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Fermanagh and Omagh

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    • Day 144


      May 25 in Northern Ireland ⋅ 🌬 15 °C

      Soleil !! ☀️

      C'est la journée où il faut pédaler, car demain le temps se gâte... Paraît il...
      Ceci dit, je pense que chez Météo Irlande, les algorithmes sont développés directement par les brebis . Parce que la fiabilité est vraiment... Aléatoire.
      Enfin bref, au final 73km et 1000m de d+.

      Nous avons voyagé le long de petites routes, entourées de prairies où vaches et moutons vivent une vie bien paisible :)

      La sympathie des irlandais a encore été vérifiée aujourd'hui. Nous avons du raconter notre histoire à au moins 5 personnes ahah. Et finalement, c'est John, qui buvait tranquillement sa bière qui nous installe sur une terrasse à côté de sa maison.

      Pour bien récupérer, on es retourné au pub boire une bière et... Manger un léger encas pour Fab... 😶‍🌫️🍔🍟

      On espère passer une bonne nuit, surveillés par des dizaines et des dizaines de corbeaux, car demain... 🌧️
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    • Day 48

      eine Woche Upper Lough Erne

      June 22, 2023 in Northern Ireland ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

      Schon in Wales fiel uns bei p4n eine vielversprechende Seenlandschaft in Nordirland ins Auge und nachdem wir auf Finns Basaltsäulen rumgeklettert waren, zog es uns dorthin. Große Freude, denn unsere Erwartungen wurden weit übertroffen! Nach 4 km einspuriger Schleichfahrt ging es noch in eine Sackgasse und kurz vor deren Ende kamen wir an einem abgelegenen Bootssteg mit einigen wenigen Parkplätzen an. Wir waren hier aber die Einzigen(!) und voller Vorfreude auf die Ruhe und Abgeschiedenheit richteten wir den Mops mit Blick vom Bett zum Wasser aus (für das morgendliche Seelenstreicheln!). Dieser See ist riesig groß (sogar noch unterteilt in Upper und Lower Lough Erne) und übersät mit unzähligen kleinen Inseln. Ein Paradies für Wassersportler! Überlücklich bauten wir unsere "Queen Mary too" auf und paddelten eine erste Proberunde. Der Abend bei Wein und Seeblick war ein Gedicht!
      Trotz unschöner Wetterprognosen schafften wir es, täglich eine andere Runde zwischen den Inseln zu erkunden. Nachmittags, als wir zurück waren, durfte es ruhig auch mal regnen. Dafür schien am Abend meist die Sonne wieder.
      Am Steg legte hin und wieder eine kleine Motoryacht an, manchmal auch über Nacht, und einmal näherte sich uns ein kleines Boot lautlos, aber mit respektablem Tempo. Bei näherer Betrachtung waren wir hellauf begeistert. Hier hatten wir es mit einem waschechten Steamboat zu tun - wann und wo sieht man noch sowas?!
      Insgesamt blieben wir hier eine Woche, es war einfach zu schön, so hautnah die Natur zu erleben und sich dabei auch noch aktiv in der Sonne und auf dem Wasser zu bewegen. Weit von unserem Platz entfernt gab es auch einen Bootsverleih mit Wasserspaßinseln, wo auch Paddelkurse angeboten werden - mit Schulungen, die das Natur- und Umweltbewusstsein der Kids schärfen.
      Dann zauberte Rosi zum Geburtstag eine Butterchremetorte, die gleich um Mitternacht angeschnitten wurde. Erstaunlich, wie hell es noch nachts um Eins war! Irgendwie erinnerte uns der gesamte Aufenthalt hier an Schweden, wo wir vor Jahren dieses Inselhopping schon mal praktiziert hatten.
      Nun besinnen wir uns, dass wir von Großbritannien noch mehr sehen wollen, also packen wir die Mary wieder ein und bereiten alles für die morgige Weiterfahrt vor.
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    • Day 13

      Pancake Tuesday (Mardi Gras)

      February 13 in Ireland ⋅ ☁️ 45 °F

      Some irish pancakes (drop scones) fresh off the pan. Tomorrow is the start of Lent, so today is a day of indulgence 😊

      Here we call today, Pancake Tuesday or sometimes Shrove Tuesday, and of course elsewhere it is more famously known as Mardi Gras..

