Ballyvaughan, County Clare…birthday eve near The Burren.

We traded in our Ford Focus for a VW Caravelle van for the Shannon Airport pickup.

Mike and Sky travelled an entire day from Steamboat Springs, to Denver, flight to Philly; 3 hour layover then hopped on the plane to Ireland with Amy Roach and Michael Brock…to a pickup in Shannon at 8AM today.  Thanks for all of the sleeplessness…we will try to make it melt away today.

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Destination by noon…Gregan’s Castle Hotel.  Facility was warm; the people even moreso.
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The rooms are large and filled with comfortable furnishings.
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The Burren is a rock-outcropping about 10 miles square right out our window.  Our plan for the afternoon – weather-permitting – is to hike here with Shane, our local guide after lunch.

We had another of those strange driving experiences that we have had before in Scotland.  Out of the airport to a highway, off at an exit for Ballyvaughan, down a narrow road, then a turn onto the dreaded SINGLE TRACK ROAD….did you ever do one of those? So, when someone approaches, you both stop and see where one of you can pull into the weeds far enough to allow two cars to pass on a one car road.  Not good.  And, no photos.

Then, we pull into the hotel, the rooms aren’t ready.  Well, now we experience one of those Ireland miracles…”Why don’t you come to the drawing room and we will see if we can’t find something for you to nibble on while we finish the rooms”.  Fabulous performance and perfect recovery from the drive.

But, as you may be able to see, we are looking through a bit of fog at the Limestone phenomenon called the Burren – a phenomenal place to hike and learn.  The rooms are ready and are perfect….and great bathrooms with more-than-large showers that promise plenty of hot water for the refreshing that our travelers can use.  Then, lunch…delicious and served by a professional and practiced staff…and we watch the rain start.

So, the front desk lady calls Shane, our guide, and invites him to come to the bar to meet us rather than hike with us in this downpour.  Here’s Shane, right out of the rain with his rain gear still on and his stories and sense of humor intact.  His life is interpreting The Burren…and he knows his stuff.

Our group is intrigued…

Well, not totally intrigued…somewhat jet-lagged, too.  No break in the rain, so, after Shane leaves, everyone heads to their fine rooms for some rest before we motor down to the village of Ballyvaughan for dinner later.

One more story from yesterday before I close out today’s story.  Tim, Cindy, Justin and Garrett Roach did some intriguing planning to find and get in touch with Tom and Treasa McNamara…they had met them when the McNamara’s were with us last Thanksgiving in Sanibel.  So, Cindy wrote a poem, Tom shopped for great wine by sending her labels from a local Tullamore store with photos on WhatsApp, they did a video for Happy Birthday and delivered these presents yesterday while we were at the Tullamore McNamara’s home.  It was a total surprise and orchestrated internationally with great skill.  Thanks, Roachs, for your caring and craftiness.

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Here’s the poem, which Cindy & Tim gave to us earlier this week in a sealed envelope with orders to “Only open this when you are with the McNamara’s at their home.”

We still have our cards…not to be opened until the 8th and the 12th.  Promise!

chiproach

Lifelong Philadelphia area Realtor. Now a 10-year citizen of Sanibel, Florida. Married to Nancy for 53 years. Three children (2 in Devon; 1 in Steamboat Springs, CO) and 5 grandkids. Helping with charities involving poverty, kids and education.

4 comments

  • HI LOVES!

    I’M HAVING SUCH FUN TRAVELING ALONG WITH YOU.

    ARE THE FISHING COTTAGES ALONG THE MAIN STREET IN BALLYVAUGHAN STILL RENTED OUT??? WE TOOK ONE, JUST A FEW MONTHS AFTER THEY WERE CONSTRUCTED, FOR TWO WEEKS (KIDS WERE 4,6,AND 8). ONE WEEK OF THE BURREN (WHICH TOM AND I LOVED) AND TOM ASKED THE KIDS AT BREAKFAST IF THEY’D RATHER BE IN PARIS? EVERYONE SHOUTED YES, SO WE DUCKED OUT THE LAST WEEK AND WENT TO PARIS!

    GOD BLESS ALL ON YOUR WONDERFUL JOURNEY.

    LOVE FROM SANDY

    On Wed, Jun 7, 2017 at 12:38 PM, Chip Roach’s Journal wrote:

    > chiproach posted: “We traded in our Ford Focus for a VW Caravelle van for > the Shannon Airport pickup. Mike and Sky travelled an entire day from > Steamboat Springs, to Denver, flight to Philly; 3 hour layover then hopped > on the plane to Ireland with Amy Roach and Michael Bro” >

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    • So, Sandy, here I am writing my humble blog on a rainy day and all I want to do is to read YOUR life story from cover to cover. Such a great episode right there. I will report later on Ballyvaughan…we are just about to get into the van, hope the single track road is behind us, and head down there for dinner tonight.

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  • Glad everyone arrived safely and I hope the sun comes out for you the rest of the trip!
    Love your storytelling:)
    Happy birthday eve!

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  • Sounds wonderful! Happy happy birthday, Chipper! Was working in the garden and thinking of you today. Love you!

    Like

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