Sunday in Ennis, Ireland

May 24, 2009 - Ennis, Ireland


      TView from the window of Temple Gatehis was not the Day of Discovery so much as it was the Day of Recovery.  There are great advantages to staying in a hotel located in the center of the festivities.  The Temple Gate is located right in town center.  In fact, there’s a statue of Daniel O’Connell in town center we see clearly from our window that is perhaps only 50 yards away.  We can head out to the pubs or shops with no problem.  Cruise’s Pub is just a couple blocks away as is any number of others.  These are all good things.  The drawback to staying so close to the thick of things was that it never got quiet last night.  There was a constant party that could be heard floating up from the courtyard and into our window.  I was so exhausted that this did not trouble me greatly and besides, I take a medication at nighttime that knocks me out.  Bill, on the other hand, really needs white noise to sleep well.  Hence the packing of the fan and we already know what happened to that.  The party animal from Night One did the low-crawl until about 2:00 p.m!

            I think I was up at around 7:00 a.m. going through pictures, journaling, etc.  We did manage to get downstairs for an Irish breakfast of scambled eggs, bacon, roasted half tomato, black and white pudding, and sausage.  With all that food how dare I complain but I was surprised that there was no Irish brown bread.  I was really looking forward to that but I’m sure we’ll find it at our B & B tomorrow.  Now, bacon in Ireland more closely resembles what we call Canadian bacon than our (US) bacon.  Our idea of bacon is sold in the grocery store as “streaky bacon”.  The sausage is in links but tastes like it has a good deal of flour mixed in.  Black pudding is also called “blood sausage”.  It is not my favorite.  White pudding is edible but while it resembles a slice of sausage, it tastes very much like stuffing.  Tea is also, in my opinion, the preferred drink in Ireland; however, I whimped out and have to fill mine with cream and lumps of “brown” (unrefined) sugar.  Bill opted for the coffee and like the coffee the day before he said his spoon could stand up in the cup.  The coffee is brewed in such as way that it begs for cream to be added to level it off.  Bill refuses of course.  There were also a variety of cereals, fruit, and juice available.  If you go away from your table hungry it’s no one’s fault except your own.Thomas Kent Pipe Band2

            Bill took a quick walk after breakfast while I sat down to finish up yesterday’s journal.  It seemed like just a couple minutes before he was back and “resting” on the bed.  In fact, eventually we both ended up resting on the bed until well after noon.  The jet lag and the festivities had caught up with us.  It was Sunday morning so the only thing we were really missing was Mass.  Since we don’t go to Mass that was no problem.  Bofield Ceile Band

            We were up, showered, and out by 2:00 and spent the afternoon watching local bands parade through town.  I use the term bands but I can say I only saw one brass band all day and it was just a tidy little 10 -12 person combo.  The rest of the bands were of the pipe and drum variety mostly from around County Clare.  There was also the Bofield Ceili Band comprised of a harp, accordions, fiddles, flutes, etc.  They had straw dancers that performed with them and I have to admit, I’ve never heard of straw dancing before.  The dancers wore pointed straw hats and colorful costumes; all rather lively.  We figured out the parade route and would anxiously wait for the next group to round the corner.  Each had the opportunity to play a couple songs in town center before moving on to the judging platforms a couple blocks away.  I did grab some video of several groups, including a budding young step dancer performing with the ceili band.Young Piper

            In late afternoon we stumbled across a large shopping center in the middle of town.  It was as though the store had been built in what might have once been common space between the buildings on the block.  It was very unobtrusive and surprisingly large when we got inside.  I always love wandering grocery stores when in unfamiliar places.  There are just enough differences here to keep things interesting; cookies are “bisquits”, eggs are unrefrigerated, and the “organics” section seemed much larger.  The deli meats actually resemble meat and not “pressed” meat.  But like any good grocery store, they also sell beer.  One beer in the pub costs about 4.5 Euros and that’s about $6.25 a pop!  Dang. We decided to pick up a little beer to keep warm in our car…Player in Bofield ceili

            Upon recommendation from my sister Sally, as well as the clerk in our hotel, we made our way to O’Brogan’s Pub for an early dinner.  Dining can also be quite expensive here and pub grub is recommended as a way to save some cash.  Bill had a grilled tomato, cheese, and onion sandwich for 4 Euro and I had the seafood chowder for 7.50 Euro.  I also did a stupid thing and ordered a sandwich (because it sounded interesting) for another 5 or 6 Euros.  O'Brogan's Pub EnnisUnfortunately, interesting did not equate to good and I blew the whole “saving money” idea.  Lesson learned.  The seafood chowder was excellent though with large chunks of a variety of fish.  It was mild, hearty, and a more than sufficient dinner with drinks for 30-35 Euros. Again, that’s around $43 - $50 dollars.  Tomorrow I promise to do better.

            Bill took another nap in the afternoon while I wrote out some postcards.  He was up again by 7:30 p.m. and we headed out to the pubs.  We did not find the same magic that we had the night before.  We did run into Aiden who introduced us to his wife and a couple other older ladies.  He was pleased that we remembered his name and we chatted a while before they headed off to their destination.  We stopped into Cieran’s pub (located around the corner from Cruise’s).  The “fluter” of the little Uillean (pronounced “il-in”), flute, and bodbran (round drum) combo was the brother of the banjo player from the previous evening.  I had sat next to his mother and father for a while at Cruise’s the night before while they were flitting back and forth, listening to both.  Prior to leaving Cieran’s the father approached and asked if we were still enjoying ourselves.  To be sure.

            We got back to the Temple Gate around 10:00 p.m. thinking we would be in time for a gathering of local singers we’d been told about when checking in.  It was described as a rather casual gathering where folks could join in the singing or instrument playing.  That sounded great to me until we got to the door and realized there was a 5 Euro charge for the fun.  At that point, we decided we’d had enough craic for one night and we headed up to bed.St. Patrick's of Tulla







Bofield Ceile Band
Player in Bofield ceili
O'Brogan's Pub Ennis
Thomas Kent Pipe Band2


May 26, 2009
Quit expensive to eat huh? It still sounds interesting, as well as a fun adventure. I'm enjoying the stories, it's almost as if I were right there, can't wait to read the next entry.
Rosie A. Alexander:
May 26, 2009
As always your adventures sounds just awesome. I could really enjoy staying in the heart of the party. You could take a power nap, get a bit of shut eye, and then you are all refreshed and ready to party for another 4 to 5 hours. I truly enjoy your adventures, and feel so priviliged that you are able to share your experiences with us. Your writing is so detailed that you really feel that you are right there, sharing the fun with you. (almost, minus the ale).
Chris Bracken:
May 26, 2009
Kelly, I just LOVE your artistic, colorful writing describing your vacation. Sounds like you guys are having a good time so far. Don't worry about spending those euros, got to keep the european economy going too. ( wow, those meals were expensive ) Have fun !
Dan Behan:
May 27, 2009
I'm enjoying riding along in your glovebox. Next time you're in the country, standing quietly in the grass, say Hello to the earth for me there. Tell her I miss her and will see her someday. Have Fun!!
Zina Averkiev:
May 27, 2009
Hi Dear Kelly & Bill,
I love following your travel, I still couldn't get over my trip with you to Alaska. Oohh those euros, what's the exchange at this time? Have fun though!!!
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