Tag Archives: sir walter raleigh

Ransoming the QUEEN’S Gown

Ireland 2005 Day 9

street fair

Youghal street fair

Today there is a craft and goods fair set up between the two streets at the Clock Gate. We are to parade in costume and the madrigals sing to draw attention to our Rendezvous Dinner to be held this evening at the Walter Raleigh Hotel. Joan has a wench costume for me to wear. We parade to town single file lead by Greg also in costume, then the YaYas and I (now a YaYa). The queen is last.

It is a sunny day, a bit chilly but the sun is nice. The madrigals sing at the fair and then we mingle with the crowd. Some of us buy a bit of food. I get a mulled wine and Chester Cake. The cake is awesome. I ask the lady for her recipe. She is dressed as Mary Queen of Scots and has had a good time getting her picture taken with Barbara. Her real name is Frances. She writes down the recipe for me. She is a little old lady who recently got married again. The extra cloth from her wedding dress has been used in her costume. She baked all of the goods in her booth, cakes and pies, early this morning.

tyntes castle

Tynte’s Castle is right in the heart of the town

Now we move on to Tynte’s Castle. It is a town castle, mostly a very tall tower shaped building, than a sprawling edifice. It is amazing to have a chance to see the inside of this structure. Tom, who had us to dinner at his pub a few nights back, owns the castle with his two brothers. They are restoring it. They have just purchased two cinderblock sized stones for a doorway. They cost 700 sterling.

We parade up the up street to the castle. All of the shoppers, merchants and car folk wave to us. We go inside the castle tower which for now is all that is open at this stage of its renovation. We assemble here for photos and then the madrigals sing for the video that is being made. The room is fairly small but open all the way up so you can get an idea of things to be done. Exposed doorways and wonderful huge wooden beams are visible.

After the singing we march back to the fair where the madrigals sing again. I am getting chilled. Pascal, a young French member of the committee, offers me her shawl. As she is selling Sharovski jewels at the fair for a friend she is dressed for the weather, so I take the shawl. There is another photo session and then we are excused. I do not see Pascal to return the shawl. I stop to say good bye to Frances as her booth is nearby. She admires my shawl and says she has one just like it. She says she has loaned it to the French girl selling jewels. I laugh and say this must be her shawl. Later before I leave the market, I return the shawl to Pascal. She promises to show me the entire jewel collection later at the tourist bureau which is where she works.

youghal gang street costumes craft fair barbara and her guysI want to buy a few things at the market but have no euros. Donny doesn’t either but he heads for the ATM machine to replenish our supply. A cute lad selling flowers wants me to buy. I tell him I will be back when I get some euros. When Donny gets back I buy a beaded necklace which I have also promised to procure when I get cash. Then I go to get my flowers. The stall is maintained by two boys who are about ten years old. They have picked the flowers and made scented pinecones. They also have a basket of ribbons. I hand them five euros to buy the flowers which are three euros fifty. They tell me I can get pinecones and ribbons plus the flowers for my five euros. They want to be sure I get a fair deal. They keep telling me to get one more pinecone or ribbon. I want to be sure they are getting a fair deal. I tell them I am satisfied. They insist I take some ribbons. They dig in their box for the most scented pinecones. The mom who has been visiting a nearby stall and has her own things next to the boys returns and asks if they are treating me well. She says that her husband has been doing all the video work of the festival group.

market flowers

Flowers I bought at the fair.

We go to the Mall Arts Center to undress and pack up costumes, either for going back to the states or being transferred to the Walter Raleigh Hotel where the Rendezvous is to be held. Finally all the costumes are settled and we have swept up the dressing rooms.

Back home I dress the window with our flowers. They are prettier than any I have seen for sale in the shops. Becki says we have just enough time for a soup lunch before meeting at Myrtle Grove. It seems that we have been invited after all to tour Myrtle Grove. But only us. The owners are very protective of their heirlooms and privacy.

mrytle grove

Myrtle Grove is still occupied today

Myrtle is the house Raleigh would have lived in when he was in Youghal. It is still privately owned and lived in. We are so excited to have this opportunity to see history closer to the way it actually was rather than in a museum type setting.

