Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Around the World: Ennistymon

May 8, 1992

"You'll have to excuse me, I'm not at my best. I've been gone for ..." ... 5 months.


As Richard predicted, hitch hiking is a fairly reliable way to travel.  It would probably be a little more productive if there was more traffic, but we are making progress.  In the meantime, the walking isn't unfamiliar, or all that unwelcome.  Ireland is very pretty to look at.  What we believe is heather cascades over the rolling hills and into the distance like a blanket of violet.  There's a comforting scent on the breeze, like some vaguely soothing fragrance remembered from early childhood. It's like stepping into a grandparent's house, which is pretty much where I'm headed now.  The forks of my family tree lead straight back to County Clare.  

The Emerald Isle:  It's not easy being green.

Arrived in Ennistymon, thanks to the generosity of a cube van that dropped us off almost on the doorstep of the Carrig's pub. Richard opens the front doors and introduces me to his friend, the establishment's proprietor, Terry.

Terry invites us to sit at a bench in the small pub and welcomes us each with a pint of Guinness. 

I've tried Guinness at home and wasn't a fan.  I remember it had this distinctive flavour of nasty, much like the leftover beer that was used as an ashtray.  In its defense, I'm told Guinness doesn't travel well and tastes remarkably better the closer one is to the brewery, which, incidentally, is just up the road (across the island) in Dublin. Not wanting to be rude, I bravely take a sip.

It's different.  Not nearly the nasty flavour I was expecting.  Another sip.  Yes, this is definitely drinkable.  The third sip is the clincher.  While Terry searches for a book for us to compare family history on our shared surname, I find it very easy to empty my glass.

Which is promptly refilled.

Terry asks me how the trip was from Limerick.  I answer in my best traveler's English, which is breaking the sentence down into the simplest words, minus the superfluous prepositions and adjectives with lots of charades.  Richard pokes me on the arm and quietly says, "He speaks English."

I've been communicating this way for so long, I'm not sure that I still speak English.  Fortunately, the claims that Guinness is good for you are true.  Near the bottom of my third pint, I find my grade school grammar.

The plan is to leave in a day or two to see the rest of Ireland and continue on to Scotland before returning to London and then home.  That's not what happened.  Sometimes, the best adventures are the ones that are unplanned.   

• ¤ •

"... I need home for a rest."
~Spirit of the West

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