Oh Ireland! Clonakilty, Skibberean, Baltimore, Sherkin Island and Traditional Irish Music!

Tuesday, July 2 to Baltimore and ferry ride to Sherkin  Island

photo(7)

Walking Sherkin Island

Maeve just told me to take an early evening nap.  She wanted me refreshed to attend a traditional music session at the O’Donovan pub tonight and they always start late, at 9:30pm.

I decided to solo travel during my second week in Ireland and travel by bus to various villages I arrived in charming Clonakilty late Monday afternoon, and after several phone calls to Maeve’s Bed and Breakfast business, finally pointed myself in the right direction to reach my destination.

For Tuesday, my plan, and Maeve’s, was for her to drop me off at a famous Clonakilty sandy beach where I intended to stay most of the day lounging, hiking, and reading.  When done, I planned to walk the 2 ½ mile trail back to town.photo(10)

Tuesday, I woke to cloudy skies that signaled the beginning of  a perfect day for me.  However, Maeve, at breakfast informed, “Well Susan, our plans are changed, no beach day.”

One of the reason I picked the place is the Travel Advisor review logged excellent comments regarding Maeve’s hospitality and celebrated skill at planning enjoyable adventures for her guests.  In spite of that my inside voice still fired up,  “Our plans?  My friends are burning up in Boise in 100 plus degree heat, and I well be joining them soon enough.  I don’t mind a drizzle on the beach. I need to soak up this moisture.  I am going to the beach!”   Instead,  I smiled politely,  turned my care over to Maeve’s expert experience, and sat down to a delicious Irish breakfast.

Maeve returned with a coffee refill, a map and had plotted out my day for me.  A trip to Baltimore via the bus routes.   An exciting, agreeable journey and I had toyed with going there anyway.   I contemplated that I would pack my backpack and find a place to stay in Baltimore, as it is a coastal town and during the week easy to get a room.  However, as Maeve is talking, I can tell she has planned for me to go out for the day and return to her place for another night. And in all fairness, I had indicated I would stay two nights in Clonakilty and true to her reputation, Maeve has prepared for my stay.

photo(12)Inside voice fires up again,  “It is my journey, I am an adult, and I simply need to inform Maeve where I intend to stay.”  However, she was enchantingly firm in her plans for me, and further informed me that only on Tuesday evenings in Clonakilty a great traditional Irish set at O’Donovan’s gathers.   A pub she said is comfortable, safe, and roomy and I will hear some great music.

I loitered too long at breakfast and Maeve urged in her lyrical, soft Irish tone, “I think you should get on downtown, get yourself situated so you know where you are and can catch the bus on time.  Oh, sorry, don’t mean to be bossy but I think you will have a great time.”

She knows that I am a bit remorseful that I dallied so long getting out of Cork on Monday.  If I had gotten myself on the bus earlier, I would have arrived to a gorgeous sunny day that was perfect for a walk on the beach.  But that was Monday and no more looking in the rear view mirror. “What will be will be.”  It is Tuesday and I am to get moving.photo(6)

Off I went, and caught the first bus early to Skibberean where I transferred to the small village of Baltimore.  From there I caught a Ferry to Sherkin Island for a lovely trek to a beautiful beach.  In addition a bonus of foggy mist, and an Irish soft rain graced the walking path.

However, the rain faucet cranked up to a drenching flow as I got on the ferry and returned to Baltimore.  Soaking wet, I entered a pretty cafe on the harbor and ordered seafood chowder.  A delectable choice served with two pieces of tasty  brown Irish soda bread and butter.  The timing was perfect, I was able to check out a few craft shops and then catch the bus to begin the trek back to Maeve’s place.photo(8)

The bus ride both going to and coming from Baltimore is a narrow winding road and only a few men who had spent the rainy day in various pubs were riding that day.  The bus fragrant with whiskey and the banter between the men was damn funny.  One gentleman said he was going to divorce his wife so he could fish all the time if he wanted. Another informed me that many Irish men were marrying Russian women.  Doing the mail order bride deal.  “Wow ,”was really all I could manage to respond on that topic.

On the back to town the bus encountered a little car zooming dangerously  fast on the narrow road. The bus driver stopped and honked his horn at the “Fecking ijit.”

The other guy on the bus, “Well looks like that bloke got his rear-view mirror sheared off.”  (the car had to swerve into  hedges to avoid scraping against the bus)

Bus Driver – “Well serves the ijit right.”

Other guy – “Madness, I say, pure madness.

I arrived both elated and relaxed back to Maeve’s place, took her wise nap recommendation, and prepared to hear an evening of fantastic Irish music.

Ireland never fails to provide fantastic, soulful, humorous, and sparkly experiences.  The music was an incredible, authentic Irish set with about 15 musicians.  In addition, the woman leading the group educated the pub about the music and traditions of Ireland.  Gathering, playing instruments together, singing and telling stories.  In fact she shushed the pub up when someone was taking a turn at a song.  A cherished Irish moment occurred when the entire pub joined in singing a sweet song.  The unity of gentle voices embraced the crowd, time temporarily suspended and Ireland drew me lovingly into her lush green land.

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