Ireland 2005 Day 10
Our last day in Ireland. We have so many things to do. Becki and I start with an early walk. I show her the beautiful garden I discovered. Then we explore the church yard. We are just a step behind the man with the keys opening up the locked gates for the day.
The church yard has graves everywhere. Front, sides and back. Behind the church and up the hill to the city wall the graveyard continues. There are new and old graves. We climb a turret in the city wall. We can see everywhere from here.
We are due back at nine to help pack the costumes for shipping home. We meet the guys and drive to the Mall Arts Center as B,B & D’s costumes are in the car.
Everyone has assembled to move the process along. I make lists of what goes into each box. It doesn’t take too long to finish up. We load the boxes into our car and Carl’s car until a decision can be made about which courier to use.
Becki and I head for the Tourist Office to meet Pascal and see the jewelry she has. Her office is on the second floor. It’s a cute cluster of filing cabinets and desks etc. The girls who work with her were at the Rendezvous.
She clears off her desk and gets a black cloth to display the pieces. Becki and I have a hard time picking but we finally make our choices. I leave to go to the ATM machine to get the funds I need. Becki is still finalizing her decisions. Back, I pay Pascal and go downstairs to shop in the gift shop. Becki joins me, we tell Marsha, who is shopping, about the jewels. She wants to see what Pascal has. I take her up to the office. She is as delighted as we are with the selection.
Downstairs I run into members of our group shopping. Becki is doing some last minute shopping too. lebame tells me that we are to meet the mayor for lunch. She wants me to take pictures as discussion about twinning with Manteo is to be discussed and preliminary papers signed. We are to meet at Harvey’s dock at one. I am in my jogging clothes. I need to go change.
Donny has gone on ahead of us after the packing was finished. No one else in my group knows about the lunch. They are all too busy anyway. I shower and change and head out to meet whoever. No one is anywhere around. I circle the parking lot and decide I must have gotten my information wrong (not unlike me).
I go back upstairs. Donny and Becki suggest I ring lebame’s doorbell and see if anyone is there. I go back downstairs and around the corner to her building. I ring the bell, lebame answers. She says Carl was looking for me and then went on. She is not sure where the luncheon is to be, but she thinks the Quality Inn outside of town. She tries to get into the office to call The Nook which is where she sent Carl to look for me. The office is closed for lunch. Just then Chris comes around the corner. lebame borrows his cell phone to call the Nook. I go upstairs to ask Bill to drive me or I can drive myself but Bill can go faster.
lebame has not been able to reach anyone. She suggests stopping at the tourist bureau to check. Bill is in the shower. I know driving myself will go a lot slower. Bill runs downstairs barefooted. We are off. I reason all of the offices are closed for lunch. We decide to check the Quality Inn. We head out of town past the lighthouse toward The Strand with only a vague notion of where we are going. We pass where I think lebame is talking about. We are ready to turn around as we are in the country when we see a sign for the Quality Inn. It is several kilometers more down a couple of country roads which puts it on the ocean. It is a beautiful setting. But there is no luncheon going on. The staff suggests I try the Raleigh Hotel. We drive back to town. As we are passing a restaurant called The Tides I tell Bill I think that is where they are, but I have no basis for this (trust the dousing Sandra trust the dousing). Bill almost runs into a parked car looking for Carl. He thinks he sees him in the window, but we do not go back.
We try the Raleigh. They know even less than the Quality Inn folks. Bill is sure the luncheon is over anyway. I want to try the tourist bureau, but they are closed for lunch still. We check the Mall Arts. They are open. The girls tell me that the group is at The Tides! Back we go. I hop out and check. Yes, they are and have only just finished their appetizers. They say Bill can join in. He is in the car waiting for me to report. He declines, no shoes you see. During this entire escapade I was not panicked just determined to go the extra mile, or kilometer. I figured John was there with his camera which turned out to be true. But lebame had asked me to do this and I did not want to let her down.
The lunch is excellent. John and I take some great pictures of the document signing.
Actually what Bill saw in the upstairs bay window of The Tides was the mayor. Her short hair makes her sorta look like Carl.
While we were shopping earlier we learn that Joe, our bus driver, has been hired to take us to Midleton to the Jameson Distillery this afternoon. Becki feels pressure to stay in town and tidy up her shopping. Marian tells her she can shop there. At last minute Becki caves in and joins us.
The old distillery is amazing. To check a batch of whiskey to see if it was ready the workers struck a match to a sample. If nothing happened, the batch was not ready. If it burned it was perfect. If it exploded it was overdone. No wonder they had their own fire department.
Bill gets selected to take the whiskey taste test. Three kinds of Irish, all of which is distilled three times, Scotch only twice, and lowly bourbon just once. The three tasters pick their favorite Irish and then compare that to a fine scotch and aged American bourbon. They pick their favorite. Of course it must be an Irish or they fail the test.
