Cliffhanging and matchmaking.
Hectic day of contrasts. Arrived in windswept Shannon this morning whilst hurricane Katia was blowing herself out. One minute bathed in sunshine, next driving rain and hail, then winds so fierce you could hardly stand up. Collected our car, then on to the Cliffs of Moher, which are trying to become one of the new seven wonders of the world - you can vote for them on their website. They are truly amazing, and there's also an awesome info centre/cafe built into the hillside behind them.
On to Lisdoonvarna where the annual matchmaking festival was in full swing. I was so taken by this when I first heard about it years ago that I named several projects after the town in World Knits - see Lisdoonvarna Jacket below. Whilst we were there we attended one of several tea dances (nearest word I can use to describe them, tho everyone seemed to be interpreting the dance in their own individual way!). I'm not sure exactly what the etiquette is but matchmaking appears to be conducted under the watchful eye of the resident matchmaker. There's a real buzz about the place, with every business in the town devoted to the cause for the six weeks of the festival. There are even fortune tellers plying their trade in the local square from the back of their vans, ready to tell you whether or not you'll be lucky in love in the near future. Philip couldn't miss that photo opportunity!
Next on to the breath-taking limestone pavements of the Burren - whole hillsides of limestone scattered with tiny colourful wild flowers. The Poulnabrone dolmen is a honey trap, neolithic and was built at least 5000 years ago.
Then on to our last stop, Kinvarra, a tiny town at the head of an ocean inlet, where we've been years ago and I loved the vibe there so much I named a sweater for Vogue Knitting after it (below). The Irish are certainly not afraid of colour and there's a feast of it here - the houses are so jolly even two weary travellers who'd been up since 3am the night before were reinvigorated.
Finally in early evening we pulled into our hotel in Galway, more than ready for supper and early bed.