Ploughing Through County Cork

dead slow

We love road signs in Ireland

Youghal Ireland Day 5 September 2005.

Continuing the SandyBeachGirl travelogue and I think I’m finally learning how to spell Marjalene’s name after ten years. Sorry Marj!

Today the madrigal group is going to sing at the National Ploughing Championship. Rather like a cross between a state fair and a giant craft show, it covers three days. It is held in different counties each year and this year it is being held on a farm just up the road. The crowd is expected to exceed 150,000. Even though it is nearby, about a ten minute drive, it will take the group about two hours to get there because of traffic. Sounds like Ireland’s version of a hurricane evacuation only they are going to a fun event instead of leaving a potential disaster. Later to hear Donny’s version it sounded like a disaster (insert wink) but Bill and Becki had fun.

I plan to sleep in as there are only eight VIP tickets for our group and they all need to go to the singers. Again upon their return BB&D tell me I could have paid my way and gone as one lady in our group did just this but none of us knew that in time.

I am really tired anyway so this is not a problem for me.

I tell Donny goodbye at around 9 and roll over for more sleep. I awake at noon very refreshed. I take a shower and bring my journal up to date. After everything suits me I head out to the cybercafé to do internet things.

It is a beautiful day, sunny and clear very un-Irish like.

Back at the apartment I plug in the computer for charging and decide to go out for groceries. I make a list, grab my backpack and leave a note for BB&D.

plough signsheep irelandblack sheepcountryside fairbill fair    marsha john speech fairdonny becki fair casual fair irelandtractor ireland    becki hat acute bendI meet John coming up the walkway. The group is back. I continue on because I am sure they will need down time and we need sundries. On the way I stop in a thrift store and find a fun top and a black sweater that is a blend but looks warm, and both are cheap. Next I stop in one of two toy stores in town and find a fun theater type toy that has figures that move around by means of magnets on a stick for Martin & Lydia. Next I go to the grocery store and get the things we need. The list is short but essential, things like toilet paper and milk. Now I head for the butcher to get fresh eggs and sausage and to the bakery for bread.

The bakery lady comments on the traffic outside saying it is the crowds coming back from the ploughing. I ask her if she has ever been to a ploughing, telling her that my group is there. She laughs and says she went ten years ago when it was much smaller.

She says the idea is nice for the farmers but that the merchants stalls are too close together and that it is hard to see the merchandise and also hard for the merchants to sell since there is such a throng of people. And she says that the local town merchants will not benefit much from all the influx since most folks will go to the ploughing and then go back to their lodging without doing much shopping.

Outside the apartment I meet up with Becki & Bill. They tell me that Donny has gone to town looking for me. We see him waving to us from our third and top floor bathroom window so he is already back at the apartment. Becki decides to see if she can send any mail home as it was a tangle for her the other day, before they are due at the Mall Arts Center to sing before the performance of The Virgin Queen and Her Shepherd of the Ocean. We all want to see this show. It has debuted here and is only being performed twice. Tonight will be the last show.

I decide to try and find Becki at the café since I have all of her pictures on my computer. That way she can send some photos. Donny decides to go with me. Becki is not in the café. I take Donny on a walking tour of the shop street also called the up street. The street along the water is called the down street. I have had more opportunities to explore the town than BB&D.

We head south window shopping. I show Donny the jewelry store I bought my earrings in and tell him that they have a bracelet I really like. He wants to see it. It is a well appointed store with Waterford crystal and nice jewelry. Donny likes the bracelet too and buys it for me.

rainbow no filter

No filter just your pot of gold if you can find the end

We continue on until the up street meets the down street just before the Mall Arts Center. We head north to our waterfront apartment to put the computer away. A beautiful rainbow is forming in the eastern sky. It is only a partial one but it gets brighter and brighter just like the ones Suzanne and I saw in Hawaii. We take pictures and cross paths with our jewelry store man who must be headed to the pub before going home.

Becki is back with some presents she has bought for the girls. It has been a shopping day for her. At the ploughing she got fun wool hats and gave me one. Bill bought her a beautiful Irish wool sweater there. She was happily surprised.

