Do you remember the two church spires from the last post? Here they are from the lake. Queen Elizabeth walked from one to the other (don’t ask me which is which) in that painting I showed you, which is currently in my suitcase.
Yes, we went on a boat ride to look at the ruins of a 6th century monastery on Devenish island.
However, before we got there, Ben the driver got the head count wrong and we drove off without the Canadian couple. It only took a few minutes before someone in the back raised the alarm, then just after that Ben said, “ And now here’s my phone ringing.”
When we got back to pick them up, someone said to the guy left behind, “You must’ve been worried when you saw the bus disappear.”
“Not really,” he replied. “ The bar was set to open in an hour!”
Once we got on the water it was serene and beautiful.
Along the way we saw a mother swan with her grey cygnets.
We heard about Eneskillen castle, we passed by a very medieval looking building with turrets.
“You see that building there, jutting out from the castle? “ said our guide on the boat. “ It’s called the water tower, but that’s just to confuse people because we never built one!”
We passed by a neighbourhood of pleasant looking semi-detached homes. “There were many years that we couldn’t see these homes from the river. Here was were the police lived and we had great shutters up to stop people shooting at the police. Now they’re down and we all hope it stays this way.”
Oscar Wilde and Samurai Beckett attended school here. “ Less famous are the 3 of us but give us time… you never know.”
Cows happily eating the impossibly, brilliantly green grass.
Looking at birds soaring overhead , the last time I saw birds from a boat was in South America. How lucky I am!
We arrived at the monastery on Devenish Island.
All we could hear was the wind and a few bird calls.
Legend has it was if you climb into this grave, lay down, and turn around 3 times you’ll lose any ailments you may have.
I suppose if you don’t have any, then you’ll pick up all the ailments that everyone else left behind.
We couldn’t climb the impossibly high tower, but we could climb this building. It used to hold the bell the monks would ring to mark their prayers.
I’m only 5’2” so I can pass through a lot of old doors pretty easily. But this door up to the top of the bell tower was tiny.
The spiral staircase was also not built for modern-sized humans.
Looking down from the tower, I closed my eyes after gazing out across the view to the mainland. I could imagine back in the olden days, toiling away at my farm over there, and the hearing the clear sound of the bell floating across from the monastery on the island.
It must have been greatly cherished.
I’m still very glad I was born now and not then. Even with these beautiful blue skies, the rain was approaching. Life would have been really hard back then.
The sound of the wind through the rushes is something I’ve never heard before, though I’ve read about it many times.
It was a long day of driving. Along the way to Yeats’ grave, there were roadworks and we were diverted into a series of narrow lanes…
… when the almost inevitable happened and a car came up the road towards us.
Did you notice the rubbish bin?
Yep, she backed straight into it. She was Not Happy.
As we drove past her, someone asked Ben why he didn’t back up to let her car go past,
“I might have done, but there was a wee bend behind us. If I’d started going backwards and a car ran into the back of me, I’d be in a world of pain. I don’t go looking for trouble because enough of it seems to find me without it.”
Prophetic words indeed. Today was not to be Ben’s best day.
The next stop was a visit to Yeats’ grave. The ‘George Yeats’ is his wife, who was called Georgiana but preferred to be called George.
He’s known for his poetry, and I love how he wrote a poem called ‘Under the shadow of Ben Bulben’ that details exactly how he wanted to be buried. When his body finally made it back to Ireland, they respected his words. Here they are:
Under bare Ben Bulben’s head
In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid,
An ancestor was rector there
Long years ago; a church stands near,
By the road an ancient Cross.
No marble, no conventional phrase,
On limestone quarried near the spot
By his command these words are cut:
Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!
It’s just an ordinary plot, u der the shadow of the mountain Ben Bulben.
Then I went into the gift shop, because it started raining, and I hit the JACKPOT.
Not this one.
Omg. I have been looking for a painting to represent my Antarctica trip. Here, in a churchyard gift shop in the middle of Ireland, I find it.
I was so happy.
I still am.
Here’s the ancient cross that was mentioned in Yeats’ poem. It was buried in Cromwell’s day to protect it.
Here’s something unusual that we saw at a’splash and dash’ stop at a roadside petrol station.
it’s a set of washers and dryers.
Today was definitely not our driver’s best day. After forgetting two people this morning and having to go back for them, he missed the turnoff to Galway and we were halfway to Limerick before the people at the back end of the bus alerted him.
It was an extra 40 minutes of driving time to retrace our steps.
He was trying to tell us jokes and information along the way, but in the end he said, “Come on Galway, I’m running out of material!”