Members Login
Post Info TOPIC: IC's '07 VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY TOUR


Host

Status: Offline
Posts: 10414
Date:
RE: IC's '07 VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY TOUR


Bob,

I am still laughing after reading about your accidental  baptism at Knock. Or was it accidental? Could the spiggots be rigged? 

Michele





__________________

"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

Click links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland Itinerary

Visit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.



Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 1382
Date:

Bob & Michele,

It brought to mind that old joke about the catholic convert who was caught grilling a steak on a Friday, horror of horrors, as he spied the priest, he sprinkled the steak with water and said "You were born a cow, you were raised a cow, you are now a fish"

So Bob,


You were born a methodist, you were raised a methodist..............you are now a Catholic! And to think I spent all those years in parochial school, cathecism classes and doing penannces. All you had to do was try to fill a small bottle at a spigot. Come to think of it, that is somewhat of analogy in and of itself. biggrin

Slan Beo,

Bit

__________________

www.rinconcreekstudios.zenfolio.com



Host

Status: Offline
Posts: 10414
Date:

Bit,

I hadn't heard that one before. Maybe Bob was babtized as "Irish"!

Michele

__________________

"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

Click links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland Itinerary

Visit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.



Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 1858
Date:

MICHELE --

          If THAT'S all it takes, I'll GLADLY undergo another IMPROMTU shower to make it so!   hmm

Bob

__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 1858
Date:

MORE: 26 JUNE, TUESDAY


                                AT LONG LAST --- THE PROMISED LAND


            "IT WASN'T TO BE, OR YOU'D BE STANDING NEXT TO ME

             IT WASN'T TO BE, OR YOU'D BE STANDING THE SAME GROUND

             IT WASN'T TO BE, OR WE'D BE DRINKING FROM THE WELLS OF THE WORLD

             AND LIVING IN EACH OTHERS SHADOWS"


          After a refreshing sleep, we awoke to the same gray skies that seemed to have followed us everywhere. After a delicious breakfast, we bid farewell to the couple from California and struck up an interesting conversation with another guest. She was an older woman (I would GUESS, in her mid-sixties), who was blond haired and blue eyed and spoke EXCELLENT English in what I swear was a German accent, yet she told us she was Italian and that she lived in Rome. She was just out and about, touring on her own. We lingered at the table, enjoying the view of the water, but our enthusiasm to hit the road was dampened, somewhat, by the inhospitable nature of the weather.


          We have been wanting to explore this part of Ireland for years, but circumstances have always thwarted every effort. The closest that we ever came, was in Feb, of 2002, when ill-health of one of our traveling companions (he came down with the flu) and persistent rain and cold weather had forced us to turn back, just shy of Ballyshannon. So, even though the weather wasnt terrific, we were still excited to finally traverse the unfamiliar ground of virgin territory.


          Once we finally started driving, it seemed to take no time at all to reach Donegal Town. We stopped in to the Craft Village just South of town, but we didnt do much more than window shop. I first read about the Craft Village YEARS ago and had ear-marked it as a Must See place during the ill-fated 02 trip. While we LOVE Irish crafts (and PARTICULARLY, Irish pottery), I must confess that I was little impressed by what we saw. Some of the pieces were nice enough, but it SEEMED very much like everything was HIGH ART (and in all capital letters! ), rather than accessible arts and crafts. I doubt if I would stop in, again.


          Up the road just a short distance, we parked in the car park that is just below the Diamond. I had been feeling a bit despondent, after realizing just how CLOSE we had been to Donegal, when we made the decision to turn back, but that quickly faded. We really enjoyed our time in Donegal Town, but we would have been MISERABLE, in Feb, of 02! The town is very compact and infinitely walk able. In fact, walking is probably the ONLY way to truly enjoy your visit. Given the circumstances, in 02 .


          We walked around the Diamond counter-clockwise, drifting in and out of various shops and doing a bit of shopping as we went, until we arrived at Donegal Castle. It is VERY nicely restored -- on a par with Ross Castle, in Killarney, I would say, although the adjoining Manor House is no more than a shell. We joined a tour in progress and then wandered about on our own. After quite some time spent communing with the past, we wandered back onto the Diamond to take in the Monument to the Four Masters. When it began to rain, we retreated into a small Take Away for a light lunch which lasted longer than the rain fall. With our hunger and the worst of the rain satiated, we made our way back to the car and began our drive toward Killybegs.

We stopped in Bruckless to explore the Church Yard and Round Tower. We wandered about for 20 minutes or so, but then, the returning rain sent us scurrying back to the Passat. The downpour ceased, as soon as we were back on the road, affording us clear views of the coast and countryside, ALMOST all the way into Killybegs.
 

                                        www.welovedonegal.com


          I wanted to see St. Catherines Well, the ruins of the church and Kits Castle, St. Marys Grotto and Nial Mor McSwynes Slab Stone and walk along the harbor, but alas, none of that was to be. The rain returned with a vengeance -- the weather conspiring against us, mocking our plans. We drove around the town, then surrendered to the decision to hope for a better opportunity on the morrow. As the road skipped uphill taking us out of town, the rain ceased -- seemingly TAUNTING us.



          But, its been my experience that Ireland gives back every opportunity that it takes away. As I glanced about for a place to stop and reexamine our decision, two things occurred, simultaneously -- I noticed a gravel Lay By (turn off) and the small, swift river that it bordered, on the left hand side of the road AND the sun (remember the SUN???) burst through a heretofore non-existent hole in the clouds. Without even thinking, I pulled the Passat in, grabbed the camera and made our way down to the waters edge. It proved to be even BETTER than our first glance had suggested.


