Monday, April 22, 2013

Dear Enniskerry...

It's our last full day in Ireland. We are enjoying ourselves, but once in a while we mention missing home, our pets, normalcy. So there was a lot of driving with a few stops along the way as we headed to Enniskerry.

We were not expecting this. Hollywood, Ireland.

Wicklow Mountains.

The Irish, like Mainers, just leave their ruins around for others to enjoy.
(Ahem, B52 bomber site outside Greenville, ME.)

The blue sky in this picture lies. It was raining, I swear to you.
One of the things I truly wanted to see in Ireland was Glendalough (Glenda-lock). It's a 6th century monastery founded by St. Kevin. It's nestled between mountains, beside running water and lakes. People are still being buried there today. Luckily it started pouring as soon as we pulled in, so all the bus tour people scattered and we had the joint mostly to ourselves. 

Round tower c. 900
I was busy taking pictures when I heard it--a little voice nearby.
Say what? I didn't know there were sheep right beside me. And how stinkin cute are these babies?
Oooh, look out! The beginner photographer is getting all serious with B&W...
Gienna indulged me by waiting while I tried to attract the sheep ("I saw you holding up grass for them to eat [as though they're not in a field of free grass]," she said). But no dice. For some reason, they don't care about me at all. It's become hurtful.
Just a couple more inches, little sheepy.

How can you ignore me like this?! Are you French sheep?

Aside from the tourists, this is a quiet, beautiful spot.
As we drove further through the Wicklow Mountains, Gienna almost drove us over a cliff to our death when we both turned to stare at the thickest set of ankles on a woman we had ever seen. If it hadn't been completely rude, I would have had her back up for a picture of those damn ankles.

Eventually, we landed at our final destination. Coolakay House.
Seriously cool view from our room. The weather changed every 3.72 minutes.

A few minutes into our arrival, the lovely owner, Yvonne, casually mentioned that the B&B is also a sheep farm.


She told me to go on up to the barn to see the newest lambs and the last moms to birth. She didn't have to tell me twice. See you in a bit, Gienna!

What happens next is a little fuzzy--I entered the barn and saw several moms with their babies. And one ewe on her side, legs up in a funny way. She was moving kinda funny, and then she jumped up. On the hay was a newborn lamb. So I didn't see it "emerge," per se, but I was there to see this little one enter the world:

Possibly my favorite picture of Ireland. This sheep hated me.
And here, in this set of barns, I FINALLY was able to touch many sheep. Babies and mamas. I was in my glory, and poor Gienna had to come get me from the barn and remind me that we had a plane to catch.
By the way, did you know that if you check "yes" to any of the did-you-touch-livestock questions on the reentry forms, you get to go into a special line at Logan and receive a free shoe cleaning? Thanks, Customs! My shoes were filthy before that.

Okay, so my final thoughts on Ireland:

The food is fantastic! I had one sub par meal during the whole trip. Oh, except for the bacon. The "bacon" in Ireland is not what you're expecting. The Irish must not wake every morning thinking, "Bacon: It makes everything better."

The give-it-five-minutes joke we have about the weather in New England cannot stand up to the finicky weather in Ireland. You may have bought a bikini for your vacation. I bought a serious raincoat, wool hat, and umbrella. And used them each day.

The wind is enough to drive a woman mad. Sinead O'Connor, I totally get it. I frankly had no idea how to be pretty in Ireland. I slept in cozy B&Bs each night and still looked like a filthy homeless person during much of each day. I blame the wind and rain.

Even though the Irish are talkative, they still seem a bit impressed by boisterous Americans (by impressed, I mean they don't approve). And folks appear to either have a great respect for or great animosity toward Americans.

People are still leaving in large numbers. The rows of empty pubs and storefronts on the Kerry ring because of the economy speaks to a 150-year tradition of emigrating. The boom that ended a couple years back is present in the large housing developments left unfinished and abandoned. I sincerely hope for better days ahead. The Irish are beautiful people, and they deserve good fortune.

No comments:

Post a Comment