BBD&I go for soup and no sooner have we eaten and returned to the Harvey where we are to meet than we find Marian and Greg walking toward Myrtle Grove. The rest have gone on by car. We are cautioned by Carl, lebame and our Irish friends to not take any photos inside the house. The grounds are permissible but not inside.

The entrance to Myrtle Grove is literally right next to the St Mary’s Church entrance on the quaint cobblestone up up street. Once inside the gate we feel like we have stepped back in time. We all know that the shops and town homes of Youghal are just outside the wooden entry but here inside it feels like we are in the countryside and another era. We take a lot of photos of Chris, who has come dressed as Raleigh, in front of the manor.

ds myrtle grove holly berry myrtle groveWe are to tour inside in two groups. The interior is truly amazing. There are so many family antiquities that anyone could spend an entire day or more in just one room. We all love the family touches, pictures, papers and such. Our lovely guide, who now maintains the house with her sister and brother, tells us great family stories. She continually apologizes about what she considers her lack of tour guide knowledge. She does fine by our account. One of my favorite stories Iona tells us is on herself. As a young girl she used to ride her pony all over the lawns and to this day her mother blames her for the poor condition of the grounds which is not true, they are beautiful.

Now it is time to get ready for the Rendezvous. As the result of a few miscommunications we feel that my costume is no longer at the Raleigh Hotel so I dress with my French silk skirt and an extra ruff and Elizabethan hat Becki has on hand, even though Joan told me earlier that she had an extra wench costume at the hotel.

me dressed up john costume guys at the bar donny close upWe drive to the hotel so that we can get our costumes back to our apartment easier after the show. Joan says my costume is fine. As Gloria is also costumed for the event I think she has worn the extra wench costume so this works out perfectly. She, the YaYas and I decide to go into the bar for a drink while the rest are dressing. The local paper photographer takes our picture. Maybe this one will make the paper too. I have not seen the last one he took of me with Carol and Jacquie at the opening but I hear it was in the paper. He always asks for names and even writes them down. Gloria says we have gotten lots of press. She has enough for a scrapbook. We have only found one picture, that of Jacquie at the ploughing.

Evidently the story of Barbara’s queen dress being held ransom by customs made all the tabloids. This happened before we got there. Customs would not release any of the boxes containing the queen’s clothing because they thought we were trying to smuggle them into the country. Finally customs said we could get the gowns for a $4000 fee. Carl almost croaked. He finally got the Bank of Ireland to post “bond” and the costumes were released one day before the first show which was the day we arrived.

It is time for the Rendezvous but few people are here. I notice that the announcement board in the hotel lobby says nine as the starting time. It should say eight. We wonder what the tickets say. Also the Irish are a very relaxed people about time, they would do well on the Outer Banks.

bill barbara chicken

Raleigh teaches HRH how to eat chicken

assisting hrh

HRH assisted by What and Sir Walter

The Rendezvous is to be like the one on the Outer Banks, a dinner with the queen type show. Bill Rea is to be Walter and Chris his son, fondly known as What. Calling out What, throughout the event, works well to cover mistakes and add extra merriment to the party. Now anytime someone says, “What?” We all holler back, “What? What? Where’s What.”

Donny & I have great seats since I am photoing for lebame.

When it comes time for the titling, our new Irish friends are delightfully surprised and pleased to have European titles. You can see they are going to have fun with them.

tynte's castle guys breeda dressed up becki and irish gals barbara pascale ann and paulEveryone has had a grand time. Carl has held up well. He is getting the ick that started with Chris and has wound its way through most of the company.

Donny has a toothache that is really bothering him now. It started this morning. I ask Breeda if she has any ideas. She suggests a clove and whiskey. She says she will get some cloves from the kitchen. She is our wonder worker. She saved Bill from totally losing his voice with some antibiotics left over from her niece’s ailment.