          It was a narrow, but very fast moving stream, the bed and banks strewn with large rocks and boulders, so that a series of short waterfalls dropped the water down to the level visible from where we had parked. All around were beautiful flowers, too robust to be wild, but too disarrayed to have been cultivated by design. It was a magical place and we dawdled there for nearly half an hour before clouds closed back in and chased us back to the car. Then, of course, there was no longer any motivation to re-attempt an exploration of Killybegs.


                               TWO INTERESTING SIDE NOTES:

1) The riverside scene reminded me of time spent -- DECADES ago, along the Cashe La Poudre River in NE Colorado --

(see: http://gorp.away.com/gorp/resource/us_river/co_cache.htm ) --- with MOST of the SAME individuals that comprised our aborted, Feb of 02 trip.


2) The pictures chronology suggests that this turn off was actually located just beyond Largy and Ocean View Guest House, but its MY MEMORY. Since the place was entirely TOO BEAUTIFUL to be over-run by tourists and to become strewn with garbage and paper wrappers, it would be best if the location actually is a trifle ambiguous -- so that only those truly interested enough to search it out ever visit there.

Besides, it seems much more DRAMATIC, this way. So, thats my story and Im sticking to it!!!!


          The N56 from Donegal to illybegs and the continuation onward, beyond Largy, and eventually, Malin Beg, via the R263, hugs and skips along the waters edge as if it were laid out by following the path of a gigantic skipping stone. Just beyond Largy, it drops down to the sea then bounds, sharply up and away. Any decent map of County Donegal shows that location as an observation point and there is a large lay by there, complete with a few picnic tables, wedged between the two lane road and a railing intended to keep the fool hearty from tumbling into the waters of Fintragh Bay. As I pulled off there, to enjoy the views, the rain softened to a fine, light mist and the sun peeked over the edge of the clouds into a narrow stretch of fine, blue sky. We turned back, toward the car, placing the bay at our backs, and there, just across the road, about ½ up an impossibly green hill, sat our B&B, Ocean View (INDEED, HOW APPROPRIATE).


THANK YOU, MICHELE
---With a view like THAT, I do believe we might have been willing to stay in a HOVEL (Which, OF COURSE, Ocean View is anything but .) !


          The place DOES have one drawback, however. As I mentioned, the place sits on a sharp curve of the road. To actually access it by car, its actually a bit tricky. Returning to the R263, by exiting the lay by, you drive almost due north for about 100-150 feet. Directly in front of you is Kitty Kellys, so the R263 turns very sharply, uphill, to the left (West) and runs another 100-150 feet, before disappearing over a small hill. The side road to Ocean View is a SHARP right, just along side of Kitty Kellys, so it intersects the R263 in the dead center of a DOUBLE blind curve. I would HATE to try to find it, at night. Entering and exiting there on a gray, rainy and cloudy day was unnerving enough. Im not trying to discourage or dissuade anyone from staying there. Quite the contrary -- I HIGHLY recommend Ocean View to one and all. I just feel the need to emphasize the ONE flaw so that future guests arent overwhelmed by it.
          I also SHOULD probably MENTION that my wife is EXCEEDINGLY gun-shy about blind intersections, ever since someone pulled out in front of her and she fractured her sternum and cracked 2 or 3 ribs, in the resulting accident! My Mother-in-law was driving then (she broke her ankle) and the accident took place on a straight stretch of road. The other driver just never saw them (or, apparently, the half dozen cars BEHIND them) and presumably, couldnt read the big, red, octagonal STOP sign. Ironic, perhaps, that they were exiting from the Library parking lot.

(Maybe were TOO sensitive????)


          After you negotiate the turn at Kitty Kellys, you drive about ½ way up a moderately steep hill before turning into the gateway to Ocean View. Once you cross the metal roll cattle guard, there is a long, fully paved parking area with plenty of available parking that leads up to the rear of the house. We were greeted by the owners daughter, who showed us to our room, upstairs and to the right. It was a family room, one double and one single, with two dormers equipped with small bookcases and sitting. With some effort, you could see the bay from either.


          After securing our room, we decided to follow our hostess advice for dinner and made our way to the Clock Tower Restaurant, which we had passed, just a few kilometers to the east, on the way to Ocean View. The building sits down, off the south side of the road, encircled by a development of detached, two storied Holiday Homes, that were mostly un occupied. The restaurant appears to be an all new building that was attached to the refurbished Front Wall of what was surely an IMMENSE Manor House stables. Its central feature is a tall, towering section that contains, appropriately enough, a huge, working clock. Hence, the name.


                                 ANOTHER BRIEF ASIDE:

The Anglo-Irish Ascendancy SEEMS to have had an almost PRETERNATURAL OBSESSION with time, time pieces and the recording of time. It is my pet theory, given the remarkable, uh, FLEXIBILITY of the native Irishs time sense --- that the ultimate reason that the English finally GAVE UP on Ireland, was their INABILITY to reconcile those two WILDLY divergent outlooks.


          Inside, there was a hallway that channeled customers to either a (presumably) elegant, special function dining room, upstairs and the regular, restaurant and bar. We werent looking for elegant (and the upstairs WASNT OPEN, anyway), so we chose to eat downstairs. The place was all heavy carpet, dark wood and stone -- quite nice, actually -- and we seemed to have it all pretty much to ourselves.


          After a pleasant meal, we drove around the nearby development, checking out the homes. There were at least 20-25, with additional vacant land available for probably 20 or 30 more. Only three or four had cars parked at them, indicating that they were currently occupied and an equal number had For Sale signs displayed. While we were driving about, a few cars drove by, heading to a small dirt path at the southern end of the development and parking behind a low berm that partially obscured our view. NATURALLY, we chose to follow, presuming that the way led to a hidden strand. It PROBABLY does, but we never found out, for sure. Once we drove into the parking area, a completely fenced, GAA pitch, complete with ticket booth, concession stand, and bleachers for seating came into view. The cars we had seen were disgorging uniformed teens for either a football match, or a practice. All thoughts of the possible beach were cast aside as we walked the fifty yards or so to the field, but any chance of enjoying a slice of local life QUICKLY faded as the heavy, gray skies chose, once again to drive us from the field and send us back to the warm, dry sanctuary of Ocean View.


