Ireland Days #8-12
Storm Hannah is soon to arrive. I am grateful not to be on the ferry to the Aran Islands today, but tucked safely in to lodging, snug and warm, while the wind is whipping and the rain is lashing just outside where I sit. An hour or two to catch up on photos and a blog post seem a perfect way to spend this stormy afternoon.
A visit to pay my respects to the MacDiarmids who built Boyle Abbey, and McDermott Castle are next. I have no idea really if my dad’s family is descended from THE McDermott’s but it is lovely to think that they might be.
Of course, I am interested in the kitchen area where the Cistercian monks baked bread in small ovens tucked in to either side of the rock walls.
There are steep stone steps…
…and a Green Man still visible after many centuries.
What is left standing of The McDermott Castle is on a very small island.
Traveling through County Sligo, I pay my respects to Irish poet W.B. Yeats buried at Drumcliffe Church.
The driving journey includes more than a few tiny lanes, some on the way, and some that are an unintended scenic route. One especially memorable drive comes to an end at a gate on a farm, even though the map shows a way through. A retracing of route and GPS rerouting brings me to north coast of Sligo overlooking Drumcliff Bay, in time for a late afternoon walk. I walk an average of 15,000 steps each day by count of Cindy’s watch.
In the morning I am delighted to see the bloom of an Egremont Russett, one of my favorite and hard to come by apples, in the lodging’s orchard.
The next day’s drive brings me to Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden in the Connemara.
Spending an entire day here would be about right for a garden enthusiast, and we decide to throw the popular guidebook out when reading that it says there is very little to see here.
On the way back to Galway, a stop at Dog’s Bay has me wondering if this is the west coast of Ireland, or Hawaii!
Bridget’s Garden just outside of Galway is next. For me the highlight of this garden features the work of Mary Reynolds, now a reformed landscaper, but I love the gardens she created to celebrate and honor all the cross quarters of the year. If I were raising children here, I think we would be here often as it is a magical place for all.
Tomorrow, weather willing, it’s off to Innismor for five days of a writing retreat. “See” you all when I return.