We landed to a mostly sunny Shannon about 10:30 a.m.
The night was long and I was very tired without sleep
for the past two days. I spent the long night hours chatting it up with Liam
Omanlei' - drummer,
song writer and lead singer
for The Hot House Flowers Band. How was I supposed to know it was one of
After marking down all the scratches and dents we
headed for Ballinasloe (pronounced Ball in a slow uh) for the animal fair.
Unfortunately we found out it would be the next day. We headed directly there
because we knew it was the first weekend in October but that's all we knew. We
skipped along the roads anticipating the two hundred year old fair. They say
Napoleon came here to buy horses for his army. Along the way we took a right
turn upon entering Gort. A town filled with Burke enterprises as we were later
to observe. Of course a lot of towns have Burke establishments. This might sound
funny but after you've been in Ireland it will make more sense, but to help you
visualize you have to imagine, at least in the older parts of town,
buildings have a painted stripe above the door across the entire
storefront. Each has a family name and they were originally set up to supply a
family or clan. This is documented in a small book named "The Irish
Countrymen". It is different than the stores in
All roads leading into Ballinasloe were lined with horse trailers
attached to old cars or blue wide-wheeled tractors. Farmers and country
gentlemen were walking toward the center of town. Only the clothes told the
status. Overcoats, caps and green "wellies" for farmers versus riding
pants, coats and black boots for the more leisure. The contrast was evident even
in their walk. The farmer trudged resolutely with the solemnity of the decision
to sell the horse he was leading by the reins. The gentleman by comparison were
conversing excitedly anxious to join the fun and frolic. Where they were going
I'm not sure but when we finally inched our way to a big open area a Garda was
directing traffic. A big
Back we went toward a waiting room at "The Falls" in Ennistymon, stopping here and there along the way from craft shop to craft shop looking for the perfect hand-knitted sweater. Of course the perfect sweater would cost very little if anything. We stopped at a cattle auction in Gort that proved interesting. A fast talking auctioneer mesmerized room full of
Cows, mostly young bulls or steers of all colors, red, black, black and
white, cream, white and a couple of faded brutes of which the color evades me -
perhaps violet, were paraded, coaxed with a stick in and out of a small gate
showing stall plainly in view of the crowd. The bidding could not be detected,
as it was concealed in nods and eyebrows and slight movements that only the
auctioneer with familiarity of the participants could discern. Patricia was the
only women in the room, She said she saw another one but I sure didn't. We
wandered up the street to a bakery for pastries called O'Connor's Bakery where
we had of all things a ham salad sandwich, a cup of coffee and two cream filled
donut like pastries. It was a busy little place with people coming and going
picking up cakes and bags of cookies. It made me think that there were to be
little parties or nights with special deserts for a family. Perhaps it was a
preliminary requirement for a later secret glutinous act. I never know but what
we had was good and filling, our first "ground food" since deplaning.
At last we reached Ennistymon where we were welcomed and adjourned to our
waiting room. It was near dusk when we arrived and the red haired girl at the
desk said she was waiting for us and would we be eating
with them tonight. Lacking even the most elemental knowledge of the town
beyond the one craft shop that was still open and sold me a tape by The Hot
House Flowers, it seem the more prudent decision to accept a bird in the hand.
I'm glad we did as the dinner was excellent. Served in slow motion and with
friendly and knowing smiles the vegetables were au gratin. Desert was fresh
berries. Before bed we chose to imbibe in
The horses at Ballinasloe
Saturday is on us and after a typical Irish breakfast of bacon and eggs,
sausage, toast, cereal , fruit, coffee and juice we are off to Ballinasloe to
see a magnificent gathering of horses attended by Wellington wearing men
sloshing around in the mud and horse excrement.
Sellers of dogs and other obscure animals usually not associated with
horses were present peddling their wares. Cows
were there on another street across from which was a small hand lettered sign:
TEA/COFFEE HAND MADE
SANDWICHES; poignant and poor. The
Tinkers were very much present and the Garda we spoke with was very much in
hatred of them. Said they had no
morals, stole, cheated the old and were a worthless lot.
He said all this with much more venom
vehement. A virtual sea of
horses moved like waves on a windy bay. Estimated
at near five hundred head they were gathered in small groups----different
sizes and colors and shapes. About
15 black on whites were most stunning particularly
when the handler ran
them out and down the street as a gang of convicts.
A brilliant black beauty reared and was a difficult handful in the
center. Horses whinnied back and
forth and you could almost hear the competitiveness of the macho
I'm better than you sound from the big stallions.
The horses were definitely aroused by each other in such close proximity.
In a big oval track mares and colts and mares with fold were shown and
judged. The pride of the owners
almost bursting some while others were anxiously expectant.
Their feelings on the edge.
The machines of amusement present at all small town fairs added color
noise and movement. The streets were
filled with moving people expectant and yet seemingly aimless.
