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Cycling the Coast and Villages of Ireland’s Connemara

Program Number: 20946RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/6/2014 - 9/15/2014; 6/13/2015 - 6/22/2015; 9/5/2015 - 9/14/2015;
Duration: 9 nights
Location: Ireland
Price starting at: $2,799.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Bicycling Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 16; 8 Breakfasts, 0 Lunches, 8 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

On quiet country lanes and paths along the rugged west coast of Ireland, cycle from seaside village to village in the area called “Wild Connemara.” Find an area rich with megalithic tombs, craggy mountains, moorland and loughs, with glittering islands of the Irish Sea never far in the distance. Learn how — in a land that has been inhabited for more than 6,000 years — the old ways live on in the crafts, language, music and stories the locals still love to tell.




Highlights

• Cycle alongside the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea with magnificent views of islands in the distance, as you learn about local life and history in quiet coastal villages of “Wild Connemara.”
• Discover places where Irish Gaelic is still spoken, hear riveting Celtic tales and plenty of traditional music.
• In Galway, find the cultural core of Ireland in its winding medieval lanes and traditional pubs.



Activity Particulars

This program is recommended for experienced cyclists who are comfortable biking up to 5 hours/day on varied terrain ranging from flat to moderately rolling. Participants will bike as a group 13-36 miles per day following the group leader at a rate of 10-12 miles per hour, with rest breaks every 25 minutes. Cyclists will be biking on paved and unpaved bicycle paths, in addition to biking on the LEFT side of paved secondary roads with moderate traffic when there are no bike paths available. Weather conditions, such as wind and rain may affect biking difficulty. Participants must bring and wear their own bicycle helmet.

Field trips and excursions require walking and standing up to two hours.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Shannon, coach to Oughterard, 1 night; bike to Furbo, 2 nights; bike to Carna Bay, 1 night; bike to Clifden, 2 nights; bike to Kylemore Pass, 1 night; coach to Galway, 1 night; coach to Shannon for departure.



Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Shannon
Coach to Oughterard
1 night
Bike to Furbo
2 nights

Cycle through lush Irish countryside to Aughnanure Castle and be thrust back in time to learn about old Irish nobility. Gain insight into one of Galway's most infamous families during a lecture and expert-led walk through one of more than 200 crumbling tower houses built by the “ferocious” O’Flahertys. Participate in an Irish cultural immersion to gain insights on nature, heritage and music. Cycle alongside the Atlantic Ocean/ Irish Sea with magnificent views of the Aran Islands in the distance, as you make your way to the pristine seaside village of Spiddal, where Irish Gaelic is still spoken today. Hear a storyteller weave riveting Celtic tales and learn the significance of storytelling in Ireland.



Bike to Carna Bay
1 night
Bike to Clifden
2 nights
Bike to Kylemore Pass
1 night
Coach to Galway
1 night
Coach to Shannon for departure

Discover the origins of the Gaelic language. In the seaside village of Roundstone, marvel at the charms of this artsy bay town, notable for its “Galway Hookers” (uniquely Irish fishing boats). Sample fresh Atlantic smoked salmon during a lecture and fish-filleting demonstration at Connemara Smokehouse. Ride along the stunning “Sky Road,” which overlooks offshore islands, Inishturk and Turbot. Peddle to Kylemore Abbey, which sits at the base of the “12 Bens,” the more mountainous region of Connemara. Admire the grandeur of this historic estate during an expert-led talk and walk, which carries us through the Mausoleum, Gothic Church and Victorian Walled Garden that populate the manicured property. Learn about the medieval roots and complex history of Galway, including its Spanish Arch, Eyre Square, Galway’s “street of sin” and other notable public buildings.




Ireland

In 1801, the Act of Union merged the Kingdom of Ireland with the Kingdom of Great Britain. In the mid-19th century, the Irish experienced terrible famine and crowding that led to a spirited nationalist movement. With the Government of Ireland Act in 1920, five-sixths of the island began independent governance. Northern Ireland voted to remain a part of the United Kingdom, creating an island that today fosters two shared, yet opposite identities.



