The historic centre is a very charming busy section of Ennis.
When I was in the 6th grade I read a book titled “Red Hugh, Prince of Donegal.” It is an exciting tale about a 16th century Irish leader fighting against the English. When Hugh O'Donnell's father dies, he becomes the prince. At this time Queen Elizabeth I is preparing for war against Spain while trying to quell a civil war in Ireland. England stations troops in Ireland and the Irish don't take kindly to this. Hugh O'Donnell begins to work to unite the clans against the English.
He gets thrown in prison and held as hostage in exchange for the cooperation of the clans. Meanwhile his sweetheart and her family are also held hostage in a separate location. He is captured and but manages to escape (twice) and leads the Irish clans in a successful battle against the English. And he saves his girl!
It was an exciting tale of heroism and valor against a repressive government. Apparently even at that early age I already had a Libertarian streak. Anyhoo, Disney later made a movie (The Fighting Prince of Donegal) about the story. Unfortunately, no movie ever matches up against my imagination inspired by a book. Nonetheless, that book was the
Daniel McConnell the Great Emancipator...started the action for the eventual freedom of Ireland from English domination and repression.
beginning inspiration to someday visit Ireland.
During that same time I was attending our parochial school. The parish priest was from Dublin, Ireland. I thought the his brogue sounded quite exotic and I wanted to visit this place where everyone spoke like that.
Since that time I've watched numerous Irish movies. Some were hilarious: The Commitments, The Snapper, Waking Ned Devine, The War of the Buttons. Some were serious: The Secret of Roan Inish, My Left Foot, The Field, Into The West. Each one reminded me of my goal to visit Ireland one day. And so it was that I finally made it here taking in what was at once familiar and unfamiliar.
I've learned that it is not possible to “see everything” and that it is best to travel with a mentality of “being on vacation.” And so we got up late...again...so...not making it to The Burren! So we decided to head into Ennis and explore that little town. The area of the town worth visiting is the historic center. It is very compact and can be easily seen on foot.
We didn't arrive until around 2PM. We explored the center in a fairly short amount of time. We
This dominates the skyline in town and is a good visual marker to steer by.
parked by the cathedral so we went in their first. It is not a very impressive, but then after St. Peter's, the Duomo in Florence, and St. Paul's in London everything else is quite ordinary. I did like the Gaelic type designs overhead. We also had received an update on the status of the health of one of our colleagues. (A story of its own.) She is at the beginning of her struggle with breast cancer. We observed our Catholic tradition of lighting a candle for someone we are praying for. Interestingly enough the saint we stopped at is my brother's patron saint. He was born with health problems and I believe my mother named him after this saint. I thought that the prayer for health was good karma.
We looked around the town and then I went shopping for a hat.
It is my tradition to buy a hat on every trip I take. I already had an idea of what kind of hat I wanted and after we arrived my idea was validated. I wanted the type that I saw the older gents wearing in Cooraclare and the ones I had seen in Irish movies. We saw a
Austere in comparison to Baroque.
shop for men with the type of hat I wanted. Beth looked at the tag on the hat. It is called a Hanna and it is made in Donegal. How serendipitous is that?
Ennis has a river walk that features statues. Most of them are contemporary and some are actually interesting - the others...not so much. On the way back to the vehicle we stopped at a little bistro for a snack. The sun was out and it was quite comfortable. This was the first time we had an opportunity to sit outside and take in the sun. The weather has been mostly partly sunny to partly cloudy...heh. Oh, and the fecking wind blows every day. We hit the road for home with the goal of going to visit The Burren the next day. We had tried for 3 days and we were resolute that tomorrow would be the day.
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