Hurricanes and Rainbows

In less than 3 hours you can drive completely cross-country in Ireland, but you would be foolish not to stop at the Wonderful Barn, Maynooth Town, Clonmacnoise or another historic site along the way.

Renvyle
We reached Galway late evening and headed north up to the Connemara Loop to spend the night in the village of Renvyle. Our GPS had utterly failed, we had gotten the willies from a person who approached us, and we were trying to quickly navigate oceanside cliff territory in the dark while it was storming. Worse, Hurricane Ophelia had crossed the Atlantic and was headed toward Ireland.

This video really sets the mood with the storms / moving through the forest in the dark theme.

It was pitch black and nearly midnight when we arrived in Renvyle. Unsure what to expect, we camped out in the living room, glued to the news. There was no phone or wi-fi and we could not get a cell signal, so we felt very uneasy. After showers and hot tea, we managed to get a little sleep, but I was up early tuned into the news again.

Luckily it was nice early in the morning. I went for a walk about half a mile down the loop.

22550038_10155888491308885_6456523913731670517_n

22310448_10155888491128885_1848862566613238470_n

Renvyle is one of many villages on the Connemara Loop, which runs along the Connemara National Park. The region is tucked into the center of the western coast Ireland, right on the Atlantic. Renvyle is fairly close to Inisbofin Island, and about three hours north of Doolin and the Cliffs of Moher by car.

22491735_10155874039008885_9141694909020212328_n

I skipped back hurriedly after the sky suddenly went dark and the winds were so strong they nearly knocked me over. Once the rain started, I stopped taking photos.

We had tea and watched the sky go from black to blue and back for a couple hours. Irish radio, while awful with music, is hilarious with call-in radio shows. I started in on the book our new friend had gifted me with in Belfast, and we counted our blessings.

22449695_10155874038963885_5358415003686153646_n

Suddenly, everything seemed fine again so we set out for a walk together. There were even double rainbows all across the village!

22555160_10155888490888885_1469115047905400260_n

22539909_10155888492773885_7492967130302665171_n

Our cottage was on a hill overlooking two beaches, a sandy one and a rocky one with a trail that went up the mountain.

22448520_10155874039973885_3563459685952265687_n

Rocky Beach

22687857_10155888491343885_5257961857185909596_n

Sandy Beach

It was remote and quiet, the only sound was the nearby sheep.

22448483_10155874039568885_2997509056526535005_n

22449711_10155874039408885_2853545972635855042_n

The news said the storm hit Cork and Kerry hard, and was heading north up the coast toward Renvyle in an hour or two. Since we had no food and wanted to check in with our families, we drove around the loop to the nearest village to find wi-fi and something to eat.

22539864_10155888483273885_3504521420408486845_n

As everything went dark again, sheets of rain fell from the sky in rhythmic pulses. Waves from the ocean started heaving onto the beaches, flooding just enough that sand was no longer visible.

 

Tully, the nearest village, was already a ghost town so we turned to Letterfrack. At this point we were a mere twelve or thirteen minutes from Renvyle. We found a grocery and a hostel/cafe, whose staff let us in to warm up and use their wi-fi.

22365170_10155874670593885_257611531636635847_n

I realized right away that this place was on the protected side of the mountain and on a hill, versus our place that was facing the storm and had begun to flood. So we rushed back to get our things and relocated to the hostel instead.

 

Letterfrack

22528396_10155874670798885_3591411861862984289_n

We checked into the Letterfrack Hostel with our carload of snacks and waited for the storm to blow through.

22688094_10155888493143885_6802377125858437117_n

My friend kept me in stitches dancing/lip-synching Michael Jackson songs.  It was a peaceful evening and we slept like boulders. Though it stormed heavily and thunder boomed all night, Ophelia seemed to have gone right around us.

Early the following morning, she woke up and noticed an enormous deer outside our window. His shoulders were taller than the top of a parked SUV several feet away, estimating him to be around eight feet tall or more.

22687622_10155888493188885_1352699525199006002_n

We were mesmerized by how graceful he was, his ears perking up with every sound and movement around him. Each time I tried to snap his photo, he would freeze and stare at me.

After breakfast we set out to explore the Connemara National Park, which I have written a separate entry about [link will be updated].

22687969_10155888535333885_1353999888235449440_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s