After a brief respite of a sandwich and coffee at a thoroughly packed
hotel carpeted with plastic to reduce the Wellington wear and spoilage
of hundreds of animals we pointed our
little car back along the two lanes toward Ennistymon.
We made our way to Corrfin and Lisdoonvarin and to Doolin to hear the
music. At Lisadoonvarin we stopped
for coffee and steak and white fish for Patricia .
The day was very complete and even though I've left out the Doolin music
disappointment and the wandering through the stalls of items for sell bazaar
style and the visit to a second hand book store. I should not leave out the
hideous face of a Tinker that driving his team of
horses past me looked at me with an evil a face as I've seen.
On the side of his wagon sat a young girl maybe 15 holding a small child
almost Madonna like and stoic--- a tragedy of
hers for the situation requires more
deftness to describe the feeling that swept over me.
The head is tired this night.
At the hotel changing our shoes quickly we jumped in
the car and headed off to the Ennis to catch the end of a local football game.
Indescribable the number of people at the stadium.
We picked up two hitchhikers a
few blocks from the stadium as we were having trouble finding it.
Kate the hotel receptionist inquired about the hair color----red hair
were they? Tinkers?
No----the girl that worked as a receptionist.
My mind wandered back to the previous days discussion with a Garda and
how obviously angered he was at the
Tinkers who he said he could not call Travelers.
He said the queers commandeered
the word gay just like the Tinkers
commandeered the word travelers. He
went on to tell of the man who was sold a rug and the Tinkers stole
it out the back window while he was paying for it at the front door.
returning from Ennis we drove up to the top of the hill behind Ennistymon where
an old graveyard surrounded a derelict church.
Patricia was starved and we walked around town but the pickings were
slim. Several carloads of people
were parked outside a fast food place eating and steaming up the windows.
We opted for the hotel where I had a marvelous T bone and Patricia had
some sandy muscles. Afterward we
walked back to town for a bit of Guinness and some live music Arches and another
pub. Finally to the hotel do
scribble these notes and to sleep again. One
last note ---I think I saw a red fox today.
October 11th, after breakfast of the usual, I am
play some music I secretly recorded last night - found a recording of Jenny from
Volleyball, years ago - made me slightly homesick for her and Patrick. Oh well,
my turn in the soft shower.
Checked out of the Falls Hotel and walked the grounds to get a close view
of rocks 100 yards away from the Hotel up in a small saucer shaped draw. A
mystical place of the Druids. We waved at the white horse and headed off toward
Lisvoondarna. Lisvoondarna is a spa
stopped briefly and kept on toward Ballyvaugh which was small but
had a modern little store. Bought
a small "Book of Kells" book as a souvenir and off
again on to Kingarvan near Dun Gargon. A craft shop just outside Kinvarna
took a chunk out of our spending money. At
last Galway and Mrs. O'Connor’s at 2 Nuns
Mary "O'Connor" Saxton introduced us to her guests
October 12th, was
late to get up. Fine breakfast of
egg, sausage, bacon, cereal and toast. Some
more talk to Sister Carmel and then off to shop.
Kenny's book store was full of old Irish books -----great! After walking
the city all day long we went to the play called Illusions which was totally
outrageous. It attacked all of the
religious, sexist points without mercy. We
had coffee in the
October 13th, we ate
Up at 9:00 and off to the cathedral, but first some of Mary's breakfast.
breakfast looking out of Mary's back window at flowers and grass in front
of the river is picture perfect. We
talked about the Tinkers, the
problem at Glenmaddy and the Four Roads Pub, the problems of priests and
marriage and how women were the problem especially as in the case of
the cathedral we headed for
to walk the gardens in zero weather-----burr!
Frost on car windows many men scrapping it off.
We watch while eating breakfast!
The spectacular gardens at
spectacular 100 ton capstone very
prominent on a rising in the middle of a cow field.
Hard to find and even harder to get back on the road.
Begnalstown road ran right into
The next morning Saturday the 17th was exceedingly cold. Breakfast was
served and when I asked for the scramble to include mushrooms and sausages it
was thought to be obscure and an aberration, something they hadn't thought of
themselves. Scrambled eggs with
other items seemed an abstract thought lest alone the execution.
Paul's wife tried it and liked it and Philip's folly (after the bell
----Rhymes of the day----
I spent the day in
overlooking the Lee and graves of ancestry
you'll have a good time - if
you spend time in Glengariff, also
Balleylicky is very pretty
Finolla gave us the keys and we are in for the night!
Wine and Guinness don't mix well. We
consumed 3/4 bottle of wine last night and this morning both our heads hurt.
In fact mine hurts a little now. A
couple of minor notes about yesterday. In
making jokes with the Dubliners I talked about
Today, Sunday October 17th we headed off to Castletownbere 13 miles to
the south for breakfast. When we got there everyone was
going to church. All the
restaurants were closed.
The hotel Birr would serve us coffee and toast from the bar.
As we were both hungover this
sounded real good. Young Claudah,
about 3 years old joined us with her glass of milk and later took some of our
toast. She had two dolls in a toy stroller.
