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We See The IRISH Sea

Ireland 2005 Day 9

donny sandy irish sea

Donny & Sandy and the Irish Sea

Today we are going to explore on our own. We want to go to Galway but everyone tells us that we will only get there before we have to come back again especially if we want to be home in time for the classical concert that will end the festival. It is being held at St Mary’s Church this evening at eight.

So we consider Killarney still a long trip but closer than Galway. We could go to Waterford but decide to save that for another time.

By the time we get up, shower and eat it is almost noon. We strike out toward Killarney anyway. We decide to take the long way following the coastline when we can. Our first stop is on the Strand right here in Youghal. It is the closest beach to town, rather on the outskirts of town. It is where the train used to stop. Train service in Youghal dried up in the mid-seventies. Everyone blames that for the decline in tourism.

sandy vamping from the water donny running becki bill irish sea becki and billThe tide is out and the beach is wide and wonderful. The sand is very fine. There are a few smooth rocks near the water. There is a lot of seaweed, but it is harmless. Bill decides he has not come this close to the Irish Sea to skip putting his toes in. He sheds his shoes and socks. I agree and follow. We roll up our pants legs and wade into the very shallow water. There is barely any surf and the drop is non-existent. The water is not that cold. I would not swim, but I could if pressed. Donny & Becki join us. We take pictures of each other.

We decide that although we could stay here all day, as the sun is bright and beautiful, we must move on.

boat slicker

Lobster pots

boat tractor

Pulling the boat out


We weave our way westward staying as close to the coast as we can get. We wander into a boat launch area clearly for neighborhood fishermen. A farmer on a tractor is pulling a boat shaped trailer into the water. He is getting set to load on a single man boat. It is a lobsterman who has been pulling up pots as the season is over. Bill chats with the fisherman for a few minutes and then we leave this tiny rugged area.

red cow cow farm b&w cowWe continue westward. We wander down small Irish one lane roads. We spy a small herd of wonderful looking cattle. They have horns and shaggy fur. A gentleman out for a walk tells us they are his. Their breed is called Highland. They grow the fur in the winter and will shed it in the springtime.

We tarry on. Next we find a deserted cove although there are signs indicating dangerous rocks, so it is not too deserted. On the map it is called Knockadoon Head.

sea life tide pool rocks tide pool blue rock tide poolThis cove is very rocky with small pockets of sand. There are high rocky cliffs. The rocks are not jagged, but smooth. They are pink with green low growing seaweed. There are numerous tide pools with sea anemone and other life inside them. There are many small snails and barnacle like creatures. It is absolutely wonderful. Getting the car out is a bit tricky but not for Bill. No L sticker for him. An L sticker is what all beginner learners must post on their car windshield while they are still novice drivers. It is a large solid white decal with a big red L in the middle. It is about eight inches square.

Now we are getting hungry and decide to find a suitable pub for lunch. That doesn’t take long. We wander into a village and park the car. The women’s football championship is on. Cork is favored to win. Later I find out that they do. Bill orders the Irish breakfast. B, D & I order sandwiches and of course we all order beer. Murphy’s is the beer of choice for our guys As far as beer goes it really is good. But I like cider best overall.

becki sitting

cliff ireland After lunch we tarry on to Ballycotton. There is a very cool cliff walk adjacent to the beach in this coastal village. The day is just a bit breezy although still sunny and lunch has worked its charm on me. I take a nap in the car while the others explore. Donny comes back after a short walk and joins me. B&B elect to try the cliff walk for awhile.

Suddenly everyone is tired. And we have not gotten near Killarney. We have not even left the south coast of County Cork, but it has been a great day of exploring. We head for home. We arrive in time to freshen up before the concert. Becki is concerned that we will get hungry before the concert is over knowing that the pubs do not serve food later in the evening. So she is very happy at intermission to find that finger sandwiches are served along with the wine.

The concert is very good. There are two choirs and a violin soloist as well as a flute soloist.

marian singing

Marian entertains. All the Irish sing at the drop of a hat and do it very well.

irish gals toasting

These amazing committee gals made our trip very special.

Now we go to The Point, Marian’s brother-in-law’s pub. He has invited us to hear some Irish music. We gather in a back room. This pub is a bit newer and the room is more modern. Still there is a fireplace and everything is wooden. As the evening goes on Marian hires the accordion player to play just for us. He has been playing out front where we could not hear him all that well. He is a delight. He plays all sorts of songs. We sing, dance and have a merry time. We pass the hat to give him a tip. He is very sweet. He rides his bike everywhere because his eyes are not good enough for him to drive a car.

