[Island]

Island (n.): any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water.

Ireland itself is an island—a part of the British Isles, although that is not accepted by the government of Ireland and thus cannot be considered quite accurate.  A minority of academia refers to these islands as the Atlantic Archipelago, although most people will just say Britain and Ireland instead.

It’s hard to remember that the island of Ireland is small when I rarely venture out of one county, but then I remember the sheer mass of the United States.  Did you know that Nebraska is literally twice the square mileage of Ireland (give or take a bit)?  It’s incredible to me, to know that I’m surrounded by water on a land mass that’s not even the size of my home state.

Today we traveled to Doolin, a small town north of Lahinch and Liscannor.  The town itself is very spread out along one main road, but there’s an active ferry system going between the mainland and the Aran Islands.  In fact, most of our day was spent on the ferries and the Aran Islands (except for Sam, who opted to climb over and around the Cliffs of Moher instead).

Courtesy of Sam Gentry
Courtesy of Sam Gentry

You remember the Cliffs of Moher, right?  They’re beautiful, and we got a wonderful sunny day to explore the Aran Islands, which are not actually visible in this photo.

Courtesy of Sam Gentry
Courtesy of Sam Gentry

Sam found a flag of Ireland atop the cliffs, and decided to pose with it.  You can see a bit of Doolin (I think) in the background.  But really, I think Sam is the main focus of this photo.

While Sam was off climbing cliffs and balancing on trails, Kaitlyn, Liz, and I took a ferry to the Aran Islands.  These islands are Gaelic-speaking, one of the last places in Ireland that people are fluent in the language and use it every day.

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I saw this little drawing in the sand on the beach, next to the remains of a 1960s shipwreck (of which the pictures did not turn out well), and snapped a photo.  I like it, because it can refer to many things.

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The shores of the islands are very rocky, with virtually no beaches.  Other than the ferries, which can take up to an hour, there is only a nine-seater plane for travel options off the island.

Courtesy of Kaitlyn Baucom
Courtesy of Kaitlyn Baucom

Toward the end of our time on the island, a storm started coming in.  It actually rained for most of the trip back, in which I took cover on the lower part of the ferry rather than standing on deck.

Courtesy of Sam Gentry
Courtesy of Sam Gentry

We stayed overnight in Doolin.  I wanted to take the bus back initially, since I had work the next morning, but I decided last-minute not to.  I’m not really a last-minute decisionmaker, guys.  But the hostel we stayed at, the Doolin Hostel, was quite accommodating.

Courtesy of Sam Gentry
Courtesy of Sam Gentry

We opted for a dorm room, which is quite a bit bigger than the dorms at Hastings College.  I really love the painting on the wall here, but the power went out during the night, so we woke up and promptly froze.

Courtesy of Sam Gentry
Courtesy of Sam Gentry

We also found a chocolate-maker, guys.  And the chocolate, which is handmade in Ireland, is wonderful.  It’s easily some of the best chocolate I’ve had, and I’ve had a lot of chocolate.

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