          It was only after we had made the mad, wet dash into the building, that I remembered that I hadnt had the FORESIGHT, to have already unpacked luggage!!


                                     "SOMETHING INSIDE OF ME IS TURNING

                                       I DONT KNOW JUST WHAT IT IS

                                       SOMETHING INSIDE OF ME IS BURNING

                                       IVE NEVER KNOWN SUCH DAYS LIKE THESE"


More To Come

Bob



-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur at 15:36, 2007-08-27

__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 1858
Date:

CORRECTIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS:

-- MAYBE --

     My wife seems to remember the unmarked, riverside turn-off as being located on the small road running from Carrick down to Teelin and/or Carrigan Head.  Based upon the way the pictures were taken, she MAY be right...  furious

     Interestingly enough, she remembers the dramatic break in the weather as nearly identical to the way I described it...  biggrin

     And that's HER story, and SHE'S sticking to IT!   biggrin

Bob

-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur at 19:39, 2007-08-27

__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Host

Status: Offline
Posts: 10414
Date:

Bob,

I'm glad you liked Ocean View. I was in the downstairs room without the ocean view. But what a room! It even has a walk-in closet. Now that is a rarity in Ireland. I also wish I could have taken the quartz countertop off the vanity and stowed it under my seat on the plane. It was that gorgeous. Makes me think I need to redo my kitchen.

Michele



__________________

"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

Click links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland Itinerary

Visit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.



Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 134
Date:

I'm lovin it Bob. Great report.

Merle

__________________
Merlene M Black


Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 1858
Date:

Merle:

Thank you.

Michele:

I actually saw that room, through the open door.  It looked VERY nice.

Bob

__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 1858
Date:

MORE: 27 JUNE, WEDNESDAY


                               THE STUFF THAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF


                 "SOMETHING INSIDE OF ME IS CHANGING

                  IVE NEVER KNOWN SUCH DAYS LIKE THESE

                  IVE SPENT ALL OF MY LIFE WAITING

                  FOR WHAT I DONT KNOW WHAT IT IS"


          The breakfast room at Ocean View is located on the ground floor, at the front of the house. Across a modest, unused entry foyer, opposite the entrance door, is a cozy and comfortable sitting room. Both rooms, due to the elevation and placement of the building, have truly impressive views of the bay. On most mornings, the shore of North Mayo should be clearly visible, but THIS morning, we were lucky to see even part way. We were guardedly optimistic, though, that Ireland would oblige us with sufficient clear breaks to keep our day from being a wash out.


           After an excellent breakfast, our hostess introduced herself. She seemed quite pleased that it was Michelle's review that had brought us to her and seemed genuinely pleased when I offered to leave my copy of Michele Erdvig's Ireland Dream Trip for her to examine during the day. Helena was reminding her helper which guest Michele was, as we set out into the gray, drizzly East. Our first stop was in Kilcar, where we purchased snacks and drinks, before continuing on to Carrick, via the R263. Once there, we turned off onto a small side road to the South, toward Teelin and Carrigan Head.


          It was on THIS road, that my wife believes we encountered the wild river-side car park and its sudden cessation of rain and the burst of sunshine and blue sky. Maybe. Possibly. Perhaps. Either way, the rain was DEFINITELY pouring down when the road came to an end on the large, old, stone pier and I snapped the photo. By the time I performed a nifty, three-point turn on the pier and we made our way back to the entrance to Slieve League, the rain subsided significantly. In fact, it was barely more than a soft drizzle when my wife got out to open and close the gate by the Lower Car Park. And, in the time it took to ease our way up the 1.7 Km to the Upper Park, the rain had stopped completely.


          I didnt really find the road up to the top any more intimidating or unnerving than the boreen into the Mealagh Valley that I drive every year, but maybe that's just me. There were about a half-dozen assorted vehicles parked in the Upper area when we arrived and a few more showed up while we were there. They were all filled with heartier and more energetic individuals than ourselves, as everyone was either already strewn along the long, winding path that disappeared from view at the top of the closest mountain, or seemed to eagerly set out , as soon as they arrived. So, for most of our visit we had the plateau-like car park all to ourselves. Even though it HAD stopped raining, it was STILL, gray, cloudy, WINDY and not even remotely close to resembling what I would consider warm. So, we wandered about snapping photos and drinking in the absolutely phenomenal vistas, until the wind and the chill urged us to return to the Passat and make our way back down the mountainside. The temperature display built into the dash said that it was 10 C.


          Back in Carrick, we rejoined the R263 and continued north and west, into Glencolumbcille. Enroute, we traveled through great empty stretches of gently rolling turf bog, that was clearly, still being worked. Alongside many of the deep-cut trenches were loose and stacked piles of turf. Alongside one hill, we spotted what appeared to be some sort of kiln. Then, just before arriving in Glencolumbcille, we stopped off at a new-looking gift shop and tea room, where we snacked on hot tea and freshly baked scones. I purchased an interesting little ceramic set of nesting sheep for 10 Euro and my wife bought a very nice, light weight, oatmeal colored, zippered wool sweater that was fully lined, for about 70 Euro (I think, but it MIGHT have been 55 E and the 70 that sticks in my head is the approximate US equivalent??) It was the ideal choice, as we live in Florida and my wife is moderately allergic to wool.


