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July 23rd 2008
Published: July 28th 2008
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We started off the morning with a breakfast and a gorgeous view out of the front window of the Stonecroft B&B. The breakfast was not as good as we have had in the past few days, but it was a start. I am not sure but I think the breakfast didn’t taste as well because my stomach was upset from sleeping the entire night while inhaling the smell of old pee. I believe that the person who had the room before me must have had a great night at the pub and then missed the toilet completely. After a little fussing around to try to get the blog updated, our first stop was at W.B. Yeats grave in DrumCliffe, just a few miles from our B&B. Yeats was buried outside of the small church that his grandfather had founded. We stopped into the cute church and shop then headed north. We got ourselves onto the road to Donegal and by the time we realized, we had missed our first destination of Belleek. Belleck is a small town famous for their bone china. Eileen wanted to stop, but we quickly realized that we would have to do 30 minutes of back tracking to see it…so we continued on to Donegal. On the road we passed some beautiful scenery. Once we arrived in Donegal, we quickly stopped in the TI to pickup a map and then made our way to the Donegal Castle. Kiernan checked our Heritage cards and gave Amy his mobile number and probably a bit of his “wee head cold” in the process. The castle was very nice and we especially enjoyed the 15th century version of the bathroom. This was the O’Donnells’ prized room in their house. After our self guided tour of the castle, we stopped into another little church in the town. We then decided we all needed a little retail therapy. One of the items on my list was a Donegal Tweed Hat, and so we made our way to Magees. Magees’ is the first department store of Donegal and it was wonderful to see their Tweed loom in the store. After I secured my hat, I made my way up to the housewares department and found another item on my list. When I was in Ireland 5 years ago, I purchased 6 Waterford Wine Glasses. The elusive Geo pattern is not available in the US and so I purchased a hat box of another 6 glasses to round out the set. Eileen purchased a tea towel printed with a hysterical letter from an Irish mother to her son in America and Amy picked up a lovely scarf that almost matched her smart Aran wool hat. On the way out of town, some Clauddagh rings caught Amy’s eye and we stopped into a quaint little shop. The shopkeeper was a smart lad with a quick wit. He graciously helped Amy sift thru the rings to find her size. Our parking meter was about to run out, so we got in the car and headed for the Centra grocery. We stocked up our snackpack in the car and headed out for a lunch on the road. Eileen has been running the snack service from the back seat and the crumbs back there are now ankle deep! We headed north from Donegal to see some of the countryside. We weaved our way thru several small towns on our way to Narin. Narin is now officially known as the town where we almost died. A small Irish lad with his fancy Mercedes Benz at a roaring speed almost ran us off a cliff. It was terrifying, but luckily we all had a change of knickers in the car . After our near miss, I was able to snap a few pictures of a sweet little Irish cottage on the road side. I pulled our Peugeot in their driveway and I was greeted by their beautiful white horse in the side yard. Amy was excited that our route took thru the town of Clooney, the name of husband to be (George). Our next destination was the Glenvaugh National Park. This is one of the six national parks in Ireland (our second national park stop on this trip). We arrived in time to catch a guided tour of the Glenvaugh Castle in the park. This was a palatial summer house castle with a red deer motif. The original owners introduced red deer to this area and they can still be seen on the hillside. We also had a little time in the beautiful gardens around the castle. We got some great landscape pictures in the park and then headed to the car for the last leg of our journey. We weaved our way thru the countryside and then thru LetterKenny. We were expecting a huge border crossing affair and were disappointed by the two rock monuments that separated Ireland from Northern Ireland. No one checked our passport or even gave us a second look. Once in the North, we quickly made our way to Derry and promptly got ourselves lost. We took a wrong turn and ended up in the Bogside section of town, which still has the scars from the troubles between the Catholics and Protestants. We were in a vacant lot covered in broken glass, with graffiti walls, stray dogs, and open fires. It took us a few minutes but we found our way again. We starting head north out of town in search of a B&B for the night…. Amy stopped into a scary looking B&B. She made her way into the house to find no one inside. She quickly discovered the strange inn keeper guy coming up behind her. She quickly bolted at the sight of cockroaches and mice! After a rejection at the Best Western but with the very generous help of the front desk clerk (she called about 5 hotels to ask around for us), we found the Drummond hotel in BallyKelly, which was a little outside of town, but we were glad to have a nice room. We got our suitcases inside and then headed to the hotel pub for a late dinner. Amy and I felt right at home as we were able to watch a few episodes of Sex and the City during our dinner and while sipping our adult beverages (since we were now in the UK, the bar had Bass on tap!). We were all exhausted after our long day and feel asleep before we laid our heads down.

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30th July 2008

holy smokes
This sounds like a dream vacation! What I would give to smuggle myself into the backseat of your peugot. Glad you ladies are having a blast reaching back to your roots. Reading this makes me really want to visit Ireland. Believe it or not but Ryan Air flies into Milwaukee.

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