After the Rendezvous a two man band sets up on the stage and plays tunes for us to dance to. Most members of our group change into street clothes. I chat with Barbara’s mother, Connie, while Barbara changes. Connie loves line dancing but by the time I discover this the band has switched to slow numbers to close out their evening.

Slowly our group dwindles away. We remain conversing with members of the committee, friends, and family until well into the morning. The bartender is very gracious and does not push us along. It is well after two before we say our final goodbyes for the evening.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Ireland, travel


Ireland Day 7 September 2005

fruit tart

Typical bakery fruit tart

Donny has set the alarm for seven so Becki and I can walk before the cast call at ten. When the alarm goes off I start to sleep on but a brightness catches my attention. It is an Irish sunrise complete with clear skies. I dress quickly, grab the camera and head down to the street for a better view although the one from our window is pretty good. I leave Becki sleeping.

I take some pictures of the colorful sky but still do not see the actual sun. I decide it might be behind a cloud or might still be rising. I decide to walk uphill and see what’s what. I find Myrtle Grove, Sir Walter’s home while he was here. It is right beside St Mary’s Church but I cannot see over the wall. St Mary’s is still locked up. I will have to look for the grave with the tomb marker declaring, I Told You I Was Sick, later. We think Donald in particular will find it amusing.

I walk along the upper up street and find a lovely garden chapel open. Inside I discover that it is huge. It flows uphill and has large lawns and walkways. It has flower beds and a small orchard. It is surrounded by old parapets and parts of the old city wall. I take lots of pictures.

I leave the garden and continue south along the upper street. I pass the Catholic Church. A service is going on. There is a little dog tied up outside on the stone steps leading into the church.

I descend the stairs leading to the clock. I check the bakery and the butcher. They are not open yet. I buy a newspaper and head home. I find Donny up but B&B are slumbering on. They have time yet. Donny has made coffee and gotten up early to shower and leave it free for B&B.

I decide to take a short nap to warm up and keep out of the thespians way. Their big show is this morning and it is overbooked. They leave for cast call. I get up a bit later and shower. I have time to go to the café and upload photos but Donny has found an open site in the area of the theater. I decide to go for that option.

At the theater everyone is ready. Donny tries to access the site but cannot. I get him to fix the camera for filming. He wants me to video the show. Because I have not let him delete yesterday’s photos from the camera until I am sure they are on Picasa (he has already uploaded them onto the computer) there is not enough room on the memory card for the video. I tell him it is okay to delete. As soon as he does I remember that I have the other memory card in my purse. Later I realize that I have let him delete my sunrise pictures.

I find a spot among the throngs of school kids that have come for the matinee. I plan to stand in the rear window sill. There are so many kids Greg has to seat them two to a chair. It really is a full house. They are very well behaved and seem to enjoy the show. It must be difficult for all to totally understand our dialect. We definitely struggle with theirs but I bet they are better at deciphering than we are.

After the show I head for the internet café. Becki comes with me, she is going to try again to access the blog she has set up at school to tell the children about her adventures. At the café I find that my AIM is not on the computer. I also find that the clever Picasa program has the latest pictures tidily in a folder. So I could have let Donny delete last night and thus saved my sunrise pictures as they alone on the camera would have not taken up so much space. Later Donny reminds me to boot the computer to get my AIM back. I do not know why I always forget that option, but I usually do until he reminds me. At the café, I move on to LJ update and email. Becki finishes and leaves for practice. I am still at it. A drunk man wanders in and tries to engage me in conversation. The shop man tells him I am busy and sends him on his way but not before the drunk cusses him out.