After sitting so long in the drafty church Greg is chilled and asks the bartender for something warm. When he gets his drink, it looks so wonderful we all want one. It seems that we have rediscovered the hot toddy. Whiskey, hot water, a slice of lemon with cloves stuck into the rind. Perfect for a chilly evening. Members of the group begin to drift away. We are the last chapter again.

Every evening in Youghal is our favorite until the next one, which becomes our new favorite.

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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.

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WE Bring SUNSHINE to Ireland

yellow boat youghalSince I started the Ireland revisited thread I’m going full monty and reposting all eleven of my LiveJournal entries. Feel free to pop in and out to read when time allows the posts are not going anywhere. And share with friends, it was an awesome trip! I’ll not post on weekends.  But other than that the next few weeks SandyBeachGirl is going to be all about Ireland.

Of course this will be the trip from my point of view and for the time Bill, Becki, Donny & I were there meaning that some of the cast and crew were already in Youghal when we arrived and others remained after we left but we were there for the entire festival so that pretty well covers things.

Day three dawns bright and beautiful. The sky is clear and there is hardly a cloud to be seen. The folks in Youghal are amazed. They have rarely seen so much sunshine at one time.

red houseWe are to be given a tour of the Red House. It dates from the 16th century. Helen is on the festival committee. Her husband gives us the tour, but first Helen serves us tea on their sun porch. There are about ten of us that show up for the tour. It is an amazing house, full of history and wonderful stories. The furnishings are almost as colorful as the house. One side board came from the brother of the present owner. He bought it for 35 pounds. A matching piece later sold for more than the house it was in, at a Southeby’s auction.

Another piece made of Jamaican wood had a hidden drawn in one of many intricately carved panels. Inside that drawer was yet another hidden drawer. This is located on their attic like third floor which is bigger than most houses. There is a central living area with nice sized bedrooms sectioned off in each corner. The only thing that says attic is the slanted roof line, open beams, and wood from floor to ceiling, walls included.

He showed us the original sink they had to wash up in when they first bought the house. It was outside and although beautiful, not a bit practical. Their first Christmas in the house, all of their adult children came home. They recreated a traditional Christmas for the house complete with only candlelight.

stairs red house sink red house attic red housewindow red houseyoughal wallstone cross


After the tour BBD & I stopped at the Rendez-vouz. Bill has a traditional Irish breakfast, lamb chop, two sausages, a black pudding, ham, egg, chips & beans. The rest of us have regular food, all of it wonderful. Finally we find good coffee. We will be back.

map youghal lighthouse youghal bb lighthousesurf youghal

We have time to go see the Youghal Lighthouse which is only open on weekends. We take the car since we are short on time, although we could have walked to it. It is not a very tall lighthouse. The fun part is that we get to go all the way up into the lens part. Bill can finally see Youghal Bay and is appalled at the marvelous surf and the fact that nobody surfs around here. A few wind surf but there are literally no surfers. I am rather appalled myself, it is a nice rolling surf that goes on and on that I could actually ride and not get mauled. Of course there are rocks at the shore line to be mindful of and the water is extremely cold and full of seaweed, but still the surf is ideal.

more rehearsalsword play cast in costume donny pistol  rick bill donny marshaqueen and fan

The group has to practice. I go to the internet café, the grocery store and home for a brief nap. They come in a bit later and get ready for their first performance of the Lost Colony. We all leave for the Mall Arts Center. While the cast is dressing I chat with a lovely Irish gentleman that is keeper of the sword of Youghal for the evening. He offers to take my picture holding it. It is very amazing to be holding an authentic 16th century sword.

murphys toastThe audience is awed by the show. They are so appreciative. The owner of a pub in town invites us to stop by for drinks. Most of the group takes him up on his offer. We stop by a fish and chips shop on the way to the pub as there will be no food there and we are starving. The shop is just about to close for the night when we bombard them. It is called Doyle’s. They have a delivery van with Doyle-a-Meal on the side. We eat our fish and chips meandering down the street.

The pub has just closed but the brother of the owner takes us in a side door. The name of this pub is the Nook. It is our favorite one so far. It really is like Cheers, small dark and friendly. Bill says it would be totally perfect if there were a small combo jamming in a corner. The owner tells him that happens in the summer. He says he will try to round up some musicians for Bill to jam with later in the week. We close The Hook down and wander home getting there shortly before two.

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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.

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