Published: July 13th 2010July 13th 2010
Trad Music Session
At The Crane Bar until they closed and the music stopped.
Shortly before we left the States we were downtown out dining with friends. I had just barely sat when I felt a tap on my shoulder. A friend from my hometown whom I hadn't seen in a few years was seated next to us. I hadn't noticed her because her back was to us when we came in. Seeing her was totally unexpected. We chatted and caught up with each others' lives. I told her that we were leaving on holiday for Ireland the following week. She then told me that mutual friends (Dave & Linda) had retired to Clifden, Ireland. “We'll go and surprise him,” I told her.
I should have thought of getting a contact number or email address. When we were in Cooraclare it occurred to me that I wasn't sure if she had said “Clifden” or “Clifton.” I asked Beth and she wasn't sure either. I looked up both and sure enough there was one of each. I decided that if I were to retire to Ireland then Clifden would be the place I would head to and that must be where they were.
We got up early considering our late night at The Crane Bar. Our
The Quiet Man Bridge
Seen in the opening minutes of the film.
host Delores was up early and made us a breakfast to order. (I had scrambled eggs as I had given up on getting a fried egg.) I told her that the Connemara country was our destination.
In past times, the Connemara country was considered the wilderness of Ireland. It was the place that even the English were hesitant to venture into and considered the natives hostile. It really is rugged spectacular terrain. In retrospect, I wish that we had altered our plans and had stayed a week with our friends to explore that area.
Anyhoooo....We arrived in Clifden and walked around a bit and made some inquires at places we figured my friend would frequent. At a book store the clerk steered us to the library. We went and sure enough my friend had a library card but the librarian couldn't give out private info. We chatted with the librarian and left a note for my friend.
We hadn't gone down the street very far when who should I spot? Why my friend of course. I had planned to disguise myself and pretend to be an Italian tourist asking for assistance. But I could only immediately put on my sunglasses.
The Not So Quiet Man
Sitting where the Duke sat.
Just as we walked up he turned to look in a store display. When he turned I stopped in front of him and asked him (in Italian) if he could help me find a friend in town. He said “Israel?” and then was just momentarily not sure of himself because I kept speaking Italian. He said “Israel?” again and then said “Why are you speaking Italian? You are not in Italy.” It was just fecking funny. I started laughing and when he said hello to Beth he did say tell her that for a moment he thought “This Italian guy sure looks a lot like Israel.”
We we went to his apartment and upon entering he yelled up to the second floor to his wife, “Linda come down, you won't believe who is standing here!” She yelled back “Who is it?” He yelled back, “It's Israel Espinoza.” There was a pause and then a “Who?” She came down the stairs, stopped and shrieked, “Oh my god! You're not kidding.” It was grand! We stayed with them that afternoon and left early that evening. I love surprising people.
They have retired to a very cool place in Ireland. The Connemara is
The bridge is exactly the same as in the movie.
a mountainous region of Ireland dotted with lakes. There are 12 peaks there called the 12 Bens. It is lovely country. On the way back to Galway we stopped at a famous bridge from the movie “The Quiet Man.” It is located in a very pretty spot. By the way, we have seen photos of Maureen O'Hara everywhere. She must be practically a saint in Ireland.
Had dinner at the Italian place again...super! We turned in early as we were done for from the previous night of festivity.
There are more photos below