After a little of that she went running outside and came back a with a
push car and then a bicycle. She
went down the stairs in her car and let out little squeals with each step.
Later for lunch in the other part of the hotel Finulla entertained us
with her counting as she raced back and forth.
I had roast leg of pork and Patricia had stuffed chicken breast with
thigh. For dessert I had strawberry
mouse and Patricia had apple crumble. We
walked around and looked at the estuary with skeletons of derelict boats.
We went up to the community center and watched Castletownbere play
Skibbereen. The local lads looked
overmatched and their red jerseys showed the stain of perspiration.
White shirted Skibbereen looked good but when we left both teams had
scored just one goal each. We bought
some groceries for the cottage and headed home.
We drove up to Glengariff to see if we would get some turf to burn but
alas no. A cheerful old man split
some wood for us and told me to "spare none" to get the fire working.
We came back and make our soup for dinner then headed back to
Castletownbere to listen to Irish music and to check out a cailegk----pronounced
keilesg. We found some music in
Murphy's bar and they sounded very good. The
lead singer played tin pipe, flute guitar and who knows?
Another Bill showed up wait a harmonica and although he was good the
others didn't know his "Basque" songs.
Sad. The ceiligk turns out to
be a few old and young couples dancing. Home
and to bed.
October 18th, Monday.
We were up at the crack of 9:00 am; it stays dark here until about 8:00
am or maybe later. The sun comes up
in the south-east and sets in the south-west or so it seems to me.
This morning we made our own Irish breakfast sans the toasted tomato.
It was very good. After
breakfast we head up into the hills to view the wedge tomb, the standing stones
called Gallons and an several old
ruins. Above the ruins about a half
mile from the ridge top was a very
old stone house demesne or ruin. The
view from that one room stone cottage was one to kill for.
We kept looking for the Ogham stone and holy well but came back to the
rental cottage to eat lunch. It was
already after 4:00 p.m. and it was getting dark gray.
Words don't describe the beauty of the area.
We talked to an older man at the wedge grave.
He said the Germans and Dutch were buying up the area and turning some of
the cabins into summer rentals. He
seemed very spry for his age which I'd guess was around 70.
He had a gentle golden and white collie that limped.
The dog made instant friends with Patricia.
After hiking the old road and viewing the stones and ruins we came back
for food----a sandwich, apple,
cheese and a "cuppa"
coffee. Life is simple and sweet.
Last night an old man in Glengariff.
As we walked down the street---this old gray haired guy, small and a but
shaky said "It's a cold one isn't it?"
Yes and we are looking for peat to warm the night I said in reply.
"You've no peat for your fire?" said he.
"No and I'll be the sorrier for by morning won't I?"
"Wait a small minute" he said as he quickly disappeared into a
doorway a few feet away. Out with an
ax he came and pop, pop, pop. Three
swings and six pieces of logs. "Here"
he said "take these". "Don't
spare the wood, lay it all on----get some started and yee be set for the
night". "Thanks" I said, struggling under the load "God
bless and a warm life to you, for one night in not enough"
"God bless you too!" he replied.
Well today we finally got some matches and after searching some
compressed peat and wood. What a
gorgeous fire. We are about to have
some tea and sit and read. We
stopped at a little store the other side of the Adrigole church and bought some
things for dinner as well as the peat. We bought some gorse wine make locally in
Kerry by O'Neill. It smells or has
an aroma of kerosene, tastes of flowers and an after taste of alcohol.
A bit more work is needed in the wine industry here.
The store was owned and operated by Finn O'Sullivan who said to talk to
his sister Sheila next door----she does likes someone to talk with he said.
When I told him I was from
October 19th, Tuesday,
the sun was up as a fiery dot at 7:30 a.m. By 9:00 a.m. it looked to be a
reasonable day. By 11:30 a.m. we had
eaten our oats and fruit and were showering for our trip to Glengariff to visit
The boatman's name was Tony Murphy and he married a girl named Furlong
October 20th started with
a thin ribbon of crimson on the southeastern horizon at 7:30 a.m.
Soon the bacon was sizzling and the oatmeal was bubbling.
Eggs over easy and orange juice and toast followed.
The sun rose in the southern sky until it lit up the day.
By 9:30 a.m. the washing was hanging on the line both the white socks and
the gray undies. Never mix colored
clothes with whites. By 11:30 a.m.
