Ireland: Cliffs and Galway

I'm now back at home after a week in Ireland, and oh my godness, it was hard to narrow down pictures to post. Everywhere you look in Ireland is like a pretty green postcard of rolling hills, speckles of sheep, and clear blue water.

I arrived into the Shannon airport on Friday morning. Even though I barely slept on the seven hour flight, I was so excited to see my brother at the airport and was immediately ready to take on the long day ahead of us.

Traveling abroad never comes without it's struggles. Our first struggle came when trying to find our rental car. It was raining out, and the parking lot was a huge maze of cars. We actually got into one car, and after spending ten minutes trying to get it to start, realized we were sitting in the wrong car. However, as we were walking around the lot tired and frustrated (and damp), we saw a rainbow poke through the clouds. It had to have been a sign that despite our frustration, we were where we were supposed to be.
I had the pleasure of being the first to adjust to driving on the left side of the road. It was strange at first, but became easier over time. We were planning on staying the night in Galway, and decided to make our first stop on the way the Cliffs of Moher.

Connor and I spent several hours exploring the cliffs. I was terrified when first looking down, but the amazing views pulled me fearlessly closer to the edge. There were times when the wind was so strong we had to hold onto fences along the way just to ground ourselves. Slightly terrifying, but also worth every minute.
After we finished exploring the Cliffs and filled our stomach's with raisin scones and tea, we began our journey to Galway. The roads were tiny and very winding, but we had some incredible views of crumbling castles and rocky mountainsides. 

When we arrived in Galway our first order of business was to drop our bags off and begin exploring the main street called Quay Street (Connor told me the correct pronunciation is actually "Key" street). Quay Street is lined with picturesque shops covered in flower baskets, and musicians and Irish dancers can be found performing for the busy crowds. 

After doing some shopping we popped into a bar for our first pint of Guinness of the trip. I grabbed for the beer as soon as the bartender finished pouring, and was quickly stopped by both my brother and the bartender and told you have to let it settle first. The trick is to fill up the glass a little more than half way, let it settle, then fill up the rest of the glass.

I quickly learned how friendly the Irish are when the couple sitting next to us struck up a conversation that lasted for hours. They were amazed when we told them how much we already accomplished that day. We had a few drinks together and were fast friends.

After we said goodbye to our new friends we headed to a different spot for dinner. I felt that I wanted to have the real "Irish" experience and tried some of Connor's muscles. After a few bites I decided I was better off ordering a beef stew made with Guinness and a side of mashed potatoes. 
We finished off the day walking around the Galway Bay were we found rows of colored houses and even a few swans. It began to get chillier as the sun set so we pulled out our sweaters and headed home for the night. We were both exhausted and quickly asleep, eager to see what the next day had in store as we traveled to Dingle. 

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