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Connemara, St. Patrick’s Day, and Kilkenny

Connemara, St. Patrick’s Day, and Kilkenny

On the afternoon of March 5th, Tim and I decided to take an impromptu circle drive. Once in the car, we looked at the map and decided that it would be fun to drive up to Partry in County Mayo and then return along the shores of Lough Mask and Lough Corrib back to Galway. We love driving the smaller winding roads, and the drive that day proved to be stellar (as is usually the case on our drives here in Ireland!).

We made our way up the main road to Partry and then cut off on R300, driving west to Srah. We missed a turn because we were deep in conversation, but managed to find a lovely small road that led us back to the route that followed the shores of beautiful Lough Mask. We stopped briefly at a flooded boat launch area onto Lough Mask to enjoy the beautiful afternoon (here is a video of the sights and sounds). Across the road from the boat launch were two houses, each with a small, walled pasture in front. In both pastures, sheep were grazing, and lambs (newborn and days-old) were wobbling around or running and jumping, testing out their legs. We enjoyed watching them play as we took in the sights, sounds, and smells at the lakeshore.

We continued following the lakeshore, and saw an old church ruin (we walked around inside..gorgeous!) and lots of other wonderful Irish countryside scenes. You can see some of them in our photos below. We changed our minds and decided to cut between Lough Mask and Lough Corrib and head home, since we were losing daylight. It proved to be a great choice, because we drove over a hill and suddenly saw the stunning Lough Nafooey in the valley below us. Wow! It was so pretty. And God was creating a twilight masterpiece in the sky at the same time! It was one of our favorite drives, and we can’t wait to get back out to that area and explore further!

The next day we celebrated my birthday by checking in at the Sea Breeze Lodge in Galway. It’s a 5-star B&B and wow, was it ever nice! We immediately connected with owner Freddy (you can see a picture below of us with him), and were given a super-warm welcome and 5-star guest experience. The room was thoughtfully laid out, with every amenity we could wish for, and we had a great view of Galway Bay from our patio. The room even had its own wall-integrated sound system so we could plug in our phones and play our own music!

Tim chose the place because I had been jonesing for a soaker tub, and we were not disappointed. Everything in the room was well-designed and we could tell the owners had definitely put their guests front of mind when creating the place. Oh, I forgot to mention that there was a Yamaha grand piano in the sitting room, and I was encouraged to play it as often as I wanted…awesome! We went to a movie that night, followed by dinner from Da Roberta’s (a yummy Italian place in Salthill), and a long soak. The next morning, Freddy treated us to a late breakfast in the sunroom, and an extended checkout. We can’t wait to go back! If you’re ever in town, you definitely need to stay here!

March has been a busy month for us. We have been working a lot at St. Mary’s…averaging 30 hours a week or so lately. Basketball is continuing, with Tim’s U15 team at St. Mary’s having made it through to the All-Ireland semi-finals after winning 2 of their 3 games on March 11th. The semi-finals and finals will be played on May 6th in Dublin, so that means two months of training and preparation still ahead! In the interim, Tim has been busy with cross-country meets at Mary’s, and with Basketball Ireland work. In addition, he spoke at a coaching the coaches clinic in Barna and conducted tryouts for the U14 Galway Area Girls basketball team.

Other basketball activities included the 2nd Annual 3v3 Festival of Basketball in Memory of Father Sean Manning, produced by our good friend Mike Lynch. I was fortunate to help register teams, answer questions, and announce the game matchups for the 2-day tournament, and Tim spent the entire second day of the tournament reffing games, before playing on one of the over-50s teams (yeah, he’s not quite in that age bracket yet, but they didn’t care!). Despite a full day of reffing, he still had legs and some juice to run up and down the court, and his team won their category!

I have been busy with org leadership work at Mary’s, with many new projects having been added to my plate.

The school started its Easter break on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day, and will be off until April 4th, so we have a nice long break. We managed to find a spot along the parade route for the Galway St. Patrick’s Day parade on Thursday, and you can see in the photos below some of what we saw from 4 rows back. It was packed (here’s a video), and there were moments when I thought my claustrophobia would overcome me, but fortunately we found a spot on the bridge with enough space to breathe. I only had my toes run over once by a harried parent pushing a stroller. I’ll never understand why people bring strollers to events like that…it is just too packed with people to navigate those things! We had a great time, though, and later that afternoon we went to our good friends Yvonne and Eric Hannagens for a St. Patrick’s Day dinner and party. We met their 3 children and niece, Eric’s sister and brother-in-law, and reconnected with Yvonne’s friend Yvonne and her daughter and grandson. It was a great time!

This past weekend, Tim and I went to Naas (near Dublin). He was invited to run a full day of training for the U16 Girls National Team, and while he was doing that I drove to Newbridge and back before finding a McDonald’s in which to plug in my computer and do some work. After the training we drove about an hour to Kilkenny, where we spent the night. Tim spoke the next day at the Basketball Ireland Coaches National Team Coaches Workshop in Kilkenny, and I was fortunate enough to attend his talk and meet some of the coaches afterward. We had to get back home to catch up on some work, so we didn’t have time to explore at all in Kilkenny, but will definitely be returning! By the way, Tim spotted a sign stating that Kilkenny is twinned with Kilkenny in my home state of Minnesota! Here’s a quick, drive-by video of Kilkenny Castle. I’m looking forward to going back and exploring the medeival sections of the town!

Time is flying by, and before we know it our first guests will be here! My cousin Katie will be with us in mid-April. We are considering a week-long trip to the south of Spain after Easter, but haven’t finalized plans yet. Maybe we’ll just go to Spain, Ireland. Or maybe both!

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