thirty I'd finished my writing for the morning the day beckoned and we decided
to find the waterfall and then do
We continued on the small road when suddenly around
the corner came a large frozen meat truck - head on. Not to worry, that is why
cars have reverse gear and driving backward down a small fuchsia
lined road can be even more exciting than going forward. At last the
truck squeezed by with a smile and wave by the driver and a little "toot
toot' of the horn as if complimenting my prowess in reverse. Drivers wave
excitedly as if they know you and at first I kept wondering who they were -
friends from the states or what. I could never quite make a friends face out of
the drivers but several looked very familiar. I wondered how excited they must
get when they see someone they really know. A man walking by when asked if the
waterfall was up this way advised us to walk. Park up ahead and walk. It seemed
to be a philosophically based statement rooted in his approach to
transportation. A few yards further up the road just out of sight around the
corner was an Italian subcompact car green in color without wheels propped up on
stones with letters in white spray paint that said "PARK HERE". It
seemed an invitation to having your car reduced to a similar state while seeking
the mystical mythical waterfall. After some hesitation and upon spying a short
post with a little stenciled yellow hiking man, complete with a walking stick, a
knap sack on his back, and an accompanying arrow pointing the way, we decided to
chance it. Besides we had every kind of car insurance know to man and the car
already looked like it had been vandalized. The road turned into a path so it
was park and walk or leave. We passed through an old farm yard with several old
stone houses now used for sheds. One old house was brightly whitewashed with
smoke seeping upward lazily from an ancient chimney. A plaque on the door said
O'Sullivan and the yard was full of flowers, one kind after another. Past this
we came to a fence full of cow faces staring at us expectantly as though we were
going to lead them to the next mouth full or to the promised land. I wondered
about my inability to deal with their expectations of me. What were they
thinking about - they couldn't confuse me with the
I wasn't sure if they were friendly although the
farmer was in the next field spreading fertilizer (smelled like he was recycling
the barn scrubbings) and just plain enjoying his big red tractor
toy. I pointed my walking
stick I picked up just for dogs at them and
they turned tail and headed back over to the farmers side of the stream.
We headed back around the corner to the right and into a box canyon
strewn with boulders and big gray rocks. We
climbed the green slopes to avoid the brown bog and green water soaked earth.
Far ahead we could see what would be a magnificent waterfall if it had
water in it. The shadows of moving
clouds played tag as they chased each other down the mountain side and across
the meadow. You could feel their
coolness as they passed by one after the other.
The wind was blowing strongly and we decided to retreat.
There were several weird stone configurations often aided by human hands.
In two cases large rocks protruded out leaving spaces underneath that
could be occupied by man or sheep. In
both cases it appeared that the stones were placed to hold water like pools
under these stones. Several more
small enclosures were like small rooms missing roofs but obviously intended to
cut the wind.
Returning to our car an old woman dressed in earth tones to be kind and a
scarf on her head came from picking from a pile of dead branches to talk
with us. It was her pretty little
white house with the flowers. She
had lived very close by which was very fortunate.
She eyed my walking stick and wondered if it was comfortable and where
had I gotten it. I told her here
from a pile just down the road and it was comfortable if held just right.
She said she gave people walking sticks and only charged 50p when they
insisted on giving her something. I
told her mine was not that comfortable and I was going to put it back in the
stack it came from. She remarked
that some people found them very useful while others were disdainful.
I told her I used fit to test the bog cause I heard it can get deep.
She said only near the waterfall and then only a foot or so.
She then turned to pick us a handful of fuchsias for a bouquet.
I attempted to resist for in fact they grow everywhere but it was an act
of kindness that was not to be denied. She
seemed to know the house we were staying in but did not know the standing stone
in the next road into the same area except on the other side of the creek.
I asked her first name so that I could say hello to the O'Sullivans
on either side of us. She
said her name was Lizzy or Liz. We
walked off then and me noticing the food on her chin and thinking God give me
the sensitivity to tell when I have food on my chin.
Our car was intact and we searched up the next road for a standing stone.
Just before the road ended in a farm house yard there it was massive in
all its upright glory in its own bright green field that it shared with a few
blue backed sheep.
The next adventure of the day was the
Further along the road we followed a sign to a wedge tomb but all we
could see was a standing stone albeit a large one.
Our adventure finished up at Castletownbere and we did some quick
shopping for dinner.
For dinner we had planned an Irish dinner of back bacon with cabbage,
turnips (the size is terrific and good, too)
potatoes, onions and carrots. We now
know what makes the old houses smell the way they do----it's the bacon boiled in
a pot. We drained it once putting in
new clear water and it smelled much better.
Along with Bushmills, coffee, some cut up vegetables and some apples it
turned out to be sumptuous----meaning delicious.
October 21st the sun was up by 8:30 a.m., which was
preceded by about an hours worth of color beginning with a dark pink and
finishing with a pale peach. I
didn't actually see the sun rise being preoccupied off and on with dozing.
Coffee strong, mush diluted with butter and pepper and some sweet black
currant juice diluted to taste.
Today we decided to spend the day shopping and browsing, sticking our
noses into every nook and cranny. On
the way we stopped to view some peculiar stones and in Ballylickey we stopped to
view the work of Klee an artist whose work is dark and moody and as a lady in
the art store in Bantry said, "he was full of himself and his angry
skies." She got that right.
We also followed a twisting little tree lined path of a road seeking the
house that went with a "for sale" sign.
We passed a postman having lunch in his little green van.
