Ireland '99: Day Twelve

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Connemara National Park
Maumturk Mountains
Kylemore Abbey

Day Twelve -- September 7th, 1999

I awoke feeling rather sick, which explains my temperament leaving the tub late last night. It looks like I caught whatever Bryn had earlier in the week. (Thanks Bryn). My frail composition, however, does not seem to handle it as gracefully

An Aristocrat's House

By daylight, the house we were staying was quite fancy in addition to being historic. The older couple that runs it were the quintessence of aristocracy. They both enjoyed immensely conversing with their guests, unfortunately Jenn and I bore the brunt as we were the only people staying that night.

The older chap, to be honest, was one of the most haughty, aristocratic persons I have ever met. We talked over breakfast about the Internet. He told us that “we are the first B&B on the Internet”. When we told him that many of the B&B’s we have stayed in now have web sites, he said “We have been responsible for many of them going on the Internet” because it was so successful to them. He told us that the people who use the Internet fit his market, which was for the “employed and the articulate”.

Out of curiosity, I asked him if he knew of Jimmy McNelis, but he didn’t, responding “Of course, many people know of us, but we may not know them.”

As I was settling the bill, I made the mistake of telling him I was recently in Hong Kong (he held a senior position in the Hong Kong police force). I told him of how intimidating the police force was, and a long discourse on why a para-military force was necessary in Hong Kong ensued. I told him of how me and my friend from the Czech Republic were intimidated by the communistic feel of the police force, and another long (one sided) discussion on how communism was good for both China and eastern Europe. (The eastern Europeans did not know how to govern themselves, “you must break a few eggs to have a good breakfast”, and if eastern Europe had done their duties in governing themselves, Britain would not have lost so many men in the trenches of World War I. The communists, he said, gave them more stability than they ever would have had otherwise, both China and Eastern Europe. Good thing Lenka was not with me, as I am certain she would have clawed his eyes out halfway through.

We hit the road and it soon became apparent that between me being sick and the 1000+ miles that we have so far accrued, that traveling was beginning to takes it toll on us. On our biggest driving day yet, we headed done south to Castlebar and Westport. Jenn drove a fair amount while I tried to get caught up in the journal. Because my eyes were on the screen, I failed to notice a wrong turn in Westport and we ended up taking a detour out onto the Carraun Peninsula and nearly hit a mountain with the cool name of Cushcamcarragh. We switched drivers again, and even still, failed to get out of Westport in the correct direction the second time. (The third time was the charm).

Irish Views
And more Irish Views

The day, ironically, was quite beautiful, with the sun shining through large cumulus clouds the whole afternoon. By the time we reached Connemara and Joyce’s Country, however, the clouds had accumulated more now that we were in truly spectacularly scenic country. The mountains here reminded both of us of Glacier National Park in Montana, with the U-shaped valleys in the hills covered in green. The drive through the Maumturk Mountains was all quite inspiring. I took as many pictures as I could.

Classic Sheep picture!

Along the country roads, we continued to see (as we have seen throughout the whole trip) sheep grazing on directly on the roadsides what seemed to be every 100 feet, and we continued to run across an assortment of old chaps riding their bikes or walking along the road. In this part of the country, the chaps tend to have a canine companion, typically a border collie mixed with some other breed (spaniel, shepherd, and lab). I have been waiting empty handed still for just the right fellow to take a picture of.

A Typical roadsign in Ireland
The Typical Apartment


The Typical Town

In one of the small towns, we stopped by a small art studio where a fellow carved slender representations of birds and fishes out of bog wood. She bought a small sculpture for her dad.

And the Typical Thatched Country House
Kylemore Abbey

Inside Connemara, there were several beautiful mountain loughs nestled in the small valleys between the mountains. On one rested Kylemore Abbey, a neo-gothic structure built into the oak filled hillside beside Kylemore Lake. The trip around the Twelve Bens was also quite scenic.


We ended the day a little early, as we were both quite tired. We stayed in a B&B called Eureka overlooking the largest lough in the area, complete with a full collie named “Shep”. I spent the next four hours slowly making it through all of the quickly jotted notes from the past week and amazingly, am now completely caught up in the journal. Yahoo! I am taking some Advil cold medicine (which I got today from a Chemist – I had to point it out to him of all ironies), and then am heading off to sleep.



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