Monthly Archives: July 2012

Irish marketing

I tried to edit a few items from  my last post, but at this hour, my brain is working faster than the Internet.

But I wanted to correct the town of Tralee, which is the correct spelling and Gougane Barra, as well.

If you read the last post, you’ll see that Gougane Barra was a Monastery with rock cells where Monks took shelter.

Also the island of Garinish was on the water near the area of Glengariff which is the home of Maureen O’Hara.

My friends Dermot and Tine have extended their hospitality to introducing me to their friends and the community.

I’ve enjoyed Dermot’s humor as he mixes up his wise cracks with the locals and they with his. Humor exchange is the nature of the Irish. Take for instance, when we were getting our tickets for the Garinish Island, Dermot tried to get a discount, but was thwarted with the ticket-seller’s humor.

Then I offered: “how about a discount for an old lady like myself?”

His reply: “Oh, if I woke up every morning to a gorgeous woman as yourself, I’d let you in free.”

My reply: “Well, for a compliment like that, I’ll pay you double if you let me on your boat.”

How’s that for a quick Irish-type reply? I’m learning.

Then this morning we went to the open market where we saw baked bread of all types, all kinds of olives, and a myriad of good looking tid-bits from Greece and other parts of the world. Dermot purchased his favorites from the sellers, all with usual bantering, some of it just too quick for me to pick up.

Tine headed to her one-morning-a-week job, as a volunteer in a non-profit second-hand store.

Tine stays busy with her many activities and friends. She shared with me some of her creative art-work in hand knitted scarves, sweaters, hats, baby clothing and then she had photos of the many quilts she has made and gave away as gifts.

Both Dermot and Tine have created a lovely, stone terraced garden in their back yard.

There is an abundance of colorful plants and flowers.

On our road trip on Sunday, I was amazed how many fuschia flowers grow wild all along the road-sides. These are plants we see in the United States that are usually growing in pots.

The Tuesday market in Macroom

Island

Home of Maureen O'Hara

Yesterday was fabulous, weather-wise (which is all important to the Irish) and with the company I spent the day with.

Tine and Dermot took me to three outstanding places and lots of interesting sights along the way.

While we were on our way to the Demesne Castle in Macroom, Gogane Barra, Glengariff and Bantry, one site I found particularly interesting was the prehistoric trees that came up in the boggy area when the reservoir of the River Lee was created.

The trees that stick up randomly in small stump like statues, are claimed to be over 5,000 years old and perhaps up to 10,000. They are protected.

I learned from Tine, who drove most of the way to our destination, who pointed out that the lovely shrubs that line the narrow highways, are actually stone walls, that have been covered with vines and shrubs through many years. So it behooves a driver not to get too close to the shoulder of the lane.

The Hermitage of Gougane Barra, is monastery built by a sixth century monk on the most peaceful site, with graceful trees, calm waters and places to take silent walks.

The area, also surrounded by a forest with moss-covered trees, still has the original stone cells where the monks slept and the ruins of the original church that was later built on the site, when Christianity came to Ireland,also centuries ago.

A beautiful stone church from several hundred years ago is still in use today.

Another sight that enveloped me with the beauty and history was the Island of Garnish near the Glengariff town, where Maureen O’ Hara resides. We took a boat from the land to the Island, and could see her home, and when we landed on the island, there were many places to walk, in gardens and among sculptures. One group of stone steps looked as though

One cell where the monks lived 6,000 years ago.

there would be no end to the top. They stood straight up, mountain-like.

I looked at the steps and said, I’d give it a try. I made it clear to the top! My posting here will be short until I am again on my own. I have a short time in order to place a bit every day.

Soon, I’ll be on my own again in Scotland, and then I’ll beef-up the posts. Stay involved with me.

Macroom Angels

Dermot and Tine O’Hare are the next angels in my travels. They live high on a hill in the beautiful and quaint town of Macroom.

I went into town today and found a sweet shop. Candy is made the old fashioned way and sold the same. You walk in and order the quantity you want. It is weighed, put into a bag, and you walk out with a smile on your face.

Tine and I walked to the Denesne Castle and near the beautiful Sullane River next to the Castle grounds. Above us was an old stone bridge.

We found an internet cafe and while Tine went to visit a friend, Dermot kept the soup hot for us.

He is a fabulous cook, and even seems to enjoy it.

Yesterday he made a salad with pomegranate seeds, finely diced tomatoes and onions, mixed together and served on a plate with radishes, cucumbers and on a bed of greens.

Beautiful.

Later, he served a dish of rice with chicken and two colors of bell peppers.

The man can do anything. I was convinced of that when he pointed out the two couches in the living room were reupholstered. He did that, as well.

Nice people and I’m have fun.

Demesne Castle in Macroom

Traveling and then line dancing

from out of Tine’s window

I left Cork, but it wasn’t easy. Here’s what happened: I got to the bus station around 9 a.m., knowing that the bus to  Macroom wouldn’t be leaving until 10:30, but that was okay because I like to arrive early, drink coffee, have a bite to eat, and spend the rest of the time ‘people-watching’.