We also passed several locked gates that looked well off enough to suit
me but at the end of the road no sign was attached to a beautiful house that
In Bantry we bought a few pippins
of I'm sure an ancient variety like
those we'd gotten from the castle in Birr.
apples are yellow kissed with red cheeks and snap when eaten.
Across to the bookstore for new and used books.
Two books by Thomas Gwyn for which I'd been looking
for some time at half the price of the same book in
Soon we were sipping coffee and resting our weary
little feet. On the way back we detoured to Kilkeal to seek out
some stone ring. The woman said high
above the town and the man said go back toward town pointed to his right arm and
said on this side just passed the crossover of the telephone wire.
Sure enough there was a high (tall) stone up on the right.
There was a stone ring clearly visible on the left.
Dilemma----which one----I ran over to the right and as I gained ground I
could see it was no ordinary stone ring. It
was accompanied by two high standing stones with sharp upturned stones within.
The book thought it was a ritual site while I think maybe it was an
unfinished cairn. Racing back to the
car I see a women walking away. She'd
been talking to Patricia . Two miles
from anywhere, a small road, 7 degrees and a women is out walking a minute or
two after I leave. Of course a truck
appeared two seconds after I jumped out----unbelievable.
It reminded me of the movie Tremors.
The nearby site was equally as unusual with six (2x3) megalithic
cromlechs with 6 standing stones in
alignment. It appeared disturbed
but again the area was magical. A
quick trip home to Adrigole, some hot turnips and leftovers fried as a stir
about. A little Bushmills and a big
sleep till tomorrow. Evening was
October 22nd something woke me suddenly last night
at 2:30 a.m. A cow was staring
expectantly from the field across the road.
I could see his white face plainly in the black night.
A pair of yellow lights danced down the road and passed by in a glare.
I had been dreaming of the burial mounds of Timothy and William and
relating that to a saying of my Mothers. "William
and Timothy Walsh are buried in Tinkers tombs along a sacred road, anyone who
disturbs them from their sleep shall be turned into a toad."
In this dream I was interested in knowing if these were the tombs of her
ditty seeing as how they might
be related. The legend is
that the two represent some fertility cult since they were identical twins and
all of their offspring were identical twins.
The legend also states that they died almost simultaneously.
Of course this is just a dream.
Another dissimilar but equally disquieting thought is the number of
people we've noticed with extended tongues.
They seem to not have control of them for they stick out of their mouths
and hang down. Back to sleep!
A clear day all day.
We met our neighbor Sheila and said hello as her brother Finn has
requested. We talked to a lot of old
men in their 70's and 80's today. The
caretakers father Joe O'Sullivan , 88, was out giving the cows some hay----last
years hay "might as well use it up".
He told me a story of the local blacksmith who was very strong.
A blacksmith from Skibbereen heard of him and rode over on horseback to
wrestle the local man. The local guy
said sure but how about a pipeful together first.
The Skibbereen man said O.K. and after the pipes had been filled the
local man placed an ember on the anvil then held the anvil straight out to the
other man (100 stone weight) "Want a light?"
The other man smoked the pipe made some excuses and returned to
We spent the afternoon hiking up behind the house looking but not finding
any more stones. We met an old man
that told us he knew where some Ogham stones were in a fence.
Patricia and I looked at each other and I guess "no" not
today----we had just climbed over under and through enough for one afternoon.
We decided to drive around the walk Shiela had mentioned.
Just a few yards off the main road and behind this house was a standing
stone. As I stopped and got the
camera ready I noticed there was a guy standing there as well or near by at
least. I asked if it was O.K. to
take a picture of his stone. Sure
they (his father, his grandfather and his father too) "had not moved the
stone at all since it was not good luck. A
fella he knew of had moved one and he died."
There is another down the road second road to the left just inside the
silver gate. Should have been easy
but we couldn't find it. Back up
around the high roads against the Caha to see if we could find a stone circle
within a few miles of the house or a mass rock where they (the Catholics) held
mass when they were not allowed to have churches or priests.
Struck out on both. Our last
supper at Adrigole was to be held at the Old Cottage at the beginning of
Castletownbere and then some music. This
was more true than I'd have desired. I
ordered "American T bone----wrong! The
waitress told us how she and her husband (a chef) left
No music in the bars----very cold night.
Teenagers sitting about and ordering from the grill take away.
You could sense the limits to life as a teen in
October 23rd was one of the few days we were up
early----We had to be out at 10:30 but when I went to give the key back a sleepy
eyed freckled face preteen girl answered demurely.
We had cleaned it good had breakfast of eggs and toast and were ready at
10:00. One last look at
We are off to Kilgarvan 15 minutes before the deadline if that really
means anything. The morning is crisp
and the leaves are falling in all colors. Just
before Ballylickey is the turn off to the road to Kilgarvan.
It looked short but it wound up through, over and down the
October 24th was slow starting.
We knew we needed some coal----supposed to be hotter than other fuels.
