I’ve spent the past two nights here in Connemara at the Sleepzone Connemara overlooking the Killary Fjord. Reputedly this is the only Fjord in Ireland. Lonely Planet suggests that it’s not technically a fjord as it wasn’t glaciated. I’m not sure who to believe, but it’s a very beautiful place.
It’s actually a good deal when booked through the Sleepzone Hostel in Galway. I got a discounted rate on the tour bus. The Galway Tour Company runs a loop out through Connemara. It’s normally a day tour, but in the case of those staying at Sleepzone, you are put off part way through the tour and can pick up with another group on a following day. I chose to stay two nights here. There’s also a Burren route with a Sleepzone hostel as well. Had I not gone to Inis Mór (or spent less time there), I would have liked to have gone that way, but at least the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher, the big ticket items on that tour were in my Paddywagon tour, however brief.
Anyway, it’s been a nice couple of days here. The weather has been a bit warmer but perpetually wet. I still think I got some cool landscape photos and shots of the fjord (or whatever it really is). Most of the rain has been of the misty sort, so with jacket and umbrella in tow, no problem. It does hit my list of somewhere I’d like to come back to in summer, maybe with a car to really take it all in.
On the tour out, had a great driver (hope he may be the one that picks up this afternoon). Maybe it was because we were such a small group, but I can’t imagine he’s not always a card. He was telling us he had never done the tour before and kept asking us how to get to Connemara. At one point, he even circled a roundabout multiple times asking us which road to take. The funniest part, though, may have been when we were driving down this little lane quite slowly and someone on the bus saw a fox. He looked off to see it (apparently a rare sight here) and bumped into a farmer’s fence! It was funnier because of how he’d been acting lost/inept earlier! We took in some spectacular mountain vistas and saw some old cottages, towers, and cairns. We also had a brief stop in a tiny village. Don’t have the map in front of me, so not sure what’s on the second leg this afternoon.
The hostel has been nice. I think there are only the three Sleepzones in the chain, but just based on the two I’ve been to, I’d recommend them all. Well run, clean, warm, hot showers, all the things I expect in a hostel. I’m not looking for the ritz after all.
The first night, if not for a French brother and sister traveling by car, I’d have been the only guest. She was studying in Limerick, and her brother was visiting her on holiday. He spoke pretty much no English, which led to an interesting search through the Hostel DVDs for something that combined either English or French subtitles. As I’d just finished watching Tropic Thunder when they came in, I was fine with our first choice, a French movie with English subtitles, or so it said. The movie started and this guy spouted off a soliloquy and they put like three English words across the bottom of the screen. The looks of horror on the French speakers faces was hilarious. i didn’t say anything but broke down laughing when they turned it off. Obviously it was poorly subtitled… So we searched again, and this is how we came to watch an old John Wayne movie, Hitari, dubbed in French with English subtitles. I don’t know if the plot would have seemed so unending if not for the subtitles, but I can say that the technicolor images of Africa from over 40 years ago were breathtaking at least.
The second night, we were practically bursting with people by comparison. A French couple who I never spoke to enough to get their story came by car, and a brother and sister from Brazil showed up on the tour bus. The sister is studying in Portugal and the brother is here for a month on holiday seeing the sights with her. They go back to Galway on the same bus with me this afternoon. I watched the back half of “What Just Happened” with the French couple. I didn’t see enough of it to really form an opinion, but the general Hollywood theme was funny. Afterwards I thumbed through the DVD selection. I have to give a slight edge to the Kilronan Hostel on Inis Mor for DVD selection, but both had good catalogs. There was just less here that I hadn’t seen or wanted to see again right now. So, I ended up watching Oliver Stone’s “W” – even after watching it, I think it’s too soon for me to really digest it, the events still too recent. Although I was amazed at how many of the events depicted I had already forgotten. I guess my attention span is shorter than I thought. I had forgotten Bush landing on an aircraft carrier and the declaration of victory in Iraq already for instance…
Anyway, that catches me up to now. I’ve checked out. It’s too overcast for me to really be interested in walking anywhere until the bus is here for me to get back on bound for Galway. So, I’m just relaxing in the hostel until I get to head back. Once in Galway, I’m snagging the first bus to Dublin that I can. I have reservations there at Jacobs Inn (the hostel I stayed in when last in Dublin) for the remainder of my time in Ireland. Hoping to see more of Dublin without ice and snow and maybe take in some day tours out or something.