Wet West Coast
CLARINBRIDGE/CONNEMARA, IRELAND December 5-20, 2013
Leah: After a relaxing few days exploring Cork (where we were upgraded for free to a private room at the Aaran House Hostel due to a lack of availability in our requested dorm room) it was time to head onward and upward to the village of Clarinbridge. About 17km outside of Galway, it was here where we’d be based for a few weeks with our next Workaway host, Carmel, and her 11 year old son, Julian. No bus problems this time and as we alighted that evening and were met by this small family on the rain dampened pavement we felt welcomed and right at home.
These two have lived quite the life (Carmel was a former university professor in German literature and has lived abroad in Switzerland and Germany; both she and Julian are consequently fluent in Germany) and have interests ranging from singing, painting and teaching writing (Carmel) to table tennis, aikido and computer games (Julian). We also met our match in terms of reading, as this dynamic duo’s house is festooned with books since they’re also addicts of the written word in all its forms. There were way too many times to count when I’d look up from the blood, lust and battle scenes of Games of Thrones only to stifle a giggle at the sight of all four of us curled up in our various corners thoroughly engrossed in our breakaway literary worlds. Heaven.
To top it off, there was also the night Carmel turned and asked, “Oh, did you hear about the school shooting in Colorado today?” My heart pounding through my chest and fighting off waves of nausea, I waited with clammy hands while she brought up the story on her laptop before passing it to me. Scanning the story as quickly as I dared in an effort to pick out the relevant information, I released the breath I didn’t know I had been holding when I saw that the school in question, Arapahoe High School, wasn’t the elementary school where my mom currently teaches. However, that was little consolation, as Arapahoe HS is just a mere seven miles from my family’s home and a ten minute drive from the campus that houses my mom’s school and my former high school in the nothing-ever-happens-here middle class Denver suburbs.
We finished off our west coast sojourn in Connemara, where we’d be staying a few days with our Dublin host/new friend, Ciara, her mom and the two Hetta Huskies dogs, Britt and Rira, Ciara had adopted a few years ago. After meeting in Galway the three of us boarded a bus for Clifden, where her mom, Doreen, would meet us and take us to her home close to Letterfrack overlooking the ocean. Yes please. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t on our side, as much of Ireland had been experiencing some of the worst storms in decades and while the drive through the Connemara region took our breath away, so did the frigid weather, driving rain and unrelenting wind.
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