Accommodations
A variety of charming, local hotels, many with traditional pubs and music.
Meals and Lodgings
   Ross Lake House Hotel
  Oughterard, Ireland 1 night
   Connemara Coast Hotel
  Furbo, Ireland 2 nights
   Ostan Cuan Carna
  Carna, Ireland 1 night
   Foyles Hotel
  Clifden, Ireland 2 nights
   Kylemore Pass Hotel
  Kylemore, Ireland 1 night
   Forster Court Hotel
  Galway, Ireland 1 night
 Ross Lake House Hotel
Type: Bed and Breakfast
  Description: Elegant bedrooms reflect the Georgian period, but provide modern comforts. Mature gardens with magnificent trees and rolling lawns surround the house.
  Contact info: N59 Clifden Rd., Rosscahill
Oughterard,   Ireland
phone: +353 (0) 91 550 109
web: www.rosslakehotel.com
  Room amenities: All rooms are ensuite with direct dial phone, TV and hairdryer.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, library bar, tennis court
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: Contact the hotel directly. Should you wish to extend your stay prior to the start of the program, please contact the hotel directly for rates and to secure reservations.
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Connemara Coast Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Panoramic views of Galway Bay
  Contact info: Spiddal Road
Furbo, Co. Galway,   Ireland
phone: +353 91 592065
web: www.connemaracoast.ie
  Room amenities: Shower, WC, Hairdryers, TV, Coffee/Tea Makers, Complimentary WiFi, Irons & Ironing Board
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, Bar/Lounge, Indoor Pool, Fitness Room, Tennis Courts, Spa Offering Massage & Beauty Treatments
  Smoking allowed: No

 Ostan Cuan Carna
Type: Hotel
  Description: Traditional Irish Music Sessions are held occasionally in the bar during the summer months.
  Contact info: Carna Bay
Carna, Connemara,   Ireland
phone: +353 95 32255
web: www.carnabay.com
  Room amenities: Shower, WC, Tea/Coffee facilities, TV, Hairdryers
  Facility amenities: Bar, Restaurant
  Smoking allowed: No

 Foyles Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Contact info: Main Street
Clifden, Co. Galway,   Ireland
phone: +353 95 21801
web: www.foyleshotel.com
  Room amenities: Shower, WC, Satellite TV, Coffee making facilities, Hairdryers, Telephone
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, Breakfast & Dining Room, Bar/Lounge, Patio Garden
  Smoking allowed: No

 Kylemore Pass Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: Owned and managed by the Rima family, the facility provides guests with a warm, friendly environment in which to relax after a day of exploring the surrounding countryside.
  Contact info: Kylemore
Connemara, Co. Galway,   Ireland
phone: +353 95 41141
web: www.kylemore-pass-hotel-connemara.com
  Room amenities: En suite with television, tea and coffee-making facilities, stunning views
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, Sailor's Bar, Tranquility Room,
  Smoking allowed: No

 Forster Court Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Situated just steps from Eyre Square
  Contact info: Forster Street
Galway,   Ireland
phone: +353 91 564111
web: www.forstercourthotel.com
  Room amenities: Shower, WC, Coffee/Tea making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Telephone, Dry Cleaning Service, Iron & Ironing Board on request
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, Bar/Lounge, Free WiFi, Business Center
  Smoking allowed: No


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
11:00 AM - group meets at Shannon Airport and transfers to first program site. You will be staying at Ross Lake House Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Early morning group transfer to Shannon Airport for independent flight departures. You will be staying at Forster Court Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. International Bicycle Tours Release & Assumption of Risk Form must be signed.
  Parking availability:
Parking is not available at first program site.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Bus available. Review fares & schedules at www.buseireann.ie.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Oughterard
  Nearest airport:  Shannon Airport
  Transportation to site: On arrival at Shannon Airport take Bus Eireann (Route 51) to Ceannt Station in Galway. Departures are every hour at a cost of approximately €15 per person. The transfer takes about two hours. Fares and schedules may be reviewed at www.buseireann.ie. From Ceannt Station, take a taxi to Ross Lake Hotel in Rosscahill, Oughterard which will cost approximately €30. Alternatively, take a taxi directly from Shannon Airport to the first program site in Oughterard. Taxi will cost about €150 and distance is about 70 miles (110 kilometers). If you are departing the U.S. prior to the group departure and plan to connect with the group at the airport on the day the program commences, be sure to be at the meeting point at the time indicated. If you plan to meet the group at the Ross Lake Hotel in Oughterard, please notify our office prior to your departure: (860) 767-7005 or info@internationalbicycletours.com.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Galway
  Transportation from site: Take Bus Eireann (Route 51) from Ceannt Station in Galway to Shannon Airport. Departures are every hour at a cost of approximately €15 per person. The transfer time is approximately two hours. Review fares and schedules at www.buseireann.ie. Alternatively, take a taxi from the hotel in Galway to Shannon Airport. The distance is 50 miles (80 kilometers) and taxi costs about €125.
Equipment Requirements: Participants are required to bring and wear a bicycle helmet while biking each day.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Departure
(Saturday, September 6)
   
 In Transit: Board an overnight flight.

