Month: September 2014

Day 33 – time for reflection

Well it was an early morning as we were up and out to the bus station around 7:30.  Sheila got the 8:05 bus to Shannon Airport.  I was sad to see her go.  We are cousins who only met in 2003 but have so much in common and get along famously.  I think she had a good time while here and she helped me do further exploring around.  We did the church tour, the Trad music tour, the various restaurants, she got to Aran Isles and went on her own up the Bay on the bus. We also did the Connamara tour. All in all it was a fun 10 days and having Joyce and Jean here added to the fun.

It was a good walk home but then the clouds rolled in and we went from blue skies and sunshine to cloudy but I don’t think it ever rained.  After doing some work around here and trying to take a little nap I decided to go out to get a few groceries. I need my Keoghs potato chips on a daily basis you know.

Big surprise in the mail today. My good friend the police chief sent me a patch to give to our favorite pub to add to their collection of patches from various PD’s around the US and Canada.  He also sent along a letter which explains what each of the symbols on the patch represent. I learned some new things as well.

After dinner we walked up to my Tai Chi lessons. Met some new folks there this evening. the teacher is not going to expect me to do tai chi the way she is teaching her students since it is apparent that I have learned a different way. But it is fun hanging with the ladies.

Worked on booking flights to visit the cousins in Liverpool area and looking for flights to Paris for our week away.  Nothing booked yet.

Am going to attach a copy of the picture of us with the King of the Claddagh. It is really good and a fellow named Liam sent it to me today. love it.

I see all our friends at home are enjoying the fall colors. Enjoy them for me as well.

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Day 32 – It finally happened today

Yes, without a doubt it happened today – it rained. Not for long but while Sheila and I were out shopping. She got her last minute little gifts for family and friends.  We still walked around and checked out several stores and looked at art work in a gallery.  Before we went out we spent a couple of hours down loading family info from Myfamily.com which is going away tomorrow.

AFter shopping and walking a bit we had decided to have soup at the coffee shop up in front of the apt.  It was lovely there and we spent a good long time over the soup and then coffee.  We came back and waited for Denis to get home from work and we continued to work on the family history “stuff”.  We both are passionate about it so that was important to us.

Dinner was the Kings Head for Sheila’s final night in Ireland.  It has been a wonderful visit and we had a grand time. After eating we went out walking and eventually ended up in a pub with live music and really enjoyed the end of their set.  They ended with “Will Ye Go Lassie Go”  that song will always be a favorite and get to me as well.

If today was an example of what rain is going to be like then I am not too worried about it. I have to get back on the bike and get moving.  Been doing tons of walking but really want to get back to riding. So hopefully tomorrow after I walk Sheila to the bus at 7:30ish. I will come back, drink some tea and then head out for a ride. Denis will be gone. I have to go out to the Garda Immigration office tomorrow which will be a mile walk each way to have to plan my day around that. Would ride the bike out there but don’t want to ride in the street and there are no walking paths large enough for both.

So we shall see how this all develops.   Pictures are of us with the King of the Claddagh and his friends last night, Denis, Sheila and I at the Kings Head, and the band that we listened to this evening.

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Day 31 – “Chugatsa a thogaim m’anam, a Thiama”

Today we continued hanging out a St. Nicholas Church. We went to 11am Mass there to hear a choir from West Cork and the Mass was in Irish except the sermon because the assistant priest is only learning Irish. He is from England.   It was wonderful.  The entire community was welcoming and very nice. They had tea and food afterwards.  We met the fellow who has the office next to Denis’ at NUIG.  We also met a young woman from Delaware who is studying in Ireland and she invited us to return in the afternoon for Evensong for Michaelmass. We said we would try.

Then we walked around the Sunday market and then finally went into some shops to get things we had been looking for. Denis got himself a sweater knit by May O’Connor – a lovely gray cardigan.  He will be plenty warm when the dampness arrives.  The humidity is often in the 80% range.

We then went back to the apt to have some down time.  After a bit Sheila decided to head for the museum. We gave her the keys in case we were gone already.  We walked up through the town and then went to St. Nicholas for 5 pm. The Choir was magnificent.  It was really worth going to the service.

I cooked us a pasta dinner and then we went out for Gelato.  Yummy…..  Then as we were walking back we met Michael Lynskey, king of the Claddagh.  What a sweet old guy.  He was elected in 1997 and when you are elected it is for life.  Denis asked him what they do if they don’t like you after a while. He said they drowned them and gave a great laugh.  He was with a distant relative from England and a fellow from Sligo. We had a grand conversation with them.

Now we are settled down watching Downton Abbey.  I am very tired and not sure I will make through the hour.