I take the computer back to the apartment and go out shopping. Bill is trying to stay well and has skipped practice. Although he would not mind me being around, I figure shopping is a good way to let him have the apartment to himself.

shop window 2

Youghal shop window

I go north on the up street this time. There is a shop there that looked like it might have something good for Donny. I find it and do spot a nice shirt for him. I decide to look around a bit more. It is a tiny shop but the prices are good. A customer is trying on a very cool orange sweater. The clerk is telling her that she just got them in and only got three. She has bought the medium for herself. The customer is trying on the large. I ask her what size the third one is. It is XL but under that she has two more new sweaters that are black and white strips sewed together in a diagonal pattern. She has a medium and a large. I try the medium on. It fits well but I am not sure about the bold pattern. The orange sweater lady and I admire each other. We decide to treat ourselves. As I am buying my two items another customer comes in. I am wearing my new sweater. She loves it. I tell her she can have the only one in Youghal as mine is going to America. This pleases her.

Eileen the clerk tells me to look up the Fox’s Lane Museum before we leave town. She tells me where it is.

I head that way but stop by the bakery and buy a fruit tart and then the butcher to buy lamb shops and sausage. I think Bill might like to eat in tonight. If not we will eat the chops another time.

I take the packages back to the apartment. B&D are still not back. Bill wakes up and I tell him the cooking plan. He nods and drifts back off. I leave to shop some more and find the museum. The museum is just about to close but the owner, Mr Lynch, who is just sweeping up invites me in for a quick look see. It is full of things he has collected over his life time. It will be fun to go back with more time to visit. He has not been able to get to any of our shows or the lectures because his wife’s brother died suddenly this week.

I stop in the children’s shop across the street and inspect the clothes. They are so cute. I think Donny will like to help me pick out some things for Lydia. I go to the apothecary for hair color and decide to go back to Kidsz because with our driving tour tomorrow and the gala occupying Saturday, Donny & I might run out of shopping in Youghal together time.
Back home I unload. D&B are still not there. I decide to do my hair. I tell Bill that will bring them home. Sure enough five minutes later Donny walks in. Still no Becki. We decide to cook supper. Bill is appointed chef. He cooks the chops, fries some apples, boils some eggs, makes hot tea, slices up our brown bread and with our tart for dessert we are well off. Just as we sit down to eat Becki walks in. She has timed it perfectly.

After the delicious meal, Becki and I decide to go hear lebame give her lecture on Raleigh’s colony in the New World. It is to come after a panel discussion on old Youghal. But when we get to The Mall Arts Center is locked up tight. We can see lights on in the lecture hall but we cannot get it. As it is on the second floor we cannot get anyone’s attention. We check every door and gate. Becki is ready to go home. I want to check the front door one more time to see if anyone is coming downstairs to the bathrooms. Ah ha, there are two women leaving. They let us in.

the quays

The Quays Youghal

We tiptoe into the lecture. The panel is still discussing Youghal of old. I cannot follow their dialect at all. Becki does better. Finally it is time for lebame to speak. Her talk is very thorough and quite informative.

We congratulate her on a job well done. Carl tells us that the group is meeting at The Quays for a drink. We go home first to see if the guys want to join us. They are watching a mens’ soccer match. We decide to go back and leave them in their comfort. We meet lebame and Gloria on their way home. They tell us a few are still at The Quays. We find Carl, John, Breeda, Marian & Barbara (Aoile’s mother) there. Becki and I have a nice visit with Breeda and Barbara telling us many childhood stories between them. Per our usual style, we close the bar.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Ireland, travel

Castle in the Clouds and an Irish Jig or Two

Ireland Day 6 September 2005

dressing room

Ladies dressing room. Joan, Marsha, Ellie, Jacquie, Marj

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.

show finale

The Lost Colony Concert Version finale. Donny is holding the flag.

ellie barbara chris

Ellie Chappell, HRH Barbara Hird, Chris Chappell


Reception after the show

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.


The castle and people actually live there


Sunflowers are universal

bill nose to nose

Bill nose to nose in the castle garden

me garden

Me in the lower castle garden

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.

ds dancing

Donny & I waltzing

carol chris ellie

Carol, Chris & Ellie jigging

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.

irish entertainment

Our Irish entertainment. There’s Bill Rea in the foreground picking along.

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.