I purchased the ticket and the lady told me the “bus to Macroom” would leave at 9:30 and at 10:30, so I had my choice. The 10:30 time would be perfect because Tine would be waiting for me at the Macroom station, in one hour, so I continued to wait.

At 10:15 I waited outside at the platform where I was told, “that’s where you’ll get the Macroom bus.” But at 10:30 a bus going to the town of Tranee was taking passengers. So I figured the next bus must be ‘the Macroom bus”. So I continued to wait for ten more minutes and then went to the ticket agent and asked if the Macroom bus was late.

“Oh, no, that bus left.”

“Was that the bus that said Tranee on it?”

“Yes.” She rolled her eyes. I can’t stand it when people do that. Oh well.

“Why didn’t you tell me the Macroom bus wouldn’t say Macroom on it?”

“It’s right up there on the sign.” She pointed to a moving sign.

“Yes, it is up there, you’re right, but I was waiting outside where you said the bus to Macroom would be located.”

Deaf ears. Blank expression.

So, I needed to let Tine who would be waiting for me that I’d be late.

“Do you have wifi here?”

“Yes, but it won’t work unless you’re a customer of the company that supplies it here.”

She didn’t tell me that an internet service was located against the wall next to the coffee concession, but a person standing by heard my dilemma and pointed to the internet station.

Okay, so with my inexperience with the Irish keyboard, I typed up a message for my friend Kemberlee to call Tine (her friend) that I would be an hour late.

So when I arrived in Macroom, Tine was waiting for me, and she did get the message.

On the way to Macroom, I calmed down when I heard the nightmare of a fellow passenger. Niamh Cosman, an artist in sculpture, had travel stories that made my morning a walk in the park. She will eventually find her way to the states and to The Burning Man in the desert where she is partnering in a sculpture event. Good wishes for her success in her travels and art.

At 12:30 p.m. Tine picked me up and by 2 p.m. I was line dancing with her and a group of ladies. LIfe is good.

 

Is this the bus to Macroom?

One more look at Cork

Narrow road

One more quick post before I leave Cork. I went to town for the purpose of buying a box of chocolates for the Kinlay staff and some alcohol. The only other thing I wanted to do was soak up the town for the last time. I took many random photos just for fun.

The alcohol would sooth the infected ear from an earring that was trying to make it’s home inside of my earlobe. I got the earring out and wanted to disinfect my ear.

“No, we aren’t allowed to sell alcohol. I do not have a license to do that,” the pharmacist stunned me with that answer. I couldn’t believe in a country where it’s easy to “get a pint”, you cannot get alcohol to disinfect a small part of your skin.

I went to another pharmacy and had to explain why I needed the alcohol, and she offered me something that wasn’t all alcohol but was an astringent of some type. Then she proceeded to tell me how to take some cotton, put the liquid on the cotton and rub it on my ear lobe. I wanted to say, “no kidding?” But I was polite, instead.

Next, I found a different coffee shop/pub from the familiar two I have frequented for the last two weeks. This one was an old building, with small tables sitting in front of a couch that curved along two walls.

A gentleman was sitting next to me and one at the bar. “Nice day isn’t it?” The man at the bar said.

“Yes, it’s a bit warm, but you are right, it is nice.”

“It’s nicer since you walked in, luv,” the gentleman at the couch said with a gentle chortle.

“Oh, you Irishmen,” I said and both of them laughed.

After my coffee, I came upon two women who were getting dogs out of a van owned by Dogs for the Blind, a non-profit agency that trains dogs for the blind and for children with autism.

One of the women had a large, happy looking, curly-haired dog called a labradoodle.

Guess you don’t need an explanation to know that is a mix of a labrador and a poodle.

I have seen many people in town, including several today who volunteer to train dogs.

Now for certain, this post is the last one of Cork.

Skiddy’s Almshouse near Kinlay HostelRiver Lee

church in Shandon

Leaving Cork on Friday

The area where I stayed

All signs are in Irish and English

One more day in Cork and on Friday I leave for Macroom to visit with Tine and

Dermot O’Hare. They are friends of my friends, Kemberlee and Peter Southland, who I spent a few days with last month.

I look forward to meeting them in person, as we have been emailing back and forth for awhile.

So Friday morning, I’ll leave Cork for good, but will take away fond memories of the good people who stepped up to help me whenever I looked confused.

I also want to give credit to the staff of the Kinlay Hostel who are awesome workers, who do everything they can to make the place run efficiently and clean.

It’s a tremendous job to keep a place as large as this to run smoothly, with people from all over the world, speaking different languages, with different needs and desires.

The staff was very kind to me; the best hostel I have been in so far.

Losses so far on my four month journey – has it really been that long? – and how I think they got lost are, a gold earring; it went down the drain in the hot pot in Thorshovn, Iceland, a vest; lost in the back of a taxi (I think), and a pair of pajamas. What? How did they get lost? I have no answer for that one.