--- ANOTHER CONFESSION: EVERY visit to Ireland, I purchase a sheep. I have real wool sheep (one black and one white), fiber sheep, plastic sheep and a few different ceramic / fiber hybrids. I EVEN have a Momma, Papa and baby set, carved from Connemeara marble!


          By the time we departed the gift shop/ tea room, the sun had begun to chase away the clouds! We drove straight through the village, not stopping until we reached the car park opposite Father McDwyers Folk Village. By the time we arrived, the sun had come out to play. We dawdled briefly at the beach beside the car park and then crossed the street. We probably spent about two hours there, wandering through the different cottages and enjoying the surprisingly beautiful weather. We purchased EXCELLENT soup, brown bread and soft drinks in the Community Center and I bought a handful of books in the gift shop before we finally left.


          After we finally departed, we continued down to Malin Beg and parked in the car park for Silver Strand. If you are up to the climb, it is probably THE most impressive beach that I have seen in Ireland. I won't even attempt to describe it, except to say that my pictures really DONT do justice to seeing the real thing. The climb really COULD be a deal-breaker, though, but there IS a bench to stop and rest upon, about half-way down. As we were making our way down, another couple was resting there, on their way up. One more couple descended, just before we headed back up. Otherwise, we had the place to ourselves.


           And, as HARD as the climb DOWN was .......... hmm hmm hmm


           I stopped in to the little petrol station in Malin Beg for water and Diet Coke, before heading back into Glencolumbcille. Just south of the village is a lay by, high on the crest of a ridge, at the end of a long drive. We sat at the picnic tables, looking out over the town, the valley and the ocean beyond and my wife took the opportunity to call her parents back home. They were THRILLED to hear about my impromptu Baptism at Knock, and it was reassuring to know that they were doing well. Our daughter had come to stay in our house and take care of them for the FIRST week, and my wife's sister had replaced her, for the remainder of our vacation. (MILs 82, FILs 89 and neither drive, anymore. They have their own house, but we live in the same development.)


           We drove back down into the village, wandering the side streets to search out some of St. Columba's ancient sites. We found the Slab of God, first, just north of the Church of Ireland building. In fact, we actually parked in the churchyard and walked back to the stone. Then, we followed the signs toward Columba's Seat. The dirt road ended at a small farmyard. Just before the house, there was a wide spot, where we parked. It was at the base of a steep hill that had what looked like a jeep (or goat) path leading up. About half way up the grassy slope was some stone object and a small, white sign. We had seen a similar sign at the Slab of God . It had, TURA COLMCILLE STAD 2 printed on it.


           While we stood at the base of the hill, another car drove up and a English woman just a few years younger than us got out. She and my wife commiserated about their lack of proper shoes for such a climb, but I was undaunted. Using ME as a crutch and/or anchor, my wife managed the climb up to the stone (and back) in SPITE of her somewhat slick-soled shoes. The English woman waited at the bottom, skeptical of our chances for success. On closer inspection, the white sign also carried the same inscription as the Slab, except that THIS sign displayed a different number. The function and original purpose of the stone object, however, was unrecognizable.


          Upon our safe return to level ground, the woman produced a brochure or pamphlet and stated that St. Columba's chapel MUST be nearby. I pointed out a group of stone ruins (with round, white signs) across the road, in the farmers field and opined that the easiest approach would require walking past the farm house and follow a tractor path to a gate that led to the field. Not wishing to trespass without permission, the English woman called out, as we approached the open door to the house and an older gentleman came ambling out. He was quite friendly and not only encouraged us to continue, but pointed out several interesting pieces of information about the ruins. He said that my wife and I had climbed to St. Columba's Well -- the Chair was actually MUCH further up the hill. He also pointed out a small projection rising from one of the mounds of stone. It was a Wishing Stone, he said. And even though he had never rubbed the stone and made a wish, personally, it was well known in the area that doing so DID cause wishes to come true.


I never did find out what my wife wished for, but Im still not rich and I still don't look anything like Daniel Day-Lewis, so if it wasn't THAT?????

  
                             confused confused  confused confused confused          evileye            confused confused  confused confused confused
                             
            The sign by the Chapel ruin had the number 5. Flanking it were two small rock cairns. The one with the Wishing Stone -a carved slab worn almost smooth by the weather and all the rubbing -- was number 4. Several feet away on a small rise, was a third, larger cairn, which I suppose to have been a tomb, perhaps. The entire field was a fascinating and intriguing place.


            As we parted company, back where we had parked, I gave our new acquaintance directions to sign #2. My wife and I drove off in search of the road to Glengesh Pass. On the way, we stopped at the OTHER woolen shop, but didnt purchase anything. It was an interesting stop, though -- in half of the building there were bins and shelves and racks filled up with knit wear of every type, shape and color. There was also, a large, old loom. In the other half, through a partially closed door, women were at work, fabricating items to be sold. Even the woman sitting at the counter was hand knitting, the entire time we were in the show room!


            Back on the road, we enjoyed a pleasant drive through the forest and over the pass, until we intersected the main road, just south of Ardara. We continued north and east, through Glenties and drove all the way to the Tourist Office on the outskirts of Letterkenny. Since the office had closed for the day (it was a little after 5 PM), we turned back and drove the same route back -- foregoing the Glengesh Pass turn off, however, ending in Killybegs, instead. After visiting an ATM there, we drove back to Ocean View, intending to dine at Kitty Kelly's. They were, however, not open.  furious furious furious


            A quick stop at Ocean View sent us into Kilcar, were we ate at a small Take Away just opposite John Joes Pub. We retired to there after our meal for drinks and some good music from two guitarists. We only stayed for about an hour or so, however, as it had been a long, full day.