Leave a Comment

Filed under Ireland, travel

Y’all would LOVE Youghal

Ireland Day Four September 2005

top of youghal

Flowers, the city wall and the bay beyond that

It’s a typical Irish day today, cloudy and rainy, although we are told the weather is still unseasonably warm and has been all summer. But no one is complaining. Winter in Ireland is hard and that will be here soon enough.

Becki & I have decided to get up and walk early, well early for being on vacation. We have agreed on eight for our start time. Donny has set his phone to ring. Later into the depths of my sleep I hear a tap, tap, tap. I wonder who could be knocking at the apartment door and how could I possibly hear it in the bedroom. I continue my sleep only partially awakened anyway. Another tap, tap, tap marches into my slumber. Maybe it’s Becki I guess trying to figure out why Donny’s phone has not rung.

I call out to Becki and struggle out of bed. A moment later the chirping of Donny’s wake up birds calls out. Ah ha, Becki has been a quick one this morning.

town wall youghal

Original Youghal city wall

I dress, grab my camera and we venture forth. No rain yet only clouds. We climb the steps by the clock tower. They go up and up and up. When we start up the steps I tease Becki about repeating the circuit twenty times. She agrees. By the time we reach the top we think tomorrow will be soon enough. It’s really not that bad, somewhat like climbing the monument hill only higher. It’s a regular sort of neighborhood up here. Folks getting off to work and kids to school. In Ireland the kids wear uniforms to school. This street is still small, like all Irish streets, but very busy with morning activity.

The overlook from here onto the old village and cove down below is wonderful.

We are now above the church and its graveyard but cannot get in from here. The old city wall parallels our walk even as we start our descent about ¼ mile later. We see a lane winding up to our left and take it only to find ourselves right back where we started about fifteen minutes later. We are now on the shopping street and as it is time to go back so Becki can get ready for practice, we stop in the butcher for some fresh bacon, which is more like ham. Then we go to Collins the bakery for bread. The shop is full of baskets and barrels of huge loaves of bread in every direction. The shop lady tells us her husband bakes bread all night. We buy a brown loaf and a white one.

Back in the apartment we realize we have forgotten to buy a newspaper. I go out to get one while everyone else is prepping for the morning practice. I leave Becki starting breakfast but take over when I get back.

boat street youghal

Our home along Harvey’s Dock

There is a little time before practice after we have eaten. Donny decides to see if he can check his email and do computer business things. I plan to meet him and retrieve the computer and also check my mail etc. When I get there, Donny and Jacquie are standing outside the shop. Or rather Donny is kneeling in the sidewalk trying to view the computer screen. The shop is not open as we were told it would be. Donny is online but cannot see the screen because the glare is so bad. He gives up.We all wait a bit and then I go on to the grocery where I replenish our supplies. Back at the cybercafé, I find Donny inside just finishing up. We switch places. He is off to practice.

I chat with Cathie and Katelyn on AIM for awhile and send mail for a few folks. Then I pay up and head to the bakery to buy more coffee. So far it is the only place in town we have found to get coffee beans ground up freshly for us. The shop lady and I discuss her small variety of beans. She apologizes. I tell her it is fine. I tell her that Ireland more than makes up for it with wonderful whiskeys. She laughs. I tell her what I need to do is make some Irish coffee. Both she and her assistant start talking at once to tell me exactly how to do this to make the coffee perfectly right.

It is very simple, but very important to do the steps correctly, they say. Start with a splash of whiskey, Jamison, Power, or Paddy. Add hot black coffee. Then drizzle cream over the back of a spoon so that is curls into the coffee. Add some brown sugar if you must.

I have a full backpack of groceries plus the computer but this is too good sounding to put off. I head back to the grocery for cream and whiskey.