Midleton is a special blend of Jameson that is bottled in limited quantities each year. You can only buy it at the distillery. Donny buys us a bottle and also a bottle of 12 year old Powers packed in a nice tin. Our Midleton is packed in a wooden hinged box. It is numbered and the label is signed by the master distiller. Ours is number 027822 bottled in the year 2004.
Now Joe takes us to Ferry Point so that we can see Youghal from across the cove. Becki has been itching to get to this point since we first got to Youghal. It is directly across from our rooms. Donny and Bill have divided up the few houses on the spit and figure running a pub and B&B from there would work. On the way from Midleton to Ferry Point, Marian falls asleep on my shoulder. This is the way the week has turned out. We are all now family.
Carl is having fits. He has things to do before the party he and John are giving for our hosts and hostesses tonight. We tell him we will help. Breeda says they will not know the difference. We tell her in this case she would (the gifts are baskets of goodies not yet completely put together).
Ferry Point is lovely and Carl is glad we did not skip it. Marian’s in laws live just up the road. They have castle remains on their land. Joe’s sister rents the house on the spit that is Donny’s B&B. We see her in the yard and wave. We are going to be late for the party. But this is Ireland, everyone is late. And Joe, Marian and Breeda are with us so they will be as late as we are.
Back at the Harvey Becki and I grab Gloria and we sprint up to Carl & John’s apartment to wrap the baskets. Carl has cellophane paper but no ribbon. It’s me to the rescue with my ribbons I got from the little boys.
Becki and I go home to freshen up. We will wear our new jewels from Pascal, even though Carl said casual dress.
Off to the Nook we go. A few of our guests are there but the evening is early and even though we are late the party is only just beginning to get going. Tommy Bulman, my Irish sword friend, sees me come in. He pulls me aside and hands me two packs of pictures he has had printed of our day at the craft fair. He says that the one package has pictures for me. The other is for sharing. How sweet. Like I said we are all family now. I’ll be sending him a group of pictures from my lot including his sword photo. Tommy has also made me a list of Irish phrases for me but it is in his car and we do not connect again. No worries I have his address. He is proud of the list as he quit school quite young, but he knows how to speak and write Gaelic.
It is a wonderful night. Iona has walked over from Myrtle Grove. Carl has a gift basket for her. When he hands out all of the gift baskets later everyone is delighted. Mid-evening Marsha assembles us to give lebame a gift from the group, she is the glue that holds us together. Bill has brought his guitar. There is much music, singing and merriment.
Then Bill’s G-string breaks.
A new friend Michael has a replacement and he and Bill strum together. Everyone sings and dances, jigs and solos. Breeda’s rugby player son sings a haunting Irish ballad.
The mayor has a gift for Carl. It is a piece of Waterford crystal. And also a piece of Waterford for John Wilson, the mayor of Manteo. During the gift exchange Carl begins a story about arriving in Youghal and trying to park the car he has rented. The mayor steps in and fills in a few amusing details. It seems that upon arriving in Youghal from Shannon airport, Carl pulls the car into a street space. Being from a small town himself he understands small towns and limited street parking issues so he calls out to a lady close by to ask if it is okay to park where he has. She goes over to him. She is dressed in pajamas and floppy slippers. Her hair is rumpled. She begins telling him the parking rules.
Carl is looking at her wondering whether to believe her or not since she very much looks like a bag lady. Just then the town constable comes along unlocking the various gates and so on. Meanwhile the floppy slipper gal, who has slipped into town to quickly sign some papers figuring that no one of importance would see her, has figured out that Carl is one of the expected guests from North Carolina. She welcomes him and tells him that she is the mayor. The constable laughs and tells Carl that she actually lives in the home for the mentally unstable up the way, to pay her no mind. The mayor explains to Mike that these are the guests from North Carolina and to please acknowledge who she is. Mike repeats his story adding that she has probably forgotten to take her medication. Carl begins to believe Mike since he is so convincing and the mayor doesn’t look very mayoral. And since it is okay to park while he gets the room keys etc from the tourist bureau he moves on.
Later that week at the opening reception, the mayor addresses the audience. Carl sees that he has been a victim of Irish humor.
For once we have started earlier than usual at the pub and so end up leaving not that late, even so it is after midnight. We are still the pub closers, for our group anyway. Goodbyes are sad. Everyone is in tears. We would stay longer but we must pack and drive to Shannon in the morning.
We are walking home with Greg. Suddenly I remember that we have not made our Abbey Road picture that Becki wanted to do. The perfect crosswalk is back a few blocks. Everyone is hesitant. I declare that if I can walk back in my party shoes surely they can make it. And Greg can take the picture. But Bill points out that Becki is still walking home. Greg tells Becki to turn around. She does. Bill is amazed, saying we should have had Greg to herd us along all week.
Even though it is after midnight, there is occasion traffic fortunately only one way but still it is usually someone hurrying home so we time our moment in the crosswalk. Becki has on a light jacket so she is the barefoot Beatle.
We take a picture of Greg climbing a street light.
Back home we get to packing. We must leave by seven in the morning to make our noon flight.