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4/04/2009

The Olde Sod ... continues

When we stayed in Ireland, it was for 10 days. We spent those 10 days in the lovely little time share cottage you see on the left in the picture below. That's the car we rented you can almost clearly see in the driveway to the cottage. As always, you can click on any of these pictures to see them large.

We made this little cottage our headquarters and from here we took day trips to everywhere and anywhere in Connemara. I put 1200 miles on that rental in a little over a week. And Ireland isn't that big. It's about 120 miles wide and 170 miles long. And all the roads are approximately 1 and a half lanes wide. If you're lucky. And they're always wet.

To get to anyhere from where we were, we had to travel a narrow country track to get to the N59, the two lane National Highway that runs through Connemara. The narrow country track, however, though hairy, was scenic - as scene below.

And nearby us, was a golf course and if you stopped and looked, you could sometimes see across the small, fresh water lake, and then across the narrow bit of the Atlantic, the Isle of Innis Bo Finne. Through the rain and mist it made an eerily lonely sight.

As lonely as the island looked, nothing was sadder than seeing so many of these old, collapsed cottages scattered all throughout the west of Ireland. This one is in better shape than many we saw - the chimney looks almost new. But the roof has fallen in, as they will after years of neglect.

The cottage depicted above sits at an intersection at the base of a hill. We went up that hill and near the top, turned onto a narrow stone track that took us around the face of the hill toward the sea. We stopped along the way and I took the photo below. Where we are is on the south side of Galway Bay. Connemara is on the other side of the Bay from where we are, lost in the haze and the mist.



Ireland is such a beautiful place. Under that beauty, however, is a hard and unforgiving land, and it is a hardy people that live there - and left there. The remnants of the potato famine of 150 years ago are still there. There are the ruins of family homes everywhere. They've never been torn down. It's almost as though the land is waiting for the people to come back, and all the while, reminding those that stayed of those that left. The names are not forgotten. If you ask, they'll tell you who it was that lived in that tumbled down wreck, and when they left. As though it was yesterday. As though they still expect them to return.

I have several family lines that go back to Ireland. As far as I know, none of us have gone back there to take up residence. It's a nice place to visit, but ....

We're Americans, now.

Ndinombethe.

17 comments:

moneythoughts said...

Thanks for sharing your pictures, it is like traveling with you.

Shadow said...

so green, the wet roads, very desireable!

i'm the first generation in sa, and i sometimes wish myself back to germany... haven't quite 'become' yet. but i think i know the reasons for that though. but not here... not the time or place...

Ree said...

Those cottages are amazing.

Hockeyman said...

Oh my! Some day.... I want to go there so badly. I want to see where my lineage comes from. Someday I will. Love the photos.

Bama Cheryl said...

Beautiful pictures, Lou. We love the west of Ireland and long to go back again. We stay about 75 miles south of Galway but easily a couple hours by car because of the twisty roads and massive quantities of roundabouts. You make me homesick to go back!

NicoleB said...

Such a gorgeous, beautiful country.
But living there, nope, I agree with you. For a while maybe, but not forever.
Sad with the cottages :(

Jientje said...

You make my heart ache to go back there. It's been such a long time, I wonder how much is still left of the memories in my head?

Loraine said...

So pretty... and yet so sad. Glad we haven't heard about any IRA bombings for a while, but the North is still a bit volatile, isn't it?

warriorwoman said...

ireland i love. i may go back there this year, we'll see.

Patsy said...

Your pictures are amazing -- After visiting there I have so enjoyed your memories. They are much like mine -- a wonderful lovely place the place some of my ancestors left for a better life in America ---We're American now, too.

Tara R. said...

This must have been a glorious trip. Your photos are amazing.

witchypoo said...

I think I travelled too much as a kid, now with airport security, I have an aversion to it. But Ireland, I might just suffer to see.

Joyce-Anne said...

You had an amazing trip! Right now, all of my vacations are planned around 3 little ones. Hmmm, maybe I will get to Ireland someday.

Employee No. 3699 said...

The tumbling cottages? Reminds me of the old barns you see in the midwest; you wonder why they don't just tear them down.

Thanks for the virtual vacation...back to reality now.

Hyphen Mama said...

When I see the old ruins like that, I desperately wish that I was psychic and could take a fast-forward view of the story behind the house and its people.

I wonder who "owns" that land now, if it's descendants, or if I can find my abandoned ancestry land and go move in. I'll bring my hammer.

LceeL said...

Moneythoughts: I'm glad you're enjoying them, Fred.

Shadow: I understand that, completely.

Ree: There were so very nice to stay in.

Hockeyman: I hope you get to go. Glad you like the photos, Patrick.

Bama Cheryl: Maybe I SHOULD work for the tourism bureau.

NicoleB: It is, but it's part of the charm of the place, as well.

Jientje: It all depends on where those memories were made.

Loraine: Every once in a while some splinter group of the IRA does something nasty - but for the most part, it's quiet.

Warriorwoman: So you've been there before?

Patsy: I'm glad you like the pictures - I want to go back, again, too.

Tara R: It was an amazing time.

Witchypoo: Go. If you can. Go. It is the trip of a lifetime.

Joyce-Anne: I hope you can. It is an amazing place.

Employee: Yes. I DO wonder why they don't tear them down.

Hyphen Mama: I wonder, too. An interesting thought.

Momisodes said...

Such beautiful views. They really are breathtaking. Thank you for taking us along and being our tour guide.

1200 in a week!?! I barely put half that on my rental in a month while I was a travel nurse.