Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ireland Tour 2011

The gloomy weather finally arrived yesterday morning, though our collective energies and prayers brought the sun back after about an hour on the road. We were delayed by some changes of plan because of the early showers so we had to shorten our trip a bit and by the time we got to Dingle, we only had time for lunch and a quick tour of the town. Myself, I paid a visit to St.Mary's Church for a prayer, the shot across the street to my old haunt Dick Mack's for a drink. Said hello to a couple of old friends and drank in the soothing atmosphere of my favourite town in the Southwest.Definitely need a full day there next time.
We were again truly blessed with glorious sunshine at a time of the year where there is no reason our entire trip could have been rained out. Friends have told me the Summer left something to be desired, weatherwise....
The Dingle Peninsula is one of the most beautiful areas in Ireland and the road around Slea Head is daunting to many drivers but our driver John, negotiated turns and curves in a luxury coach that left us holding our breath. Some places seemed like pushing a huge GE refrigerator through a bathroom door... The Blasket Islands off the coast and Skelligmichael, the monastic settlement of the 8th century, a rock standing alone seven miles out in the harsh Atlantic, left one thinking what could it have been like for those monks who battled the elements while attempting to join their spirits closer to God.
Upon our return to the hotel, several of our traveling friends took a ride in the horse drawn jaunting carts through Killarney National Park to Ross Castle....myself I opted to watch the movie "Zulu" with one my favourite actors Michale Caine, probably in his mid to late 20's and Stanley Baker. A true story of a siege by 4000 Zulu warriors against a force of 129 British soldiers, a Welsh regiment and their three day stand at Rourke's Drift in the Transvaal in 1879. I watch it every time it comes on, fascinating stuff...nothing to do with Killarney, but one has to put the feet up sometimes.
Again, I had no dinner and prepared for my more relaxed acoustic unplugged show here in Hannigan's Bar in the hotel. I played from 8 'til about 9.15 and most of our group showed up. Suzanne from Sierra Madre sang a couple with me to great applause but it was our driver John, who brought the house down with his rendition of "Dublin in the Rare Auld Times"...I would like to get that response just once while I'm here... it was a lovely moment.
Some of us went over to Sheehan's around the corner to watch the Irish Set Dancing, well you never saw such leppin' and dancin' in all your life...the blood of the Celts was curdling as men whisked the ladies around the floor, I can't quite describe of those "You had to be there" moments....I took a couple of our ladies out for a waltz when the music changed, though the tempo only went from the storm force of Nascar to the gentle spped of the Breeder's Cup...oddly, no pains in my body this morning...must be fitter than I thought....these people weren't even breaking a sweat....what is very interesting and extremely enterprising on the part of Sheehan's Pub, a very large pub I might add, is that they have a traditional Irish music group in the very front of the bar from about 8 'til 10.30 then a rock band comes on in the back area...even further back in another area they have the set dancing from 9 'til 11 and THEN a disco 'til about 1am...and that's on Wednesday night in the first week in November....tell me the Irish don't now how to have a good time...I'll get back to y'all tonight after our trip from here through Kenmare, Bantry bay, Skibbereen, Clonakilty and into Kinsale for dinner and an official concert at The Spaniard Pub tonight...the road continues to rise and the weather looks good...

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