A visit to Roundstone, Ireland…

As we drove into the small town of Roundstone, with a population of 214, we were impressed by the design of the colorful properties on the main road.

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”
“Ireland and the UK share a chequered history. In 1801, Great Britain
annexed the Kingdom of Ireland under the Act of Union; in 1921, the Anglo-Irish
Treaty established the Irish Free State, an independent dominion of the British
crown partitioned from Northern Ireland; and in 1949, the Republic of Ireland
became fully independent from the UK.”

We’ve concluded that I can’t sit in the car for long periods. There’s rarely a location where we can pull over with the narrow winding roads, enabling me to get out and walk. It was easier on an airplane when I could walk up and down the aisles every hour or so.

On days like today, misty and cloudy, when we’re staying in, I get up and walk every 30 minutes rather than remain stuck in a chair for extended periods. The walking adds to my daily goals and, without a doubt, helps me feel much better.

This bay is Roundstone, referred to as Round-stone Haven as early as 1684.

Yesterday, after spending an hour in the car, I could barely walk to and then up the few steps to the little market. And yet, hours later, I felt chipper and walked usually.  

It’s the “nature of the beast.” In only six weeks, healing from four surgical procedures has taken its toll on me, the first of which was five months ago, the last only three months ago.  It could take a year before I’m entirely myself.

An old door as an entrance to a stone storage area serving the above house.

After yesterday’s walking fiasco, we started rethinking the upcoming two-day tour, August 16 and 17, 2019, from the ship to St. Petersburg, Russia. Each night, we’ll sleep on the ship, meeting up with our group of 12 or so for the next’s day’s outing.

After considerable research, we discovered the tour will require a tremendous amount of walking, often up and down steps and steep hills, often over uneven pavement. We’re scheduled to pay the deposit by tomorrow, the balance soon after that for a total cost of Euro 472, US $530 (for two).

Roundstone Harbour, mainly used for fishing.
Visiting Russia won’t require a separate visa if we’re signed up with a certified tour company and spend the night on the ship. Otherwise, we’d have to get a complicated visa which we’d prefer not to do. Here are the rules for entering Russia from this site:
  • “72-hour visa-free for international cruise ship/ferry passengers only if traveling with an organized tour and accompanied at all times by a tour operator.
  • Registration is required after seven business days.
  • American citizens may receive multiple-entry visas valid for three years.”

With these considerations, we contemplated a private tour for just the two of us.  But the cost for one day was more than for the two-day time. There are few accommodations on tours (from what we’d read from other passengers) for any disabilities.

Thus, we decided to go ahead with the two-day tour, sleeping on the ship each night as required, and I’ll do what I can. If I have to miss a few challenging venues, Tom will take photos while I’ll leisurely walk around the area checking out the shops, providing the driver states it’s safe to do so.  

We’ll figure it out. In the interim, I’ll continue to walk thousands of steps per day and climb the steep hill in front of the house, at least five times a week, a little further each day, to build my strength and stamina.

Anyway, back to Roundstone, which we visited yesterday morning, taking today’s photos and many more, which we’ll share over the next few days.
Sailboat cruising in the Roundstone Bay on a lightly windy day.
Here is information on Roundstone from this site:

“Roundstone (Irish: Cloch na Rón, meaning “seal’s rock”) is a village on the west coast of Ireland, in the Connemara region of County Galway. The town of Clifden is nearby to the north. 

The anglicized name is usually considered an error on the part of the British colonial Ordnance Survey, which translated the village name; while Cloch certainly means “stone” or “rock,” Rón means “seal,” not “round.” Still, the names Cloch na Rón and Roundstone may be independent. The bay is referred to as Round-stone Haven as early as 1684 (Roderick O’Flaherty), and the rock after which it is named stands like a marker at the entrance and is strikingly round.

Roundstone is known as a home for creativity and the arts. Some of the most influential figures in Irish Art have been painted there, including Paul Henry, Jack B. Yeats, Gerard Dillon, and Nano Reid. The Roundstone Arts Week celebrates youth and the environment on an annual basis.

Church tower on the way to Roundstone.
The local Summerfest is held in July. Traditional Irish Nights are held weekly throughout July and August and offer music, song, and dance from the Connemara area. In 1998 Sean Gorham of Inishnee, Roundstone, County Galway, was engaged in turf-cutting in Roundstone Bog “when he noticed what appeared to be a series of flat stones laid at regular intervals. Believing them to be the remains of an ancient trackway, Mr. Gorham left the stones undisturbed. Through the good offices of Martin O’Malley, Roundstone, and Michael Gibbons, Clifden, his discovery was brought to the attention of the National Museum of Ireland.”

Gorham’s find was located in the townland of Derrycunlagh. Investigation revealed that earlier turf-cutters had removed part of the trackway, but its two extant stretches determined its route. The trackway appeared to date from the Early Bronze Age, while the field wall may have been earlier.

This handsome boy approached the fence for some attention, which we gladly provided.

In an article of 2002, it was stated that “Thanks are due to the late Sean Gorham, whose keen eye and interest save the trackway from destruction and brought it to scientific attention.”

That’s it for today, folks. We’ll be back again with more photos, more stories, more planning, and more considerations for the future.

Be well.
Photo from one year ago today, July 10, 2018:
A mom waterbuck and her calf.  For more photos, please click here.

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