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Post Info TOPIC: All Roads Lead to Roscommon...Or so it Would Seem


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All Roads Lead to Roscommon...Or so it Would Seem

Goodbye to Donegal and into Yeats country, I was off on another wet & windy drive towards Westport, my intended destination for the evening. Intended maybe but best intentions sometimes go awry.

I had planned to stop just outside of Ballyshannon at the Five Oaks Ranch, a Dude ranch set in the wilds of Donegal. Yes, Dude ranch, American Quarter Horses and Appaloosas, western saddles, a bunkhouse facade, everything that recalls the silver screen days of Roy & Gene. Unfortunately the rains increased and any thought of a trail ride went by the wayside. I will shelve that adventure for the next time I visit. There is always a next time, to be sure.

Onwards towards Sligo with Ben Bulben growing larger and more mysterious with every mile closer. I stopped at Creevykeel, a court tomb, just outside of Cliffoney. Creevykeel has to be one of the finest Court Tombs in Ireland. I had passed it several times without being able to stop. I spent a good deal of time there on this stop to make up for my neglecting it in the past. It sits right off the main road and has a small car park. Creevykeel has been dated to the Neolithic period, which is 4,000 to 2,500 B.C. It was excavated in the mid 1930s.  I was amazed and awed by the courtyard area at Creevykeel. It seemed so vast compared to some in which I have stood. There was a vital energy which seemed to hum up through the soles of my boots and through my blood.  I felt a deep and abiding connection standing there in the center of the courtyard where untold numbers of rituals had been performed. Rituals to welcome each quarter of the year, to celebrate plantings and harvestings, births and deaths. I am not sure for how long I stood at the center, time seemed to blur, the rain was somehow fitting and all outside sounds faded. I  hope that I captured some of that energy and grace in my pictures. Indeed, I felt guided in the shots I took and the angles at which I shot them.

Off then from Creevykeel and towards
Sligo once again. I stopped to take a picture of Ben Bulben, shrouded at its top in thick, heavy grey clouds. Ben Bulben, even shrouded in clouds or perhaps because of it, is majestic and magnetic. It seems to pull you towards it even though you know you have other places to go.  Just before Drumcliffe, I saw a sign for Glencar waterfall.  Hearing the call of the water faeries, off I went on a merry adventure. Along the way to Glencar, I came upon an abandoned farmhouse. It had been left to the elements along time before I chance upon it. Yet the door still retained a faded blue hue, as if to welcome its people home once again. As I so often do, I stopped to consider the story of those who had resided within its walls and to the circumstances of their leaving.


My first view of GlencarLake and the sheep along her shores had me sighing with contentment. Here, was home ground though it had been some years since last I explore Glencar and her environs. Lambs frolicked oblivious to the rain and ewes lay at rest. It rained up until I parked Peg in the parking lot for Glencar waterfall and exited the car. Then, it was as if someone flipped a switch and the rains stopped, abruptly.  For those of you who haven't found Glencar yet on your visits, Glencar is 50 feet tall and after, or during, the rains, is even more raucous and vibrant.  Glen car was made famous by W.B. Yeats in his poem, 'The Stolen Child'.  It is a pleasant walk along a the river's edge to the waterfall itself. You don't need to climb the steps, should you have mobility issues. The waterfall is magnificent even without getting five feet from it.  A pleasant hour was spent taking photographs and absorbing the ionic charge from the waterfall.  Then it was back down the walk, stopping to say hello to a ewe and her lamb with whom I crossed paths and back to my car.

Onward once again towards
Sligo, where, after several wrong turns and u-turns, I found my way to the N4 heading in the right direction. My intentions were to come into Westport from the North and do Achill island on my way in for the evening, which would prevent the backtracking I avoid at all costs. For the second time this day, good intentions went awry. It was a beautiful drive, the sun popping in and out from behind the clouds, and then I came into Ballina. Ballina itself is a wonderful town. The traffic and her one way streets is what causes the headaches. As is my habit, I pulled over and parked along the canal to take a picture of St. Muredach's Cathedral and to fold in my passenger side mirror. I always tuck in my mirror going into larger towns and cities, as it makes it much less likely that I will strike something with it. That would stand me well sooner than I had thought possible. As I said, traversing the roads of Ballina can sometimes require a strong will and a grim determination. I managed to get turned around numerous times whilst trying to find the upper road towards the coast and Westport. As I was coming back into town, I noticed a car parked well out into the traffic lane. Just as I said to myself, "someone is going to hit that car", the gold Toyota two cars ahead did just that, knocking its mirror loose in the process. I was amazed that they hadn't stopped to see if they had damaged the car they had hit. I tried to catch up, planning on grabbing the license number and, hopefully, find my way back to the car which had been hit.  Traffic bottle necked downtown and we came to a stop. I was able to grab the first part of the plate when a lady tapped on my window. It was the owner of the car which had been struck. She insisted that I had hit her car. She would no listen nor look at the Toyota, which was now pulling away, with its mirror dangling. She simply said "I have your plate and that will do". A bit rattled, I took the familiar road towards Tobercurry, deciding to leave Achill for the morning or another time.