      We eat them with lemon juice and sugar.
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    • Day 31

      Enniskillen Nordirland

      May 3 in Northern Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      Heute haben wir sehr gutes Wetter. Wir fahren von Ballina bis Enniskillen in Nordirland. Unterwegs machen wir einen Kaffeehalt in einem hübschen Kaffeehaus. In Enniskillen stehen wir heute auf einem Flussufer-Bauernhof 🤔. Am Fluss ist es und auf dem Land auch nur den Bauernhof hab ich noch nicht gefunden. Auf jeden Fall ist alles sehr sauber und die Leute vom Platz sehr nett. Ausserdem ist es sehr warm. Endlich kann ich kurzärmlig und mit kurzen Hosen herumlauf😎Read more

    • Day 150


      May 31 in Ireland ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

      Après 8 jours de pédalage et 410km parcourus, nous voilà enfin arrivés à notre pause !
      La ville de Donegal sera notre point d'encrage pour les 3 prochaines nuits.

      La journée a sûrement été la plus ensoleillée depuis notre arrivée en Irlande. Si on y ajoute un vent toujours favorable, on obtient une journée (presque) idéale !
      On a un peu manqué de paysages grandioses ! ... On doit devenir exigeants.

      Après la douche, rien de mieux qu'une bonne bière pour récupérer !
      A la votre ! 🍻
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    • Day 80

      CÚIG GHRIANGHRAF-Ireland Day 15

      July 2, 2022 in Ireland ⋅ ☁️ 13 °C

      We woke up greeted with a sunny morning and we enjoyed our last breakfast on the MVP Popcorn Polaris.

      Today's final destination was Donegal, and we decided to take a more direct route to the town of Sligo before moving back to the Wild Atlantic Way along the coast to Donegal.

      Just outside the town of Sligo is the resting place of W.B. Yeats. I make no pretense about being a Yeats scholar although I'm familiar with a few of his poems. I didn't know that he was an Irish statesmen as well.

      We wandered the church graveyard and we noticed many people caring for the plots of departed loved ones amidst very old markers that were in significant disrepair. I appreciated the love and care that these people were taking to beautify those lost to them.

      We made our way to the remaining hour's drive to Donegal, and we arrived at our Bed & Breskfast, the Ard Na Breatha (height of the breath) House. The home is beautiful in a bucolic setting with horses and sheep grazing nearby. We were greeted by Theresa who helped us check in and she gave us directions to Donegal City.

      After a short nap, we decided to walk to the town center. We noticed a center stage in the town square, and a line-up of scheduled performers. It was fun to watch families with their toddlers dancing, and it reminded us of Olive dancing to Bruce Springsteen when she was about a year and a half.

      We walked along the Donegal Bay and we arrived at the ruins of the Donegal Abbey surrounded by a cemetery. It was a really beautiful walk through the grounds along the bay.

      We headed back to town for dinner, and we stopped by Quay West for an Italian meal overlooking the bay. After dinner we followed Theresa's recommendation, and we dropped by a local pub,The Reel Inn, which is heralded for its live entertainment.

      The performers weren't slated to begin until about 9:30 so we used the time to sample Irish coffee and beer. We had great seats to see the singers, and we struck up a conversation with a young man and his father. The younger man was at most in his early 20's. He told us that he had Irish family in Boston, and we talked about life in the States.

      When the two guitarists and vocalists started up, the atmosphere really perked up. The sense of community really matched my romanticized version of Irish pubs, and I enjoyed watching the people as much as I enjoyed the performers.

      At one point, I took a trip to the bathroom. In the washroom, I moved to get out of the way of another man with an accompanying "Excuse Me". I'm assuming that he noticed my accent because he immediately inquired "Where are ye from?" I replied the U.S., Portland, Oregon. He was quite animated and he told me that he had worked in the Midwest-Arizona. I smiled and told him that we considered that the Southwestern part of the States. He shared with me that he had suggested to his wife that they take a honeymoon on Route 66 and apparently she retorted that it would be her own version of Hell. I laughed and shook the hand of my new found friend who wished me safe travels.

      I returned to my seat, and we enjoyed some more songs. Offerings varied from Irish and Scottish songs to songs by the Dixie Chick's and Bob Marley. When the performers started singing Don McLean's "American Pie" every single person in the pub joined in with a very heighten sense of festive community. The young man next to us also belted it out. I asked him if he knew that the song was fifty years old, and I confessed that I was 13 when it was first released. He replied with a simple shrug, "It's a good song "

      The performers took an intermission break, and we decided that this was good timing to hear back home. We walked the path back home with light drizzle dampening the air.

      It was a magical first night in the village of Donegal City. We shared a sense of community and that continues to be the gift of Ireland.