Back home I unload and try to take a bath. But I have not been given instructions to the tub hot water acquisition. Actually the first night here I took a bath and the water was extremely hot so I did not realize there was a hot water maze to negotiate. The water I used must have been left over from the previous folks. The shower has a heater box connected to it, but the tub has some type of switching plan in the hall. After a while I give up and take a sponge bath. For some reason I cannot get the shower to run at all, even though I know its sequence, so cannot fill the tub that way. About this time the group comes in and rescues me.

becki umbrella donny umbrellame countryside countryside youghalmarsha marian   bb countrysideIn a short while we are due to meet for a tour of unknown destination but it will be a driving one. We have a few minutes so Bill & Becki go to town to try and send some mail home to her music classes. I want to find a less dressy pair of earrings since for some reason all I have brought with me are big dangly ones which I love but not for day. Donny is sure we will all miss the bus. He promises to hold it for as long as he can.

I find an awesome pair of silver earrings that depict the Children of Lir legend. The story goes that an evil queen turned King Lir’s four children into swans. They were forced to live 300 years in each of three Irish places. Now all that is left of them is their lovely singing voices.

I get to the bus, as do B&B in plenty of time. Donny is there and the rest. It is a small van type bus. Two of the committee members have privately hired it to give us a tour of the countryside. We see the Irish Sea from a bluff. We see a section of Ireland preserved and protected by the government where Gaelic is still spoken and used in daily life. We see a monument to the America soldiers that helped with the Irish revolution. We cannot read it because it is in Gaelic, but Marian translates for us. We find this slightly amusing as any American wandering along will not know it addresses their countrymen unless they should happen to know Gaelic. We also see an abandoned church surrounded by equally abandoned graves.

mall arts

Mall Arts Center

Back at the Mall Arts Center, Marian and Tom, our tour sponsors, invite us for a drink at The Quay just down the street. We suggest our driver join us. He is happy to do so, but goes to park the bus first. We have our drinks and some of us order snacks as it is nearing dinner time. The madrigals are due to perform for the opening of Elizabeth R, Barbara’s one woman show, and then head to the Walter Raleigh Hotel to hear traditional Irish music so there is no time for other food.

At the arts center I run into my Irish sword friend who has written out a whole page of Gaelic for me but there is no time to chat now. He will get back with me later and explain it. He has brought that wonderful sword with him again.

power barbara barbara lebame laughing barbaralebame asks me to take pictures of HRH after the performance since there will be a similar set up as with the Lost Colony group in which certain scenes are restaged for a film being made. The crowd is small this evening but very appreciative of the show. Barbara’s mum, Connie, from England has flown over to see her and her performance. Barbara is sick but being the trooper that she is you would never know it from her marvelous performance.

Donny has waited for me rather than go on to the Raleigh. Not wanting to interrupt the show he has waited in the lobby. So he saw neither show because as it turns out just as we get to the hotel the last song has completed. Everyone tells us what a wonderful show we have missed, complete with River Dance rivaling Irish jigging. And the kids are all local. Breeda has taped it and shows us a selection. Bill has made his Irish debut during the talent portion of the show where anyone can sing or dance. He was a big hit with the audience.

The committee ladies want to take us to a close by pub. Just then the younger of the two guys performing at the Raleigh on Saturday night pops in and tells Bill that Dave, the other guy in the group, is playing at the Yawl Inn and would like Bill to join in. Bill is a happy camper. His fingers have been itching to jam with someone.

bill yawl

Bill jamming at the Yawl in Youghal

Apparently the Yawl Inn is a bit more casual than the ladies would like because they turn us over to Aoile, the young daughter of one of the committee members, and bid their goodnights.

We decide to walk to the Yawl. It is on the shop street just beyond The Hook we were at the night before.

Becki and I stop in a shop for a chicken sandwich to munch along the way.

The Yawl Inn is small much like a college bar only again all ages are enjoying their night out. Bill immediately joins Dave and another guy strumming. Here as well, he is a hit with the crowd and also with Dave. I tell Becki they will be invited back to tour with a music group. She laughs and says Bill always finds a group to jam with. She is surprised that it took him four days this time, on their trip to Hawaii it was only two.

