Friday, September 21, 2007

Our Ireland trip from H-J

Hotels: In Ennis (County Clare) we stayed in the Old Ground Hotel September 9-13, some of it dating to the 18th century--lots of nooks and crannies and stairways--and fabulous food. In Kilkenny we stayed at the Kilkenny Ormande, September 14-19 (website not available when I checked) which was much newer. Both served a lovely buffet breakfast, on white table cloths, but we could order on the side almost anything we wanted from bacon and eggs to porridge (oatmeal) to grilled tomatoes. Good beds. I’d recommend both. Excellent staff.

Lots of golf parties at The Old Ground Hotel. We also met a wedding party from Chicago.

Part of The Old Ground was the former Town Hall, and is now a restaurant in the hotel.

Hurling: We were baffled--but this is a popular sport 2,000 years old with big rivalry between towns. With all the Irish we have in the U.S., I’m not sure why this didn't catch on here--they sure love it. Here on September 15 we are watching a hurling demonstration played with sticks at Brod Tullaroan, a Heritage Center which has a hurling museum, where we also enjoyed a wonderful dinner. Notice our puzzled looks. John, our driver, is helping with the demo, while drinking a cup of coffee.

Lake, Sheila, Joy, Adele, Barbara, Jim, Barbara, Roxanna, Robert, Ronald, Lou, James, Lila, Art, John, Colette, Jan, Pam, ?, Joe

Islands, Aran: There are 3 islands off the west coast of Ireland, with a landscape like none other--huge rocks and very little soil. Most of the islanders speak Gaelic, and Irish students can come here to a special school to learn the language. We drove to Connemara on September 12 and ferried across Galway Bay to Rossaveal, Inishmore, the largest Aran island where we climbed to Dun Aengus for a fabulous view of the Atlantic at the top. We also shopped a bit and saw some local scenery.

I'm betting this will be one of my husband's watercolor paintings next year.

We bought my husband's new hat at the Aran Island store. You can see the ferry behind us.

Irish National Heritage Park, Wexford: Here on September 16 we walked through several thousand years of recreated Irish history from the stone age up through the early Christian era. Our guide showed us how they housed, clothed and fed themselves at various times in history.

The cross tells Biblical stories in the carvings.

Judy and John: Our tour guide and foster mother was Judy from Dublin. Our bus driver and color commentator was John from Limerick. Both had curly red hair and at times each was the other's second banana. I've never seen as much red hair as I saw in Ireland. Between the green fields, the sad songs, the ubiquitous pubs and the red hair, I was awash in what I thought were stereotypes.

Judy is not directing singing; she's getting our attention to get back on the ferry at Rossaveal. John was a bit less concerned. Although he didn't bring the bus over, he stayed in the town with those who didn't want to climb to the fortress.

Judy and John giving us our certificates at our Farewell Ceremony on September 18.


Anonymous said...

Sorry I'm late, but reading through from A to J was really interesting. I've never been to Ireland but always wanted to go. The culture, the traditions and the nature (especially the west part of our country) is very much like in Norway you know and even words can be similar in our language.

Must have been great to walk through several thousand years of recreated Irish history in that park - thanks for sharing some photos with us!

Wishing you a great end to your week:-)

Norma said...

Renny: They've probably forgiven you fierce Norsemen for invading 1200 years ago. I'm still trying to reread some history before I get to V for Vikings!

JAM said...

I love the cross, and your husband's new hat.