      I'm thinking of my father who would have been 85 next Saturday. He personified the Yeats sentiment that I'll close with tonight:

      "There are no strangers here-only friends you haven't yet met "
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    • Day 81

      CÚIG GHRIANGHRAF-Ireland Day 16

      July 3, 2022 in Ireland ⋅ ☁️ 12 °C

      Today we had our first full day in County Donegal which sits on a rather large peninsula. After a nice breakfast to begin the day we made our way to Glenveagh National Park to see the landscape and to take a walk to Glenveagh Castle. While the path to the castle was fairly level terrain, the wind was quite brisk and the temperatures remain cool.

      The terrain is quite dramatic and glacier carved. We were surprised by the lack of birds or other animals although we enjoyed the landscape which reminded us of alpine meadows in Wyoming.

      The castle was a little over four kilometers, and we enjoyed exploring the walled gardens and we had lunch and lattes in the café. The castle was closed for tours, but it was fun to walk around this 19th century edifice.

      We opted to take the shuttle bus back to our car to get to our big destination of the day: Slieve League Cliffs. These cliffs are even more dramatic than the Cliffs of Moher, and they're three times as high measuring around 600 meters in altitude. More on that in a few.

      One of the stops that we tried to make along the way was to visit the dolmen or portal tomb at Kilclooney in County Donegal, which dates back to around 3500 BC. It consists of two stacked stones with one at an angle over the other. We has difficulty finding the dolmen, and the directions were not clear. We did finally see it from a distance on a hill. Given that we weren't sure if it was ok to wander through private property, we took a photo from a distance instead. I learned after the fact that owners allow visitors to travel on their property.

      We then made our way to the Slieve League Cliffs. The route to get to the cliffs was quite spectacular. We were a little startled by a car rolling backwards down a steep slope on the road in front of us. We figured out that a young driver was learning to operate a manual transmission. I had a flashback to my father teaching my mother to operate our 1964 VW Bug by turning off the ignition with my mother at the wheel at a steep hill as my mother yelled expletives at my father, he laughed, and the the kids in the back cried. My mother did recover quickly and navigate it well, but my chikdhood experience gave me instant empathy for the young driver.

      On the way we stopped for coffee at a roadside stand. We learned that the vendor, although an Irish native, had lived in Houston for a bit and she loved the experience. We held our tongues about Texas given the political situation there. We did otherwise enjoy our exchange with her. She reminded me a bit of Maureen O'Hara.

      We arrived at the visitors parking lot at Slieve League. We assumed that the viewpoint of the Cliffs to be about a few hundred meters up the road. We were dead wrong about that as it turned out that the Cliffs were about a mile or so up a steep stretch of road. Every peak brought disappointment. I kept thinking of the Ginzu Knife commercial "Oh, but wait there's more."
      (No explanation for my random brain synapses).

      At one part of the journey up, we thought that it was beginning to rain. We realized later that the "rain" was actually the backwards flow of a waterfall due to the very strong winds. At times, the wind did nearly stop the downward flow of the waterfall.

      We did finally make it to the observation area and the second parking lot. I griped about that a bit, but we really did enjoy the amazing Cliffs and ocean waves crashing against them below.

      We started making our way back down the trek and again facing the steep roads. Ireland is known for its many curses. For example, "May the lamb of God stir his hoof through the roof of heaven and kick you in the arse down to hell."

      As we made our way back to the car, and I stared at the steep road in the very blustery day, I pro claimed that the traditional Irish blessing "May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be ever at your back..." should now be demoted to an Irish curse which I solemnized with my middle finger aimed at the road. In my annoyance I offered a loud BAAA at two sheep crossing the road, and both immediately scampered in the opposite direction. I've never been an Alpha Sheep before, and I'm still trying to decide if it's a new form of empowerment.

      I really did love the journey though, all bitching aside.

      On our journey home, we noticed hundreds of stuffed animals tied to fences and poles. We both thought it was very weird until I discovered on the internet that the gesture is in tribute to a teen who died of leukemia just before reaching her 18th birthday. There is an annual race in her honor that has now expanded to other countries. The stuffed animals are in tribute to children being treated for cancer and in honor of those who have passed. It was really quite moving.

      We ended the day with a hearty meal at a dowtown hotel adjacent to the town square where the festival was on its last evening concert performances. A Garth Brooks tribute band was in competition with the restaurant music causing unlikely mash-ups with Rod Stewart, Bruce Springsteen and The Supremes.