Day 2: Arrival Shannon Airport / Transfer to Oughterard / Bike Fitting & Testing / Welcome Dinner
(Sunday, September 7)

Note: Biking Distance: No Biking



   
 Arrive To: Shannon Airport.
 Morning: Board a coach for the 90-minute transfer to Oughterard. Check-in at Ross Lake House Hotel.
 Afternoon: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcome and will review the up-to-date daily program schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.

Please be aware that indicated times are approximate and that program activities and schedules could change due to local circumstances such as weather, traffic conditions, etc. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

During free time, the Group Leader will often be available to guide informal excursions, activities, or meals not included in the program. You are welcome to join if you wish, with associated costs (if any) on your own, or explore independently.

Following the orientation, bicycles will be fitted to the participant and skill testing will take place. The remainder of the afternoon is free for you to settle in and relax or explore independently.
 Dinner: The group meets for the welcome dinner in the hotel dining room. Daily dinners consist of three-course meals featuring tasty local cuisine: appetizer, entrée, dessert and tap water; other beverages available for purchase.
 Evening: At leisure. The evening is free to continue becoming acquainted with your fellow participants or take a stroll on the hotel grounds. Get a good night's sleep for the full day tomorrow.
   
Accommodations: Ross Lake House Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Safety & Corner System Lecture / Aughnanure Castle / Moycullen / Furbo
(Monday, September 8)

Note: Biking Distance: Approximately 25 miles



   
 Breakfast: In the hotel dining room, choose from a cold buffet with meats, cheeses, yogurts, cereals, breads, juices and beverages. Hot breakfast foods such as oatmeal, or a full Irish breakfast can be ordered each morning and is included in your program cost.
 Morning: After fueling up with a hearty Irish breakfast, listen carefully to lectures on safety, rules of the road and the IBT corner system. Mount your bicycle for the first cycle of the program and head toward Aughnanure Castle to be thrust back in time for a peek into old Irish nobility. Gain insight into one of Galway's most notable lord families of Gaelic stock during a lecture and guided walk through one of over 200 crumbling tower houses, built by the "ferocious" O’Flahertys. Discover why the people of Galway regarded the O'Flahertys as "mountainous and wild people."
 Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the food of your choice in the Garden Cafe at Brigit's Celtic-Inspired Gardens.
 Afternoon: Continue bicycling through the lush countryside of Moycullen onto our seaside retreat in Furbo. You might want to take a dip in the hotel swimming pool or venture outside onto the beach prior to dinner.
 Dinner: Hotel dining room.
 Evening: At leisure. Your evenings are free to spend time with new Road Scholar friends, relax, or explore on your own.
   
Accommodations: Connemara Coast Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Irish Cultural Immersion - Music, Song, Dance & the Gaelic Language / Spiddal Independent Exploration / Furbo / Celtic Tales Storytelling Session
(Tuesday, September 9)

Note: Biking Distance: Approximately 10 miles



   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Start the day with a visit to a restored 17th-century hill village for an immersion into authentic Irish culture, nature and heritage. Celebrate traditional music, song, and dance. Marvel at the secrets of Connemara's ancient Bogland. Learn the origins of the Gaelic language and possibly test out a few phrases for use in the days to come.