But today, I purchased another pair in town, which will be my last trip into the city business section.

Early this morning I went to one of my favorite restaurants before any one else had arrived and had a scone, clotted cream and raspberry jam, and a cup of cappuccino.

While I read the morning news – by the way, the papers are still those large pages we used to know way back when – I came across a name and had to ask the waiter who was from France how it was pronounced. He got an Irish coworker to explain.

Blaithnaid Ni Chofaigh will be the morning talk-show hostess on television. The Ni part of her name signifies that she is the daughter of Chofaigh, the name of her father.

 

 

The Kinlay Hostel

The Irish and the smiling white pig.

“Aw, darlin’ is everything ol’ roight? Kin oy hep ya?

I stood at the end of the street carrying a small bundle of clothing I planned on giving to a second hand shop. There are several in the city, and without pre-arrangement, I knew I’d find one somewhere, plus I had other chores to do.

“Oh, no, I’m okay. Do I look confused?

“Oh, no, luv, I didn’t mean to imply it. Where do ya want t’ go?” The lady with orange hair and a worried look on her face, asked.

“I walked a different way than usual, and I’m looking at that bridge and wondering if I should walk over it to town, or should I go down the street and take the bridge I’m familiar with.”

“This is the end of Shandon, roight here, luv. Do ya need some hep, darlin’?

“No, I’m all right. I’m just thinking about what to do next. Really, I’m fine.” I convinced her for she walked on and crossed the bridge. I followed.

 

I dropped off the few ‘tops’ I had worn for the nearly four month journey, and then began to look for a bank to get some more euros. The day before I purchased some ‘tops’ or ‘jumpers’ as they are called here. The stores shout in great huge signs: “70 Percent Off” or “Everything Must Go”  and so on. I paid my last euros for six T-shirts and sweaters. It was a great deal for 40 euros. They are all bright colors, as opposed to the dark ‘jumpers’ I started with on my journey.

I asked three men standing on a corner if they could help me.

“I’m not sure where to find a bank. Can you tell me where I could find one close? I don’t want to walk too far.”

“Sure I can, luv. Go down there to the end of the street. Turn right and you’ll find a bank on the left side.”  I didn’t know which man to look at for all three explained and gestured at once. All three wore rumpled black suit coats and trousers; one wore a tie, and two wore caps that I’ve seen often on Irish men. I don’t know the name of them. The other man had mounds of white hair, a pink face and pale blue eyes.

I realize that the comfortable distance between two people is closer than in America. People stand close when they’re talking to you. I have observed that while people-watching and from my own experience.

So I found the Bank of Ireland, went up to the window with my ATM card to get some euros from my credit union.

“We don’t give money from those cards anymore, luv.”

“How am I supposed to get money then, huh?”

“Use the machine to me left,” she pointed back to where I came from.

“Oh, no I’ve heard that those take your card and when that happens you cannot get it back. I cannot risk that.”

“Oim sorry, luv, but I cannot hep ya here.”

Well, doesn’t that just put me in a pickle. What will I do if my card gets stuck? I have no more money. But, I’d risk it anyway, and I put the card in, it took it but gave me a message that my pin number was wrong. How can that be?

Panicked now, I went outside, and tried to remember the number. I had used another number that was associated with another system. Then, aha! I went back in to the machine that scared me, put my card in and used the other number, waited for what seemed way too long, but out popped the money, followed by my card. Life is good.

Next on my list was to get my omeprazol meds for the heartburn problem. It was no problem in Dublin or anywhere in Iceland to get the meds over the counter, but was thwarted in Cork by a women in the first pharmacy.

“No, my luv, oim very sorry, but we cannot give ya that, for we have laws here.”

“I got it in Dublin. Why not here?”

“Did ya have a prescription?”

“Oh, no but I had a prescription for another medicine by a doctor and I filled it and the omeprazol at the same time. Maybe that’s why they gave it to me, do you think?”

“Probably, ya right, dear. Sorry.”

Well, I went on to a second opinion down the street to a newer looking pharmacy. The other one was so old, it still had wooden floors and wooden shelves, not that it made any difference. Actually, I thought it was cozy and quaint.

“No I cannot.” The kind, and attractive young pharmacist, with greying temples and black hair, said.

But he did give me another brand that he said should do the job as well. He said it was only a matter of time that omeprazol would be over-the-counter, but just not now.

So I purchased that, and then walked around to find a restaurant where I could sit down and be served.  But instead, I found myself inside the famous, old English Market and got carried away with the shops and the stalls. But left immediately when at the butcher counter, I observed a half a head of a pig that was pure white with a mouth that looked as though it was smiling.

I got the heck out of the English Market and continued on to find a restaurant, but the pig wouldn’t leave my mind.

 

 

 

 

Street scene near the Kinlay House in Cork

Flat seen near Kinlay House

St Anne’s church near Kinlay House