Have a grand evening.

Day 31 – “Chugatsa a thogaim m’anam, a Thiama”

Today we continued hanging out a St. Nicholas Church. We went to 11am Mass there to hear a choir from West Cork and the Mass was in Irish except the sermon because the assistant priest is only learning Irish. He is from England.   It was wonderful.  The entire community was welcoming and very nice. They had tea and food afterwards.  We met the fellow who has the office next to Denis’ at NUIG.  We also met a young woman from Delaware who is studying in Ireland and she invited us to return in the afternoon for Evensong for Michaelmass. We said we would try.

Then we walked around the Sunday market and then finally went into some shops to get things we had been looking for. Denis got himself a sweater knit by May O’Connor – a lovely gray cardigan.  He will be plenty warm when the dampness arrives.  The humidity is often in the 80% range.

We then went back to the apt to have some down time.  After a bit Sheila decided to head for the museum. We gave her the keys in case we were gone already.  We walked up through the town and then went to St. Nicholas for 5 pm. The Choir was magnificent.  It was really worth going to the service.

I cooked us a pasta dinner and then we went out for Gelato.  Yummy…..  Then as we were walking back we met Michael Lynskey, king of the Claddagh.  What a sweet old guy.  He was elected in 1997 and when you are elected it is for life.  Denis asked him what they do if they don’t like you after a while. He said they drowned them and gave a great laugh.  He was with a distant relative from England and a fellow from Sligo. We had a grand conversation with them.

Now we are settled down watching Downton Abbey.  I am very tired and not sure I will make through the hour.

Have a grand evening.

Day 30 – The Mayor of Seattle and the Galway Hooker

First I need to add an addendum to this posting – I think the fellow who told us the Mayor of Boston was on the boat was incorrect. The Mayor of Seattle is traveling with the Pipe band so I suspect he is the Mayor who was out on the Galway Hooker with the Mayor of Galway. Makes more sense.

What a day, they get better and better. We started the day by going to the Farmers Market. It was wonderful and we finally got the little gifts we wanted for the grandgirls. So they will get their new home gifts and we got some yummy food. We walked down Shop Street and went into the music store. We checked out the Galway made Bodhrans and will probably purchase one of them. They are good. Not all decorated like some of them but will be good to have.  We all walked down to the water and then up the river to the bridge and back home.

We came back to the apt and had some lunch and then put Joyce and Jean in a cab and bid them a fairwell. I think they had a great time, saw some things they had not expected to and all around had a change of pace for a week.

Denis, Sheila and I headed for the museum to see a free program about the Galway Hooker’s. It turned out to be the introduction of a documentary movie about how a group of men from the Claddagh got together in about 2012 and over 18 months of weekends built a brand new Hooker. They documented it on film and through interviews. It was so interesting. I bought a CD of the film because I want Ed Lowans to see it as he is into boat restoration etc.  And I found it fascinating. At the end of the film they told us that the Mayor of Boston and the Mayor of Galway were out sailing in a Galway Hooker.  We have had several great laughs about it this afternoon.

So then we decided we had time for a coffee and a bit to eat so we wandered up an alley to a little cafe and sat outside and ate.  As we were chatting Beverly from our drum class walked by and I called to her and she came over and chatted. She was telling us about Human Trafficking problems in Ireland and throughout the EU.  I later looked on line and sure enough they are bringing in girls from Eastern Europe and selling them in Ireland to pimps. They are working on strengthening the laws here against prostitution and human trafficking.

Our next stop was at Frenneys to watch the hurling championship.  We went to the back lounge area and sat with our pints and cheered for Tipperary to no avail.  The second half it was obvious Kilkenny had come out to win and they did.  Tipperary looked like they had lost their umph.

After that sad experience we walked down to the bay to see if the hooker was back but did not see it. As  we were walking along we heard drumming and found a fellow who was teaching folks to drum, not like we are learning but African drumming.  It was just like we learned this past summer at the Maclaughlan Wood Working Museum in Kingston.  Then Denis called to me to tell me about the plaque that was right by there that states that Galway and Seattle Washington are sister cities.  That explains the Seattle PD Pipe Band being in Galway this weekend.

Decided to go back to the apt for an hour before heading out again. We cleaned up and went up to St. Nicholas Church to a fund raiser for a festival to take place in Letterfrack in Conamara. It was a lovely evening of traditional music, dancing and singing.  At the end I purchased the CD of the music from out there since it is part of our every day life here so by the end of December will have relevance to us both.

After today I am not sure the days can get any better.  Tomorrow we are going to the Church of Ireland to hear a choir that is world renowned. I am sure the Pope will forgive us.