Again we close the bar and wander home under a hazy crescent moon hovering just above the horizon.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Ireland, travel

Happy Birthday Bill One Decade AGO

red bag of courage

And we’re off. Becki’s red bag of courage leading the way.

I started this post with the intention of highlighting the trip to Ireland that Bill, Becki, Donny & I took in the fall of 2005. But then trying to recall facts, Donny reminds me that it’s all in my LiveJournal entries about the trip. I tell him that I’m not sure that I love Bill that much to try and dig in the archives. I have not checked into LiveJournal in forever. But I bite the bullet and there it all is patiently waiting to be read again. And so rather than trim I’m going again with a few tweaks, but just a few.

We are eating and drinking our way through Ireland, Becki, Bill, Donny & I.

In between BBD are singing for their supper and I am documenting the OBX part of the festival for the folks back home. The company consists of Barbara Hird, lebame Houston, Carl Curnutte, John Buford, Bill & Becki Rea, Donny, Marsha Warren, Jacquie Pierce, Marjalene Thomas, Rick Wetzel, Carol Adams, Greg Purcell, Gloria Abbs, Larry Tise, Chris Chappell & Joan Brumbach.

They are performing a concert version of The Lost Colony (full company), Elizabeth R (Barbara), The Virgin Queen and Her Shepard of the Ocean (Barbara & Chris). All of this is being done in the quaint Irish port village of Youghal (pronounced yawl) at their Youghal Through the Ages featuring The Life and Times of Sir Walter Raleigh. The festival runs September 23rd through October 2nd.

birthday bill

Birthday Bill driving in Ireland September 23, 2005

We managed to get some sleep on the plane and arrive at Shannon airport not completely drained. Which is good because we decide to rent a car so that we can do more touring and also so that Bill can say he got to drive on the wrong side of the road on his birthday. It is kind of pricy but we get a better deal with my Master Card, so Bill and I are the official drivers. So far I have left all of the driving to Bill.

Youghal is about 130 kilometers or a two hour straight through drive. We decide to weave and wander along the way making our trip last longer because we are in no hurry since first rehearsal is not until evening. Our first stop is at a wonderful little pottery shop where we buy mugs to drink our coffee in. When we ask the clerk how to proceed on our journey she tells us to take the ‘turd turn’ at the roundabout (roundabouts are very big in Ireland). We try not to laugh. Having trouble with the letter h, the Irish just leave it out. Already we love this country.

Next DB and I drift off to sleep leaving Bill to fend for himself as far as navigating goes. He stays the course and our next stop is at the village of Fermoy for lunch in a tiny café in town. We all order the blue plate special which consists of an entire meal. Becki did get three mounds of potatoes while we only got two, as she ordered fish which needs a bigger plate and we ordered lamb.

The countryside is so green and beautiful. Flowers grow everywhere. Ruins of castles appear occasionally. Pasture fences are actually amazingly thicket hedges or stone walls. Stonework buildings and houses are everywhere you look. All the people are eager to help us with any question and even go out of their way to offer advice.

Finally we reach Youghal. It is a very old port village with three main streets. The oldest continually operating church is here. The group will sing there Saturday evening.

youghal street youghal clockyoughal flowersmoby dick youghalboat tide

We find Carl and get our apartment key. We are all staying in a new complex that is right on the water. It is built around a parking courtyard and gives off an airy feeling. We settle in and go to find the Mall Arts which is not a mall at all but a beautiful art center also on the water a short walk away. It is housed in the town hall which is an old stone building in the front with a modern full glass addition overlooking the water in the back. This is where the festival shows will be held.

more flowersMy trio is due in rehearsal, so I take off to explore the street of shops which is one block over. Carl has taken Becki and myself on a driving tour down this street getting us to the apartment so I have a fair feeling for where a few things are. After I successfully tangle with an ATM machine, graciously helped by a nice Irish lad and gent, I buy fresh baked bread and ground coffee beans at a deli. I explore a few shops and head back to the apartment to deposit my things.

