I’m back in Cork but just for one night, because tomorrow I’ll be flying to Edinburgh, Scotland.
I left my friend Dermot at the house and trudged on with my luggage with Tine who would drop me off at the bus station and then go on to the Macroom Library to attend her knitting group.
Tine and Dermot are the ‘host couple extraordinaire’ for I saw first hand how they will raise their hands to volunteer where help is needed. While I was afforded a week of their good humor and care, they took in a beautiful dog; a golden labrador mix, that is in training to be a guide dog for a blind person, or as a companion for a child with autism.
They were to take the dog in for just a night, but when I left them, the possibility of one more night was up in the air. Both Dermot and Tine love animals and that was evident in how well they cared for the sweet-natured lady.
Speaking of sweet natures, I met the lovely, close friends of the O’Hares-Tony and Betty in their home, and then the day before I was to leave, Betty, Tine and I met for coffee at the Castle Hotel restaurant. The restaurant was packed with people meeting for lunch and business folks, as well.
Before that, Tine and I walked around the Demesne Castle and arch that is smack-dab in the middle of the business section of Macroom. A bridge near-by goes over the River Sullane, a tributary of the River Lee. River Lee was the river I often walked over in the City of Cork to get to the business section in that city.
Macroom, a town of around 5,000 people, boasts that it is the “city that never reared a fool” and perhaps that has some credence to it as Dermot informed me that Macroom was the birthplace of Admiral Sir William Penn, a British Admiral and father of William Penn, whom the state of Pennsylvania is named. No fool, he!
On the way to meet Betty, Tine drove through the winding road and lush vegetation that led to the Bealick Mill, a Heritage Centre. the mill was closed to the public, but a man who was painting told us to go on in, so we took advantage of his kindness.
The corn mill, with the Irish name, Bealach Leachta, was the ancient route used by local saints with names like Laichtin Gobnait, Olan, inbarr and Colman. The mill overlooks Leacht Mahan, with stones that commemorate the Battle of Bealach Leachta.
According to material supplied by the mill, “this bloody conflict, won by Brian Borumha’s forces, was fought in the riverside plain in 978 A.D.
The present four story stone building was erected in the 19th century, and served surrounding parishes as a corn mill. The corn was transported to the Port of Cork for export. Oatmeal was also roasted on stone hearths prior to grinding. Irish Oatmeal is still available and is recommended by famous chefs such as Darina Allen of Ballymaloe, according to the mill pamphlet.
The water wheel dates from 1860.
Back to the City of Macroom, and the city streets that wind around the busy section; it is heavily used by tour buses and large transport trucks. You must be experienced to walk among the streets in Macroom. In light of that, I followed Tine close when we had to cross the street. It’s also necessary for a right handed driver, and one who is used to looking toward on-coming traffic, to look the opposite way from the usual habit.
Today is my last day in Ireland, and, while I’m eager to move on, I must say here that I have enjoyed the Irish folks, who are friendly, with the greatest sense of humor, and a little ‘blarney’ thrown in for fun. The beauty of the country side roads, lanes with dense vegetation will long be remembered.