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Published: October 6th 2011
Day twelve: Droghedha, County Louth
A Note to Our Blog Friends: Some of you are writing to ask if we are now home. Yes, sadly we are. We had a difficult time with internet connectivity while we were on the road, and to be truthful, we were just having too much fun to come home early to write, so we are playing catch-up as we get over jet-lag and homesickness for our two favorite islands. The blogs will continue as this is the way that I make up our trip scrap books. This year I also created a journal prior to leaving and was somewhat faithful in keeping daily entries. The scrap books are something to look forward to when we are in our 90’s and too old to walk 5 or 6 miles a day and scale a few castle walls.
We are up surprisingly early and Niamh and Pierce are already bustling about in the kitchen making us a Full Irish Breakfast. For the uninitiated, this is high protein feast of rashers (the wonderful Irish bacon that is more like thin slices of ham,) sausages, fried slices of black pudding and white pudding, eggs,
toast, and sometimes baked tomatoes. If it’s really over the top, there will be fried potatoes, beans, and sautéed mushrooms and we have been known to indulge in a bit of all of this a morning or two. John is doubly happy because Naimh and Pierce have lived in the US and know how to make a good strong cup of coffee. When crossing the pond, I become a happy tea drinker.
To get you oriented, we are now on the East Coast of Ireland in County Louth, about 40 miles from Dublin. Yesterday we were on the Northwest Coast of Ireland in County Clare. So, we have travelled from one coast of Ireland to the other, and both are beautiful. It is also always a good idea to get John as close to the water as possible on our trips—it just makes him happy.
So, first we are off to the fishing village of Clogherhead, hoping the fish shop will be open on this drizzly Sunday. As we drive in, Niamh, who was born and raised in Drogheda, as was Pierce, points out the deep channel where on some days huge cargo vessels sail into the port
and appear to be drifting over the flat plain. We are not so lucky today. But, we are lucky in that the fish shop is open and we pick up some beautiful sea trout for dinner and spend some time looking at the boats and the port. The boys climb about and we appreciate the cool salt air.
After dropping the trout off at the house, we are on our way to The Hill of Slaine and the ruins of Slane Abbey. It is said that in 433 Saint Patrick lit a Paschal fire on this hilltop in defiance of the pagan fire lit on the Hill of Tara. This location was chosen by Saint Patrick because of its importance as a pagan shrine site and because it could be seen across the 10 miles to the Hill of Tara, the most important site of the pagans in all Ireland. The story goes that High King Laoire was so impressed by either the defiance or by the devotion of St. Patrick that he let him continue his Christian ministry. It is gorgeous and the boys have a wonderful time climbing the ruins. It is amazing that such ruins are
left open to visitors, although Niamh tells us that this will most likely change in the near future. Visitors and weather, and today small boys, are taking their toll on Ireland’s history.
Next stop is a quick trip to the Rushwee Church in the vain hope that I will stumble upon information about my Brady ancestors. The church turns out to be too new for my 1800’s search, and Church of Ireland rather than Catholic, so we drive on to Monasterboice. Monsasterboice (which the boys call “monster voice”) was founded by St. Buite, a follower of St. Patrick, in the early 500’s. to serve as a Celtic-Irish monastery. Not much remains except for the famous High Crosses of which the Tall Cross is the highest in Ireland, Muiredach’s Cross which is one of the most ornately carved in Ireland, and the tall Round Tower.
By now, the boys are feeling the need for an ice cream pick-me-up. We stop for a 99 which is to us a soft serve cone with a “Flake” of Cadbury chocolate plunked into the middle. With ice cream in hands, Pierce guides the 7 passenger van through the tiny market streets of
Drogheda and then we are back to the warmth of the Collin’s home with a promise of fresh fish for dinner and the company of Niamh’s parents. Mary and Noel.
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