Tuesday, June 08, 2010

from Dungarvan, Ireland

That’ll wake the whole lot of them, the flight attendant mumbled as the plane’s wheels touched the runway. It was a ferocious bump. But really well done, as I told the captain on the way out. We had landed in Dublin in complete fog. Sitting by the window, I had not seen the runway until we were speeding toward a stop.

The flight had been completely full with what Ed referred to as “his kind of people.” A jeans and t-shirts crowd. So different than flights to Paris – he tells me.

He’s right. And there are many reasons for it. One may be that Ireland is right now the cheapest European destination in terms of airfares (Barcelona comes in second; predictably, we’ll be leaving Europe from Barcelona).

We’re pausing for a few days here. Ireland has Ed’s kind of summer climate, too: not hot. And it has potentially magnificent walks, if the rains stay away.

We quickly leave Dublin airport and head south to the coastal town (village, if you ask our host) of Dungarvan.

It’s not quite 150 miles from Dublin, but it takes us nearly four hours to get here. We stray from the main highway and weave through the coastal towns. Ed dozes, I drive. It’s best that way. When the traffic slows to a stop, I take out my camera.


Outside the towns, the country roads remain empty. And pretty. When the fog rolls back enough for us to see the lush green landscape.


We’re by the coast, but hedges and hills block the view of the water. Until suddenly we see them: the sandy beaches along the Irish Sea. We stop an older man walking along the road.  
Is there access to it?
Well now. You could drive up there and park in the lot. You will have to pay. Or you can drive further, leave the car at the side of the road and find the path to the sea. Like I’m doing.
No answer is less than a dozen words long.


The fog is completely gone here. Indeed, for a few minutes, we think we’re going to have an almost sun dappled afternoon.

Afternoon? How did it get to be afternoon? We hadn't eaten anything since a morning banana on the flight into Dublin. I pull up by a strawberry and potato stand. The berries are warm and juicy. Our first introduction to Irish food is magnificent.


In Dungarvan, it takes us a while to find the Cairbre House (where we’re staying for our entire three days in Ireland). It could be that I am not saying the name right. It could be that the flowers and vines hide it from the casual passerby. It could be that I am just that tired.


Brian, our host, greets us with a warm cup of coffee (I could hug him for that alone – my last caffeinated beverage was in Detroit) and a wealth of information about walks, foods and sights of the southern coast (which is lapped by either the Celtic Sea or the Atlantic Ocean, depending on whom you ask).


You think that the weather has finally turned? Maybe. But very quickly it turns again. Looking out the window of the second floor, we can see the heavy, moisture laden clouds coming right back in over the estuary. We’re bound to get a little wet, but if the crane can take it, so can we.


Yes, we're getting a rinsed off well on our walk into the heart of the village.


It's worth it. We eat at the Moorings, in the pub room. Freshly fried fish, with chips and vinegar, and a pint at the side.