It was smooth sailing from Tobercurry to
Westport. As I drew closer to Westport, I saw the turn off for Roscommon. My heart told me to turn for "home" and never mind Westport. Having given up my reservation for the night in Roscommon and deciding to go to Westport instead, I pressed on towards Westport. Once in Westport, I drove in circles for close to an hour, or perhaps it only seemed so, before finding Linden Hall B&B.  I had stayed there once before in 2004 and had enjoyed my stay. I was looking forward to staying there again. I arrived completely stressed out and was given the key to my room. Perhaps it was the being stressed, which I rarely am in Ireland, but I was none too satisfied with the room. The room I had stayed in before was well appointed and spacious. The room I was provided was small and dreary. Determined to make the best of it, I went downstairs and asked the proprietress where I could get a good bite to eat and a dram of whiskey. We chatted for a bit and I mentioned that I had almost turned toward Roscommon instead of coming on to Westport, as I needed to feel a the sense of home that being in Roscommon provided. She graciously gave me my out by suggesting that there was still enough daylight left to travel there should I be able to get in touch with my friends. a phone call made, my goodbyes said and Peg (my car) and I were off towards Roscommon.

As I crossed into Co. Roscommon, I felt as if a huge millstone had been taken off my back. The roads, familiar as my own roads in
Arizona, pulled me on towards Roscommon town, into town centre, around the square, down the alley way and into the guest parking at Gleeson's Townhouse. Even more stress disappeared when I saw Mary sitting at the reception desk. When she saw me, she was up and out of her chair with a big hug and a kiss on the cheek.  Nonplussed by my early arrival, she set me up in one of the front rooms. The front rooms were just being refurbished on my last visit. I was enthralled by the french country writing desk and the matching bed and nightstands. The bed was incredibly comfy with plenty of pillows to sink into. Though the bathroom is small, it has a shower in which I can turn around! There is also a hot pot and fixings for tea or coffee and some sweet treats.

I went downstairs to gather my gear from the car. On my way out, Mary told me she would bring out a tea tray and we could visit whilst she did her day's end papers. I smiled all the way to the car knowing that a tea tray meant one of Mary's delicious scones. I hauled up my camera gear and Mary had one of the girls from the restaurant bring up my suitcase. A good thing, really, as stairs, heavy suitcases and my knees are a recipe for disaster! I spent about twenty minutes in the reception area, enjoying my tea and scones, visiting with Mary and chatting with a couple from
Malta. Though originally from Roscommon, they had settled in Malta a while back and come home once a year to visit family. After finishing m tea and scones, I left Mary to finish up her dailies and went to the guest computer to check my emails and send my parents a note letting them know my change of plans. To my surprise, there was an email there from my Gran's niece, the one with whom I had been corresponding for over a year as we pieced together our family connection. In her email, she said that she wanted to get together with me whilst I was in Ireland. She asked that I drop her an email advising her where I might be. I sent off an email to let her know I was at Gleeson's in Roscommon town, thinking as I did so that she wouldn't possibly travel from England for a visit.  I finished up my emails, went up to my room and ran a brush through my hair and went back downstairs planning on a trip to Doorly's for a dram of Jameson. 

Another good intention goes awry, Mary was having wine with the owner of
Jackson's, a restaurant and Guesthouse across the square.  She introduced us and poured me a glass of wine. After a short while, she left to go pick up Eammon and left Michael and I to talk until their return.  Upon his arrival, Eammon grabbed me up in a crushing bear hug and expressed his delight in my early arrival.  another glass of wine poured and I was drawn into a conversation on how to better promote Roscommon's restaurants.  It was a pleasant way to end a day that was by turns magical, mystical and frustrating. The Faeries had wanted me in Roscommon town, of that I am sure.

Never question the wisdom of Faeries.......

Tomorrow.......along the back roads in Roscommon and family ties established..
Slan Beo, Bit

-- Edited by CowboyCraic on Friday 12th of June 2009 04:11:47 PM



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Ahhh, just lovely! I can see and hear Glencar Waterfall and smell the scones at Gleeson's. I am just back and your story is making me want to return tomorrow. Well done, Bit.



"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

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