Ireland Day 6 September 2005
So far today I have managed to sleep in again. Becki has a school trip on her schedule with John and Chris. The guys are not due at the theater until 1:30. The madrigals will sing before the matinee show of Elizabeth R.
Donny wakes me at 12:30. He brings me the computer which I have left in the living room for Becki to upload pictures on, so that I can finish my journal in lazy style. He brings me breakfast in bed. This is very nice. Our room looks out over Youghal cove. I can see a rolling farm on a small hill all of which is on a spit into the water from the our bed. It’s a great view to write by. It is a very typical Irish day. Pouring rain which for the moment has tapered off to drizzle. The sky is entirely gray and the air is chilled.
Becki comes in from school and shortly they all take off for the theater. I finish my journaling, take a leisure bath and dress. Just as I finish they come in from their show. B&B have decided to go on the tour a castle about thirty minutes away. Donny wants to stay and wash clothes and clear his email.
I elect to go but have enough time beforehand to check my email. I leave to do that, Donny will spell me when it is time for me to meet B&B as we are driving our own car to the castle.
Donny shows up but I have only half finished my tasks. I do a few more and then sprint for the apartment to get my hat and coat. I run literally to the Mall Arts Center only to find the group waiting for lebame and Barbara to finish an interview. B&B are not even there yet. Finally they show up and we go to the tourist bureau a few buildings away to get a map. Since it is raining Bill drives us.
Back at the arts center the bus has arrived. Carl says there is room after all for us but we elect to stay with our car. We drive through Tallow and onto the town where the castle is located. Breeda negotiates the price for our group. Bill will buy Breeda’s ticket as well as ours. Breeda says she will give her money to two Americans that the castle lady turned away as they had no euros only American money. I split their fare with her so they can see the castle.
We tour the castle gardens which are beautiful. There is a working vegetable garden planted in plots. There is a small orchard. We are the only people in the garden. The weather has turned sunny on the drive over and stays that way. We munch our way along testing rose hips, apples, tomatoes, mint, anything that suits our fancy.
The grounds are vast and well kept. Boxwoods and other shrubs separate the areas. The castle is occupied so we cannot go inside. Prince Charles and Camilla recently visited. There is an upper and lower garden. The bus group decides to skip the lower garden. B&B, Greg and myself want to see the lower garden. Greg will ride back with us. We get his stuff off of the bus and wave goodbye.
The lower garden is mushy but nice. There are green lawns, big trees, flower beds and very modern sculpture. One is about six feet tall, made of bronze and has a floral design on the face. Nice enough, but when you look on the other side of this slightly bowed piece there are the elements of a nude female. Bill and I decide it is the flowering of a woman.
We almost get locked in but clever Bill has been whistling to announce that we are still here.
Back in Youghal we have just enough time for Becki to upload a bit of music before we head out to a special dinner held for us by Tom, one of the committee members. His pub is called McCarthy’s. He has planned a buffet meal for us that is beyond words. We are treated to all the drinks we want and the fabulous meal. We have our own room in the back of the pub.
After dinner a trio of girl musicians that performed at the hotel the night that Donny & I missed have been hired by Tom to repeat their performance. We finally get to hear traditional Irish music. There is a banjo, a button accordion, and a concertina. The girls are very young but very talented. The banjo player also sings and dances for us. Members of our group join in a various times. Donny & I waltz. Marilyn, Chris’ wife who is a dance instructor, does the jig. Their daughter Ellie who is about seven, also jigs. Others sing and dance. It is a lot of fun for all. Bill has joined the picking but as his voice is going he does not sing. He does tell a joke to appease the audience.
Finally Tom tells the girls to play one more tune. They do and then play the Irish national anthem. The show is over. Bill decides to go home and rest. Becki will walk him there and then join us at the Hotel Raleigh. A friend of Mirian’s, our main hostess, has organized a country dance for the ploughing visitors and Mirian wants to support the effort. We decide to support her. We have finally met her husband, Patrick, tonight. He is a very busy dairy farmer. We thank him for sharing her all week.
Aoile, one of our younger guides, offers Donny & me a ride to the hotel. We can walk but we take the ride. We are the first of our group there. We go into the bar and get settled. After a bit, Aoile goes to find our group. She discovers that they are in the events room, not the bar. There is a fee. We will pay but Aoile decides she wants to hang out with her friends at JD’s.
Shortly after we get settle with Mirian, Patrick and Gloria, Becki comes in. She has ridden over with Breeda who decides to bail out too. The music is loud and very country. While Donny is getting our drinks a young guy asks me to dance. I agree but am rather bad at following his excellent lead. He says he learned to waltz from his parents who are very good Irish dancers. He is in town for the ploughing. He lobbies for the farmers. He has friends with him. They all lobby for better farming conditions. His one friend tells me that if I want to hear really good Irish music to get up with Martin, another friend in the group. It appears that Martin’s neighbors are excellent musicians. They are all from Limerick. We get Martin’s phone number and promise to call over the weekend.
It sounds like a plan to find some more good Irish music. For once we do not close the place down. We leave before the band is finished. The group has their big show tomorrow and everyone wants to rest. Still it is past midnight when we get home.