Monday, October 9, 2017

Gone Storytelling

I'm on the road again this week, so posting might not be so easy. When I can I will continue the Ireland posts--we're only halfway through!

Have a good week, friends.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Ireland, Day 4: In the Burren

On Thursday morning we said good-bye to Roundstone and the Twelve Bens and began our journey south. I hated to leave this beautiful part of Ireland. I cannot explain the pull of the wild bog country, the rocks and mountains and water, but it was very like the way Cornwall grabbed me last year. Such beauty!

We saw many of these currachs in use and many like this one, filled with flowers. Once covered with sealskin or other animal skin as waterproofing, today canvas and tar are the usual covering. The boats are quite small, and it chills my bones to think of going out into the ocean in one.

Quaint towns are the order of the day in Ireland, as are brightly painted buildings. I wish our American towns looked like this! Parking was interesting, though. As in England, people just parked, even if it blocked a lane. No one seemed to mind.

And Emo gas?? Actually, I think it was the name of the company, but pretty funny to an American who is used to the word signifying someone who reacts strongly emotionally.

And there is the Burren. See that rocky hill behind the cottage? The Burren is a type of landscape called karst; it splits, with deep fissures into which seeds might fall and plants sprout to live a difficult life. It is a wild place, strangely beautiful.

I snapped this picture as we passed ("Oh look, a ruined castle!") 

 and since there were no other cars on the road Larry stopped to let me take a better one. I had no idea at the time that this was the castle of Mary Rua, or Red Mary, the woman reputed to have had 12 husbands! Her methods of getting shut of them ranged from making them ride off the Cliffs of Moher to poisoning.

In the austere landscape of the Burren, we were astounded to come upon a perfumery. It was miles from anywhere. down a very narrow road through rocks and scrubby growth. But when we got there, it was a charming place, and even had a tearoom. We weren't hungry so didn't go in.

In the perfumery itself. All the products are handmade here,and although my allergies went on high alert at the strong scents, It was fascinating. I came away with a jar of lavender and lemon day face cream, and I am telling you, it's wonderful. I will mail order more when it runs out, it's that nice.

The clerk in the photo was kind enough to give us directions to two places we wanted to see: Father Ted's house, and a portal tomb. If you don't know Father Ted you've missed one of the very best Irish comedy series offered by the BBC. I learned about the series last time I was in Ireland and ordered it from Amazon, and we've watched it several times over.

So this is the road to Father Ted's,or to the house used in filming anyway. It was a long way back in the hills, with no directions of any kind except what the perfumery clerk gave us.

And then there it was, just like it looks in the TV show. It is a private residence today, and there is no sign to tell you its story. We stayed on the road to take photos. I heard that the family will make tea for visitors by appointment, but we didn't want to do that--we just wanted to see the house. The series supposedly takes place in the Aran Islands, so it was a surprise to find the house is actually in the Burren.

Behind the house are these large, amazing rocks.

I zoomed in for the above picture, but this is what it actually looks like from the road.

Another funny sign--X-PO on a small cottage. Does it mean they were once poor but aren't any more?

Next stop was the portal tomb, also with sketchy directions.

My photo of the rock field around the tomb came out oddly bright, considering there was a light mist falling.

 It was getting late and we still had places to see before our day was over, so we left the Burren and drove on. Because not too far from us was Lisdoonvarna, and the Matchmaking Festival.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Ireland, Day 3: Across the Bogs

The road to the ferry took us across the peat bogs, and in the morning we were in such a hurry I took no photos. So on the way back we dawdled, stopping here and there for pictures.

The process of digging peat fascinates me. Who would ever think you could dig up the ground, dry it and burn it to heat your home and cook your food? Someone long, long ago discovered the magic of peat, and many homes are still dependent on it today for fuel.

One of the first things to greet us. And we could see both ends of it! But no pot of gold, although it may be buried under the water maybe?

Harvested peat.

And the trenches left where it has been dug. You can see how wet this area is, though it looks deceptively dry.

Blooming heather.

We came into a greener area, and there were many cars--and a crowd of people. In the middle of what seemed nowhere. We were mystified, especially when an elderly, well-dressed gentleman standing in the middle of the road signaled to us to turn left. Larry obligingly turned, then rolled down his window and asked, "Where are you wantin' me to go?" The man replied, "Park over here. You are here for the funeral, aren't you?" "Well, no," Larry said. "But we could go if you want us to." I think that's the first time we've ever been invited to the funeral of a stranger. Everyone there was grinning and laughing at the mistake, a little levity on a sad occasion.

Peat stored away for the winter in someone's shed.

Heather and gorse in bloom together. So pretty.

A small roadside waterfall.

Then we were back into the bogs, and the Twelve Bens in view.

More peat stacked by the road, ready to be hauled away.

It was getting late in the day, but there was one village, past Roundstone where we were staying, that I wanted to see, so we continued through town and on along the peninsula.

Thatched roofs are not inexpensive. It costs, we were told, about 10,000 euros to do one, and they have to be re-done every few years.

 Here's what I cannot figure out: how do they set those posts and poles in such rocky soil??

And then we arrived at the place I wanted to see. A small village, lots of tourists there because it has a beautiful beach, but that's not what drew me.

It was this: the name of the place. Bally means town in Gaelic, so this was Conneely (or Connelly) Town. There was little to see, but since that's my maiden name, I had to set foot here.

Rocks, rocks and more rocks. Whole mountains of rocks! I was in heaven. Although I would not want to try to garden here.

And finally back to Roundstone, and to our room to rest. No pub this night, we both too tired from our long, interesting day. We were in bed by 8:00pm. The next day we would be off to the Burren and Doolin.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.
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