A short distance away from Maeve’s Cairn is the Megalithic Cemetery of Carrowmore. It is the largest Stone Age cemetery in Ireland and the second biggest in all of Europe. I asked Milena to stop since we were nearby. As we pulled into the area, I began to put my wet clothes back on which was a very cold and slightly difficult task, considering that the clothes were so wet, putting them back on was a challenging affair. Milena looked at me and said, “Oh, no! Really?! We have to put our wet clothes on again?!” I told her she could stay in the car, but since we were here, I was going out to see this place. She told me, “This morning I was praying, asking to wake up. Well, now I am awake! I guess we have to be careful what we pray for! It is a good thing you made me that salad or is there no way I would be going back out in this!” So she wriggled back into her wet clothes as well and out we went into the cold and rain again. We traipsed around for a bit to get a sense of this place where there is no exact knowledge of how old it is, but it is guessed to be possibly up to 700 years older than the Cairns at Newgrange, Knowth, and Dowth. There are about 60 rings of stones in all, but sadly, many of the stones have been destroyed over the years, so one walks amidst the circles imagining what this place must have once been like so long ago.
We headed back to the car, jumped back into our dry clothes and headed on our way to Doolin in County Clare to stay at Cullinan’s Bed and Breakfast which had been recommended by friends. We stopped along the way in a small village when we saw signs for a local artisans craft’s fair. Inside were wonderful crafts of felting, painted glass, jewelry, wood turning, and handmade soaps. In the corner, a guy about my age was carving spoons by hand out of wood from fallen pieces from all kinds of trees. In front of him was a table with various things he had carved by hand. A young boy was sitting on a stool in front of him and they were chatting and laughing as I walked up. The guy carving said, “Would you like to learn to carve? This is a free workshop. Only thing is, you need your own knife.” I told him I was just visiting, traveling through, but thanked him for the invitation. Then, I noticed he was carving in the direction towards his hand instead of away from it (which is how you are supposed to do it if you are being safe.) I asked him, “Just out of curiosity, aren’t you carving in the wrong direction? Isn’t that the way you are NOT supposed to carve for safety reasons?” He smiled and said, “Absolutely, you are very correct. I am showing here how NOT to carve! And ask the young lad here, if I had not already told him that this is the improper way to do it. Right lad? Right! Alright then!” And the young boy laughed and nodded his head enthusiastically. It was so sweet to watch them together. I could tell the young boy really admired the guy, and the guy was totally making him feel included and very special and important. It was so sweet to watch and experience. It reminded me how beautiful and important community and mentorship is. Then, we had a wonderful chat with lots of joke and laughter, so of course, I chose to buy a spoon from him. I mean, how could I a pass up the opportunity to support the local artist, making beautiful things from fallen wood, and with such a wonderful energy and great sense of humor?
We arrived in Doolin, checked in and went for a walk about town as the weather was nice and the area was beautiful. Of course, as we were still a ways away from where we were staying, it began to rain hard with strong winds. Getting us wet yet again… but of course.
There were almost no food options for us here, so we ate at a pizzeria that ended up being surprisingly fabulous! We added our garlic infused olive oil and spices to the pizza making it even better… but of course. We had pulled out our to-go-ware utensils to eat the pizza with since the place only had disposables, and I felt the people at the table next to us giving us furtive glances as we had a table piled with our own oil and spices and now we were using these very strange utensils. I overheard the young girl of the family say, “They are using wooden forks!” I smiled, turning to them, and said, “These are made of bamboo.” The mother asked, “Do you bring them with you all the time?” I smiled and laughed and said, “Oh, yes, these, the oil, the spices…you know just the essentials!” The family all laughed and smiled as we all enjoyed our meal.
That evening we went to the corner pub, Fitzpatrick’s to listen to some traditional Irish and folk music. It was a nice pub, simple, and fun music. Various people talked to us, asking us where were from, etc… I met a nice and interesting man Phillipe from Brittany who was shocked that I am 35 years old and not married or have children. I am SO glad that is not my life! We butterflies, we love our freedom, and on top of that, I have zero desire to contribute to the further destruction of the Earth through birthing children into an already overpopulated world. I would rather take care of the children who are already here and take care of the planet we call home.
We started the next morning with a breakfast of juice and herbed potatoes then headed on to the Cliffs of Moher. The Cliffs of Moher are a very famous tourist stop, but luckily for us, there were not too many people so we were able to enjoy the beauty of the place. Rolling hills give way to sheer drop cliffs. Some of the cliffs are dark jagged rocks only, while others have lush green life interspersed in the crevices with birds soaring on the thermals all around. It is a beautiful spot even if some of its magic has disappeared because of the tourist element as with Knowth. I guess sometimes we have to trade protection of a place with a certain sterilization of it as well.
Nevertheless, it was a great way to start the day…and of course it rained on us again, causing Milena to want to end early, but I reminded her, “This is Ireland, Miwe (my name for her,) you might as well get used to being wet.” “OK. You are right,” she said, so we finished walking around the cliffs and taking some funny and beautiful photos.
Then we headed off to visit the family of our dear friends from Humboldt County, one of whom was born and raised in Limerick County in Ireland. We stopped along the way in a quite lovely town called Adare. The sun had chosen to shine at this time, and the town was bursting with flowers of all varieties. It was bustling with tourists and shopkeepers, yet it still retained a quaint beauty and charm that is so often lost in tourist stops.
We had an absolutely wonderful time visiting with the family in Rathkeale, laughing and sharing stories, tea, and coffee. Out of respect for their privacy, I will leave their names out, but I will say we had such a wonderful visit that at beginning, we were friends of family in the US, but left feeling almost like family ourselves. They were so warm, interesting, and funny that we were made to feel instantly at home. What we thought was going to be a short visit turned into a few hours because we were enjoying one another’s company so much. I am so thankful to have met and spent time with such fantastic people.
This trip continues to be one of wonder, beauty, fun, laughter, and the magical possibility that happens when we give ourselves over to the journey.
One of my favorites signs I have ever seen is on the side of a barn in Mendocino County near Laytonville where some of my chosen family lives. It reads, “Don’t Forget The MAGIC!”