We decided to spend some time touring the area surrounding Clifden. Our first stop was the Connemara Giant. Here is what local legend has to say “Sitting in the gaze of the Twelve Bens mountain range is The Connemara Giant, Ireland’s only late 20th century antiquity. A local tale has it that if you touch the hand of the giant, you will be blessed with the knowledge of his ancient tribe. Connemara is named after a man named Conn and translates as ‘Conn, son of the sea’. Touching the hand of the giant is like kissing the Blarney Stone or drinking a pint of Guinness in a traditional Irish pub. They say you haven’t been to Connemara until you have done it. countless people from all over the world have taken advantage of this Irish pilgrimage.”
By the way, Conn is looking for some friends on facebook. It would make his stony heart warm if you would like him (The Connemara Giant) on facebook. You can tell him that his friends from Virginia sent you!
I don’t know how it happened but my kids had never seen an honest to goodness phone booth. Ryan wanted to test it. Sean, well, he was Sean!
We visited Roundstone Music see how traditional Irish Bodhran’s were still made by hand. We were able to watch a gentleman working on a drum and to see so many amazing instruments. Ryan selected a small drum as a gift for Sean. When we were paying for it, the owner and master drum maker, Malachy started talking with the children. He spent time getting to know each one. He gave Clare a set of wooden spoons to learn to play, Sean a miniature replica of the drum he made for Riverdance and Ryan was given a claddagh pin. What wonderful experiences can be had with real craftsmen at their stores. You can see their fine work at http://www.bodhran.com
Another craftsman that we visited today was Graham Roberts from Connemara Smokehouse. We were able to take a tour and watch how Graham prepares all of their smoked fish products by hand. The care and experience that he brings to food is really an art. Most of you know how much I love to cook but I was in awe at the time and (I know it sounds corny) love that he puts into every part of the process really shows. It make using superior quality products in my cooking that much more meaningful. http://www.smokehouse.ie
I am finding that the moments that I love most about this trip is seeing life happen around us. Fishermen doing their jobs. Ponies, cattle and sheep grazing on the rocky hillsides. I can only hope that I learn to take the time to appreciate the same rhythms and everyday life at home.