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Rest and Recovery in Misty Adare, and a Visit to Lough Gur

This entry is part of a series, Ireland 2009»

Dunraven Adare

The past five days had been Very Hectic, so we decided to take the morning off from touring and relax a bit. We slept in, ate a late, sedate breakfast, then went for a stroll.

I had been up since the chirping birds began serenading us through our open windows at first light, about 3:45 AM. (Actually,that’s not completely true; I took a nap from 5 AM to 7 AM, just to start my day-after-Father’s-Day off right.) These long days and short nights will be the death of us. At least the solstice was behind us and we could look forward to shorter and shorter days. Only, there won’t be any noticeable effect over the next few weeks, so we won’t benefit on this trip. Oh well.

Black Abbey Tower

It was a bit misty when we first went out, and that added an interesting light to everything. We weren’t much in the photo-taking mood; saving ourselves for the afternoon, we told ourselves. Actually, at this point we have over 2,500 photos, quite enough to keep Paula Jo up nights for a long time, sorting and cataloging. I’m sure there are many more to come over then next week or so.

The banks don’t open until 10 AM, so it was a good thing we’d lolligagged procrastinated taken our time getting started. We grabbed our traveler’s checks and cash and moseyed on over to the AIB, the only bank in Adare. They get plenty of tourists, though, so we were confident (and so was the receptionist at the Dunraven) that we would have no problems getting some Euros to help pump up the Irish economy.

Boy, were we all wrong! Oh, sure; they had plenty of Euros. But only Paula Jo had her passport along, so only she could exchange her traveler’s checks. To add insult to injury, the bank wasn’t taking any US$ 100 bills either. Seems there’s been to many counterfeit bills passed recently, and no banks in Europe were taking US$ notes larger than $50. Dang those North Koreans! The cash we did get exchanged was barely enough for a couple pints at the pub.

The Good Room

Instead of spending our paltry stash of Euros at the pub at 11 AM, though, we decided to go for lunch instead. After all, it’d been what, two whole hours since breakfast? Gotta nip trends like that in the bud, or the next thing you know we’ll be accused of dieting or something.

I remembered a small eatery near the Dunraven Arms, called The Inn Between. It was situated in a building that looked like a small, old hostel, sharing floorspace with the Wild Geese Restaurant (more on that favorite of ours in later posts). However, when we got there we found it was gone! In its place, though, was an entirely different sort of dining establishment, called The Good Room. A bit more modern on the inside than I remembered for the previous joint.

Desmond Castle

We were early, naturally. (We do that a lot.) Paula Jo decided on an open-face roast beef sandwich and I ordered spicy vegetable soup and an appetizer, bruschetta, as my meal. The food smelled wonderful when delivered, and I enjoyed my dish quite a lot. Paula was less impressed with the roast beef sandwich; not the meat, the stash and trash that came along with it. Good, but not outstanding. I ate some of her sandwich, and I had to agree it wasn’t as good as the bruschetta. She ate some of my bruschetta to make up for it all, and we left satisfied and ready for our afternoon trip to Lough Gur.

Before we could leave town, though, we simply had to get more of those lovely (and all too dear) Euros to cover our daily expenses. John Carey came to pick us up, and he had an idea. He has an account at the AIB, so he was sure he could get the hundreds exchanged. I made sure to have my passport with this time, and off we went, two blocks back to the bank. Exchanges went must more smoothly, and with our saddlebags stuffed full of gold coins fresh Euros we headed out to the lake.

Road to Lough Gur

Lough Gur is only a few miles east of Adare, down some lovely, narrow country roads. John still insisted on driving on the wrong side of the road, but everybody we met seemed to expect that of him so we relaxed, unlimbered our photo-taking fingers and enjoyed the ride.

John took us down a really out-of-the-way lane to an old, abandoned Texaco gas station. A fixer-upper, and a real opportunity for somebody with a penchant for entrepreneurship and lots of excess energy to focus on cleaning, repairing, painting and just generally working hard. We took lots of pictures, and even though the light wasn’t quite right I think some of them came out nicely.

Old Gas Station

Lough Gur was one of the earliest places in Ireland settled by prehistoric man, and there are some fine old ruins there. The lake is shaped like a large horseshoe, and these days it’s used for fishing, human-powered boating, hiking the hills nearby, and simply relaxing. We saw several groups grilling their dinner (or late lunch), and at least three couples just settin’ a spell and reading newspapers or books.

There’s a nice little tourist center by the lake, with lots of information about the history of the Lough Gur settlements. There’s even a short multimedia presentation! Archeology studies are still active at several points in the area.

Old Farmhouse

The fields near the lake are very green and fertile, with lots of cattle and sheep working on the hills. John showed us a path, marked “No Entry,” where we simply walked in. Turns out he has a friend who owns that place, and we went up to see the old farmhouse and barns. The owner plans to modernize the place, someday, and maybe even live there. It has a fantastic view of the lake, the hills around and some very nice, old trees. It’ll take a lot of work to get the place livable, though; ivy is even growing in through the windowsills. If it’s left a few more years it will be yet another stone ruin in the Irish countryside.

Near Lough Gur is a nice “fairy ring” or Druidic stone ring, built for celebrating the summer solstice. We missed being there at solstice by two days. The attendant said lots of folks showed up, but there were too many clouds just at sunset and nobody got to see the light beam across the ring onto the solstice stone. We enjoyed looking at the site, though. Many say it’s a temple of some sort, nearly 4,000 years old. I think it’s really the first dance hall in Ireland.

Druidic Ring Stones

We returned to Adare in good order and decided to take dinner at the Arches Restaurant, downtown. I developed a good friendship with the family that runs the Arches over the years I visited there, and it had been way too long since I’d seen them, experienced their fine service and better vittles. I’ll write a separate post reviewing our dining experience at the Arches.

For now, it’s high time we went to the pub for a nightcap…

Enjoy the (Lazy Day) Heat!

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