I tell her that we tried to find her on the up street. She says she had more trouble with email and went shopping instead. I tell her that I will send the email if she types it into a draft which she does. BB&D head for the theater, I head for the café. There I try to send the email but the pictures are in a form that is taking forever to go. I finally decide to pull some from my Picasa albums since I pretty much know what Becki wants and I know Picasa is quick.

After I open Picasa I am pleasantly surprised to see that Becki’s school folder has somehow weaved its way there. Great! I email it to the two addresses she has given me, herself and Cathy Evanoff, the media teacher at FFE. I am ready to leave, I check my mail one more time for no particular reason. Opps! There is a return mail. It is the mail to Cathy Evanoff. Her address must not be correct because Becki’s did not come back. So I have only sent mail to Becki. Sigh.

I am late for the show. I come in about half way through. Still it is brilliant. Everyone loves it. The storyline is Barbara as Elizabeth and Chris as Sir Walter recalling their glory days on the day he is to be executed. HRH is a ghost of course and Walter appears as he would have looked in his prime. Elizabeth appears as she would have looked on the day she was crowned queen. The wit and chemistry between the two characters and the two thespians is electric. lebame has written a jewel and Barbara and Chris deliver it to perfection.


Our great friend Breeda!

Now we head to JD’s Pub. The local mailman is singing. Everyone tells us that he is a local favorite. JD’s is the most popular hangout. We are a bit early. Bill and Donny secure a booth/table and Becki and I go up the street for Chinese take out. We will sneak our food into the pub. We are a bit hungry, but the pub does not serve food and also it is frowned upon to bring food in. Reeda tells us that the rule is you must share. That works for us.

When we get back the pub has filled. Our group has grown too. Jane and the YaYa’s (her sisters) are here. John, Greg (tech man), Carl, Barbara, her mum, lebame, the committee ladies, Gloria (props), Marge (Hunt Thomas’ mom and madrigal singer). We have an entourage tonight. The pub gets rocking fast.

bill lebame

Bill & lebame sporting her Elvis jacket

The drinks are flowing, folks are dancing, smoking is only allowed outside everywhere in Ireland, so the smokers are in and out the side door to smokers’ alley. You can see them outside our window. The lighting is reddish, very artsy looking. We all drift between the two booth/tables where we have settled. lebame appears at our table in a fabulous Elvis jacket. She bought it on his last concert tour. Only a few hundred were made. She paid big bucks, but like she says, she is still wearing the same jeans she had in high school. Since she is camera shy, I ask her how I can get a picture of the jacket. I could sneak a picture but I respect her wishes. She lets Becki wear it. Becki gives me a great Elvis pose.

connie barbara

Connie & Barbara

Everyone is happy. Marj is dancing in the aisles with John. We threaten to tell Hunt. She laughs, says she is done for the night, and bids farewell. Members of our group are beginning to drift away. Suddenly Carl summons me to bring my camera. I follow. We go outside, lebame wants me to take a picture of John and Carl with a Youghal native who now lives on Long Island. I oblige but the lighting is horrible. I keep moving them to a new spot. Finally we are at the front of the pub, as we have started out at the smoking door. Barbara and her mum are just leaving. We recompose the picture adding Barbara in it. lebame tells Barbara she will make her famous yet.

The girls take off. We go inside. Bill and Becki are dancing. It’s a good song I say to Donny. He takes the hint. We dance. Back at our table a fast song has started up. Donny tells John that we need to dance. We go for it. The song goes on forever, our postman has turned it into a medley. John and I keep looking for an exit. Finally others join us on the floor and we bail out.

irish gals

Our amazing welcoming committee

John and Carl head home. The committee ladies are still here. We join tables and chat with them for awhile about politics and culture. They are such wonderful ladies. It is getting late, they are tired and head home. So again it is BB &DS closing the bar with the local diehards. We dance a lot and finish our drinks. Mr New York is still here. He chats with us on the dance floor. I take him my card and meet his wife. Later they start dancing too. I tell her I knew a New York girl like her would have some fancy moves. I take their picture and get their email address so I can send it to them. All too soon last call is called out. We drain our cups and after three tries find the right door to leave by.

Your favorite Sandy beach girl in Ireland


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