Just having a lemon tea with some local honey and a mixed berry spelt muffin that is just soooo good with butter and raspberry jam.  Denis is already asleep.  Of course he got up and ran this morning.  Sheila was able to increase her beer glass collection this evening. Do you know that the kids drink in the street with glasses from what ever pub they were in and then leave the glasses in the street or on window sills no where near a pub?  Yes, they do….

Well, after a fabulous day I will say good night.

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Day 29

I took it easy today, sort of.  The gals went off at 9:15 to catch the bus to the boat to Aran Isles.  They had a wonderful day.  Guess they had a very cute older guide around the island who was quite taken with Sheila. So he took them to a few extra spots…

Denis and I had a quiet day. I ate a very late breakfast and then we went out to do a little shopping. And along the way I found the shop where I had spotted some wool vests but he was not thrilled with the way they fit and I have to agree they did not quite fit him right. But at least we tried there.  visited some other gift shops with some very nice paintings and prints as well as pottery. I am so tempted to get more pottery but would love some from the same spot in Sligo where my tea pot came from.

After putting away the groceries we had a late lunch and then went out to sit on a bench by the bay and read for a while. It was a little chilly but lovely in the sun.  Another fabulous day weather wise.  Then we went back to wait for the gals to come back and then we walked down to see the Galway Hookers that had sailed in to kick off the Oyster Festival.  They are such beautiful sailing ships.  Then we walked up and had dinner at Dials.  The meal was very good as was the company. It was a farewell dinner for Joyce and Jean.  Then as we were walking back and listening to music as we went we came across the Seattle Police Pipe Band playing outside the Oyster Festival grounds.  Nice little trip they must be having. They were a large group with great sound.

Now we are all back, reading, looking up info about swans, writing, etc. Funny to look around the room and see all the electronics.  Guess I better open up some cheese and crackers for these folks..

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Day 28

I slept in this morning until Denis called around nine to ask where Sheila was. I ran up stairs and found out that she was locked in because she could not get my set of keys to let herself out. So I sent her up to Denis’s office to work on her column for a genealogy magazine.  We planned to meet up at the Univ around 12:45.

I took off after getting dressed to find my jacket that I left on the bus yesterday.  Found the office and Mary was so good to return it to me.  I had just bought it so was very happy.  On the way back I checked out the place where you can make bone jewelry but there was no schedule of when it would be open. I really want to do that. Also found another neat store and saw some things what would make great gifts.

When I returned to the apt Joyce and Jean were still there.  I left my keys with them and headed up to the U to meet Sheila.  On the way up I met a grandfather with his three year old grandson. they were saving flies from spider webs.  We had a grand chat. The little guy is in school and has to learn to speak Irish as there is no english allowed in the school.  He is struggling with it.  Very cute little guy.  We went to hear the Macauley family play traditional music.  They are a father and two daughters who are really good. The woman played the harp, the little squeeze box, the Irish Pipes, fiddle and something else. it was a very good hour. Also got to say Hello to Mary MacPartlan who I had met when she was visiting at Union.

Then we went and picked up Denis and got some lunch at the cafeteria. It was good.

Then Denis went back to work and we walked back to the apt and had a cup of tea.  On the way back we saw a heron right up the street in the creek. It was very neat and got some good pictures of it.  Denis got home and we headed out to our Drumming lessons. Brian said Sheila could sit in on the lesson so she did. It was fun and then he told us that a band he plays with would be playing at the opening night of the Oyster Festival tonight down the street from the apt. So after having a bite to eat we headed over to listen to the bands. It was interesting. I actually liked the band before them. They were good but the noise was a bit too loud and mixing salsa with irish music just did not cut it for me.

We walked back and it appears Denis has figured out how to get my computer working again so I will be adding pictures to the blog tomorrow. The  visiting ladies are all going to the Aran Isles tomorrow.  So I have a day to catch up on a few things and hopefully take a bike ride. In spite of my continuous coughing.

rest well my friends.

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Day 27

Great day today.  We all got up by 8 and were down at Jury’s Hotel by 9:20 to get the bus for the tour of Connamara.  We were first on the bus so got great seats in the front of the bus. One man once we got to where they were picking up the rest of the folks was really angry about our getting those seats. He was really angry but hopefully he got over it before we got back.

