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Post Info TOPIC: No Matter How Long Gone You've been You can Come Home Again


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No Matter How Long Gone You've been You can Come Home Again


May 2, 2009 -  

After waking up from my long sleep, I was energized and ready to face the daunting task which is the DublinAirport.  Our plane was a half hour ahead of schedule arriving into Dublin. The chore of grabbing my luggage and getting through Customs was surprisingly Easy-Peasy. The next hurdle was car rental. I have always had a mixed bag of experiences when it comes to car rentals in Ireland. I gird myself for the worst possible scenario. Therefore, it is a pleasant surprise when everything goes smoothly, as it did on this trip. I had booked my rental through the Kemwel link on Michele's site. For those who don't know, Kemwel is a brokerage, finding you the best rental amongst a variety of companies. I was lucky and found myself doing business with Murray's/SixT. The girl at the counter was friendly and efficient.  She was quite surprised when I turned down a free upgrade. I explained that the Micra was the perfect size for avoiding any mishaps on Irish roads.  I was through and out to the shuttle queue in under ten minutes. The shuttle wait took a bit longer than ten minutes but what did I care, I was breathing Irish air! After a short ride to the rental lot, I found my Nissan Micra, inspected it for any damage which they hadn't caught and chuckled upon discovering that they tie on the hubcaps to avoid loss. Getting out of the DublinAirport from the SixT lot wasn't as difficult as I had expected. That being said it is still far easier to get out of Shannon and on your way.  

I have advised on never driving more than two hours on your arrival day. It is good advice and I hope you will take it.  However, having a rather lengthy and far flung agenda for the first day, I did not adhere to that golden rule.  

After picking up my rental, whom I christened Peg, and making my way out of the DublinAirport, I headed South and West, destination Ballybrittas, Co Laois. and a long overdue catch-up visit with my friends Brigid & Michael Dempsey, owners of a Dairy farm and Abbeyview Cottage, a self-catering  thatched cottage. Having arrived early, I was on the road two hours ahead of schedule, thus I wound my way from Naas, through the Curragh, into Kildare and then Monasterevin, where I stopped to see an old friend and take a few pictures before continuing on to my visit.  It is odd how some things seem to stay in a collective community memory. In Monasterevin, it became obvious that the Cowboys in their midst three summers ago had left an indelible impression.  As I strolled through the town, photographing the Gerard Manley Hopkins Statue, the Cherry Blossoms, and the Church, I was greeted with waves and handshakes and a hearty "One of the Cowboys have come back!" by most everyone with whom I crossed paths.  I lingered in Monasterevin for an hour, marveling in the quiet of an early Saturday morning. The shops hadn't opened and there wasn't much road traffic.  I did go into the church and light a candle in thanks for a safe journey.  Onwards down the road I went, about 15 minutes to the turn-off for Brigid & Michael's. It was such a joy to drive familiar roads. Pulling into the farmyard, I felt a sense of homecoming.  Even though I was two hours early, Brigid met me at the door with a smile and a long, warm hug before shooing me into the front room for a cuppa and a chat whilst we waited for Michael to come in from the barns. What a feast was laid, home made currant scones, brown bread and a Rhubarb Tart! When Michael came in, it was more hugs, laughter and catching up. The two hours sped by and I soon found myself rising to leave. Michael and Brigid showed me around their garden, in which the rooster strutted and posed in all his feathered glory. Of course, I had to see the new calves and reconnect with my four-legged pal Maxie before I could leave. The number of farm yard dogs as definitely increased from just Maxie, to Maxie & Twink and now two of Maxie's pups and a Bruno. They of course were delighted to see me, none more so than Maxie, who fell in at my side as I had trained her to do in 2006.  There were more hugs and a prayer for safe travels and then I was off to Fore Abbey. 

I backtracked towards Monasterevin to the Tullamore turn-off. I then headed toward Tullamore, up through Kilbeggan and Crooked Wood and into Fore. I have had the Fore Abbey on my list of places to photograph for several trips. There was never any time. This time, I made the time and I was not disappointed. Fore Abbey (Mainistir Fhobhair) and the surrounding sites should be high on everyone's list of must sees. However, because it is out of the way, it is often overlooked.  Fore is a Benedictine Priory built in the 13th century. Many of the ruins at the site date from the 15th century, as well.  The Abbey is also know for its Seven Wonders:

  1. The monastery built upon the bog.
  2. The mill without a race (Lough Lene water flows from the hill).
  3. The water that flows uphill.
  4. The tree that has three branches/the tree that wont burn.
  5. The water that doesnt boil.
  6. The anchorite in a stone.
  7. The lintel-stone raised by St. Fechins prayers.

