A quick trip to Ireland


The drive from Dublin to Clonmel is always one filled with tension for me. In the 4 hours that it takes I sit rigid in my seat, excitement building in the base of my throat. Music is my only distraction whilst I watch the sun go down and the landscape roll away in fading shades of mauve. Passing through Kilkenny I recognized and remembered exploring the castle and the bus can’t go fast enough to be in Clonmel. This large (by Irish standards) town in Tipperary houses some of my fondest memories and I am so excited to be back to create some more.

 

Kathleen’s birthday cake

Jeanette met me at the bus stop and we hugged and laughed before going home to Martin, Moya and Oisin and a night of catching up with the news of the last few months into the early hours of the morning before I had to apologise and go to bed, the tension of the day had hit me like a wave.

The girls go on a road trip
I was allowed to help Moya create a few baking masterpieces (with simple tasks like greasing the tray!) the next day, and had some quiet time hanging out with her and Oisin before the storm that is Kathleen O’Dwyer hit. I hadn’t seen her for about a year and a half and as always, after an excited reunion, the years slid away and it was like we had just been together the other week. Kathleen had just been in Switzerland and Austria skiing and came back with her friend Glenn from New York who was fresh off a red-eye flight.
 
The night was again filled with friendly faces when Kathleen and Moya’s Aunts and Uncle joined us for dinner and those cakes that Moya had been making. To quote from a song in my ears right now ‘and if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing changed at all’ Awww.
Lambs at the Cliffs of Moher
On Saturday we had a treat. The O’Dwyer’s had organized a trip for us. All the girls piled in the car for a road trip out west. Over 7 hours we walked around King John’s castle in Limerick, explored a river and waterfall in Ennistimon, shivered at a beach in Lahinch, Walked the cliffs of Moher and rescued some lambs whilst we were there. We were watching a storm rolling in towards us as we left and drove on to Doolin to look for a Dolphin from the safety of the car with cake and tea in our hands. We pulled up to our secret cottage getaway at the same time as Martin, who had also brought the dog Jasper. O’Dwyer’s don’t stay still long and a fire was lit as we claimed beds and dinner was cooked but once it was demolished we drove back into the town to watch the rugby match at the pub. Martin asked where we might find some music in the town and the bartender told us we would have to wait till later for it to begin so we went home to play a very intense card game that got our blood boiling and ready for some passionate Irish music. Unfortunately when we got back in to the pub it was not Irish music but a guy playing covers. Still we settled in to play a few more card games and finish the day with the perfect accompaniment, a glass of Baileys.
Kathleen, Glenn and Jasper curl up next to the fire
Martin at our cottage getaway
Fry Up
In the morning Moya and I did not want to rise from our warm bed but a mixture of Kathleen and Glenn jumping on us and the smell of a wonderful fry up prized us out into the cold. What a breakfast! Fit for a king with eggs and beans, bacon and toast, tomatoes, tea, juice and fruit. Could anything be more wonderful? The answer was yes and we discovered it at our next destination. We had thought that we should skip Loop Head and hurry on to a castle elsewhere but Martin insisted and as we pulled up to the peninsula and we ohhed and ahhed Jeanette instructed her girls to always listen when their father insisted on something. He wasn’t wrong. The sky was extraordinarily clear and the walk around this grassy ‘head’ topped with a lighthouse was idyllic. We watched waves crash, seals surf and listened to the gull’s cries bouncing off the tall cliffs. It was also a great place for Martin to play with his new camera, in fact we all took an incredible amount of photos because of the extraordinary scenes around us.
Loop Head
Loop Head
Back in the car we raced back to Tipperary to try and catch a Hurling match in Thurles. We made it for the second half and in time to watch a very tight match between Tipp and Cork which had us bighting our nails all the way to the final minute. The excitement in the crowed was infectious and we were rising from our seats to cheer on Tipp to their victory. We swarmed onto the field after the match with the rest of the crowed to get our photos with some of the exhausted, dirty (and quite attractive) Tipp players. What a fantastic day. And just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, we were back in Clonmel and walking over to the McCabe’s house for a night of charades, wine and magic tricks with Ais, Mary and Fian.
Tipp players signing for the fans
Now, after such a short time in Clonmel, I am on a bus down to Cork to stay with friends before my flight out tomorrow. Today was filled with tea and tea and tea and long talks with Ais and Glenn. We spoke about goodbyes and I said how I thought by now I should be better at them. Not that I ever say ‘goodbye’ to my friends in Ireland, there is always next time. But every time I make friends and talk and eat and play and think ‘I could live like this, with these people, in this place’ I leave and I leave behind ‘what if’s’.
The only thing is to move on to the next destination, the next friends I have been missing.

See you soon London.

Loop Head

 

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