It’s our last morning at the cottage and I’m enjoying my last bowl of Wheatabix for a while.   I probably shouldn’t be having dairy so soon after the incident, but all I’ve had in 36 hours has been a quarter of an apple and three measly crackers so I’m starving. Roll the bones McClain.

I woke up sometime before dawn and after lying in bed for two hours, I finally decided to get up. The sky is the clearest it’s been all week and I can see sun painting the eastern side of the farmhouse a few fields over. Continue reading

Last night I almost died. I had (once again) eaten something sketchy, because it was happening. My third go at full-out food poisoning in Europe was underway in our charming cottage.

My first two bouts were in Sicily: one was after a seafood pizza (evidently I was asking for trouble when I ordered a pizza topped with a menagerie of crustaceans), and the other was when I had returned home after being on the mainland for a week. During the time away, my apartment had lost power (again), so the leftover Thanksgiving turkey had thawed out to marinate in its own bacteria before refreezing. Since it was frozen when I returned, I had no idea I was about to partake in some Plymouth Rock Poison. Continue reading

Apparently a surprise cold front is moving through because we woke up to more drizzly skies and a notable dip in the temperature.  So, maybe not the best day to attend two sporting events but we’re going to make a go of it anyway.

When we were in Ennis a few days ago, Ted noticed an old cathedral and thought how cool it would be to attend mass there on Sunday.  I grew up Episcopalian and Ted Catholic, so we felt it would be very meaningful.

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Before leaving for Ireland, we saw some stunning pictures of the Cliffs of Moher and we were told that it was a must see. So after our lunch in Lahinch, we drove up the west coast to the cliffs. But being there with the wind blowing in our faces and seeing the gulls coasting in the updrafts, it was even more beautiful than I pictured it.  It was absolutely breathtaking.

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We woke up this morning to our first little hint of sunshine!  When we looked out the window, we saw it peaking through the clouds – albeit intermittently, but at least the clouds were peak through-able. We decided to take advantage of the weather and play nine holes of golf in the morning then drive over to the Cliffs of Moher in the afternoon.
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At the recommendation of our neighbors back home, we traveled down to Adare, a precious village just south of Limerick.  Thatched roof cottages abound, and yellow daffodils brighten up the modest plots of vibrant green “gardens” (the sweet way in which they describe their yards).

Flanking the road as you enter the town is the Franciscan Friary (on the grounds of Adare Manor) and Desmond Castle.  The neo-gothic Adare Manor was built by the second Earl of Dunvargen in the mid-1800s, which provided labor to the surrounding villages during the potato famine.
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One of the most lauded areas of Ireland’s west coast, The Burren is one of the country’s national parks and three quarters of Ireland’s species of flowers are found here. This ancient landscape was formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks and it has underground drainage systems with sinkholes and caves.

But it’s historical significance is even more impressive than it’s archeological. Many of Ireland’s ancient civilizations called this region home. There are more than 90 megalithic tombs in the area, portal dolmens, a Celtic high cross, and a number of ring forts.

So this was on our list of must-see’s while in County Clare. Continue reading

What a perfect first day it was!  After a glorious night’s rest, we had some of the fresh baked bread we picked up on our drive over.

Like everything in this country, charm and tidiness prevail, so when we stopped at a gas station last night, they were selling breads, pies, and other goodies that were baked by a local woman.  We bought some spelt bread with pumpkin seeds, which is delicious toasted with some Irish white cheddar.  So after that and a little Irish Breakfast tea, we were on our way.

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We missed our connection and were initially rebooked on the following day’s flight, as there’s only one flight a day to Ireland.  But I was able to negotiate a rerouting through Amsterdam (after a dozen or so transatlantic flights, you learn a trick or two).  We arrived 10 hours later than originally scheduled, but we were also able to sweet talk Delta into postponing our return, giving us an extra day in-country.


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A travel blog, something I should have begun years ago, is next on my writing horizon.  In keeping with the retroactive theme of my surf blog, this too will require going back in time (at least initially) to capture some important trips.  I know, I know – who posts stories from the past, way in the past, but some of these things must be captured.  However, the first group of posts (and this one will actually be in real time) is our trip to Ireland.
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