And, it was starting to rain ------  hmm hmm


                           "DAYS LIKE A SLOW TRAIN RUNNING

                            NOTHING BUT TIME IS ON MY SIDE

                            SEEMS LIKE A LONG TIME COMING

                            NO ONE BUT YOU CAN STOP ME NOW"


More to come


Bob



-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur at 23:38, 2007-08-30

__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 134
Date:

Bob,
We will be staying for two nights at Ocean View in Killybegs also. Love your report and hope to see some of the same area. Was Kitty Kelly's closed that day or do they just close early?

Merle

__________________
Merlene M Black


Host

Status: Offline
Posts: 10414
Date:

Merle,
 
I believe Kitty Kellys is open through September at least. This is their website: http://www.kittykellys.com/ Take a look at the menu. You can walk to the restaurant from Ocean View. Tell Noel the manager hello from me.

Michele

__________________

"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

Click links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland Itinerary

Visit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.



Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 1858
Date:

Merle:

It was their regularly scheduled day to be closed.  We just hadn't noticed the sign.  I believe that last orders are at 21:30, when they are open.

Bob

__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 1858
Date:

More: RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN' ON MY HEAD


THURSDAY, 28 JUNE


                                    "A GENTLE MIST ALL HEAVEN KISSED

                                      LIKE TEARDROPS OFF AN ANGELS WING

                                      DONT YOU KNOW YOULL CLEANSE YOUR SOUL

                                      WITH A WALK IN THE IRISH RAIN"


     After another fine Irish breakfast, our hostess returned my copy of MICHELE ERDVIG'S IRISH DREAM TRIP, complete with her commentary as to how Amazingly DETAILED it all was. I assured her that I would pass on her flattering remarks, so There You Go.


     It wasn't raining as we departed Ocean View, but it clearly WANTED to badly enough that a hard, steady MIST greeted us before the outskirts of Killybegs did. We stopped briefly so that I could snap a few pictures of the harbor. There was a big Festival due to start on either Thursday or Friday night. I parked in a large car park just to the west of town that was nearly filled up by trucks hauling carnival-type rides. I wondered how it would all turn out, given that I needed to be moving on and the weather seemed rather un-conducive to outdoor revelry.


     It rained, off and on, all the way through and/or around Bruckless and Donegal Town with nary a break, until just before we reached Letterkenny. Since we were STILL searching (somewhat desperately, now) for the gift items that friends and family had Requested "that we Pick Up for us, while youre in Ireland" -- we dropped in to the Tourist Office to locate directions to a shopping center. While we were there, we also secured some information as to some of the sites that we had hoped to visit and secured a booking for a B&B for the night. The woman working there was quite helpful and after she phoned in the reservation, I asked her how much we owed. She told us that there was NO charge -- a statement I found thoroughly confusing, as the normal TI charge is 4 Euro, PLUS 10% of the nights booking (which, I BELIEVE is kept by the TI as a commission). Apparently, THIS Tourist Office is run by the local equivalent of the Chamber of Commerce (?) and therefore, doesnt charge!


     Just into Letterkenny, there is a large, busy intersection that has shopping centers on each corner. We went to the one with the Dunnes and scoured the store for some items and then, on a whim, I dragged my wife through an Irish version of a combination / hybrid of Home Depot and Bed Bath and Beyond. Dunno what my wife REALLY thought about it, but I found the tour FASCINATING!!!! As we were returning to the car, the rain returned, so we decided not to explore any more of Letterkenny and instead, resume our northerly journey.


     Arriving in Burt, the rain was light, but steady. The signpost for Grianan Aileach, was small and hard to spot, particularly in the rain. Once we made the turn, we were half convinced that we had misread the sign, as the road led us through a residential area. The houses soon thinned out, however and we found ourselves climbing a fairly steep hill. Near the top was a large gravel car park. A green truck marked DUP (or something similar) was parked in front of a small, 8X10 shed type building, but no one seemed to be about. One other vehicle was parked, but the occupants came rushing down from the Stone Fort, clambered in and drove off, while we were rummaging about in the car for our camera and our two, small umbrellas.


Did I mention that it was now POURING down, by the bucketful???


For those that want to know about Grianan Aileach:

http://www.stonepages.com/ireland/ireland.html


     From the car park, an ancient boulevard climbs, arrow straight to the summit upon which, the ring fort perches. THIS day, it is barely visible -- shrouded by thick gray mists and dark, low, rain clouds. There is a wide gate baring the path. Entrance beyond is afford via a curved, turnstile - type walk gate of common use throughout Ireland in order to separate Men from sheep.


     Once through that bottleneck, we dash up to the entrance and pause within the arched, stone tunnel, enjoying the respite from the driving rain. The structure is amazing. It matters little to us, just HOW ambiguous the historical accuracy of the reconstruction really is.

Dagda's Throne? That's DOUBTFUL. Seat of the Ui Neil? I wouldn't doubt it. Why ELSE would the Munster King that finally cracked so tough a nut, order each of his men to carry away a stone from the place, intent on ERASING its very existence like a blemish, from off the face of the world?


     My wife lingers in the entry, but I rush about, climbing the inner ramparts and scurrying around the inner walls, attempting to envision the COMMANDING viewpoint that the site might afford, were the murky, cloudy sky not so thoroughly INSISTENT upon obscuring it.

I wax, sentimental.

Eventually, we return to the car, thoroughly drenched. I quickly started the car, turned on the heat and cranked the blower up to High, in order to attempt to blow dry our pant legs. Ever the romantic, my wife chose to spend HER time on something MORE pressing. She dug out the CDs and selected a specific disc AND a particular song:


                                     "Hark, now hear the sailors cry
                                      Smell the sea and feel the sky
                                      Let your soul and spirit fly

                                      Into the mystic"


     We sat there, watching the rain roll by, peaceful amidst the swirling mists, atop the high, ancient hill -- the cloud tops nodding and bobbing in rhythm to the tempo.