One more comment about last night. We
missed the turn off to our house and
as a result went about 3 miles back into the mountains where there were few
houses. Finally we came to a farm
house which Kerin later said is a large "piggery" with over 10,000
pigs. We had already been met by
four cars going. I didn't see how
any would meet us going out.
Wrong----met three going out and two passed us.
Each of these encounters requires assistance from a friendly god.
And with God back to Sunday----didn't expect to find anything open but
there were several. The first place
said she was expecting a shipment of fuels in the morning but to try up the
road. She looked as though she was
getting ready to go disco dancing or making Thanksgiving day dinner.
They had some she was sure but they might not sell it to me.
New thought for me. I went
undeterred anyway. A nice young man
said yep! he had some and he'd sell
it to me. Why was I ever worried?
We headed on up the road to see where it went and it eventually came to
October 25th, was
a cheery day and we decided to stay at the box for the day.
After our daily ration of mush we headed off across the tundra in search
of adventure. 3 hours later we
returned having seen a deep gorge of rock lined walls and a powerful waterfall.
One phenomenon that continues to amaze me is the amount of fabric or
plastic caught on the twigs along the streams.
These streams must rise up during rainy spells and grab peoples laundry
or some such thing and retrieved a blue skirt, a white shirt and a red sock,
refused another green sock and a black boot----not a wellie!----on just a short
hike. Back in the box we
could see the boys on the pitch way
over three hills away. Now they were
dressed in red. At the earlier match
it was blue or Kilgarven against green of Templenoe
and we were well advised to root for the blue.
The farmer Kiren came by----he seemed nice.
Comes by several times a day to do things for the cows and odd jobs.
He came at first in his beat up old car with his Kerry blue terrier
sitting in the front. What a gorgeous dog. More
recently he has come on his blue multipurpose tractor.
Once he came and got a bunch of wood from a barn that looks to be falling
down. It is a pole barn and the
poles look about beat. He has his
hay stored there and God knows the
cows wouldn't eat much of it----they eat silage.
He will keep them in a small enclosure until March or April of 94.
Makes me think of Jenny's statement about not eating things with faces.
we talked for a long time and he told me where to find a stone circle not on the
map. I told him the one in Kenmare
looked "new". He kind of
agreed. He repeated the old idea
that messing with the stones was bad luck. I
pointed out what I thought was an
old stone fort across the way----a hump on a hillside.
He said it was but the man graded it under----never did well after that
and died young. I asked him about an
old van in the meadow----he said the commission
would hall it away for free with just a call but he didn't want to offend
his neighbor. He said a lot of
things. I asked about the old men
I'd seen and he said they might be bachelors living with a sister or
brother-----that they wouldn't want sympathy----they'd scorn it.
I said I'd seen a man way out on the road---nearly hit him.
Yep he said, there is a man that walks down to the shop gets ten
cigarettes and smokes them on the way back to his house.
He goes back for ten more at all hours.
He was spooky on the dark. I
painted him----his eyes were very large in my headlights---- A blue knit hat and
a black pea -body navy jacket and blue eyes----that's how close I came to making
a statistic of the man. I won't
forget that look for a long time.
a little robin for the bird feeder----it is cute.
I enjoy the painting----Patricia claims I'm copying her.
I guess I am! We had our
ham/bacon and veggies last night----great! Later
we decided to try for music since it was a bank holiday----nothing, Kenmare was
dead. There was a big community meeting in Kilgarvan and everyone went directly
to the pub afterward. It was
11:30----these people live late. After a little fire watching we gave up at 1:00
and went to sleep.
October 26th, started with a reminder that this is
winter. A gray cold day but eggs
have their own sunshine built into them and we are happily trying to heat
Patricia 's shower water---no luck--cold.
Today we decided to drive around and see the local stones ( I have a map)
and then on to Sneem about 45
minutes away down the coast. Up
through Kilgarvan, people in or just out of doorways, the scene a metaphor for
We followed on up toward the McCarthy pronounced McCarty grave we'd see
the other day and with two maps now found it fairly quickly.
A beautiful large stone ring and nearby a high standing stone.
On the way back down I spotted a ogham stone.
A perfect day until I spotted an inscribed stone and left the car to
check it out. Meanwhile a car was
beeping the horn to get by and in my anxiety to get back I slipped into a deep
cold ugly brown hole full of muck. When
I pulled by the waiting car a huge man grinned sheepishly and shyly at me and
said something polite. I felt a
fool----he must have been waiting 15 minutes.
But, then again so was Patricia ----she has so much patience to put up
with my follies. As I 'm
writing this he probably is used to that kind of problem and was busy
working on his multiplication tables.
We stopped in Kenmare to buy socks, music and Patricia bought a scarf in
Cleo's hand made upscale craft shop. Only
rich ladies weave for this shop.
On to Sneem passing Parkinisillia a very rich old world hotel overlooking
October 27th, Wednesday
and up with the mush. the fire continues to glow----we had a hard time getting
it going last night. We wanted to clean it out today but it won't quit----oh
well, we've been painting all morning. I
finished my red cow green field picture. On
Sunday night I had a dream that I got lost in a stone maze.
