2014 – Day Twenty Five

Back to driving north along the Wild Atlantic Way. Today we are making our way through the county of Galway…and oh my lord, is it rocky.

This area of the coast is extraordinary convoluted, dipping and turning constantly. The sea can be to our left, then right, then left again within a few kilometres. With the estuaries, the tidal swamps and the streams it’s a fierce but beautiful landscape. The mercurial nature of the coast alone would have made it a tough place to live. The rocks add another whole layer. Stone is everywhere you look. Enormous boulders larger than the motorhome, fields are forged in stone, the mountains are stone, the houses are stone. There is stone fencing as far as the eye can see. It’s raw, rough and rugged. Centuries ago, you would have had to have been made of very stern stuff to survive and eek out a life here. It’s such a tough landscape. I can’t imagine the devastation a blight on the land like the potato famine would have caused here. There would be no second chance in this landscape.

Galway is really interesting in its geological make up. The rocks and boulders here are not the purple stone that we have seen everywhere to date. Neither are they are the limestone of The Burren. Instead we move to grey slate, then white and cream rock, rich in quartz, then back to grey again, then back to purple stone.

It rains today, and the cloud sets in. At one stage we take “the Sky Road” around a mountain. It’s name is apt. With the low cloud, the visibility is nil, we are driving through cloud, on the narrowest of roads, with a sheer drop on one side. I snap a few nails off in terror. Chris as usual, takes it all in his stride, all while talking me off a ledge.

We also do our good deed for the day rescuing a French couple off the Sky Road. They thought they were on a loop road, going back into Clifden, but in fact they were about to end up in a town miles away. On foot. With huge backpacks. In the rain. We drive them
around the mountain then back to Clifden, but I have to wonder what would have happened to them walking on. On foot, they would have made it to the next town (they weren’t aiming for) 4 – 5 hours later, well into the night.

We finish the day in Clifden, in an Eco park, on a hill overlooking an estuary. Wildflowers abound and there’s a very cute Jack Russell who wants to be friends. That’ll do.

Even though the scenery is utterly beautiful, We’re both tiring of the constant driving. Might be time for a revisit of the timetable.