The other students have officially arrived in Ballyvaughan (or Ballyvegas as my co-workers would say). What a treat it is to have peers! Today we went on a walking tour through the town. Though I didn't see anything new on the tour, I learned interesting bits of fun facts and history.
Here are 5 of the most interesting:
1. Ballyvaughan is home to O'Loclainn's Irish Whiskey Bar. This bar has the authentic, timeless feel of a wood-paneled, dimly lit, Irish pub. It frequently has nights of live music, packed with members of the community. The town's population is only 200, but walking into this pub makes it feel much larger. Not only a favorite for the town of Ballyvaughan, it's also made the list of the top 10 pubs in all of Ireland. Steven Spielberg is such a fan of this bar, that he's created a replica of it in his L.A. home.
2. There is a festival every year to move the cattle into the mountains for the winter. Yes, you read that correctly, they move the cows into higher elevation for the winter. This movement is called transhumance. The cows do well in the Burren landscape and prevent the overgrowth of foliage.
3. Ballyvaughan was originally a fishing village, but there is only one fisherman left in the village. The rights to commercial fishing were given away for the most part. This man fishes for lobster and crab and immediately exports his catches to Italy and Spain.
4. Ballyvaughan's population used to be much larger, but when the famine came in 1849, many people did not survive. Post-famine, the area remained poor. Eventually, there was a movement in Ireland to promote tourism in hopes for economic stimulation. Because of this movement, Ballyvaughan has room to accommodate 1,500 people...7.5 times its normal population!
5. The longest coastal route in the world, the Wild Atlantic Way, runs through Ballyvaughan. It makes its way through 9 different counties in Ireland over 2,500 kilometers. As a popular tourist attraction, the drive is recognized world-wide as a must-do for it's incredible scenery.
I am continually amused by this special place. It is full of impressive secrets and fascinating stories.