Searching from Ennis to Quin

Ennis.  A reasonable, if somewhat parsimonious breakfast at the B&B, where the full Irish breakfast is one egg, two little rashers and two very little sausages.  Good coffee though, and plenty of toast.  Unfortunately she was out of marmalade.  The proprietor of Cusack Lodge is a pleasant enough blonde lady but somewhat aloof.  I hardly saw her.  Breakfast was served by hired help, Spanish I think, she did not appear to speak much English.
I realised I had not had a pub meal yet, so I planned to discover the best place to go tonight.  But first: Off to search for Nana’s cottage.
But of course I was soon diverted by Clare Abbey, Clare Friary, and later Quin Abbey, not to mention all the pleasant homes, country lanes and quaint pubs.   Despite the diversions I pressed on and finally, to cut a long story short, found where I believed the cottage to have been.  The O’Briens were long gone, and a new house, in fact several new houses stand where I am told the cottage once stood.  I was disappointed of course.  I had rather set my heart on standing within the confines of the house in which my Grandmother was raised.  But the joy of really being in Ireland, and actually having come to Ennis overcame the sadness.  In any case, I had a pleasant time chatting with people, who mostly seemed  impressed and touched by my quest to seek the home of Grandmother.  Everyone was very keen to help, and several phoned friends and acquaintances to seek information.  I met a few O’Briens and two Mr Coffeys, father and son, who were very friendly, but are apparently not related to the Coffey who married my Great Grandmother.  But they suspected that the Coffeys up the Old Bog Road may have been.  Unfortunately I did not have time to find out.  I visited one of the addresses, but no one was home.  In Quin, I bought a pie for an exorbitant sum equivalent to about 10 NZ dollars, and ate it under an old stone bridge over the river Fergus, the bridge framing a view of Quin Abbey, which I had previously explored.   Quin seemed a typical small Irish village, I could not guess at the population, but I would have thought a few hundred people only, certainly not more than a thousand in the entire area.  Along the single street there was a small general store, a pharmacy, butcher, post office rows of houses, and seven pubs.  I found this everywhere I went.  Many villages seemed to have more pubs than houses.
On the advice of several people I had asked during the day, in the evening I dined at Brogan’s, a pub in the Main street of Ennis.  I must be a magnet to little old Irish ladies, because after I had eaten, and while we were waiting for the live music to start, another pair of old dears came and sat with me, and chatted me up.  I told them of my quest, and they immediately warmed to someone who travels all the way round the world merely to visit the birthplace of his Grandma.  We had a long chat about their travels and mine, and about New Zealand, which they frequently confused with Australia.  I did the accents so they could tell the difference if they met an Aussie in future,  They were very interested in Maori, and asked about that scary song the rugby players – those Black-alls do.  It was refreshing to meet someone who knew less than I about NZ Rugby.
I did a wee sitting down haka for them, slapping my thighs, posturing and pulling faces.  I improvised words from the NZ cigarette packets for a second verse.
Ka mate koe i te kai hikareti!   It must have been the Guinness.
I found the whole pub went quiet for a moment, some polite smiles, curious stares, murmured comments and then back to their conversations.  Fortunately the advertised live entertainment finally started up.  Some people at a table nearby suddenly produced instruments from somewhere.  A wooden flute, a tin whistle, a mandolin and a small accordion.  It was all go.  No one sang, which was a little disappointing.  The mandolin player was Chinese, which was curious.  He played in Irish though.
So the evening passed in convivial company, Irish music, good food, and Guinness.
I had only had a couple of Guinnesses over the evening, and tried one local beer.  The alcohol intake was offset by a decent meal, so I was happy to drive back to the B&B.  Thank goodness for the GPS though, for without its unfailing ability to point the way home I would have wandered forever.  Sensible chap to bring it, so I was.

About Uisce úr

Though I am old with wandering Through hollow lands and hilly lands, I will find out where she has gone, And kiss her lips and take her hands; And walk among long dappled grass, And pluck till time and times are done, The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun.
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One Response to Searching from Ennis to Quin

  1. Pingback: Brogan’s Bar, Ennis | Hodophilia

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