A brief summary of my Summer 2002 Irish vacation, by Kathleen S. Elder
Prior to meeting RoP-ers in England, I spent nearly 3 weeks in Ireland. I started out in Dublin, spending 3 days there. I saw a play adaptation of Pride and Prejudice at the Gate Theatre. It was very enjoyable, and the audience laughed in all the right spots. Elizabeth, Mr Bennet, and Mr Collins were very well done, and most of the other cast members also did a good job. One of my self-guided walking tours (for which I am well-known!) took me to a new "statue" of Oscar Wilde. It was very different - colorful clothing, shoes that looked real, Oscar relaxing on a big rock.
Darcy and the Bennet Sisters
Oscar Wilde Statue
After Dublin, I went to Limerick, where I was based for the remainder of my stay. The weather was wonderful - almost no rain, and lots of sunshine. I managed to see another play there - Brian Friel's The Faith Healer, which was excellent. (He also wrote Dancing at Lughnasa and Translations, both of which I have seen performed 2 or 3 times.) I took walks along the Shannon River, and drove around the nearby countryside. One of these trips took me to Ennis, in County Clare, where I found Darcy's Korner (a local pub), and Brandon's Restaurant - it was nice to have additional Jane Austen references to get me in the mood for the upcoming JA tour. I also bought a garnet (my birthstone) necklace in Ennis to go with the bracelet I had purchased on my previous trip to Ireland.
Another favorite spot was Galway, which is about a 2-hour drive from Limerick. On one of my trips there, I saw another play - The Drawer Boy starring John Mahoney (plays Martin Crane in the tv show Frasier) and David Calder (played Dr. Bramwell the father in the Dr. Bramwell tv show). It was also excellent - so glad I was able to see 3 terrific plays whilst visiting Ireland. I also walked around the scenic areas of Galway, AND I stopped at the Royal Tara China Factory Store, where I purchased a tea set!
John Mahoney and David Calder
Two longer trips were noteworthy: County Donegal in the northwest and County Cork in the south. Donegal is a little wilder than the areas I had seen before, and the beach down from the hotel was beautiful. Walking on the hillside above the beach, the air smelled more like a meadow than a beach close to the ocean. Did a little touring one day in Donegal, and almost got lost once or twice (most of the road signs in Donegal are in Irish ONLY, rather than Irish AND English which I had gotten used to). I did see one JA reference - the post office at Churchill: I am certain that Jane Fairfax would approve!
County Cork is also beautiful, and I visited friends there. They showed me true Irish hospitality - I didn't get to pay for anything! We ate dinner one evening in Kinsale, a harbor town on the south coast of Ireland. We took a tour boat ride around the harbor and saw some old forts and the lighthouse. Along the coast were other touristy places, but if the guide had pointed out the Scilly Walk on the shore one more time I am certain I would have begun giggling uncontrollably - couldn't help but think of Monty Pythons Ministry of Silly Walks routine! Also in the south of Ireland is the town of Baltimore - a beautiful harbor (can you tell that I like Ireland a lot?!) - and I just had to take a picture of the town sign.
Friends in Kinsale1
Friends in Kinsale2
When I finally returned home (after the RoP get-together), I met up with the Irish family with whom I had traded houses & cars. They had also had a good time in the U.S., and that was just the icing on the cake of my summer vacation, 2002.