                   "Good choice," says I. "Fair Play to ye, Missus."


More to Come


Bob



-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur at 18:35, 2007-09-05

__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Host

Status: Offline
Posts: 10414
Date:

Bob,

What a pity about the weather at Grianan of Aileach. On a clear day you can see for hundreds of miles up there. Or so it seems. Thanks for passing along Helena's comments from Ocean View in Killybegs. I am a stickler for details.

Michele



__________________

"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

Click links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland Itinerary

Visit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.



Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 58
Date:

Bob; interesting to read re Glencolumcille and the surroundings.. May I add a little local colour, please? 

The "other" woollen mill were our next door neighbours. They are a family firm who endured hard times, and pulled through by diversifying. From the traditional Aran, they created new interpretations, and made new contracts abroad. Now they are thriving, thankfully. 

The loom is silent now, as the man who used to work it is into his 80s, and there are no  young ones interested in learning any more... We only know I think three working looms in the area now. And other small family firms have closed..

Many also have gone into cheaper lines.

The "other" one at Glencolumcille has stayed "pure" you can rely onw hat you buy there as they will tell you if it is machine or hand knit. Pauline, the daughter, hand pieces the machine knits there.

The lady who knits at the reception desk is Mary, the matriarch. She is always there, always knitting, winter and summer. She lives next door.... There is online a wonderful interview done when she and the family were establishing that place; it gave employment when there was little else in the area, and preserved the old skills also.

Their use of yarns is amazing.. inventive...... and they buy locallly, especially from kilcarra yarns , who have also come through very hard times by specialising.
 
Yes, the place is always a hive of activity, thankfully...a different picture three years ago..

These firms are so good to us, giving us oddments they cannot use.

Wish you had bought there; the quality and design are second to none.
Mary is a skilled knitter in a very old tradition...

I have not seen the photos; but yes, the river etc is probably on the way to Teelin. As is the craft/coffee shop you describe as new. Run by a family who lived and worked in New York..... The daughter does the baking, and the coffee is good.

Over and out! Blessings this day  

__________________
AnchoressNun


Host

Status: Offline
Posts: 10414
Date:

Anchoress,

Thanks for all the info about the woolen mills and hand-knitting. Last time I was in Ardara I was impressed with the knits at Triona. Some of the colors were absolutley beautiful. They also have a huge old hand-loom in the back of their shop.

There are so many wonderful little shops around Ireland. Makes me want to do a shop-till-you-drop tour.

Michele

__________________

"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

Click links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland Itinerary

Visit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.



Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 504
Date:

Sign me up for that one, Michele!

__________________
Slán go fóill, Judy


Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 58
Date:

Good morning....

Yes, Ardara still have two hand weavers there. We had a long chat with them a while back...

Triona is beautiful, but comparatively expensive; the same garments at Glencolumcille are noticeably cheaper. Ardara is surviving by tourism now; all the tour buses stop there, and they give free coffee etc....

There is in Kilcar village another beautiful hand knit place; right in the centre near the Mary grotto; they too have hand looms in a loft. But, again, we found them very expensive. Beautiful cloth though...

Another is the Michael Byrne studio; there are signs to this but it is hard to find down the lanes. When the husband died, the weaving there died too. They still sell very traditional Aran, the most beautiful work I have seen here in fact, and an indigo wool that is exclusive to them.  They have almost no hand knitters left now. And it is "only" the very traditional work there.

I have seen signs to a new hand weaving place in Ardara, but have not had time to go there yet.... 

Maybe before the season ends... 

Blessings this day. 

__________________
AnchoressNun


Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 58
Date:

Hi Dude.. I was  selling in Donegal Town yesterday; almost a totally dry day so the crowds were out in force.... The waterbus sailed at 3 pm; I talked with many after and they were very enthusiastic and had really enjoyed the trip.. Also I chatted with Captain Billy and said we would be there on 21st..... I will nip into the Town early that day to check the time of sailing.... There are alternative things; if you love beaches, there are two within easy reach. Rossnowlagh  and the almost unknown Murvagh, which has forest walks also and where you can often have the wide, clean beach to yourself.......

We shall see...

Blessings this day; off to the Town again today...

__________________
AnchoressNun


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 504
Date:

Now you're making me wish I had scheduled more days in County Donegal. Next time...

More yarn arrived today. Perhaps I will have room for only one set of clothes, so will need those laundry facilities!

__________________
Slán go fóill, Judy


Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 58
Date:

lol!

It turned very chilly today...A sneaky cold wind straight off the sea...But the Waterbus has an indoor part too, complete with bar...

So many Americans today; a group of elderly men bought all my Irish Blackberry jam between them...... Never fear; more will be made soon....see my xanga...
 
Blessings this night...

__________________
AnchoressNun


Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 1858
Date:

Michele:  Quite the contrary -- Grianan Aileach in the rain was MAGICAL!  While I have no doubt that the view on a bright, shiney day is a sight to behold, there is something special about being atop those walls, enveloped in the Mists of Time ... I firmly believe that Ireland shares what She wants, WHEN She wants -- one needs must be open-minded enough to embrace that.  There are NO bad visits, nor is there any bad weather -- It IS, what it IS.

Anchoress:  While I would be the first to want to support any and every local endeavor, living in a climate where 30 + Celsius is the NORM, somewhat precludes the need for heavy, woolen wear.  Had my wife not found the light-weight, LINED one that she did, given her normal reaction to wool, we probably wouldn't have bought ANY.  Never-the-less, I'll CERTAINLY keep them in mind for any future needs, say for gifts to others.

