on Inishmore (Inis Mór), the largest Aran Island in Galway Bay we headed up Cottage Road from Kilronan, the main island settlement.  It was there we embarked from the ferry, hired the driver, his horse drawn trap.  Our destination an iron age fort, Dun Aengus (Dún Aonghasa, the Irish language name) and the sights along the way. 

Dry Stone walls abound throughout Ireland.  Ancient walls, buried in peat, were discovered in County Mayo and dated to 3,800 BC.  This is a field wall on Cottage Road with daisies growing at the foot.

Click the link for my Getty IStock photography of the Aran Islands

Roadside Daisies against dry rock wall on Cottage Road, Inishmor

 

The wall is composed of stones, not rocks. I have read in places a stone is a rock put to use or shaped by human hands. Other usages have rock and stone used interchangeably. For example, an internet search on “Dry Rock Wall” will return hits on the same. “You pays your money and takes your choice.”

Sources for this post: search wikipedia for “Dry Stone”.

Click me for the first post of this series, “Horse Trap on Inishmore.”

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Cottage Road Cottage

A traditional thatched, whitewashed cottage.

Enjoying travel on a horse trap, a type of carriage, on Inishmore (Inis Mór), the largest Aran Island in Galway Bay we headed up Cottage Road from Kilronan, the main island settlement.  It was there we embarked from the ferry, hired the driver, his horse drawn trap.  Our destination an iron age fort, Dun Aengus (Dún Aonghasa, the Irish language name) and the sights along the way. 

Our driver pointed out this traditional cottage with a small replica alongside.  Roof  We did not stop for a look as it is a private residence.  The front door has a large view of Galway Bay and Connemara beyond.

Click the link for my Getty IStock photography of the Aran Islands

Thatched Cottage with playhouse on Inishmore

Whitewash, a traditional exterior paint used on cottages, or Lime Paint is made from slaked lime. Here is a photograph of the powered product called another name for whitewash, Kalsomine. Click to make the image larger, to view the instructions.

Whitewash Powder with instructions. Yarloop railway workshops, Yarloop, Western Australia

Whitewash is different from paint as it is absorbed by the stone surface, becomes part of the stone. Successful application of whitewash, like paint, demands careful surface preparation. The coating just flakes off if not applied correctly.

Sources for this post: search wikipedia for “White Wash”. White wash photo author: Wikipedia commons user Gnangarra

Click me for the first post of this series, “Horse Trap on Inishmore.”

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved