‘The Americans are here!’ – Dublin to County Mayo

First, some photos of Dublin. There was a jewelry shop called ‘Field’s’ so that photo is for my parents. The rest are just random while out and about. Criss crossing the river Liffey.

We left Dublin in a spitting rain. Only a few wrong turns and lanes, then we were out on the highway, that turned into a freeway. That turned into a highway, then country road, then a freeway again. All with lovely round abouts and such.

We only nearly died twice yesterday, so that was good. Once when Jeff turned into the wrong lane and got us face to face with another car. The other on a lane that only embraces one car but somehow two way traffic was passing. I just close my eyes.

The owner of the house we rented called me on the way to find out where we were.

‘Is this the lovely Americans?’ He asked when I answered.

I said it was and told him where we were and that we were trying to keep the car on ‘the right side of the road’. I caught myself ‘I mean the left side. I mean the correct side’. Ugh.

‘Good news’, he said ‘Let’s just keep it that way.’

They were going out so they were leaving the key in the lock. Just let ourselves in. We found a charming stone house named ‘Anastasia’ with a note on the door with our name on it.

The walls are a foot thick. And they had it decorated for Christmas. Lovely. And heating? Well, that’s more involved. More on that later. We headed into Ballina (Bally-Na) for supplies and dinner. More treacherous driving. Then Jeff parking. He had an audience of little boys watching from over the shop containing the county horse rescue. Em and I liked watching them, watch him.

We are the only people who can get lost finding a grocery store in a village of 4 streets, but like the World Champions we are, we managed it. I figure the Horse Rescue boys would be proud.

Provisions loaded, we drove home in the dark. I find its the best way to become acquainted with driving in unknown places on the other side of the road in pouring rain. We must have made it because I’m writing this.

Emilie made it an early night as I slipped into char woman mode and got a fire started with compressed peat and twigs. No kidding. I’ve stepped back into the 18th century by heating this house with actual peat from the peat bogs outside our door.

When I was a kid, my mom was obsessed with American pioneers. She took us to museums where we could learn to churn milk into butter, make pioneer handicrafts and sausages, and learn how to stuff mattresses with straw. I thought of her last night. She’d be in heaven with my Irish peat bog Christmas.

Jeff is learning to appreciate Spain too, by being in Ireland. He just got out of the shower.

‘Enjoying your authentic Irish Christmas, are you?’ I asked.

‘Well, the shower is exactly my size. And tomorrow I’ll go in by turning the other way, so I can wash my other side. El Compartemiento’s shower is enormous compared to this. Just wait.’

Well, it’s my turn now so I’ll sign off. We need to head out for sight seeing and a sack of coal. It’s said to put off more heat. Yes, I actually care about that now. I will own a sack of coal at Christmas. Mom, you’d be proud. It was Emilie that pointed out that maybe getting coal in your stocking wasn’t such a bad thing. And I think she’s right. Last night, I was wishing Santa would come and deliver coal for all my sins. No such luck!

Well, time to shower in the box. Til next time – Ta!

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