We left the western lake region and drove across the Isle. Looking online before we left I had found the Gleeson Townhouse in Roscommon which is about halfway to Dublin and a likely place for lunch.
My new “cousin” Eamonn welcomed us and taught me a little gaelic Irish. He and Mary are former teachers who now run a very successful restaurant, cafe and guesthouse.
Nearby we happened on a horse racing “Point to Point” event. The Irish horses were glorious on a sunny day.
Our last night – of course we went out to the pubs where, not surprisingly, Ray played and sang a couple songs.
Landing in JFK we picked up the van and loved driving right thru NYC – no traffic – everyone out on a sunny afternoon. We stopped at Glen’s for a little supper and appreciated the beautiful fall colors still vibrant thru New Jersey and New York. Nice to be home :- )
“The angels dotted it with silver just to make the lakes so grand…..”
We’ve come to the west of Ireland where the lakes are so beautiful, the mountains so grand and the villages are like your dreams of Irish country life. Galway is doing well in Irelands economic crunch. You can tell by the traffic jams – the only we’ve encountered here. They’ve blocked off a pedestrian area of the downtown where the young people were jumpin’ & jivin’ on Halloween night. We had fun with them then left the next day for the misty, mysterious cliffs of Moher and finally, another type of make believe … our stay at Ashford Castle. Warm. welcoming and over the top spoiling. We explored the beautiful grounds and quaint village (site of “The Quiet Man” movie with John Wayne and Maureen Ohara which we watched late one night in our room)
The next day we traipsed out to Kylemore Abbey which Dale had recommended. Another WOW. Very interesting history of a romantic couple who employed half the countryside during the potato famine years – paying twice the going rate to help the desperately poor tenants in western Ireland. Later a school for girls – both wealthy and poor run by nuns a few of whom still live there.
Amazing drives through the beautiful lakes and mountains of Connemara.
We know that the Gleesons came from Cappamore near Limerick. Turns out there are two families – or one family divided – in Cappamorre ”on the Kyle” – a homestead on a hill above the village. Gary found one and some years later Gael & Glenna found the other. It seems that both claimed alligiance, if not relation, to their American visitors.
Now one of them has been doing the family tree and I expect we’ll discover some interesting info on how Timothy, our great grandfather, who left the farm and came to America in 1853, is connected to the family still “at home”.
We had a wonderful time discovering and visiting with a great crowd of Gleesons however they may be related.
Sooo We’ve driven around and seen some fabulous sights. Our B&B experiences have been positive but not fantastic. The countyside is gorgeous and the towns are friendly. We have an ambitious route and the weather changes by the hour. Some of the shots are from our car - not Vinnie but not bad.
– arrived in Dublin early… Big tailwind AND they changed the clocks = 4:30 am Now what??
By the time we got the car and found the hotel it was still only 6 am However those wonderful Irish gave us our hotel room right away (no extra charge for what was 2 nights to us). :- ))
We walked all over Dubin – went to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells and the “long room” in the old library ( of Harry Potter movie fame), then we toured the John Jameson old distillery where we learned the history of the famous brew and I got to be an evaluator – comparing Scotch whiskey, Jack Daniels and the “J”. After a great dinner we went to the Stags Head Pub and Temple Bar where we so enjoyed all the young people out for Halloween weekend.
Day 2 Our plan was paused by the 40,000 people running the Dublin marathon. We loved seeing them and had fun winding around their route on our way out to town. First to Wicklow – a very pretty coastal town. Next – to Wexford where tiny streets were filled with some festival goers – all out with the families. On to Waterford, Irelands oldest city. We got a little lost so probably saw more than we expected.
The sights today: *quaint * ancient * bustling * verdant * serene * all of the above and all such a pleasure to encounter. Tonight is our first B&B night. Im sitting is a cozy living room – bedrooms down the hall – beautiful views of the water and Barry Fitzgeralds great grand nephew just stopped in to turn off the lights ;- )
Oh and we saw lots of surfers today - who knew??
New Bedford, Newport, New London, New Haven – With a few in between – we visited these distinctively different “New” towns.
New Bedford _ home of whaling and still a city built around fishing. In this hard working town we enjoyed the cobbled historic district near the whaling museum and later found the perfect bar to watch the opening game of the World Series. In Fair Haven, across Buzzards Bay we saw ship builders, marine repair, more fishing piers and other nautical businesses supporting the waterfront.
Newport, Rhode Island has the summer homes of the rich and famous from the gilded age – like Downton Abbey with extra sauce. Most of them have been turned into historic sites for visiting and dreaming abut that fairy tale life BUT there are PLENTY very rich tho possibly not famous people-still there in magnificent mansions on the ocean. They are still building new ones. The historic, cultural district and city seem to thrive even in the off season.
We’ve seen a number of gorgeous campuses – idyllic looking New England college or prep school – set in the autumn scenery. Really pretty!
Driving thru – we had to stop and explore Falls River for a while. Mile long factories line the waterfront and the railroad. Many empty mills and plants but some are holding on.
On to New London for pizza with Livia – enjoying her new life as a young career woman.
One more day of “leaf peeping”. Connecticut’s rolling hills are covered in gold and red with old homes meticulously cared for and quiant towns all along our side trip to visit a friend in Dansbury.
Lastly we came into NY – First a stop at Ray’s childhood home in White Plains where Mrs. Calhoun let him relive some great times and even explore his “clubhouse” in the attic – still marked with “KEEP OUT!!” Getting late and we found a small hotel in Broklyn then wandered into…. an Irish pub. The brogue was strong and the beer was flowing. We got some last minute travel advice along with the dinner.
Tonight we fly - so more from Ireland….