This next week will be a little of this and a little of that. Come along on the ride
24-25 October 2015
Our first stop will be - Castlerea Roscommon. This was a genealogy stop for me. I was hoping to find something about the "Banahan" side of my family. We believe that my great grandfather, Thomas Banahan was born about 1845 in or around the town of Ballinlough. There are a number of Banahans in Roscommon but it is not a common name in that area. hmmmmm!!!
Our stay in Castlerea was at Fallon's Bed and Breakfast. Tom and Helen Fallon were lovely hosts and their home is very comfortable and of course, with a great breakfast.
One of things I didn't realize was that our second day there (a Monday) would be a bank holiday. So, no library or official offices would be open. I did inquire as to what was the reason of the bank holiday - no one seems to know.
I made it known to just about anyone I talked to that I was on a genealogy hunt. Our waitress at Hester's Golden Eagle Restaurant told me about a man who lived just across the street. She said that if there was any anyone who could help me, Anthony Touey was the man.
Mr Touey wasn't at home when we stopped but I was encouraged to come back, which I did. Anthony and all his 84 years of knowledge was not familiar with any Banahans but we chatted for a while and he took my address just in case he hears anything.
That experience was to recur a couple of times. People were more than willing to help although ultimately I only found out that, due to the lack of records in the middle 1800, there just might not be any records. But.....my hunt continues!!!!!
26 October 2015
We are heading farther south on the west coast of the island. When we were traveling in Donegal we found a "Scenic Route" called The Wild Atlantic Way. It definitely took us down some narrow, winding roads and lead us to some beautiful views. The marked route starts in the Derry area and continues all the way south to Cork.
Rain followed us into Galway. Arriving at our B and B in Galway The Four Seasons, we were met by Eddie Fitzgerald. With map in hand and umbrellas we headed down the road into the downtown area. We'd been in the area of Galway before but never right in town. Our one night there would send us on an unsuccessful hunt for music but were very successful at finding some great seafood.
27 and 28 October 2015
Before heading out, another great breakfast - freshly squeezed OJ, warm, homemade scones (thanks to Eddie's wife Helen) with freshly whipped cream, fresh fruit salad and eggs with smoked salmon. What's not to like!!!
We took the long way around leaving Galway early and taking in the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher along the way
County Clare Coast
From the Galway area, we headed to the Tralee/Fenit area. These names will be very familiar to my family. My grandfather John Crowley was born there in 1902. The last time I was there was for our 2nd Crowley family reunion in 1999 (the first being in 1986 - I think). Our plan was to stay at the West End Bar/Guesthouse (which is owned by a cousin) but it was closed for renovation and also wouldn't be open for dinner the nights we were going to be in town. This is the time of year that many places close down and do what they have to do before the holidays. I was referred by Susan O'Keefe (wife of the West End's owner) to Caroline Morgan at the Killarney House on the Fenit Rd. I gave a call, with my reference in hand and was told there was availability. Thankfully!!!
Killarney House - Tralee
Our time in Fenit was short. I wandered the cemetery in Churchill for familiar names, got lost in the Tralee traffic (a nightmare) and had dinner with my cousin, Tommy Crowley, on our last night there.
Church of the Purifications
(Note: not much open - actually not much available in the Fenit area as far as food any time. We had dinner both nights at the The Tankard Bar. Our previous family reunion luncheon were held at the Tankard. It made me smile that Mary O'Sullivan (the owner) remembered an event that occurred so long ago. The food was very nice and after our dinner that first night - we were met with a warm welcome when we returned.
It was very different being in this area without all my crazy family and yes, I missed them. But it was also nice to be able to wander this time of year, without crowds in the place where my grandfather grew up.
LIttle Samphire Lighthouse
Little Samphire Lighthouse
Also sending a big "thank you" to Caroline. I didn't find out until we were leaving that she wasn't actually open this time of year but opened for us. Also, her breakfasts were great and she worked around Jim's food restrictions (and Jim's sense of humor )with ease.
29 and 30 October 2015
Our original plan was to continue south to Kinsale for a few days after Fenit but unfortunately we had a hard time finding a room (that was reasonably priced) so it was off to Dingle.
Ancient ruins from the Connor Pass
We'd been to Dingle before but only on a day trip. We had heard that there was some good seafood to be had and music to be heard. The Bamburys Guest House had rooms available.