Catching the distinct scent of salty ocean spray, it's time to cycle to the small and pristine seaside village of Spiddal, where all signposts are in Irish, as is the language used by those who frequent the pubs or peddle their warm, handwoven sweaters.
 Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the food of your choice in Spiddal.
 Afternoon: Return to Furbo by bicycle in the soft afternoon sunlight that dances over the water, furnishing magnificent views of the Aran Islands. Before dinner, find a comfortable seat and listen attentively as a local storyteller rivets your imagination with an animated presentation of Celtic Tales.
 Dinner: Hotel dining room.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Connemara Coast Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Celtic Mythology Presentation / Carna Bay
(Wednesday, September 10)

Note: Biking Distance: 29 miles



   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: After a full Irish breakfast, attend a presentation on Celtic Mythology. Bid the accommodating staff at the hotel goodbye before boarding a coach for a short transfer to mount your two-wheeler to continue your exploration of Connemara.
 Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the food and cuisine of your choice.
 Afternoon: Bicycle along secondary roads where the sea is never too far away until reaching our dwelling for the evening. On arrival, explore the quiet village of Carna and drink up the view of Carna Bay and Mweenish Island.
 Dinner: Hotel dining room.
 Evening: Take a walk after dinner with your group leader or enjoy chatting with the locals in the hotel pub.
   
Accommodations: Ostan Cuan Carna
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Glinsk / Cashel Bay / Roundstone Independent Exploration / Ballyconneely / Filleting Demonstration & Salmon Tasting at Connemara Smokehouse / Clifden
(Thursday, September 11)

Note: Biking Distance: Approximately 40 miles



   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Our cycling route leads us through Glinsk and around Cashel Bay to Roundstone. Whet your appetite and marvel at the charms of this artsy bay village, notable for its "Galway Hookers" (uniquely Irish fishing boats), which return daily with nets and crates brimming with lobster, crab, shrimp, mackerel and cod.
 Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the food and cuisine of your choice in Roundstone. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.
 Afternoon: Mount your iron horse and cycle to Ballyconneely to delight your taste buds with a sample of fresh Atlantic smoked salmon during a lecture and fish filleting demonstration at Connemara Smokehouse. From here, it's a short ride to Clifden, our home for the night.
 Dinner: Hotel dining room.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Foyles Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7: Sky Road / Streamstown Bay / Clifden Independent Exploration
(Friday, September 12)

Note: Biking Distance: Approximately 9 miles



   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Embark on a scenic bicycle ride along the infamous and stunning Sky Road, which overlooks offshore islands, Inishturk and Turbot. A quick stop in Streamstown Bay affords a glimpse of untouched, rugged Ireland before we circle back toward Clifden.
 Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the food and cuisine of your choice in Clifden. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.
 Afternoon: Take this opportunity for independent exploration in Clifden to do what interests you most. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. Poke around craft shops or relish a pint of Guinness in any one of the old town pubs that line the village.
 Dinner: Hotel dining room.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Foyles Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: Kylemore Abbey / Kylemore Pass
(Saturday, September 13)

Note: Biking Distance: Approximately 15 miles



   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Take notice of the peat bogs that line the landscape along the route to Kylemore Abbey, which sits at the base of the "12 Bens," the more mountainous region of Connemara. Admire the grandeur of this historic estate during a guided talk of the mansion. Independently explore the Mausoleum, Gothic Church and Victorian Walled Garden that populate the manicured property.
 Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the food and cuisine of your choice at Kylemore Abbey.
 Afternoon: Having explored the grounds of the Abbey, we pedal to our hotel just down the road at Kylemore Pass. Upon arrival, bid your bicycle "slán" before spending the late afternoon relaxing with an independent stroll or perhaps a rejuvenating snooze.
 Dinner: Hotel dining room.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Kylemore Pass Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Transfer to Galway / Galway City Walk / Galway Independent Exploration / Farewell Dinner
(Sunday, September 14)

Note: Biking Distance: No Biking



   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Hop an early coach transfer to the cultural core of Ireland, and its third largest city, Galway. Upon arrival at the hotel, partake in an enriching overview of this cultural hub of Ireland via a lecture and field trip of the city. The guided walk pulls us through the medieval roots and complex history of Galway into its present day allure: highlights include The Spanish Arch, Eyre Square/JFK Memorial Park, Galway’s street of sin and other notable public buildings.
 Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the food and cuisine of your choice in Galway. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.
 Afternoon: Take this opportunity for independent exploration in Galway to do what interests you most. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. Whether it’s being roused by dance and music at An Pucan Pub, engrossment in artistic expression at Galway Arts Centre or the Galway City Museum, or unwinding with a canal walk before the last evening of festivities.
 Dinner: Recap your adventures and share your favorite memories with your fellow participants tonight at our farewell dinner in the hotel dining room. Get a good night's sleep and prepare for departure in the morning.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Forster Court Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10: Departure
(Monday, September 15)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room. This concludes our program.
 Morning: Transfers to Shannon Airport for onward travel.