I kept stopping the dream and going in again because of the standing
stones inside. It panicked me at
first but after a while when I knew I could just restart the dream it was no
problem. Patricia then got stuck in
the maze. I couldn't just restart
that but what I did was fly up in the air and could easily see the way
out----then she kept getting lost in there but I just kept flying up and leading
her out ----this went on till I tired of the sequence I guess.
Off to town and the book store, O'Donalmei, curio shop, coffee shop,
exchange and the Horseshoe Restaurant for chicken pot pie and coffee. Patricia
had potatoes and leak (split pea) soup. I ordered steak pot pie so I guess they
serve you what they want. Afterwards we checked for "Music Tonight" -
Irish traditional, but without any prospects we went back home to our little
The gray didn't let up all day. We painted. Patricia is getting good!
Fried egg sandwich more painting ( earlier I painted a rock green like a frog).
At about 10 a.m. we ventured into Kilgarvan for a pint of Guinness. Lots of
people milling about. Selected
the Roughty (pronounced rooty) Valley Bar. Watched
about eight people play a card game called 31.
By the time we'd finished I was convinced there were no rules merely to
throw cards in the center of the table and occasionally get excited or laugh at
your fellow player. I was convinced
it was a card pitching contest . I
could only understand about every fifth word.
Back home to watch the fire and hit the sack.
October 28th, Thursday is the day we are going to
Millstreet to see the horse show. We
ate some of Johnny Moriarity's brack this morning along with eggs scrambled with
ham and potatoes. We put a pot of
beans on and tried to light the fire. For
some reason it has been difficult to light.
We painted until 3 o'clock. We
are getting really good, well better than when we started.
Time to go to the horse show in Millstreet.
Out the back road from Kilgarvan to the Cork-Kilarney road and around
through Glenflesk and Rathmore and Ballydaly to Millstreet.
We entered into an area where the dealers were selling horse blankets and
the latest in horsewear. In addition
there was a bookseller who specialized in old horse books and an antique
(emerald ring) jewelry dealer. After
a long conversation about the red 12 watches from the twenties we went into the
horse warm up area. What totally
beautiful horses and all jumpers. It
was the international jumping contest. We
watched for a couple hours and before heading home in the rain to our bowl of
beans, a hot fire, some Bushmills and some more painting and a piece of brack
with tea. Thumbing through magazines
we found several of the places we'd eaten written up including Annies of
Ballydehob (we did not eat there it was closed) and Mathew D'Arcey of Kenmare's
Old Bank House. I forget to mention
that as we were leaving the horse show we saw the admission ticket area.
Some how we'd gotten in without paying and without trying to ?
October 29th, Friday was reading day so as soon as we
could get up (about 10) we quickly ate some potatoes and the remainder of the
bacon/ham, tomatoes, cheese and some grapefruit and brack.
Tomorrow we are down to brack and coffee.
For dinner we ate a Patricia special soup and noodles concoction so very
little is left.
After reading until 2:30 when we went to town to check
with Patrick we'd been trying but with the hour set back we missed him a couple
of times only to get my recording.
In the meantime I've talked to enough operators to finally figure out how
to dial direct. We called ahead to
reserve the next two nights in
we are awakened by birds bounding
around on the roof -- the roof is corrugated tin without sound proofing of any
kind. It is a sunny day----a painting day but alas we must pack and go.
Patricia has the coffee ready at 8:30 but it will take more than coffee
to get the old bones moving.
It took us an hour moving easily to
get things packed and the house shipshape. We
used up all of the coal (2 bags at 7L each) and most of the food.
I broke one dish but we're even for no paring knife and oh God no---no
frying pan. I placed my red flower
on tile in the fence post. The old
pot in a stump, an old cooking earthenware carousel dish (glued anew) near the
door, my green stone frog in the grass and my painting palettes on the old stone
wall. The ancient bottle I left by
the tree. As you can see I was
distracted not only by these things but by the numerous birds that were out and
about----everywhere. It was a sunny
and beautiful green day with wispy
misty mountains and falling yellow and orange leaves.
A gray green wren lit two feet from my face and scolded me with
meaningless chipping. A gray backed
crow at the top of a nearby tree began a chant of warning some what akin to the
bray of a donkey a sound unlikely to come from a bird.
Something had rid the bird feeder of the toast I left
in it the day before. Not to worry I
left what little bread we had and some oatmeal which numerous birds sample in
short order----but there will be something left for the night marauder.
Suddenly the time had come to lock up----with some sadness and head off
to Mary Traynor's to settle accounts for the 2400 units of electricity which
equaled 24L plus 1L a day for wood which was a good fair reduction from the 2L
she mentioned at first particularly since we burned mostly coal.
The wood not easy to burn. That
first night was so cold coal was the only answer.
Some nights the fire was so hot I thought it would melt the metal guard.
