Sunday, July 04, 2010

European Travelogue, Independence Day Edition: Day 10, another Tra (Beach) near Galway

We were blown away by the weather while we were in Ireland. It was sunny and warm. People were flooding the beaches.

On our second full day in Galway we took it slow again, this time heading west to Barna on a hunch from a friendly local,* to find a nice beach, some enchanting wooded hike and lunch at a blue restaurant on a pier.

Along the way we stopped to enjoy some of the gorgeous, authentic rock walls along the seaside.

In this picture you can see the sea and just a bit of the Aran Islands on the top right.

Here is the rocky side of the beach.

We quickly found the signs for "Tra" and the tell-tale yellow buildings indicating an actual sandy beach in which people would swim, sun, and generally relax. We were struck by the stereotypical Irish lifestyle: slow, calm, not rushing, no hurry. A friend of mine's long-time partner is Irish and was a professor at George Mason University while I was at American during graduate school. She once told me that the Irish work to live while we live to work. I was struck by that then, and we experienced it first-hand with the Bride's family and at every restaurant where the wait staff take it nice and easy (which was mostly good, except if we had waited too long with the kids to eat).

At this beach, Big made friends with a couple of little boys who were picking up the jellyfish that had washed up on shore and were throwing them back into the sea. We loved dissecting them and flipping them over to see their gooey undersides.

Behind the Tra, the kids and I hiked up the cliff to get a better view.

You could see the blue restaurant where we had planned to grab lunch at the "peak". That and the little hike was enough to whet our appetite!

The place was perfect. Gorgeous. On the pier with a bit of outdoor seating and excellent fish. I'm not sure the kids loved it, but we enjoyed our Smithwick's and chowder, and the view. It looked darling inside and I suspect is a world-class restaurant with a very romantic ambiance.

Notice the yellow sign by BioMom. This was literally the only warning sign we saw on the entire trip. And this wasn't a particularly dangerous spot! I mean sure, were you to drive over that edge you weren't getting your car back, but that was the LEAST of my worries on most of those near-single-lane roads.

After lunch we headed to the Barna Woods for a hike in an enchanted forest.

*We had a few magical moments with local Irish people (our new family included). This was one of them. A grandma on a beach with her grandkids playing with ours. A few more of these encounters will come up in days to come. In retrospect, these chance meetings seemed somehow like fate giving us nudges as to how to spend our time.

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