Monday, July 7, 2008

Back Roads

Yesterday, we explored some back roads in an area that a neighbor informed us was the Bermuda Triangle of Mayo. According to him, he found a stone circle in that area but has never been able to locate it since. What the fairies giveth, the fairies taketh away. Anyway, Premium T. expertly navigated from an ordnance survey map, directing me up hill and down dale, across rivers and around lakes until we arrived safely at the Healy Hotel. Located in Pontoon on an isthmus separating the upper and lower parts of Lough Conn, the Healy's pub looks out over the lake and is -- IMHO -- the finest place in Ireland to take a pint.

I will say that people live in some pretty remote places. Nonetheless, we noticed plenty of new construction -- supporting the Irish view that people prefer to build a new house to buying an existing one. And why not? Despite the influx of immigrants, Ireland remains underpopulated and has no shortage of land and landowners ready and willing to subdivide.

Ireland's official view of immigration differs markedly from America's. For one thing, they have an official view, which is to attract and retain skilled workers. Unskilled workers abound as well -- the server in a Westport restaurant is as likely to be Polish or Italian as Irish. As long ago as 1997, I picked up a brochure called "A Part Of Ireland Now: Ten Refugee Stories" published as the European Year Against Racism. The town of Portloaise (Port-LEASH) recently elected Nigerian-born Rotimi Adebari as mayor. (Adebari's qualifications are obvious: He's described as being "as clever and as ingenious as any Irish politician.")

But I digress. Yesterday was actually pretty devoid of people, Irish or otherwise. We read for awhile in Healy's bar while the locals watched the Cork-Kerry Gaelic football match, cheering enthusiastically as Cork upset the defending All-Ireland champions. After a while, we left for home. I finally got lost, ironically on some roads that I'm actually familiar with. Here, that means seeing that much more of the countryside.


Mayo turf harvest:

The Healy Hotel:

The view from the Healy:

The view in the Healy:

Out in the real world, Barack Obama refines the use of Facebook as a campaign tool while Johnny Wattles struggles with the teleprompter...

What does Obama want? "If I haven’t gotten combat troops out of Iraq, passed universal health care and created a new energy policy that speaks to our dependence on foreign oil and deals seriously with global warming, then we’ve missed the boat. Those are three big jobs, so it’s going to require a lot of attention and imagination, and it’s going to require the American people feeling inspired enough that they’re prepared to take on these big challenges." More here. Anyone whose favorite Rolling Stones song is "Gimme Shelter" is down with me...

Ruby My Dear and Brother Thelonious. No word yet on whether you can get it in the pubs here...

11 comments:

Scrumpy's Baker said...

I find it demoralizing that you started your vacation much before I did and shall continue it much past I have gone back to slaving away at my damn reports.

K. said...
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K. said...

And I find it demoralizing that you are 25 years younger than me!

Foxessa said...

Do I have this right? You and Premium T found the vanished stone circle that your friend couldn't re-visit, after his initial discovery of it?

If that is right, the test will be whether you can find it again.

It's a trope of Faerie, of course, that the place of enchantment you found once can never be found the second time.

Love, C.

K. said...

No, we didn't find it. Searching for it seemed like a good investment in an afternoon, though...We saw an amazing sight earlier in the trip, which I can't believe I didn't blog about: A stone circle enclosed by a paddock with a menstruating white mare walking among them. The stones were about six feet high. We wondered whether they were a new installation, but it was in the middle of nowhere, which raised the question of why anyone would go to the effort (which had to have been considerable). We asked a couple of locals in the nearby town about it, but they didn't know what we were talking about. Either way, it was like something out of D. H. Lawrence.

K. said...
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K. said...
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Renegade Eye said...

The idea of an stoned circle search is the ultimate Ireland vacation.

Obama came out today, in front of the teachers union, for merit pay. I don't understand how they could give him $$ and support, after that.

MF said...

Thanks for the link back to Toulouse Street. And I don't even know you and I'm damned jealous you're in Ireland. If you can't get Brother Thelonious you can get all the Smit'icks you want on tap, which should be a consolation of a sort.

Foxessa said...

The search is always the point, in the end, isn't it?

You certainly have found wonders aplenty!

Love, C.

K. said...

The journey is the reward.