Mary's husband met us and took the potatoes I offered graciously lest
"there be waste". Small
world as he proceeded to describe his training at
A pleasant drive uninterrupted until Ballyvouney a
Gaelic speaking community which beckoned to us with a craft shop for quilts.
Good prices and the lady told us about St. Gobnait, a pagan place now
dedicated to the ruins of her church. It
had a cannon ball, a robbers head and a Shiela na' gig as stations, in the
rounds of devotion to St. Gobnait. We
back tracked to see it and were again on the road slowed only by a standing
stone in someone's front yard. Pottery
signs next caught our interest and
we stopped to look. The lady liked
my painting of the old man----there was a story there but time did not allow it.
Her partner died and she continues.
We rested and went to the city center to shop----and be bumped by the
crowds. We bought some old linen and
ate in a cafeteria overlooking
October 31st, after
the full Irish breakfast which was the best here at Victoria Lodge at Victoria
Cross we discovered we'd lost the name of the hotel we were going to stay in
Sunday night. We were in the car
ready to go. We had already made the
reservations. Back to our room----no
book. Back to the receptionist----no
book. The receptionist starts to go
through the telephone book. We
remember Glenmore. She suggests
Gylemire-----she names a few hotels and we say Yes!
She says no wrong area. An
half hour later one of the "girls" making the beds rattles off a few
hotel names and finally someone suggests
Holloween happened and we saw only a few tricksters but Patrick said he
had to go out and get more candy haven eaten the first bag---uh huh?
We are up----have eaten the Irish traditional feast with two puddings and
now are showering with our attack on
Sometimes I think the game is to try to lose the car.
It was late and a few drops or rain fell as we encountered our car on
November 2nd brought more drizzley gray.
After the usual second B of the B&B we stuffed our bags.
We had purchased two new ones. Our
goal was to find the Good Shepherds Convent and buy some linen hand worked by
the nuns. A
lady jewelry store owner had told us about the place when we were talking
with her about real Irish stuff versus the Asian manufacturing.
After five peoples directions half of who were bogus one lady said if
we'd give her a ride we'd be closer to it when
she had to get out. She was on her
way to St. Mary’s along the southern quay.
A whole new part of the city opened up to us with very nice houses set up
on the side of the hill. After
talking with a green coated young man on a bike and the butcher he recommended
we turned up this long drive that led to a two block red brick building at least
4 stories high. A priest said he'd
check, a maid said she thought it was at the end of the building on the left.
We took the car! At the door
a lady with white hair and a blue house coat, and a few more 1/2 inch white
hairs on her chin. Try around to the
left. Hmmmmm, I thought we were on
the left. Around the corner on the
left set back was another door. As
we rounded the corner Miss Gray hairs came running after us. " You're going
to see the nun's linen?" "Yes!?"
I replied----"Oh" and she turned and scooted back to her big building.
The little room off to the left of us was old.
It looked unused-----in a long time.
The first nun told us to wait, the second nun let us in while she
searched for the head/leader. I
don't know her title but her name was Sister Margaret Fitzgerald.
Bespectacled 65 more or less she wondered aloud about the difference
between Patricia and I the "lay
" people and those that answered the calling.
It was a poignant moment.
She said that the convent was to be sold.
They took care of the old people nobody wanted.
She sold us Kitty
We found the manor with no difficulty even though our directions were
skimpy----12 miles from
November 3rd morning came early as Philomena rang us
early on a tiny yellow "toy-looking" phone 15 minutes before the time
I'd asked for the night before. In a
good sport attitude we got up and got ready for another F.I.B. or T.I.B. (Full
Irish Breakfast or Traditional Irish Breakfast).
Believe it or not we finally figured out that you could ask them to hold
the fried tomato. Pat selected a
seat to the side with two windows. I
considered the one at the front but opted to go with Pat's suggestion.
We had just sat down when Philomena appeared and said I've got this set
up for you just now pointing to the one in the front.
"We're going to sit here", I said firmly.
But she said this is all made up for you.
"Well, we prefer to sit here".
"Well as you wish but this ones made up for dinner----I'll just
change it, it won't take long----lets see you don't need this spoon----and here
is that OK now". I started to
say that I didn't know or care about
the difference between the settings for breakfast or dinner but I didn't.
I said this is fine----the other window looked out on asphalt
----unappetizing. I paid $100 for
the night and breakfast and with nobody else a paying guest I felt I should be
allowed to sit where I wanted. I
realized about then that it wasn't wise to mess with the cooks disposition.
They could add anything to your food and really mess with all of oneself.
That did it. The egg tasted
funny and the bacon looked suspicious. A
half dozen different types of birds flitted outside the window and my mood
The after breakfast task was to put everything into the suitcases.
An hour of re-stuffing and rearranging finally produced some results.
Fifteen minutes later we finished. Philomena
was happy to take the sucre brown granulated as well as the rubbish which were
mostly plastic bags.
Car loaded we headed back down the lane toward Quin, then to Castleclare
and finally the main road to
The map of our trip is a figure 8. Starting at the
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