Crossing Ireland by bus gave all Tbex blogger an opportunity to see the landscape of the island. We saw endless green pastures with sheep and cows walking around. We saw stone walls and some small towns in county Mayo and Connemara. BUT until our last day we hadn’t have an opportunity to get a full picture: the cultural experience was missing. Our guides from Failte Ireland thought about it in advance and so the last morning was spent in a charming remote location called Cnoc Suain: Conmara Gaelic Culture Experience.
I saw the typical Irish cottage before on my recent trip to the Aran Island but I didn’t have a chance to enter one. People who run this place- Cnoc Suain- bought an old cottage and renovated it. They did their best to keep most of it as it was hundred years ago. Our tour started in one of the cottages in front of the warm fireplace. Cosy is a word that I used in Ireland every day! But have a look for yourself! Isn’t it cosy?
Entering the cottage brought us not only to warm and cosy interior but way long back in time. One of our hosts demonstrated the traditional bread making speaking and singing in real Irish! That was really powerful experience as the Irish language is very different from English. She was telling the stories about the previous owners, about the everyday life organization, emigration to the US and hardship of the rural life.
It was like a visit at the house of grandparents who love to tell the stories. There was everything what I recall from my childhood: warm, smell of a fireplace, good food and lovely voice that was telling the stories. The owners do their best to bring the old times to live and they are pretty successful.
After we experienced the taste of traditional irish bread we went to another building prepared for groups to give a precise information about the turf that has served to heat the cottages for a long time. We saw the whole process of growing, harvesting and drying. The host’s story was accompanied with touching and smelling the plants at every stage of the turf production.
Music & Dance
We left the turf and switched to a lovely cottage with wooden floor and warm fireplace. There was a local musician who was waiting for us with his show. He told us about the traditional Irish whistle demonstrating like 7 different sizes of it. He was playing his accordion and singing the traditional music.
At some point few volunteers had their first dancing lesson. That was fun! The dance didn’t seam to be difficult but large group of people doing the same thing at the same time is always spectacular. They were quite good at it!
The conclusion of our stay at Cnoc Suain was watching the other cottages ready for the guests. You can actually rent a small cottage only for yourself and stay as at sort of B&B. It is really cute! Not only from the outside but it is also very cosy inside. I think it would be really fun to stay here for a little bit longer to enjoy the silence and wonderful Irish landscape.