The drive from Fenit to Dingle was delightful. The sun was out though the breeze was blowing at the top of the Connor Pass. Those that have been to Ireland are probably familiar with the Ring of Kerry - which is a beautiful drive around the penninsula south of Dingle. If you were lucky you may have also taken a drive in the DIngle area. West from Dingle is the Slea (pronounced slay) Head Drive. With the weather being nice (and in Ireland you're not guaranteed nice weather from one hour to the next) and in search of lunch we headed west on the Wild Atantic Way. At the information center we had been told about a small place along the way for lunch. The sun followed us on our drive though the luck of the Irish left us on our search for Tig T.P's - we found it ..but it wasn't open. No worries - it was still a great drive that took us off the beaten trail. It also took us away from most of what little traffic there was. Once we passed the actual Slea Head area we think most of the traffic turned back to Dingle, where we kept going.
Slea Head Drive
Jim standing on the busy roadway
A road to nowhere
Far end of the Slea Head Drive
We checked in to our guesthouse and under the recommendation of the smiling owner Bernie, we headed to the Grey Street Bistro. She told us it was a new place and had good food and she was spot on.
That evening we did something we don't usually do - go out late. It seems that we're so busy during the day that come evening - we're pretty tired. But we had been told there was music to be heard and out we headed about 730pm (which "I know" is not really late). We ended up at John Benny Moriarity's. Beers, fresh Glenbeigh Oysters and Mussels were a welcome treat. But, alas, no music there that night. We were told we could probably find some around town but these two old people decided to walk back to the guesthouse and try again tomorrow.
Tomorrow came and so did the rain and wind. After having been woken up in the middle of the night - it was not unexpected. It rained through out the day. Jim (still not feeling great and not wanting to feel worse) hung in our comfy, warm and dry room and I headed out to wander the streets.
But, having done his due diligence earlier in the trip Jim had found and made reservations at a small cafe called "Out of the Blue" - a seafood place with incredible recommendations. From the outside it looks like a small shack - don't let that fool you. Behind the front counter is a warm and welcoming dining room. Their motto is "if there is no fresh fish - the restaurant will not open". Not a meat eaters place by any far stretch of the imagination. - it was all fish and seafood - some I had never heard of. On my never ending search for the best seafood chowder - I started with that and went on to the grilled squid. Jim (being the oyster fan that he is went for a dozen Glenbeigh oysters and then on to the Black Sole in a brown butter - lovely!!! Another belated birthday dinner for him - not that we really needed a reason. If you're heading to Dingle - Out of the Blue is a must.
I was determined to find some music before we left and we did - we headed to O'Sullivan's Courthouse Pub. At 340 years old, this little pub with it's low ceilings and warm atmosphere was somewhat busy when we got there. We grabbed seats (well actually a large window sill) and waited with pint in hand for the music. We spent the rest of the evening chatting with a couple from Waterford and tapping our feet to some traditional music. As we left there was a line eying us, anxious to get our newly departed seats.
31 October 2015
North side of Dingle Peninsula
Two more travels days in Ireland. We made the three hour drive to Cashel in bright sunlight. Weatherwise, each day in Ireland is an adventure. Cashel is a small town in the middle of Ireland with a long history and the ruins of an ancient cathedreal on the Rock - hence - the Rock of Cashel.
We checked in at our B and B (Joy Rockside House) and it indeed "rockside" - just one building away from the walkway up to the ruins. Since we arrived so late, we decided to grab a late lunch and then watch the Rugby World Cup Final and take in the ruins before we leave on the 1st.
Lunch was really nice - Cafe Hans and then to Feehans for rugby....Yeah All Blacks!!!
01 November 2015
Before heading to our very last stop - Dublin. We walked the steep roadway up to the ruins at the Rock of Cashel and took the 1030am tour. The price to enter the ruins is 8 Euro each. This area is an Irish Heritage site and run by the OPW ( Office of Public Works) and until April 2016 if you spend 15 euro at a business in town you will receive free tickets. These tickets are available to individuals or families - not tour groups).
So with the tickets we got from Cafe Hans, we enjoyed a great hour tour from Mary Walsh. The Rock has a lengthy history dating back to the 5th century which extends through Kings, priests, archbishops, Catholics, Protestants and the occasional saint - namely St Patrick.
Rock of Cashel
Rock of Cashel
Rock of Cashel
Rock of Cashel
Rock of Cashel
But there was only so much to see in Cashel and we decided to head towards Dublin and our hotel - the Crowne Plaza. We usually try to find something to do to extend our trip but there comes a point when we have to say...it's time to go.
So as I attempt to finish writing this blog - we're at the CP (which is really quite nice). We've got our boarding passes (at least I do - Jim has to get his at the airport in the am). We've repacked our bags and set a wake up time for 0540 since we have an early flight tomorrow.
I want to take this time to THANK YOU you all so much for following along on this trip. Each time I signed in and received your encouraging words - it was like tucking each of you in to my pocket and having you with us on this journey.