Thursday, June 7, 2012

Galway and the Grand Reception

We had breakfast call at 7:30am with the coach for the "optional" tour leaving for Connemara at 8:30am. My husband and I opted to explore the Anan Islands, specifically the Inis Mor after reading an internet post regarding the McManus clan. My great-grandmother was a McManus.

I happened to notice online that you could get a ferry with a bus connection from the city center. So, we jumped in a taxi and upon arrival to the ticket counter met up with the bus driver to go the airport and FLY to the island (an 8 minute flight no less!)

 We wanted to be on the noon ferry, so we didn't have a lot of time, but found a tour guide willing to accomodate our time constraints. A quaint thatched roof home. Not all are this way, but there are still a few. About every 3 years the roof must be replaced. Some will do one side one year, and the other side the next to keep it from being too much work. In one day half the roof can be done provided the family works together to make it happen.

He took us around the island along with another couple that he dropped off to do the hike to the fort. This "D" shaped fort is believed to date before early Christian times. It can be seen below on the horizon.

A small beach area. This sand would be mixed with seaweed in order to make soil. Otherwise the island was ROCK.

We stopped at a cemetary that is still used, but has a lot of very ancient gravestones that are very difficult to read.

A salt water lake on the island.

An early church built during Cromwell's time.

Sweater Museum and store. Each stitch had a different meaning an was typically stitched by a different family. Fisherman lost at sea would often be identified based on the stitch in their sweater.

We took the ferry back to Ireland.

Note the paint that is gone from this channel marker (i.e. where it is no longer red). The tide appears to be out. This gives yo usome indication at the significant tidal movement that takes place.

Upon returning back to Galway we went looking for a toilet and food. In our pursuit suddenly we were surrounded by men in camo and carrying guns. Turns out they were guarding the money truck (blue) and progressing along a street exchanging funds at each bank along its route.

We walked through a mall, but the mall toilets required coinage to go through a turnstile in order to even get into the toilet, and we didn't have any coins. Outside the mall we found a "SuperMacs" (100% irish--seemed quite McDonald's looking to us, but anyway) that did have a toilet in the back that we could use. The food appeared to be rediculous in price and so we continued our quest.

We walked down Shop Street and discovered this little gem. Wonderful crepes, soup and root vegetable salad.

We did find another SuperMacs because we had seen this sign (below, left in the window) and Duncan was convinced we should try this 'Swirly'. Fortunately the local 6th graders who had won the tug-o-war at school had been treated by their teacher and were eating in here as well. Duncan engaged them in conversation to find out where the best CHIPS in town are, they made a recommendation and I'm sure he'll be finding them on another day, trust me, he'll find them!

We then walked back to the hotel. Not a bad walk, but in the pouring rain it was getting rather WET and COLD and you have to get through a very busy round a bout or two.

Here is our hotel from the outside.

It was time to take a bit of a rest and for me to get ready for the Grand Reception. Our bus left promptly at 5:30p. Since Duncan stayed at the hotel, my companions for the evening were Sherwood and Becky. Becky has been to Jinny Beyer Hilton Head seminars in the past, not the year I was there, but for several years before that, so we have experiences in common. Fun to meet others who have been able to participate in similar experiences.

I got to see several acquaintances and meet others in person who I have connected with online. Here are a few:

Jackie Robinson and Sharon Pederson --I've participated in challenges hosted by both and wound up being a winner at some level in both. Sharon wanted to do an 'oreo' picture, so I kept trying to be on the outside since both of us had green on....but after the photo that they insisted on, I then realized what she was trying to do (note the hair colors) ;-)

From our McCalls Quilt Design Star 2011 competition -- Maureen Walsh

and Linda Dalton

Penny Barnes--also a group escort and works at The Quilted Forest, owned by Shelley Robson that does Pieced Tree Patterns and that I originally met at Int'l Quilt Market in 2009. Fun to figure all of that out and meet another part of Shelley's staff. Penny does the long-arm quilting at TQF. This picture could be in better focus, but I had to show it to you primarily due to the woman on the left that is reacting to accidentally being in the photo! HA!

A bag piper entertained while the champagne flowed --unfortunately nothing non-alcoholic was available. The piper eventually led us into the dining room and continued to provide music.

Jinny Beyer was the keynote speaker and spoke of her own family heritage. The theme of the festival is to pass the quilting traditions on to the next generation. Jinny shared a couple of quilt tops that were made by her own family in prior generations and was thankful for the genes that were passed down to her. Jinny was presented with a beautiful Irish cut glass bowl representing Sew Many Places'/Int'l Quilt Festival of Ireland's first Lifetime Achievement Award.

The youngest (7) and eldest (93) quilters in Ireland were also honored. The eldest's advice: when you start a project, FINISH IT!

Our salad was lovely.

I forgot to take a photo of the main course, but there were choices of beef, salmon, or vegetarian. The vege was a cheese torte with mashed potatoes, carrot/parsnip (likely) puree, and broccoli that was NOT overcooked. It was all quite nice. Below is the selection of desserts provided.

The show went on until well past 10:30pm. Trad on the Prom was the featured entertainment-- Beautiful Irish music and dance by the best in the country. A treat for all of us. The Irish version of bag pipes that uses a bellow pumped by the piper's elbow vs. blowing into the bellow was probably my favorite. Given my jet lag, 10pm would have been well sufficient, but it was all beautiful.

We were each given a goodie bag which included these items.

I'm still not sure where my lecture will be given in the morning or how anyone will know about it, but just need to trust at this point it will all work out and get some sleep.

Our leader, Pam Holland, posted photos from the Connemara trip today as well. Beautiful!! Well worth a look.

1 comment:

  1. So nice you could rub shoulders with the friends we made during the McCall's 2011 Contest there, and also the "Famous Quilters" you all look great for what little sleep you have been getting...