About an hour from Limerick is Ennistymon on the west coast of Ireland. We stopped because of the ‘An Gorta Mór’ Memorial, which was erected a mile outside Ennistymon to commemorate the memory of the victims of the great potato crop failures/famine of 1845 to 1850 known as the Great Hunger (An Gorta Mór). It was dedicated on August 20, 1995 – the 150th anniversary of that tragedy. The monument was designed by an artist from Co Kerry and depicts an account found in the Minutes of the Meetings of the Boards of Guardians for Ennistymon Union held in the County Archives. The account centered on a note that was pinned to the torn shirt of a barefoot orphan boy who was left at the workhouse door on the freezing cold morning of February 25, 1848. The note read:
Gentlemen, There is a little boy named Michael Rice of Lahinch aged about 4 years. He is an orphan, his father having died last year and his mother has expired on last Wednesday night, who is now about to be buried without a coffin!! Unless ye make some provision for such. The child in question is now at the Workhouse Gate expecting to be admitted, if not it will starve. — Rob S. Constable
One side of the memorial depicts a child standing before the workhouse door, while across from that is the head of an anguished mother and two hands clenched in frustration or anger above the sorrowful text of the pleading note.
One of the things we noticed was the stone leading up to the memorial and how unique it was. Our tour guide, Mike, said that this Irish stone is like this because of the worms and other animals that were compressed within the stone. You can see all of the squiggly lines in this picture:
All along the way we saw the idyllic countryside of Ireland that was picture perfect everywhere you turned. You can’t take a bad picture in Ireland!
Before arriving at the Cliffs of Moher we stopped in Lahinch, just 5 minutes away. The village is a widely known seaside resort and is home to the world famous Lahinch Golf Club. There is also a 1.6 km (1 mi) sandy beach at Lahinch. Lahinch has long been a popular destination for golfers, but in recent times, has also become a popular resort for surfing. On this particularly cold day, there was someone out surfing, but I didn’t catch her until I had already put my camera away. Besides the couple with the dog and our group of tourists, she had the beach all to herself. I had no idea beaches like this existed in Ireland and how lucky was she that she had it all to herself?
Next up – the Cliffs of Moher, one of the highlights of our stay in Ireland.