Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Y'all come back now, ya hear

My parents are bound for Chicago by now. They left for the airport around 8:00 this morning with enough Euros for cab fare and a phone call (should they need it). I'm sure they're ready to be home after a month away. We were so pleased to have them here and hope their tales will encourage more visitors. Here's a rundown of their last days in Ireland:

Friday
The travelers were fairly non-stop in England and Scotland, so Friday we were pretty relaxed. Also, we were going to a Hooley that night and needed to conserve our energy. Hooley means "party," and the Hooley at Johnnie Fox's pub in Glencullen is supposed to be the Hooliest. We arrived for dinner at 7:30. The Hooley guests sat at long tables and enjoyed a three-course meal. The music and dancing started at 9:00. It was a little like being at a wedding reception with a great band that got everyone singing along and clapping, even if you didn't know the songs or anyone else at the party.

Even though it's impossible to sit still to Irish music, the real dancing was left to the professionals. However, just watching Irish dancing can wear you out. The festivities lasted until midnight. We expected a slight traffic jam upon leaving, but most of the participants were in no hurry to go. We had an hour drive back to the North side of Dublin, so with regret we piled into the Polo and headed out into the cold night.

Everybody gets funky at the Hooley!







Saturday

After sleeping off the Hooley, we drove North of Dublin to Drogheda. One of the oldest towns in Ireland, Drogheda sits on the River Boyne. Although the town is steeped in history, we were primarily interested in finding lunch before heading to Monasterboice. So we joined the throng of Saturday shoppers wandering the streets and found some Irish sustenance. I ordered lasagna, and when asked if I wanted chips with that, I was so struck by the ludicrous question, I just said, "Sure." "And cole slaw?" "Of course!"

I know it's no worse than garlic bread and pasta, but it seems worse. You really have to shake off any latent adkins aversions to the simple starch to dine without horror in Ireland. By the way, lasagna with chips--delicious!
(Looks like I could have been at Ryan's.)

Monasterboice is the site of some of the best examples of Celtic (or High) Crosses in Irleand. The site of a 6th century Catholic monastary, Monasterboice has crosses and a round tower from the 10th century, and some other ruins from the 13th. The High Crosses at Monasterboice are carved with biblical scenes and were used to teach scripture in the absence of written texts.

Adoration by the Magi








The Incredulity of Thomas









Round towers protected the church valuables and the community from the Norse raids of the 10th and 11th century. Part watchtower, part vault, these tapering towers were typically over 100 feet tall, with a door 15-20 feet from the ground accessed with a movable ladder. The tower at Monasterboice was constructed around 968. Bill and I visited Monasterboice on our trip last Fall. Visiting again, I was particularly amazed by this tower, the perfect construction that has stood against every affront for 1000 years.


Oh, and it just happened to be my parents 46th Anniversary on November 24. Dad gave mom a necklace with an image from the Book of Kells made by the jeweler we met at the food market.



Sunday

Sunday morning we set off for the West Coast. We took a taxi to Heuston station in Dublin, and a train to Ballinasloe, where due to railway works, we boarded a bus for the remaining hour to Galway. The scenery on the way to Galway is as green and sheep-filled as one has come to expect. In Galway we had a nice lunch, looked across the Atlantic and thought of home, and again, wan
dered city streets full of shoppers and fellow wanderers. We saw the Spanish Arch, which I learned later was part of a bastion built to protect the docks from the Spanish in the 1580s when England feared a Spanish invasion of Ireland.


Our departing train was the first full Inter-City trai
n I've been on. The last train to Dublin on Sunday is full of students, and a few card sharks. Or one at least. Dad beat us all at hearts after claiming to have not played for 40 years.



Monday
Monday Mom, Dad and I headed into Dublin for a last bit of shopping. Bill met us for dinner, so finally, Mom and Dad had their visit to the Chipper. This was Bill and my first visit to this location of Leo Burdock's. It's not quite the same eating off of plates instead of out a paper bag while walking, but neater and more comfortable, and still quite tasty!





Tuesday
We took a stroll to Raheny Centre for breakfast and to buy
chili makings. We thought we should start acclimating Mom and Dad's American palate. The chili was gloriously accompanied by CORN MUFFINS!!! Gastronomes take note, Irish cheddar goes quite well with buttermilk cornbread.

Wednesday
Mom and Dad should be back in Arkansas by 5PM CST.

We'll miss you!

7 comments:

Kevin said...

Quick Question for Bill:
Where are you going to get your hair cut in Ireland? Is Ty going to come and cut it? Hopefully they have good barbers in Ireland. I don't know if you guys thought about that before you left. I hope it turns out ok. :)
I can't believe they stayed a month. That is very impressive.

BillG said...

I hope so, too! I don't think I'll have any trouble finding an old-school barber. I've seen several "hot shave" barbers and that's a good sign of old-schoolness.

mom Gunter said...

I sure did enjoy this latest addition to your blog!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Both the writer and photographer are first class!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bro lamb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bro lamb said...

Charles and Celia are safe and sound at the Day's Inn in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Dad went straight to Bud Walton Area to watch the Razorback's win. They are very tired and keep telling me what time it is in Ireland.

Charles said...

It is 5:35 here in Arkansas but 11:35 in Dublin. We just woke up refreshed. This Day's Inn is bigger and nicer than the $220 hotels in London and it has a breakfast and free WiFi. Now waiting for their breakfast.

The Razorback game was great - got a realgood seat at less than cost! Chris let me off on the edge of campus to avoid the traffic. I walked past the old dorm where I lived 50 years ago. I went there in 1957 and watched the Sputnik circle above from the dorm roof.

Holly said...

Just wanted to say how much I'm enjoying your blog. Wish I could go to a hooley! Holly at a hooley. hee hee