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Published: July 14th 2019
Now an expensive feature because of labour costs
Our coffee break this morning was an opportunity to see the thatched cottages of Adare
. (View map.
) My original experience with thatching was in Chawton
, Hampshire, Jane Austen’s home. Thatched cottages are very expensive to maintain. The cottages of Adare were small, with lovely flower gardens inside their stone walls.
Across the road was the large stone Trinitarian Monastery
church, dating from the 12 century, although what we saw was mainly restored and built in the 19 century. Inside, the polished wood gave a warm character to the stone vaulted nave.
Down the road, there was a large shop, designed (it seemed) to tempt grandparents into buying presents. I was tempted into buying souvenir chocolate.
Most of the morning was spent at Muckross House
gardens. We hadn’t enough time to buy a tour ticket for the house itself, but I was happy to be outside in the mild sunshine. After a pit stop at the House, Susan and I wandered down the long, sloping lawn to the calm lake. Picturesque “Jaunting Carts” (horse and buggy) took some tourists around the whole garden. We strolled towards a viewpoint at Torc Waterfall
. On the way, we encountered some locals who counselled us that the
falls were too far away for the time we had, and that the last 200 yards were a steep uphill. Ambition tempered, we enjoyed peering at the plants in the many groomed flower beds. Surprisingly, there was no kitchen garden.
At a most picturesque location, Ross Castle
, we took the time for a group photo. With a hundred people this was no simple feat. Our official photographer, Richard, pointed and guided us into a shape suited to his camera lens. He looked just like an orchestra conductor!
The bus returned to the centre of Killarney
) for us to find our own lunches. Albert and Dave wanted to try a traditional pub, Danby’s, as recommended by our driver/guide. A bunch of us went together, where I had a juicy lamb burger and a Guinness.
Oddly, we had to get on the bus again for a very short ride to our hotel. Organizational efficiency, I guess.
The Dromhall Hotel
was a luxurious old hotel in a town that thrives on tourism. The gracious lobby was a place to linger – not that we had much time. Our room was large, a place to stay several days, if the opportunity
Where I felt like a guest, not a herd member
existed. The staff gently welcomed us and calmly helped us with our over one hundred bags. Although the band instruments are cared for with the attention their delicacy warrants, we have to carry our own suitcases, sorting out who can walk up a couple of floors and who really needs the always tiny elevators.
Susan and I had just enough time to shower and change into our “blacks” before supper in the hotel. The staff seated us at tables of four or six, making us feel like proper guests rather than our familiar feeling of being a herd. The manager himself welcomed us and told us about the menu. After a berry sorbet as appetizer, my lamb stew was delicious with good seasoning and well integrated vegetables. “Vegetables” always means potato and carrots and rutabaga, it seems.
Walking to St Mary’s Church
in the centre of town was a pleasant interlude between dinner and singing. The chancel, where we set up, was small for the choir and a tiny space for the band. The choir members sat in chairs on three sides, to be ready to sing Yanaway Heyona without stumbling into our positions.
The audience started coming in
as the band did its final polishing and review. Right at 8:00 an white-haired gentleman from the congregation welcomed the audience and Westwinds
. At first it seemed the audience would be sparse, but they kept trickling in for most of the band’s performance. The band’s music sounded good: they are in their groove and the acoustics of the church were excellent. To our dismay, but as I sort of expected, about a third of the audience left at the interval when the band equipment was dismantled. While we were singing, I looked at the people listening and was gratified to see some smiling and nodding. At the end, some people stayed long enough to say “Thanks for the concert.” And we said “Thanks for coming.” A nice interaction. A choir member remarked that some people last night complemented us, so it was just that I didn’t hear it.
About ten of us decided to go to Danby’s Pub again to listen to a live performance of Irish music. I was dismayed that the performer was a single singer/guitarist who had a mixed collection of popular sing-along songs. Also, at 9:30, we were late for the show (9:00 start), so
Main street from another time
there were no seats where we could actually see him. The server first took us to a distant section where we could hardly hear the performance; some of our group rebelled, and we took over a room at the front where at least we couldn’t see but we could hear. Of course, we all talked so much to each other we weren’t paying much attention to the music. I had a featured, new Jameson whiskey, “IPA”
, that was smooth and flavourful. About an hour later, Susan, Christine and I walked the fifteen minutes back to the hotel. Certainly I was exhausted.
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