Walt's Look Around: Ireland - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: Ireland

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Our band of travelers from back home discovered some beautiful scenery our third day in Ireland. We started the day with a tour of the Connemara Celtic Crystal Company. Waterford Crystal was headquartered near here until recently. The skill of the craftsmen to turn out pieces like these, blown and then cut by hand, is amazing. And, as with any master of his craft, they make it look so easy.

Back on the tour bus, we headed into the heart of the Connemara region of western Ireland. The Connemara is a rather loosely defined area on a broad peninsula bounded on the north, west and south by the Atlantic Ocean. It's that eastern boundary that's a little nebulous. But when you're in it, you know you are, because of the landscape. It's magnificent. One of the most beautiful places not only in Ireland but in the world. Not rugged but a well-worn beauty. Rounded granite mountains that rise above peat bogs in the valley floors. Peat bogs are dangerous places because they are so wet. Parents kept their children from playing there by telling them the bog man might get them. That same person has cross the Atlantic and is the boogieman in our culture.

Mitchell and Margaret Henry wandered into the Connemara in 1849 and liked it so much they built a house here. This is it. Kylemore Abbey. Margaret loved her flowers so Henry had a little flower garden made for her. About a 6 acre formal walled Victorian flower garden. A lot of this fell into disrepair after Margaret passed away and Duke and Duchess of Manchester bought and then lost the property in the early years of the 1900s. Then a group of Benedictine Nuns acquired Kylemore in 1920 and have had it ever since.

Parts of the house are open for tours as well as the walled garden and the chapel on the opposite end of the grounds from the garden. The chapel was built to commemorate Margaret Henry's death.

By the way, our tour guide told us Madonna made the nuns an offer to buy Kylemore, but they politely declined.

The Connemara of western Ireland is another of those places like our Delta back home, that is known around the world because of its unique landscapes and unique culture and is a destination that you have to see and experience in your life if you ever get the chance.

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