Bob

-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur at 09:46, 2007-09-10

__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 504
Date:

Bob, as you know I also live in the subtropics so can sympathize. It's hard to spend much money on something I can wear perhaps two or three days out of the year. But Anchoress also works in synthetics and lighter weights. I'll give you a full report on her stock once I return. And with the "new" camera she should soon have a website where you can check them out yourself.

We have the Grianan on our itinerary also. Can't wait to see which version we get!

__________________
Slán go fóill, Judy


Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 1858
Date:

Judy:  I actually added the Inishowen 'Diversion' based on YOUR recommendations.  I had originally planned to stay in Letterkenny, but we were VERY happy with our 'Detour'.

MORE OF THURSDAY, 28 JUNE


                       "DON'T I KNOW, THE DAYS ARE ONLY

                        WHAT WE MAKE THEM?

                        AND DON'T I KNOW, THE NIGHTS GO ONLY

                        WHERE WE TAKE THEM?"


          As we made our way back down off the mountain, the rain slacked off, resuming its familiar pattern of here now / gone without you noticing. That seemed to be the pattern for the remainder of the afternoon and evening, though as it grew later in the day, the rainless stretches became more frequent than the rainy ones and were SOMETIMES accompanied by periods of brightness (and even a FEW glimpses of Sun! ).


          We made our way into Buncrana and onward, to Drumfree. Continuing on the R238, we passed through Clonmany and Ballyliffin, in search of the Doagh Famine Village, in Doagh Island. Contrary to the name, Doagh is actually a peninsula, NOT an island, but it IS a beautiful representation of Inishowen. The Famine Village is both awe-inspiring and hokie, at the same time (using sometimes foolish -looking mannequins fitted with the TACKIEST, fake looking black wigs), and yet, I would have to say that IN SPITE of those considerations, it was one of the MOST interesting, enlightening and truly worth-while tours that we have EVER taken. I STRONGLY recommend that anyone who visits the area make it a point to spend about two hours or more, taking the tour (with EXCELLENT commentary) and wandering about on their own, as well.


          After paying the 6 Euro entry fee, you are guided to a large tea shop to sit and await the start of the next tour. Once seated, tea and brown bread (included in your admission) are provided. The young man who conducted our tour was a local, raised in the Doagh Famine Village, before it was converted to a Museum, in 1997. Where Father ODwyer's Folk Village is a Slice of Life, historically, in Glencolumbcille, http://www.glenfolkvillage.com/index.html (In case I didn't give it, before -- Bob)


          Doagh is more about ABSTRACTS. It is NOT a FEEL GOOD tourist site. I suspect you will exit, as I did, slightly disturbed and introspective. Based on the literature they distribute and the signage displayed, it is a Take No Prisoners, non-denominational, anti-sectarian, and yet VERY political (while taking GREAT PAINS to be P.C.) kind of place.


An Example, from one of their signs:


                                          TODAYS WORLD


     If you were to reduce the masses of humanity into a town of 100 inhabitants based on the proportions of race / gender, what would this town's inhabitants look like?

57 Asian                            6 inhabitants would account for 59% of the world

wealth and all would be Americans

21 European                     80 would not have decent living conditions

14 N&S Americans             70 would be illiterate

8 Africans                         50 would be malnourished


52 Women                         1 would die

48 Men                              2 would be born

70 Non-Christians               1 would have a PC

30 Christians                      1 would have the necessary qualifications for university entry

89 Heterosexuals

11 Homosexuals



          GIVES YOU PAUSE FOR THOUGHT. Though, NEVER do they point the finger, or assign BLAME.. They are, in fact, quite proud of their 'Take NO Side' approach. And, being Irish, the presentation is not devoid of humorous diversions.


http://www.doaghvisitorscenter.com/


Info about the Area:


http://www.clonmany.com/tourism/activities.shtml


              After we departed the Famine Village, we made our way to Cardonagh and then followed sign posts to follow secondary roads to Gleneely and connect with the R238 to arrive in Moville. The Tourist Office in Letterkenny had booked us into the Admiralty House, based on a small photo and a brief description that led us to believe that it was a fairly new building with en-suite rooms. My wife and I SPECIFICALLY remember hearing the young woman from the Tourist Office say, TWICE, that we were looking for en-suite accommodations. Upon arrival, we discovered ALL our pre-conceptions to have been in error.


               Admiralty House is LITERALLY, just that -- The building housed the British Admiralty up until Partition, when it was sold to the Bishop of Derry, for use as a religious retreat. The current owners had purchased it a few years back in poor condition and have Lovingly restored it to better than its original glory. (The lady of the house asked us if we were familiar with the term, "Money Pit"!!!) It is a Beautiful restoration / remodel, complete with a HUGE Guest Conservatory that is all wood and glass. NONE of the guest rooms are en-suite, however, which can be a bit awkward for 'Modest Men and Women Of A Certain Age' .


               Given the time of day, the apparent lack of any other guests and our unfamiliarity with the area, we hesitantly agreed to stay the night --- Did I mention the views of Lough Foyle ??? We were actually quite lucky (or UN-LUCKY, depending on your perspective) in that Moville had scheduled a Festival for the weekend and every room was booked for Friday and Saturday, throughout the area. FYI -- It was the FIRST, Moville BOB DYLAN Festival Weekend. I asked if there was some particular LINK between Moville and Mr. Zimmerman, or if he was, in fact, expected to be in attendance (My wife would have MADE me cancel our Friday night stay at Crockatinney, in THAT case), but the answer was 'No', to BOTH questions. Apparently, it just seemed like a good idea, at the time!


