Ireland – Days 8-10

I am writing this on the way to County Donegal, and the city of Donegal. It’s a two hour drive and I tried to listen to my IPod, but was missing too much of Olcan’s interesting commentary. So I switched to the computer. I have been able to keep up with writing the blog, but I am way behind on publishing. We have one Apple Computer at the house, and it is the only way to connect to the internet. Most have their own computers, but to send or check email it’s the Apple, and we have only one person proficient in Apple usage to teach the rest. I can check and send emails without help, but to get on my blog page and transfer what I have photographed and written is a learning curve. We are traveling North and Olcan has just tuned in a Gaelic radio station. There is also a Gaelic TV station. All public signs and many private (menus etc) are written in both Gaelic and English. There is only a small part of the population that speaks the language, but it is taught in schools. I am glad they do; language is a heritage to preserve just as much as the abbey towers. Wow, looking out the window, and are the fields green here! We are stopping at the burial place of Yeats, more later.

Back in the van, today you are traveling with me as long as my battery holds out. We are in County Sligo and stopped in Drumcliff where we observed an original Celtic cross. Most originals are gone from their sites, stolen or in museums.
The group is fun and interesting, all helping each other with equipment or other things not brought along. We have female Episcopal Priest, 2 college professors, a small business woman whose husband was recently laid off, plus Becky and Mary who do make money with their painting. We have two Northeasterners, with very southern names, Billie Mae, and Buba, and in addition to Sue, another Linda who goes by her middle name. We enjoy a lot of laughter. Later I will give you a summary of our day.
Unfortunately, the battery went out on the computer and I left my electrical converter back at our house. The Hotel internet charges are very expensive so it is Tuesday and I am just catching up. Besides stops on the way up (including “tacky town”, Olcan’s name for Irelands version of Virginia Beach), the last three days we visited, small villages, large seaside cliffs next to beautiful fields of Heather, mountain waterfalls, sea caves, and numerous other picturesque scenes. Unfortunately, we saw everything but the sun. However, Monday was PERFECT, beautiful blue sky and clouds that provided enough cover that we did not get harsh shadows.
Today, August 18, it again was soft, very soft. All day we had an Irish mist, sometimes thick, coming at us. It also was the most fantastic day of picture taking yet. I have yet to see any pictures that Sue or I have taken, but I took over 300 myself. As I have said before, it is holiday time, but we seldom see tourist buses or vans. Olcan is showing us his Ireland. The places are so off the common tourist map, I am glad I bought a camera GPS system, so I can trace our travels. For cars they do not sell Garamond or Tom-Tom here but they do have Pat-Pats. The instructions are in a beautiful Irish voice that tells you to “turn right past the next sheep pasture,” or “go left at the second pub.”

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