Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Day Four in Ireland: Galway to Killarney

Hey Everyone,

The Great Famine of Ireland:
I woke up feeling very seedy yet again on our way to Killarney. On the way there Lee told us the history behind the 'penny bridges' and the Great Famine. The Great Famine of Ireland was a period of mass starvation, disease and emigration between 1845 and 1852. It is also known, mostly outside Ireland, as the 'Irish Potato Famine'. During the famine approximately 1 million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland, causing the island's population to fall by between 20% and 25%. The only way the Irish people could get money for food during the famine was either to work for one penny a day making 'penny bridges', work in soup kitchens or emigrate to overseas countries such as Boston, New York and Britain on famine or 'coffin ships'. They called them coffin ships as many of the Irish people either died or were thrown overboard during the Great Famine! The famine ended in 1852 and after this time the people began to grow crops again. It was interesting but also sad to know that all of the penny bridges I saw all over Ireland were built by starving people during the Great Famine :(

Penny walls made during the Great Famine of Ireland
Lots of the road signage began to be written in Gaelic as we travelled on our way to Killarney. Lee told us that all official government documents are written in Gaelic and you also have to be able to speak Gaelic to work for the government in Ireland. That day we also stopped at Dunguaire Castle which was so cool and had so many graves inside it. We also made a visit to a famous Irish wishing well where we had to throw a coin backwards over our left shoulder to make a wish. I wished for something special that day but of course I can't tell you all what it was otherwise it won't come true!ha
Me at Dunguaire Castle
Graves inside Dunguaire Castle

Dunguaire Castle
Lee looking creepy at the famous Irish wishing well lol

Looking like death but making a wish in a famous Irish wishing well
We saw glimpses of the three Aran islands off the coast which exclusively only speak Gaelic and parents used to send their children out there to learn the traditional Irish language. If they spoke any words in English they would be immediately sent off the island. As we got further into southern Ireland the land became full of limestone which made it hard for farmers to grow crops etc I saw some houses which were very old and had very pointy roofs and even saw houses with roofs made from straw! We stopped at a souvenir shop which also had toilet facilities and I ended up buying a Celtic mood ring, a shamrock hanky for dad, and an Irish history book. I was the last one in the shop and when I walked out the bus was parked in another spot further away from where it was initially parked. I knew I must have been the last one to get on the bus and as I got closer to the bus Lee started to drive away from me lol not once but twice!ha Lee and my friends on Paddywagon had grown to really like him and found that he was fun to have a joke, a bitch and a laugh with!

We also visited the much anticipated Cliffs of Moher which are said to be the Irish crown jewels. The day that we went it was so foggy we could hardly see past our own nose so we couldn't see one bit of the cliffs!!I was so disappointed as everyone had said to me if you see anything in Ireland it had to be that :( I did go through and look at the Cliffs of Moher exhibitions and watch a huge cinema clip of what the cliffs were actually supposed to look like but it wasn't the same. We all left this site on a big downer and renamed them the Cliffs of Fog! 
Cliffs of Moher :((

What they usually look like (photograph in the museum)

Irish busker
When we arrived in Killarney we booked into our hostel which was crap!One of it's two toilets weren't working, it was so small and there was clutter everywhere. To make things worse we were also staying in a 10 person bedroom with new people we didn't know that had joined us that day. I was so hungover and Anna was tired so we decided to not go out that night and save ourselves for the next day. We went for a walk to the shop to buy some food and ended up finding Irish leprechaun hats and shamrock glasses which we wore around the shop the whole time and couldn't stop laughing at each other. That night Anna and I just chilled in the room and chatted and laughed the whole night before falling asleep. 
This made me think of you mum!

Houses in southern Ireland

many laughs with these two (Vicky and Jeremy) on the bus trips :)

Dad you would have loved the food!!Stews and roasted meat and veggies

Lunch :)
Love The To Be Sure, To Be Sure Backpacker

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