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Landscape as Witness - Field Trip: Day 8

To finish off the week, I thought I would try to find the remaining two people that I had been advised to talk to about my project. The first man was the owner of a B&B just outside Ballyvaughan, and the second lived in Kinvara, Co. Galway. I had always been meaning to go to Kinvara at some point anyway, as I had been informed by multiple people that it was easier to cycle there for my weekly shop than it was to cycle to Ballyvaughan.

I travelled to Ballyvaughan first, picked up a few items at the local Spar, and made my way to the B&B. I had already visited this man during my last field trip, with a local by the name of Micky Vaughan. Micky had been of great service to me, as his knowledge of the area had been seemingly limitless. Sadly, Mickey passed away just a couple of months after we had briefly crossed paths. I felt privileged to have met him, and was glad that I had managed to jot down his nuggets of information before they were gone forever.

The owner of the B&B remembered me from my previous visit, and was delighted to assist me again with my project. Although we only chatted for about 10 minutes before I had to leave, he was already able to tell me about multiple constructions around the area that were built during the famine. We arranged to meet again at 4pm next Tuesday to discuss the subject further, something that I am already anticipating. He is clearly incredibly passionate about the area and its history, and I'm sure I will acquire a wealth of information from him.

The weather then took a turn for the worse, a phrase that is all too common here in the Burren. Even as I write this, a glorious, sunny day has dramatically deteriorated into one that is dull, wet, and overcast. With rain pouring down I debated taking the right turn up to Carron as I passed through Bellharbour, but I decided that I might as well continue on to Kinvara as it was only 11km away. I had been expecting a flat enough cycle, as according to Google Maps there was only a 70m incline between Ballyvaughan and Kinvara, accompanied by a 70m decline. After all, the cycle from Ballyvaughan to Carron involves an incline in excess of 220m, so I presumed that anything less would be relatively easy. However, I hadn't even made it halfway before I was almost completely spent. This was mainly due to a 2km stretch in which the majority of the 70m incline occurred, as well as the weather worsening as the day went on. With sodden clothes and boots full of water, I began the slow descent to the village of Kinvara.

I had been told to pass by the first filling station as I entered the village, and to continue on to the second one located further up the road instead. Upon reaching it, I locked up my bike and went inside to ask for directions. Fortunately, the man I was searching for lived right next door to the station. Unfortunately, he wasn't currently at home, and his neighbour wasn't sure when he was going to return. As it was beginning to get late I decided it would be best to begin my journey back to Carron, and to return to Kinvara some other day.

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