Posted by: mdmusingsie | May 28, 2010

On the Road Again

I’m back on the road for a long weekend, giving me added fodder for what is becoming (always has been?) my personal forum.  While not originally enamored with the idea of a blog, I’ve decided to use it as an extension of my writing – a practice arena, if you will.

The nice thing about taking a bus ride versus driving yourself, is that you have greater opportunity to view the scenery.  Although we were half an hour late into Galway City, profusely annoying one young woman who subsequently missed her other bus to the airport, I was able to catch a glimpse of some interesting scenarios happening in the fields.

The sunshine has moved on and we are back to what some, including the locals, might call “normal” Irish weather with cloud, intermittent rain, and occasional sun breaks.  The absence of the sun on this particular day may have put a damper on some people’s moods (sans mise mé féin, who ‘is breá liom báisteach’), it also sent a group of newly shorn sheep to seek shelter under a tree, mourning the loss of their winter woolens.

I also spied about 5 cows standing in a line at the top of a ridge – an unusual gathering place.  They hadn’t come to greet the passers-by, as it might have looked from a distance, but instead to observe one of their own who had somehow found their way down the ~8 ft embankment. 

Several possible scenarios popped in to my head, the first of which related to a raucous night where there was a little too much partaking of the trough, and on a whim or a bet this particular creature accidentally made its way into that strange spot.  The other odd thing about the situation was there was a fence at the bottom of the ridge instead of at the top, where it would have prevented such a mishap.  Be that as it may, the poor thing’s friends were now gathered above to commiserate and brainstorm ways of getting their companion back up where s/he belonged.

The other possible alternative reminded me of the California cheese commercial where one cow makes a break for it, determined to move from snowy Wisconsin to the sunshine of the West Coast.  In the commercial, after several days, the female cow had only been able to advance a few dozen feet due to the blowing snow and headwind.  In the scenario I witnessed, this particular escapee had thus far only made it down the embankment and was receiving encouragement from its friends to find a way through the next hurdle, the wooden fence.

Having thus partaken of the pastoral scenery, we arrived safely in Galway City where another delay ensued while I waited for my rental car (which, I must point out, had been reserved in advance); but it’s all part of the adventure.

The first stop was Portumna Castle, which is more of a manor house, but that’s probably splitting hairs.  As stated in the brochure, only the main floor was available for public viewing.  The estate had been purchased by the government in 1948 for ₤12,000, which seemed like a bargain considering the cost to build the structure was ₤10,000 in the early 1600’s.  However, the building had suffered a catastrophic fire in 1826 and needed extensive repairs.

As explained to me by the kind woman at the reception, the reason they haven’t restored more of the castle wasn’t merely financial.  Records that detailed the interior of the structure were lost in the fire as well.  As their charter is to restore as close to the original as possible, without knowing what it may have looked like back in its prime, it was difficult to determine how to properly make the restorations.  (Pictures coming soon.)

Sadly, children have taken to carving graffiti into the stone walls at one corner of the interior, detracting from the original beauty.

On to Newbridge where I plan to spend the evening before beginning my castle hunting anew.

<<PS – This was supposed to be posted before the Liam O’Maonlaí piece but ended up as a draft by mistake >>

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