August 23, Sunday
Glandore->Cork via Dromberg Stone Circles, Clonakilty, Timoleague, Bandon
Night's Lodging: Cork IYH
Weather: Clear at first, drizzly for a wee bit, then partly cloudy
Rained overnight-packed another wet tent. Again! The morning, however, was sunny, with clouds - but not overhead. It looked like clear weather for a while but our fine tail wind was gone. Guessed I couldn't have it both ways...tailwind from the west and clear
Leaving Glandore, we detoured just a bit to see the Dromberg Stone Circle, one of many built in prehistoric times in the West Cork area. It was considered to be one of the most impressive of the 60 or so with its 14 stones, spaced equidistant, making up the circle.
Wow. More of the knock-your-socks-off "fertilizer" smell from those fields. Sheep smell.
We stopped in the late morning in Clonakilty, a veritable urban area of 2,700 people, for tea, pastries and a sandwich, but not the black pudding for which the town was famous. It was a colorful town, again the pastels of West Cork. Standing in front of the hotel which was painted a deep brick red, I looked down the street...the house next door was pink, and next door to it was one with clear blue trim with a medium blue building, beyond that a cornflower blue, then a beige building, then yellow, on to gray, and brown, and turquoise, and on down the street.
We headed towards Timoleague and the sky started to drizzle. Heaven forbid that we should aim directly to Cork, off to our left where there was a little bit of blue sky showing, instead our convoluted path. Oh well.
And, of course, right into town, it was uphill.
Coming into Timoleague, the road was blocked and a great crowd along the streets, cheered and waved and carried on.
As we rode past I thought, "What a wonderful welcome they are having for us! And they didn't even know we were coming."
It was a foot race going on, I thought. As it turned out, it wasn't a foot race, but road bowling, a regular Sunday event where a defined length of road must be covered in as few throws as possible with a heavy steel ball. We were lucky that we didn't become inadvertent bowling pins.
The Franciscan friary ruins that we stopped to see, plundered in 1642 by Cornwall, had bodies buried under most all of the floor space within the walls of the friary and a marker atop each body. One in particular caught our eye, and in a gruesome way, we began to giggle about it...
As we neared Cork, we were seeing more cows than sheep.
Cork- a compact and interesting old city. We wandered around quite a bit after getting settled in the hostel. Finding the hostel was a small adventure in itself.
In trying to find it, we stopped two elderly women as they were leaving their house for a Sunday afternoon stroll. I was sure that stopping to ask them was an exercise in futility. But, no, one of the women knew exactly where the hostel was and gave us detailed directions.
"Why yes, I know. It's a fine day in Ireland now, isn't it? Sunny. Don't see much of that. You go down this street until you get to the narrow winding street on the left. And take that down until the stop light."
Then she conferred with her friend, "Is it right then or left?"
"Well, it's close to Fairy Hall [B&B]."
"Yes, then, you'll see it. I think you turn left."
Many of our conversations with the Irish proceeded in this manner. A little friendly chit chat and then the meat of the matter. And no, the hostel was to the right, but no matter. By the time we got to the t-intersection she was referring to, we could see the hostel.
Walking up some hills, above the city, farms were visible butting right up to the town limit lines. The sky was generally clear all over, but directly overhead, a small cloud dripped on us. Couldn't be in Ireland without rain.
As we entered a restaurant for dinner the young host looked directly at us and said, "Right. It's four of you then it is?"
"No," we said, "it's three." We were the only people in sight. Maybe we had picked up some leprechauns along the way that he could see. We smiled and followed him to a table.
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