I spent last Saturday on a tour of the Connemara area of Ireland with the main stop of the day being Kylemore Abbey, a castle turned nun-run boarding school.
The absolute beauty of this area is unmatched by anywhere I have ever seen. The pictures I have here do it absolutely no justice. The tour guide pulled the bus over in the middle of nowhere and we all got out to see the land up close. It was unreal. I felt like I was in a dream concocted by a painter obsessed with the surreal. The level of emerald all around was blinding and the fog that hung around the tips of the mountains strengthened the dreamlike quality of it all. The only thing that allowed me to believe that what I was seeing was real was the abundance of sheep excrement that surely wouldn’t exist in a dream. The mountains and the countryside belong to the sheep not towns or villages. Though there are a few farmhouses in the area, they don’t seem important.
Kylemore Abbey originally known as Kylemore Castle was built by Mitchell Henry for wife Margaret and family. The couple were known to be the nicest people in the area and people flocked to the castle to be employed by a kind family. When Margaret died Mitchell had a Gothic church built in her honor and a mausoleum crafted to hold her remains. The common folk lore is that if you are truly in love, you will feel love resonating within the church as Mitchell truly adored his wife and wanted to honor her with a beautiful building. After Mitchell left the estate it was bought by a group of Benedictine nuns in 1920 who transformed the luxurious estate into an all girls boarding school. The school remained open until 2010.
Though I saw great things on this tour and the last I think this was my last guided tour. When we were out in the mountains among the sheep and the fog all I wanted was to walk around and explore on my own but we were only allotted a few moments there. This scheduled exploration is not my ideal way to see the world. I like to make the decisions and have a hard time relinquishing that organizational control to someone else.
Next on my list to see is the Aran Islands. I hope to rent a bike and do my own tour of the sights and decide on my own how much of each thing I want to see.
To my knitting readers, the sheep that populated the area were sadly not wool bearing sheep. The majority of the sheep are for meat. I know, I was disappointed too.