The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline luggage.
When I got stuck overnight in Atlanta a couple of years ago, I swore I’d make sure that on future trips my carry-on would be as multi-functional as a Swiss Army knife. I haven’t completely formulated what that would exactly entail, but I did happen to put in an extra pair of pants and a shirt this time which, for me, is pretty much unheard of (in the past). Turned out that that was a good plan since our bags didn’t arrive at the same time as we did. I definitely have more fine-tuning to do!
I mentioned in my first story about the trees next to the road. Here is a picture I took in the middle of the week. Not every inch of the road looked like this -but it gives you an idea of what I was talking about.
Yvonne’s house is located in a very rural, but beautiful, setting. In the wilds of Ireland. Hard for us Americans to wrap our brains around, but the two-track “road” she lives on is not named (as far as I could tell) and she has no house number. The address she gave me to use as a contact address for immigration was mostly informational narrowing down her location to a general area…but it only went so far. The last part of that contact address was simply the nearest town -Durrus- which was probably 3-ish miles away from her house. Her neighbors are mainly a herd of cows who seemed to be very curious about the goings on at the house. I know from experience that cows can be curious -but these cows seemed really interested in hanging out next to the fence that bordered the area where she parked at night. Of course – they wouldn’t let us near them if we walked over to the fence to visit.
When we arrived at Yvonne’s house from the airport, there were two cars in the driveway as we pulled in. She said, “Oh, I haven’t mentioned that I have other company.” HUH? Her cousin + husband + son + son’s girlfriend (all from Australia) were visiting at the moment. Luckily she has a large house and there was plenty of space. Yvonne had graciously given up her own bedroom to us – and we were not only grateful, but very comfortable during our stay. In many ways the next few days were entirely comfortable to me as the vibe felt very much like when we have family staying with us in Pentwater. The cousins had their own plans and understood that Yvonne was focusing on being our tour guide for the next few days. All of the “cousins” were so extremely nice and really fun to be around…we really enjoyed meeting them. It made our trip that much nicer. I didn’t take a photo of them because I’m sure they didn’t go to Ireland to be blogged about! Yvonne also has an adorable dog named Sammy who has lots of character and who I immediately started sizing up wondering if he’d fit into my carry-on. I took a picture of him because he totally wanted to be in my blog!
When we woke up in the morning, Yvonne fussed over us and made us a good breakfast. Her parents dropped by to say hello and also to pick up our luggage receipts because they were going to Cork and we thought if the bags arrived they might be able to pick them up for us. I thought that was very kind of them.
Since we didn’t have our baggage yet and didn’t want to get too far away in case it showed up, we decided to visit the Mizen Head signal station. The whole coast of Ireland seems to be composed of many fingers of land sticking out into the sea with long narrowish (somewhat) protected bays and inlets. This seemed especially true along the S.W. coast, which is where we were. Yvonne lives closer to the top of the bay near her house. Mizen Head was located at the end of the “finger” she is located on.
Mizen Head was our first glimpse of the dynamic between the shore and sea. The shoreline of Ireland is mostly very rugged -rocky, desolate looking and a bit inhospitable. You’re not going to be seeing long stretches of beach filled with umbrellas and beach goers, but there are places here and there that are used as a beach -depending on the tide. Mizen Head is often claimed to be the Southernmost point in Ireland (but other information claims that the honor goes to a nearby place called Brow Head). The light station was put there due to the dangers of the shoreline there and the proximity to a major shipping route. The information claims that Mizen Head was often the first…or last…sight of Europe for passengers on cross-Atlantic voyages. The signal station was built on the very tip of the peninsula, which is almost an island due to a large chasm between it and the mainland, which is crossed by a small picturesque bridge. We visited the Welcome Center and then walked around to the signal station and back.
The station wasn’t built in the traditional lighthouse tower that you’d imagine, but it was so high up on a cliff that it probably had the same effect that a tower would. One of the “famous” parts of visiting Mizen Head is climbing the 99 steps up the side of the cliff on the way back to the welcome center. The steps were the original way the workers went back and forth from the station to shore- but when they began allowing visitors, a ramp approach was installed too. You can see that in a few of my pictures.
After we left Mizen, we wound our way back along the shore. I took this picture of a beach -which was bigger when we passed earlier and it was low tide. The road we took basically circled this beach from one side to the other.
We stopped in Schull (“skull”) for lunch and took a short walk along the water to look at boats.
On the way home, we drove up to the top of a nearby “mountain” that Yvonne often walks near so that we could see the view. She could spot her house from there, but we weren’t able to pinpoint it ourselves
That evening, Yvonne had made reservations for us at a restaurant in nearby Skibbereen, which is where her parents live. They joined us and we had a very nice dinner with very good company. Unfortunately, our luggage did not join us – it still hadn’t been located. My sisters always want to know about the food. I had a pasta dish and Mike ate fish (Hake). We both enjoyed our meals.