We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you return on more rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys!
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


A Traveller's History of Ireland


Author: Peter Neville


Description: From the Celts to the Norman invasions to modern-day Ireland, this short history is highly recommended for those who would like a brief overview of the Emerald Isle through the centuries.



Connemara Mollie, An Irish Journey on Horseback


Author: Hilary Bradt


Description: Hilary Bradt (publisher of Bradt Guides) recalls her journey across rural Ireland among the people of Galway, Mayo, Clare and Kerry in the 1980s in this sweet -- and sublimely -- affecting memoir.



Eyewitness Guide Ireland


Author: Eyewitness Guides


Description: This superb guide is a wonderfully illustrated introduction to the country, featuring photographs, maps and short background essays on history and culture.



For the Love of Ireland


Author: Susan Cahill (Editor)


Description: Organized geographically, this rich anthology introduces Ireland through the words and lives of such luminaries as James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, Frank McCourt and Samuel Beckett.



How the Irish Saved Civilization


Author: Thomas Cahill


Description: This bestselling history tells the generally unknown story of Ireland's preservation of classical learning in the Dark Ages, revealing how the saints and scholars, monks and scribes labored to reproduce the important texts that spread as they evangelized Europe.



In Search of Ancient Ireland


Author: Leo Eaton, Carmel McCaffrey


Description: This spirited, illustrated history, the companion to a PBS documentary series, traces the foundation, archaeology and legends of ancient Ireland from 9000 B.C. to 1167 A.D. with style and substance.



Ireland Map


Author: Michelin


Description: A colorful map of Ireland at a scale of 1:400,000, featuring insets of the road approaches to major cities, as well as an index to cities, towns, and villages.



Irish Fairy and Folk Tales


Author: W.B. Yeats


Description: Edited by the Nobel Prize-winning poet who spearheaded the Celtic Renaissance in the early 20th century, these enchanting stories introduce a cast of changelings, ghosts, mermaids, demons, saints, priests and fairies.



Magnum Ireland


Author: John Banville (Editor)


Description: This evocative collection of 250 photographs captures the people, landscapes and changing face of Ireland from the 1950s to the 21st century.



McCarthy's Bar, A Journey of Discovery in Ireland


Author: Pete McCarthy


Description: A droll account of McCarthy's encounters on a bar-hopping jaunt from Cork along the west coast to Donegal. His motto, assiduously followed, was never to pass up a bar with his name on it!



Seafaring Women: Adventures of Pirate Queens, Female Stowaways, and Sailors' Wives


Author: David Cordingly


Description: A fascinating survey of women who went to sea, as wives, crossdressing cabin boys or even lighthouse keepers, during the age of sail.



Seamanship, A Voyage Along the Wild Coasts of the British Isles


Author: Adam Nicolson


Description: Nicolson offers an engrossing account of a coastal voyage from Cornwall, along the western coast of Ireland, out to the Faroes and to Orkney in this brief hymn to the sea.



Stones of Aran, Labyrinth


Author: Tim Robinson


Description: In the second volume of Robinson's journey through Ireland's Aran islands, the poetic mapmaker turns inward to follow the labyrinthine coast of the largest of the islands.



Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage


Author: Tim Robinson, Seamus Heaney (Introduction)


Description: A richly layered hymn to Arainn, largest of the Aran Islands, Robinson's adopted home.



The Aran Islands


Author: J.M. Synge, Tim Robinson (Introduction)


Description: A much-loved turn-of-the-century account of the islands (as contrasted with mainland Ireland), drenched in the Celtic soul of the Irish.



The Hill Bachelors


Author: William Trevor


Description: No one writes better short fiction than William Trevor. This collection of 12 stories captures the life and people of rural Ireland.



The Pirate Queen, In Search of Grace O'Malley and Other Legendary Women of the Sea


Author: Barbara Sjoholm


Description: Tales of plucky female pirates and explorers in the North Atlantic. Long interested in women and seafaring, Sjoholm journeyed from Ireland out to the Shetland and Faroe islands, Iceland and Norway collecting folk-tales, stories and historical accounts of these remarkable seafaring heroines.



Wild Decembers


Author: Edna O'Brien


Description: A haunting novel of clan enmities and forbidden love in rural Ireland. Few writers have as sure a sense of place as Edna O'Brien, whose lyrical prose builds inevitably toward final tragedy.





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