Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Bucket List Wish.....

Time to hit the road.
After breakfast we Jim lugged the luggage down the stairs from hell.
We played "Ring around the Rosy" in the parking garage.
Prayed that the GPS would not lead us astray,
 and away we went!!
It wasn't that difficult getting out of the city, but it was a bit nerve-wracking at times.
I wish I had taken a picture of what seemed like the world's narrowest street, but, at the time one hand was firmly digging into the arm rest of the car and the other hand alternated between covering my eyes or covering my mouth to muffle the sharp intakes of breath.
I couldn't even find a picture on the internet to do it justice.
So, close your eyes and imagine.
A street approximately the width of your car....
No center line....
Cars parked either side....
You wonder, is this a one way street? it isn't.
Then you notice....
Coming towards you.....
A funeral procession!!!
Where the heck do you go????
Jim managed to squeeze into a slight curve in the road.
The funeral procession goes by.
We get to pay our respects up close and personal.
We were very happy to get onto the highway.....
Lines, oh glorious lines down the center of the road!!!

Just a few random photos, 
I really miss butcher shops.
Haven't seen a "L" plate on the back of a car for a loooonnng time.

We arrived in Cong a little early to check-in to Ashford Castle, so we decided to explore a bit and get some lunch,
It was a very pretty village.
We ate at Puddleducks Cafe.
Excellent food.
You may not think anything unusual about this picture, but look at it from another angle.
Outdoor seating was in the street.
Not on the side walk, but in the street.
These roads are narrow.......
just sayin'.

Another view of the village.  You can see the ruins of the abbey behind the house.
 This telephone box was one of the props used in filming the movie
"The Quiet Man."

"In 1951 John Ford's greatest movie "The Quiet Man" starring John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara and Barry Fitzgerald was made. It was set in the beautiful west of Ireland with filming being centered in the village of Cong on the Mayo-Galway border."
We had never heard of this movie before.  We are now going to watch it to see what all the fuss is about!!
 Cong Abbey
"Founded in 623AD by St. Feichin as a monastery this site was then chosen by Turlough Mor O Connor, High King of Connacht and of Ireland, as the Royal Augustinian Abbey of Cong which was built in 1120AD for the Canons Regular of the Order of St. Augustine.
The Royal Abbey of Cong is one of the finest examples of early architecture in Ireland. Examples of the wonderful craftsmanship is still very much in evidence today with the Abbey's Gothic windows, Romanesque doors and windows, clustered pillars, arches, standing columns and floral capitals.
 Three thousand cenobites resided within its walls and cloisters. The Abbotts themselves were excellent scholars in History, Poetry, Music, Sculpture and the illumination of books. they were also skilled craftsmen in metal work, engraving, inlaying and designing in bronze, gold, enamel, woodcarving and harp making. The Royal Abbey is one of Cong's most beautifully striking treasures.
The Augustinian Abbey at Cong was founded in the early 12th century by Turlough O’Connor (High King of Ireland), was built on the site of a 6th century church associated with St. Feichín. It features some very fine examples of stone carvings, as well as a cloister.
 The Abbey , which was endowed and supported by royal families of this era, is considered to be one of the finest examples of early architecture in Ireland, and it was here that Rory O’ Connor , last high King of Ireland died and was buried in 1198 though is remains were later moved to Clonmacnoise.
 The Abbey was suppressed in the reign of Henry VIII of England in 1542. It then fell into ruins but was later restored in 1850’s by the direction of Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness , former owner of Ashford Castle.
The Abbey served many purposes including a hiding place for the O’Connor family , a hospital for the sick, shelter for the poor and starving as well as being a place of learning for thousands of scholars."
 Whoa, who could that be?
The lurking ghost of a monk??
 No, it is Jessica trying to stay warm!!
The grounds surrounding the abbey.

 Ruins of a church, just across the road.

Time to check-in for our night at the castle.
So excited!!!
The entrance gate.
 You are greeted at the gate by this gentleman.
He makes sure you are on the "list".
He shakes your hand and then lets you through.
 This is actually the back of the castle.
You drive over this bridge to get to the castle.
 The doorman greets you by name and shows you to the reception area. 
Your luggage and car are taken care of.
The reception staff give you a brief tour, take care of any reservations you need for meals and activities.
Have to love somewhere that has the motto,
"Excellence Since 1228."
When you turn the TV on it has, "Welcome Mrs and Mr. Purdy."
 The bathroom
 We stayed in the oldest part of the castle.
They are gradually refurbishing.  Our rooms had not been done yet, but we were happy with them and the location in the castle.
 Sam's bed.
A sword, a book (which I think was on the nightstand), robe and slippers.
 Yeah, I would say he was happy.
 A cookie with his name and some juice.
Jessie was very disappointed that she didn't get a cookie with her name and some juice.
Jim wanted a sword.
 Looking out our window.
 Strolling the grounds.

 On our walk we all reached a mutual decision.......
we were going to stay one more night.
We went back to our rooms to relax and get ready for dinner.
We had reservations for 8pm in the dungeon.
 The food was excellent.
The service was excellent.
The atmosphere was excellent.
Our reservation had been messed up, wrong time I think, but, no problem, shown straight to a table.
I can't remember what everyone had, but, I had scallops and it was the best I have ever had.
We finished it off with ice-cream.
No frozen custard
Of course, it wasn't just slopped into a bowl with a squirt of Hershey syrup.
Oh, how I wish I had taken a picture!!!
You probably do as well!
What a great day........   

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