The day was a glorious sunny day, cool but comfortable.  We traveled across the mountain area, the bogs, and first stopped in a little town for tea and to visit a gift shop. I broke down and bought a couple of things there that appealed to me. Cannot write on here what they were because they were not for me…

Then we went on to Kylemore Abbey.   Sheila and I went to tour the gardens first. they were terrific and I kept thinking how much Tim would love them. They had veggies as well as flowers all set up so beautifully.  Then we went to the Abbey which was really kind of  a disappointment. We thought more rooms would be open but there were just a few downstairs rooms open.  It was beautiful to see.  Then we walked down to the chapel which was sweet.  We did not have time to go further to where the Henrys were buried.  Then we rushed back to the coffee shops, grabbed a couple of scones, butter and jam and got to the bus.  The scones were really good with butter and the jam was to die for.  Yummy treat at tea time without the tea.

The ride home was good. We headed back south to the sea and came back through Salt Hill. We did not see a lot of Connamara ponies but did see plenty of sheep in the roadways and big huge rocks everywhere.  Hard to envision people settling there to live. I also learned about the rock fences that go up the mountains. They are called Famine walls, since they were built for no reason during the famine other than to give men something to do to earn some money so they would not starve to death.

We asked the driver to let us off the bus at the Jurys Hotel and he was good to do so. We only had to walk a short way back to the apt.

then we went to dinner and decided to go to the Front Door and every one had a good meal.  It was very nice.  In an other room they were playing trivia and as we listened to the first ten questions  and decided we knew very little irish trivia..

All are tired and I think we are all going to bed now.  I have to get up and go to the Tour office to pick up my new jacket that I left on the bus… Oh dear….

will attach some pictures from today later when I can get onto my computer which is not working well today.

 

Day 26

Just got home from Tai Chi lessons and found the ladies had had dinner at the Kings Head.  A band was set up to play but never did so they came back.  My class was interesting. There is the teacher and four other women.  Jo Pender the teacher is very cute. She brought apples and honey for the first night of Roshhashana. Everyone was very nice and a lady named Claire offered to pick me up for class during the rest of the classes…

Today other than Tai Chi was a down day for me. When I woke up I had been dreaming about the flu and was feeling so warm. Denis told me I had been coughing a lot during the night so I decided not to go to any thing today other than Tai Chi.

Sheila took the bus out to Spittal and walked along the Bay and went to the craft village and got some wonderful gifts to take home.  Joyce and Jean went on the Lally Bus Tour where they could get off and on as they went along. They loved the Aquarium so that is now on my list of places to go and visit.  Joyce tried to purchase some Irish fabric and could not find any for her 94 year old aunt who makes the most beautiful quilts. Oh well.

So, all in all a good day. Got some laundry done, took a nap and went to Tai Chi… so that was all good. Tomorrow we are going to Connamara on a tour so will have a report on that.

Now a little story. You can decide if I am mean or not. On Saturday when Sheila arrived she had not eaten anything on the plane in the morning so we stopped at Griffins Bakery to get her something to eat and I got a coffee.  This lady came along and first walked by and told Sheila to watch her bag, that someone might steal it.  Then she came by again and told me to protect my backpack.  Then she came back to chat and I asked her if she would like me to take her picture. so she agreed and I did. Then she started in on us, Saying she was homeless and had no place to stay and would I give her the money for a place to stay.  I suggested to her that there must be places in Galway for her to stay. Then I suggested the Garda Station down the road, that I was sure they could assist her.  When she figured out I was not going to give her a penny, she walked away.  Her clothes to be honest were cleaner than my jeans for sure. She had no bag or anything and she was sweet smelling. I somehow think she had a place to stay.  Anyway that was one little event the other day I did not write about.

Enjoy.

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Day 25

We are all tired this evening.  This morning we got up and had a bite to eat and then walked over to the bus station to wait for Joyce and Jean.  Their bus was a little late but they arrived and then we walked back to the apt.  Then we get them settled. Got them some breakfast. And then finally convinced them to take a rest and Sheila and I went out to get some food.  We had decided to cook in.  When we got back we all chatted and then Jean and Joyce went off to buy Joyce a jacket and then they took a bus tour of the city.  Sheila and I took a walk up the canal. And then back through the city and stopped in a bunch of shops.  I found a charity shop that had a lot of books that I will read.  As we were walking along a tour bus passed by and there were Jean and Joyce up on the top of the double decker waving at us.  What was the chance of running into them.

We got home around 5 and prepped dinner and visited with Denis who was already home.  After dinner we went for a walk while Joyce iced her knee.  It was nice out on the Bay. Then we walked back through the town. Once back here we went on line and bought tickets to take the Connamara tour on Weds..  The others are going to the Aran Isles another day. So it is going to be a busy week. Tomorrow night I have my first Tai Chi lesson. Going to be interesting since I don’t remember a thing.  Scary thought. We are going to walk the mile up there and then back.

Enjoy the gorgeous fall.