               And, so, once AGAIN, poor planning / scheduling on my part had caused us to miss yet ANOTHER Festival that would doubtless have been GREAT fun. Ah, well. Live and learn


               We headed into town (actually walking distance) and had an excellent early dinner at a small Italian place called Sopranos (Yes, themed after Tony and the rest of the crew) and then drove north to Greencastle. We stopped there, at the site of a new, sea (Lough) side development (Holiday Homes???) built next to, around and under the ruins of the old castle. It was a strange and INTERESTING juxtaposition. If youve seen the pictures, youll know what I mean. You will also notice the stretches of BLUE SKY and Sunlight, peeking from large gaps in the cloud cover!


                We drove back down through Moville and stopped in Redcastle for a few photos of THOSE ruins, before returning to the Admiralty House, about 9:30 or so. In the Conservatory we met up with our fellow guests -- a family currently Home from New Zealand that included two young boys in the 10 - 13 age range. We had a nice, enlightening chat with the father, as he had grown up in the area. The were leaving early the next morning to make their way nearly to Dublin. Given the weather wed been having, I didnt envy them the drive (particularly with two young ones in tow -- even well-behaved as these two were!).


                  Since they were departing early, they headed upstairs early, while we lingered. My wife curled up in an oversized chair, updating the Journal that she had promised her parents that she would keep. At his point it was probably about four days BEHIND. I chose to take a stroll outside. After crossing the wide, front yard down to the street, I crossed the two lane road into a gravel parking area and was standing on the bank of Lough Foyle. There was a soft, fine mist in the air and the long, gray clouds juxtaposed themselves with the color of the water. Even this late (10 or 10:30 PM) there was activity on the water. A large sailboat made its way south and a large ship (perhaps the Ferry) was close to the far shore, off to the north, opposite Greencastle. I walked up and down the road a short stretch in each direction, enjoying the architecture and the relative solitude, and then returned to the Conservatory.


                Realizing that we no longer had the place to ourselves, my wife settled upon the idea of wearing her blue vinyl raincoat in substitution for a robe for those occasional journeys down the hall. The sight of it made for some giggles on our part. I tried to tell her that she neednt worry about accidentally stumbling into anyone -- the loud rustling of the raincoat would alert EVERYONE to her approach.. She handled it all with good natured humor and it really proved to be NO problem, whatsoever. We spent a quiet, comfortable night.


                                       "WHEN THE ROAD AHEAD

                                        TAKES YOU ROUND THE BEND

                                        THINK OF ME

                                        CAUSE I'LL BE THINKIN' OF YOU"


More to come ...

Bob




-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur at 13:59, 2007-09-10

__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 195
Date:

Bob,

Now I can start my day with a smile. I've had to use raincoats for robes before. To be honest I don't pack a robe anymore, raincoats are good.

Thanks, thanks, thanks, Joan

__________________
joan chatham


Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 58
Date:

The difference between Doagh ( which indeed started its life as an island) and Glencolumcille is interesting and telling.

It shows so clearly how Ireland has changed in the 50 years between the creation of the two exhibitions.

From the old, insular, fully Irish, ways to part of the "global village"
As our Irish landlord, raising a young family, says, Ireland is no longer Ireland.

Personally I did not like Doagh for that reason. The "mannequins" incidentally are totally realistic; in those poverty-stricken days hair would have looked like that. And the Famine figures are alike around the country. 

The Folk Museum at Glen was made as a part of Fr McDyers' brave campaign to stop the emigration/depopulation from an impoverished area. He was a "rebel/rabble rouser" hated by the "establishment" of course; if you watch the vidoe in the Museum you will hear a man passionate re social reform, and with the full intent and power to change that. He  brought electricity and mains water in, and, with the village co-operative, created the means for folk to earn their living and so stay in the area. While celebrating Iand preserving reland in all its beauty and individuality.....

Doagh is different.
A world place, not an Irish place.
And with no real means or intent of creating change.
And expressing a world view. It could be sited anywhere in the world...

Glen is pure Ireland still.

But it depends what you are seeking here of course; our life as residents is perforce very different.

Incidentally they turn it into "Santa's Island" in December.. and the refreshments are excellent. We were their guests last year...

And the beaches and country there are among the most lovely in Donegal; I left the village pretty quickly and walked the sands..

Blessings this day....

__________________
AnchoressNun


Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 1858
Date:

Anchoress:

I agree, completely with your assessment of Doagh, it is, in fact, what made it so interesting.  Father McDwyer's, on the other hand was made MORE interesting by its very DIFFERENCE from Doagh ...

And while the scenery around Doagh IS beautiful, I must say that the beach beyond the Car Park at Father Mc'Dwyer's (and, indeed, the ENTIRE area around Glencolumbcille -- Silver Strand, etc.) was/were/are my personal favorite in all of Donegal.

Bob

__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Host

Status: Offline
Posts: 10414
Date:

Bob,

Glad to hear that the rain did not "dampen" your enjoyment ofGrianan of Aileach. You are right about each experience being unique. Since I have been to Ireland so many times I have seen many different places in lots of different weather conditions. One of my favorite memories of Glendalough was of a cool, gray, drizzly morning with peat-smoke in the air when I had the whole place to myself. The gorse was covered in spider webs and jeweled with dew. Truly special.

Michele

__________________

"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

Click links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland Itinerary

Visit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.



Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 134
Date:

Bob,
We just returned from our trip and we also toured Grianan of Aileach. I agree the signpost was small and we missed it the first time and had to turn around. Our view was through sunshine. It was a very interesting site.

Merle

__________________
Merlene M Black
«First  <  1 2 3  >  Last»  | Page of 3  sorted by
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

Tweet this page Post to Digg Post to Del.icio.us


Create your own FREE Forum
Report Abuse
Powered by ActiveBoard