 I found all of the sites within Fore Valley to be well preserved and impressive. There is so much energy, ancient and strong, which seem sto emanate from every stone. St Feichin's Church seemed to call to me the loudest. I spent quite a bit of my time there marveling at the architecture and its engineering. The Lintel over the entry is solid stone and believed to weigh 7 tons. It is said that the strength of  St. Feichin's prayers raised it into position.  I was also intrigued by the Circular Dovecote, well preserved, which sits on the hill behind the priory. I spent an hour and a half exploring the sites before finding my way to the tea room for a pot of tea and a slice of cake. Rested and fed, I pointed Peg in the direction of Clonmellon. That is when the Faeries woke up and decided that I had been long enough without their "direction". What seemed like a very straight forward route between Fore & my final destination of Keady took me on a Merry jaunt through the entire ForeValley.  I ended up North of Fore, South of Fore and on every small road that existed before finally finding my way into Kells. Once in Kells, much to my surprise, I wound up in a traffic jam of sorts. They were having a tractor drive for Cystic Fibrosis and had bottlenecked the road leading out of Kells down to a snail's crawl. On one side of our travel lane, we had parked tractors in all sizes, models, years and colors. In the middle of the road, we had folks with donation buckets collecting our change. I thought it quite an ingenious method of making sure everyone chipped in a bit of coin, myself. Others were not quite so amused or understanding.

 

 

I finally arrived in Keady an hour an a half after I had guesstimated. I was never so glad to find my B&B.  My home for the next two nights would be an early 18th centurystyle manor, Dundrum House. The B&B is on the Beetler trail between Keady & Tassagh. It is a mere 6 miles from ArmaghCity.  It is set on an 80-acre beef & sheep farm. As I pulled through the white gates which marked the entrance, I was met with the bucolic site of a flock of sheep, guarded over by a border collie, grazing on the front lawns. The collie also saw itself as the welcoming committee, which meant plenty of fawning and belly scratches before I could make my way to the door.  The door was opened almost immediately upon my knock.  Liz greeted me warmly and showed me to my room. The room was well appointed and overlooked the pasture area.  The bed was a single, very comfortable, not too firm or too soft, and, best of all, plenty of pillows! My room like all the rooms had wood flooring. The walls were painted a wedgewood blue. with white trim and casements. The bathroom was small but efficient. I didn't find it claustrophobic but some might. Once I settled into my room, I ventured downstairs to the front parlor which is set aside for the guests. There I found a tea tray which Liz had set out for me.  Liz & Larry are the hosts. Larry was born in the house and is the third generation to reside there.  They have just recently completed a six-year renovation of the House including turning some of the stable buildings into self catering facilities. Soon after I had finished my tea and carried my dishes into the kitchen, Larry came in and told me that I had a message from a friend who wanted to set up lunch the next day. He rang her back and I found myself talking to one of the women with whom I had been conversing for the past year regarding my Rice genealogy. Though we had determined that they weren't part of my Rices, her parents still wanted me to come up for lunch the following day.

 

 

 Little did I know that lunch at Leo & Mary's would turn into a grand adventure and a family reunion....  Tomorrow..... making new friends & late night teas with  just met family................



-- Edited by CowboyCraic on Sunday 24th of May 2009 02:33:39 AM

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How fortunate to have survived the dreaded Car Hire / Dublin Airport unscathed! You must truly be ' Fairie Blessed'.

As to your title -- an (only occassionally) wise, old man once wrote:

" You may not be able to relive your past, or recapture your youth, but you CAN go home again. Home is where the heart is.  "

Clearly, you HAVE discovered the path to there.  biggrin biggrin

Bob


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Bit,

What an enjoyable journal of your trip. I can't wait for the chapters to unfold. The M50 is MUCH better this spring than last fall. I wonder if it and Dublin Airport will ever be finished. Maybe not in my lifetime!

Thanks for posting the photos. They really enhance the story.

Michele

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Bit, what a great report, looking forward to some more. nice pictures/good rooster pic. youngka

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Thanks Everyone!

There are two parts to a journey, the traveling and the telling. I try to make the telling at least half as enjoyable as the traveling. I think the pictures enhance the sense of place.

Bob, the title was taken from one of my Poems, Fragments in Time. Its odd to think that there is some place more familiar to you than the place you were born and raised. I think it is a retained memory.

Karen, he was a very obliging fellow, that rooster. He rather seemed to enjoy his "photo shoot"/

Slan Beo, mo charas,

Bit 

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