Ooshe Visits the Emerald Isle

My friend Ashley came to visit for a week in March. I hadn’t realized how much I missed my church community until I saw her. She brought news of the goings-on in our congregation, political, musical, and otherwise. As I might have mentioned before, I went to a meditation service at the Unitarian church in town, but it was nothing like I’m used to at WUUC. The service was very god-focused and not what I was looking for. I have subsequently met a woman who attends the church and is a choir member. She told me that the quality of the service really depends on who is leading, and that it can vary quite a lot. I’m planning on going back, at some point, and perhaps even investigating the choir.

 

Anyway, back to Ashley. For some strange reason, the weather was beautiful the whole time she was here. We took advantage of this and walked pretty much everywhere and rode bicycles the rest of the time. Ashley is one of those wonderful folks who is really up to trying anything and will find a way to enjoy almost any situation. She hadn’t ridden a bicycle in at least a year, but we rode across town a couple of times and she did very well keeping up with me weaving in and out of traffic and ridiculous intersections. It was a bit scary, at times, for me, so I really applaud her for being so adventurous.

 

The first day, Shane accompanied us to Malahide castle, north of town. The castle and the village were lovely, as was the wandering between them. Sundays are sleepy in Ireland, but we were plenty entertained.

ashley-hanging-on1

The next day, we visited Kilmainham Gaol (actually, I visited the tea room with my book, because I’d already been twice), and the Guinness Brewery.

ooshe-with-half-a-pint-of-guinness 

The brewery is impressive. Apparently it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Dublin. Normally, I would steer clear of anything boasting that, but I figured I should go at least once before leaving Dublin. Having been, I wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone but the most excited of Guinness fans. It’s basically a huge, shiny, expensive advertisement for Guinness. Oh well. At least now I know.

 

One thing I really love about Ashley is how much she enjoys eating. I mean, I love feeding people, anyway, but Ashley has certain gusto for food that is really satisfying to a cook. Shane loves my cooking, but it’s nice to get another perspective. Additionally, speaking as a person who pretty much eats all the time and is very interested in when she will get another snack, it was great to hang out with a person equally food-focused. She particularly enjoyed the abundance of tea drinking opportunities and took full advantage of them.

 

A couple of days in, we took a train to Cork, hired a car, and Ashley drove us through Cork, and into Kerry and the Dingle peninsula. This would have been challenging driving, even if you were in a familiar vehicle with familiar driving rules, but Ashley was a natural, navigating tiny-and I mean tiny- roads through the mountains in a right-hand drive car on the left side of the road.

purple-mountains 

I was very impressed. I only got us lost a couple of times… The scenery was gorgeous and frequent picture stops were needed. We lunched in Mallow, a really sweet little town in co. Kerry, with a natural foods shop for snacks. We rambled into Killarney National park and took a long walk.

killarney-park ooshe-in-waterfall

That evening we  stayed in Anascaul, a small village near Dingle, and drove around the peninsula the next morning, stopping for more pictures and to see the Gallarus Oratory and Beehive Huts. The huts were in somebody’s backyard, and on the way back to the car, we noticed that one of their sheep was in a little enclosure with two tiny lambs. Upon further inspection, we realized that the lambs had been born only moments before- the afterbirth was still hanging out of their mother.

lambs

Now those are some fresh lambs.

 

Back to Cork, with the car unscathed, we hopped on a bus back to the train station and settled in for the trip back to Dublin. The next few days held more wandering, board gaming, a traditional music session, and plenty of good food.

 

Saturday morning, I left early to pick my mom up from the airport, and by the time we returned, Ashley was herself on a bus to the airport. It was a great visit. Lots of hilarious moments, close calls, (how many times can two people manage to just barely avoid missing the bus?), and happy times.            

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    kneehigh said,

    BABY LAMBS!! Awwwwww x ten million.

    Weirdly I was in Mallow too – but last Thursday – for someone’s wedding.


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