From Dublin to the West

Our first stop outside of Dublin was Bru na Boinne, for some prehistoric goodness. Unfortunately Dowth is closed in the off-season, so we were only able to take the more populated tour of Newgrange, but it was pretty stupendous still. And it made me wonder, for the rest of the trip, what was hiding under each and every hill that we passed.

G through a door in a churchyard ruinThen it was on towards Sligo, on beautiful (narrow) back roads that passed countless ruins, cemeteries, and sheep. And at that point, it was all so new that I wanted to stop at each and every one. You never knew, did you, if it would be the last, or the best? By the end of the trip I was getting a bit more blase. Oh, sheep. Well, are they especially fluffy or have an obscene number of darling babies? Keep driving, then. Oh dear, another picturesque ruin surrounded by celtic crosses. Well, I’ve already crossed that off my list. Keep driving. Fields of bobbing daffodils surrounding a glowing saint bobbing 15 feet off the ground and granting absolution to adoring worshippers? Yawn. Keep driving.

Daffodils and a saint statue

In fact, the only thing that stayed fresh and terrifying was the Road. Every day, I would swear that the Road was narrower and the traffic faster than the day before. Very near the end, two days before the end of our trip, I couldn’t figure out why I was unable to avoid the bott’s dots. Then I realized I was hitting them on both sides of the lane, simultaneously. Seriously? What is the point, then?

In Sligo, we stayed the old harbor master’s building, a neat bit of 19th century architecture surrounded by a modern industrial port. I rather liked the contrast, and the area. The next day sent us out exploring Yeats country, first to his grave in Drumcliffe, and then to hike the land that inspired him.

Meabh’s Tomb is one of those awesome, unexplored mounds. The cairn may actually date back to 3,000 BC, though Queen Meabh was around much later, towards the end of the Iron Age. Oddly, I was most excited by the fact that the hike is posted as 45 minutes straight up (and other online notes say an hour), and we managed it in 35. True, we were actually lapped by a few locals who use it as a cross-training location, but whatever. This one overweight American is proud of what we did.

 

At the summit, the wind was fierce, but the view overwhelmed it. The rock cairn was surrounded by springy, soft moss that enveloped the stray rocks that had tumbled down over the centuries. I could easily imagine laying down for a nap and being gently swallowed into a fey 100-year slumber. The whole place sparked the imagination.

Especially this rock! I don’t know why, but I loved this rock. I think G has several pictures of me theatrically reclining on it. Or, you know, sitting on it eating a snack. Same dif. I did end up leaving a bit of my bread in one of its hollows, in honor of whatever spirit was handy.

The next stop was Inishmore, which will take far, far more time to talk about than I have left. Until next time, then.

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