After a week of pure indulgence (re: too much beer, bangers, and mash), K and I were ready to get active. We traveled from our hostel in Galway City down to Connemara, an Irish-speaking region in the west of County Galway. Our angel of a host, Aingeal, scooped us up and brought us to her cute-from-the-outside, amazing-on-the-inside thatched roof cottage. Aingeal is a 50-something bundle of joy, with a thick accent and a warm, round face. She’s works with children who need an extra bit of attention scholastically, and that maternal inclination of hers didn’t hesitate to shine its light on us. She immediately began nurturing, making sure we had everything arranged for our travels the following day, and taking time to ask me about ballet and K about his designs. Ireland really does boast an extremely compassionate and caring people.
After about 3 rotaries (or round-abouts as the Irish call them), we finally arrived at our destination: Aingeal’s picturesque old fashioned cottage out in the woods. We were greeted by her neighbor’s cartoon-like fluffy pooch, Honey, and a tea party: Aingeal’s fresh baked irish soda bread with caramelized onion hummus and cheddar, plus her homemade fruit cake (don’t scrunch up your nose, it’s actually delicious!) on the carpet, right by the indoor fireplace in her beautifully decorated, serene and bookshelf-lined living room. It couldn’t have been more opposite of our previous night’s stay (hostel bathrooms and bunkbeds) and, needless to say, we welcomed the pampering with open arms (and full mouths). Our hostess even prepared some traditional lamb stew for us, which we noshed on with a side of wine and a movie. Even though we stayed in, and there wasn’t a pub within a mile, this was one of my favorite nights in Ireland. I finally finished the book I’d been toting around all week, right by the fireplace, before taking a nice hot shower and curling up in bed.
The next day, after a plethora of fresh from the oven scones (TOO good), we decided to “do some cycling”, as Aingeal suggested. Well. It turns out, this activity was a little less “cycle through the old town” and a little more “mountain bike up and down rocky trails while screaming for your life and toppling over several times”. I was in way over my head, but K was in absolute heaven, which made me happy. Aingeal packed us a picnic for the expedition (I told you she was an angel), which we enjoyed down at the docks of a large lake that encompasses most of Connemara. Of course, the sunny morning didn’t last long before Ireland’s weather came back to say hello, and soon enough the trails transformed from dry grey to slick black and our helmets dripped with a cool Irish rain. We were drenched and had to cut the adventure short, but the surprise outdoor shower definitely made for a memory that won’t soon be forgotten.
all photos by me