| Treasures of Ireland:
Story and photos by Tom Weber
the border between counties Clare and Galway in the province of Connacht,
Galway Bay is a 50 km X 30 km (30 mi X 18 mi) inlet brimming with oyster
and mussel beds and surrounded by layer upon layer of spectacular scenery.
Like Kinvara, a colorful seaport village with, purportedly, the most
photographed castle on the Emerald Isle, Dunguaire.
Normally an obligatory photo-op stop for
tour operators, our motor coach, with the intrepid "band of merry
media" aboard 18 travel writers and photographers invited
Insight Vacations to sample a portion of its Treasures
of Ireland itinerary just zips by the iconic 16th century
tower-house and past small fishing boats and colorful cottages, as Eugene,
aka The Quiet Man, puts pedal-to-the-metal around the bay and
guns it to our next port of call: Galway City.
Steeped in history her roots go
back to the early 12th century Galway is a prosperous bohemian,
artsy cosmopolitan city. Widely considered the Emerald Isle's cultural
heart, Galway, in a word, is COOL.
For openers, the sixth most populous city
in Ireland is considered one of the "sexiest cities in the world,"
one of the "great cities of the world," one of the "best
travel destinations in the world," and, the foam atop a pint of
Guinness, the "friendliest city in the world." The latter
according to readers of Travel + Leisure.
Admired for her vibrant lifestyle, colorful
storefronts and pubs, exceptional dining and overall festive nature,
Galway plays host to a burgeoning calendar of organized events that
attracts visitors from around the globe.
Designated a UNESCO City of Film,
she hosts the annual Galway Film Fleadh, the International
Arts Festival and the Tulca Festival of Visual Arts. There's
also the International Mussel and Oyster festivals, and the Gathering
of the Boats festival, featuring 100+ uniquely Irish craft: the
Why, there's even the Dip in the Nip,
the first-ever skinny dip for charity.
And, that's just the tip of the iceberg
for the city considered by her peers to be the "most Irish"
One of the most scenic and lyrical spots
in all of Ireland, Galway Bay was immortalized in the eponymous song
penned by Dr. Arthur Colahan and turned into an international hit by
Pure melancholy for Irish immigrants who
longed to return to their homeland after settling in America, Galway
Bay seems like the perfect tune to quietly bring the curtain down
on our short stay in Galway City along the Wild Atlantic Way.
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of Ireland itinerary, just click HERE,
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Pardon the cliché, but as the sun
slowly sinks in the west our man Eugene is at it again, making fast
tracks for today's final destination: Ashford Castle. If we don't
shake a leg, a piper in full regalia, waiting patiently at the front
gate, just might let the air out of his bagpipes.
Cliffs of Moher; Remembering
the Great Famine; Along
the Banks of the River Shannon; The
Dingle Peninsula; Grazing
on The 19th Green