I try and try but cannot get the key to work. I head for the arts building to get another from the group and run into Donny coming back from rehearsal. My key works just fine when I try it on the right floor. I was one floor under our level. Maybe I do have a bit of jet lag even with our No Jet Lag pills. Donny leaves for the debut engagement which is singing for the opening reception. I want to freshen up and will meet them there.

The reception is lovely. There is a huge life size flower plaque of Queen Elizabeth made entirely with chrysanthemums.

barbara queen flower donny costume bill costume becki lady

After the opening reception Barbara and Chris have their show. The rest of us head out to The Quay, a pub between our apartment and the arts center, for beer and chips. There is a rehearsal at eight after which we return to The Quay en masse to celebrate Bill’s birthday. Irish pubs are truly the gathering hole for all. Every age, people together or alone, gather at the pub for a wind down (or up) evening. So far the ones we have seen have dark paneling and sturdy tables and chairs. They remind me a lot of the Cheers set only bigger.

us pubSlowly members of our group fade away. lebame asks me to email pictures to Vera Evans for the local papers which I will do tomorrow. An Irish lass tries to teach Donny the jig and gives Bill a full feel up much to his delight, while trying to ascertain his size for something I forgot but ending up in being an age and weight guessing contest for her, Bill to buy her a beer if she is successful. We help her with the age but for the weight she is on her own. Her guess in stones takes a bit of translating with the contest ending up in a draw but Bill buys a round anyway.

Donny & I leave the gang to close the bar and head home. Bill and Becki follow shortly. It seems you can stay as long as they’ll let you after eleven in any bar but you cannot go to a new one after that time, which is official closing, so when Bill & Becki try for a new spot they are out of luck.

Saturday morning finds Bill and me headed to the grocery with our fifty euro voucher in hand to buy breakfast goods. Donny is minding the coffee and Becki is slumbering on. We did well, getting four bags of food and fresh bread and an apple tart from the bakery for about seventy euros. Bill cooks a marvelous breakfast of eggs, awesome fresh sausage, toasted bread with orange marmalade and so so coffee. I have heard that coffee in Ireland is lacking. But we have hope, there is a new coffee shop in town that is supposed to be outstanding. 

Satiated Donny & I head for the internet café. It’s located on the shopping street almost directly over from our apartment. We get the computer configured for their wireless and I get into checking and sending mail. Donny leaves for rehearsal. I finish and take the computer home and meet them at the arts center. The madrigal group is singing in St Mary’s which is within walking distance but easier riding with all their costuming on. We are taxied to the church. It is so old. It has a timbered ceiling and reminds me of a cross between the grand cathedrals of central Europe and our colonial age wooden churches.

rick, becki, marsha church window church martyr church flowers bill, john, donny

Their singing is well received. The organizers are pleased with the turn out. It is a small town so the turn out is modest but they are very happy. Now it is raining in torrents. Our bus taxi has disappeared. We get ferried in batches back to the arts center. Everyone changes and the majority of the group heads to Ahernes for dinner. It is on the shop street a bit north of the apartment. The meal is fabulous. All the dishes are excellent. The desserts are typical European, lightly sweetened with a focus on using fresh fruits and dairy. We even have passable coffee, actually pretty good coffee.

rea churchOur quartet decides to check out the scene at the Hotel Raleigh. It is located on the water street beyond the arts building a bit. There is a new group of two guys performing. They are very good. They do a lot of American songs which we find amusing. Again all ages frequent the bar. Breeda, a festival friend that had dinner with us, tells us that the hotel has hosted a wedding, a funeral and a christening today. The wedding is still celebrating in another part. Some of the funeral attendees including the daughter of the deceased are in the bar. She is partying on for a while but then dissolves when the duet starts into ballads. We find out who she is later, at the time we were trying to guess her story. As the entire group that is with her are dressed in black we guess funeral.

We head home around one. Bill, Becki & I take a walk along the docks, Donny goes up. Back home we dig into the cheese we have bought at the market and the apple tart. Add in a malt and it’s a great night cap for our first few days in Ireland.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Ireland