      It was an eventful day, and I logged a walking record for our trip to date: over 19,000 steps today.

      I bid you all a good night with a grateful heart.
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    • Day 82


      July 4, 2022 in Ireland ⋅ ☁️ 13 °C

      Today was a quiet day. I spent most of the time just relaxing at our B&B, and Jim C managed to land a tee time at the Donegal Golf Club. I was really glad that he could make the time to do this and do something that he's loved for over fifty years. He did send me a photo of sand trap that he managed to find on the first hole. I'm thinking that it was designed by Satan and not St. Patrick.

      "No summer's high, no warm July...I just called to say I love you."

      Stevie Wonder's song has been an earworm today as his lyrics note that there was no special occasion or holiday as the excuse to call. It was simply to express love. When we first planned this trip, we noted the different occasions that we would miss in the states: many family birthdays, the wedding of our friends Christian and Brett and lastly Independence Day. I wondered what it would be like to miss an American holiday, but I have to admit that this year I'm relieved to be in a country where it isn't observed.

      I see friends expressing conflicted feelings about celebrating July 4th when too many Anericans are treated as less than. Back home we would have wanted to celebrate with family and friends, but my focus would be on them and not with a sense of pride in my country. Patriotism seems reserved for white supremacist homophobic and misogynistic men. Exchanges on social media openly portray that fracture among family and friends.

      Come November I pray that "We, the People" will prevail and that we insist on government that is accountable and acts with integrity.

      I think Mark Twain got it right: "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it."

      Today I was talking with one of the staff at the B&B. Her husband is from Sacramento and they met here in Donegal and he is a local minister. She expressed appreciation for Americans and America and said "I don't think you know how lovely you all are." I responded, "I hope that we find that again."

      I appreciate her reminder. We certainly are struggling to see the light in one another. I know that I struggle to find any light in those who are determined to oppress others.

      A friend posted some of the lyrics of Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land". Growing up, I only knew the flowery lyrics that we sang in elementary school. Those were the only lyrics that my friend quoted on their post. But there are adfitional lyrics that Woody wrote that seem more relevant today:

      "As I went walking I saw a sign there,
      And on the sign it said "No Trespassing."
      But on the other side it didn't say nothing.
      That side was made for you and me.

      In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
      By the relief office I seen my people;
      As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
      Is this land made for you and me?

      Nobody living can ever stop me,
      As I go walking that freedom highway;
      Nobody living can ever make me turn back
      This land was made for you and me."

      So today was without a BBQ. There was no time with family and friends. There were no fireworks or parades. We did enjoy a quiet dinner our and we reflected on our day and planned for our travels tomorrow.

      When Jim returned from the golf links, he noted that the sand trap was designed in a way that if you land in one and are on the edge, you invariably have to go backwards to go forward. It seems like we're on the edge of our own manufactured sand trap. We have certainly experienced going backwards. Perhaps we can find a way together to go forward. That's my prayer for this 4th of July.

      Meanwhile, I just blogged to say I love you. ❤️

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    • Day 6

      Getting lost in the bog and the fog

      December 7, 2023 in Ireland ⋅ 🌧 48 °F

      Out on Sliagh Beag at Bragan, Co.Monaghan

      The Penal Cross was erected in 1938 in memory of a priest executed during a Christmas Day Mass in 1754. The Pena Law Act prohibited the practice of catholicism and authorized the violent repression of the same. The congregation would have traveled on foot to this remote bog to avoid detection (not successfully, it seems).

      The track leading down into the fog leads to a path that gives foot access to 3 loughs (lakes) I used to fish for trout with our neighbor, Pat when I was a teenager. The lakes straddle the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, with one being in the latter. Once we encountered an infantry of soldiers patrolling the area, as this was a closed border at the time, but they weren't particularly interested in us.
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    • Day 6


      September 29, 2019 in Northern Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

      Wir bleiben heute nochmal in Enniskillen, das Wetter ist herrlich und wir geniessen die Sonne an Deck und Thomas und ich Shoppen noch die letzten Mitbringsel für zu Hause. NEXT der Laden für unseren Enkel und Samuel für unsere Kids, ich sage nur Disney Figuren 😀
      Abends gehen wir noch mal ins grannys - Traditional Music every Sunday- das muss noch sein.
      Morgen geht es dann wieder weiter, der Heimatmarina immer näher, leider.
      Slainte und Guts nächtle ...
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Fermanagh and Omagh, Comhairle Ceantair Fhear Manach agus na hÓmaí

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