Saturday, July 4, 2015

Ireland Honeymoon Day Six

We've learned so much here!

A few facts:
All school kids wear uniforms here, and learn to read and write Irish between age 5-15, a patch or emblem denotes which school they attend. The boys and girls go to school together until our middle school age and then they are separated. They graduate at 16.5 or 17.5 depending on if they choose to take an apprenticeship or go on to college.
Ireland has 4 provinces and 32 counties, 6 which are under British rule, which are identified by their team colors and a song (or two)
Dublin is called The Big Smoke and is home to 1.2 million people

A few phrases:
Drink Driving (drunk driving)
Craic (fun, definition) Good Craic
Small Money (5-6 euros)
Kil (prefix, church of)
Bally (prefix, city of)
Band On (Right on) Bang on the money
Puk (puck) male goat
Veg (vegetables)
Trad Session (music, jam session)

We're staying in Westport again tonight and have the afternoon free! Today was supposed to be a "sleep in" day but I was still up at 5:30 am. I was able to go back to sleep for a bit but then the alarm went off again, and we don't have to be on the road until 9:30 today. A quick 7 minute drive will take us to the Westport House; it rained yesterday and as we're arriving the roads are starting to dry and the suns starting to come out. 

The 450 acre property has been with its family, some of which still live here, since the 1500s. Careful in the dungeons, just before we started our tour someone in another group fell and hit their head, the dungeons are all original cobblestones. The tour is brief but very interesting and we plan to read more on the family history when we get home! (Update: buy books they have for sale on site, they ship but it's pricey and the books aren't on Amazon). Their bathrooms consist of a large room with about six chamber pots. They have a children's room with a five foot Humpty Dumpty and a six foot tall barrier (to keep the kids in). Every room had a beautiful bed in it and right inside the door of the main entrance is the Angel of Welcome. After the tour and wandering around the house we decided to wader around the grounds before watching a group of school kids in kayaks come ashore the creek and hop in the "hot tub" by a small waterfall.  

Back on the bus we headed to Achill (ache-kill) Island, stopping at a minimum of four photo ops on the way. We stopped in Keel, County Mayo, at The Beehive restaurant. We both ordered soup and a dessert and after lunch chatted with the owner and his son about how their food is organic and made without preservatives. His brother-in-law moved to Chicago a number of years ago so he knows some about the US. This makes me love this place even more! After lunch we visited The Deserted Village, a town that was chosen by it's people to be abandoned during the potato famine in hopes of surviving the trek to Westport to take a ship to America. This trip took us an hour and a quarter by bus and it would have taken weeks for them to walk, if they survived.


Back in Westport for our free afternoon we headed to Gavin's Cafe to get coffee. We like coffee and our nephew's name is Gavin, they also had cute little outdoor tables. After we walked around to check out more of the town and pick up some knick knacks at the local shops before dinner at J.J. O'Malleys. The local area really focuses on seafood, but I already know that Brett is looking for a steak! None of the food that we've had here in Ireland is bad, except for maybe the black and white puddings (sausage pudding). Tonight for dinner Brett had a 12 oz sirloin with garlic and herb butter with chive mashed potatoes, I had shrimp and crab with a white wine cheese sauce and chive mashed potatoes. We both had Smithwicks and finished the meal with Irish Coffee. Hello yummy.



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