On Saturday, we walked down the street and waited for Burke's Bus to arrive so we could ride to Galway. A few of us got on at Ballinrobe, which is the starting point of that particular route. After the stops at Headford, the bus was packed. We got to Galway and were met by Mona, of Wise Words and her husband, Ron. We've been corresponding with Mona via email and Facebook for 7 or 8 years now and there have been many changes in her life and ours in that time. We'd met in person for the first time just a few weeks ago, when she and Ron stopped by our flat on their way home from an event. They kindly invited us to come and spend the night at their home, so off to Galway we went.
They took us through Galway on the way to their house and we got to see some of the iconic parts of the city--that was nice, since we were in a completely different part of town when we were there before.
We got to their house and we met the animals, had some tea and talked. It was great to be able to talk in person and to get to know them both a bit better. I always enjoy hanging out in a comfortable place and having good conversations with interesting people!
We had a yummy lunch and watched the ducks, ducklings, goose, chickens, and the turkey wandering around the back garden (yard). I must admit that I was quite taken with the turkey--I found him extremely amusing as he strutted around puffing out his feathers. Back and forth he went, stopping to look into the sliding glass door. His head looked like he was wearing his brain on the outside. Later on when we were sitting outside, he would come by and accept head pats from people. He would occasionally stop his strutting and stomp his foot over and over again. For some reason, I was thinking of some guy playing a banjo in a bluegrass band.
It was fun to watch the birds and to have a dog and a cat to hang out with. We miss having animals and will definitely be going to a place where we can have pets when we leave this flat.
We went for a walk in the evening--so nice to see the scenery. It's a lovely spot. We saw someone's peat supply, too, in a shed by the side of the road--not sure if they are just starting to build it up for next winter or if it's what's left from last winter.
We had a delicious dinner which concluded with an apple pie made by Ron (aka The Chef) topped with some of his homemade ice cream and fresh, local strawberries. We were stuffed! Of course, besides the food, the conversation also made the dinner nice--and I mean the conversations between the adults and with their four kids, who conversed quite well at the table and who asked us questions about where we were from and shared their own thoughts with us. It was just lovely with the conversation, the great food, and the turkey strutting by and looking in to see if he was being noticed.
The next morning we got up and sat in the sitting room with the cat, who had jumped in the window as we slept and greeted us in bed when we woke up, but who had left the room at some point to sleep on the couch. I was tatting when we started hearing a noise. We weren't sure what it was at first, but we realized it was the dog, who was in the kitchen, so we moved ourselves in there, accompanied by the cat. I put the tatting down so I could pet both of them as requested!
After a yummy breakfast that included a duck egg omelette and homemade bread, we headed out to go to a flea market and then drive around a bit before going to Galway to catch Bus Eireann home (Burke's Bus doesn't run on Sundays). The turkey came around to the front of the house as we were getting in the car and stood on the front step gobbling away. He had quite a bit to say! Bill found a book at the first stall we stopped at in the flea market and there was this guy there who was selling/taking orders for these really clever picnic tables. They were really heavy and sturdy--quite well made--but he'd designed them to be able to take the pieces apart, so that it could be easily disassembled for moving or storage. He also put casters on them, so that they could be moved from one place to another. Great design and craftsmanship there!
We took a drive through some scenic areas and then headed to Galway. Something must've been going on, because it was hard to find a place to park. We had about half an hour before we had to catch our bus, so we said good-bye to Ron and Mona and went our separate ways. Good thing we got to the bus station early! There was already a queue forming for the bus we needed and by the time we boarded, it was packed! Several people got off at Ballinrobe. I was glad to see so many people using both bus services. When we first started looking for a place to rent (while we were still in Maine), we were looking at a few places in Portumna, but eliminated those because we learned that Bus Eireann had discontinued their bus service to the town--possibly because of low ridership.
We had a great time on our visit. It was so peaceful and relaxing. It was great to meet the Wise kids and to get to know the Wise adults a little better. It felt like a little vacation. And Bill was happy that it didn't start raining hard until a little bit after we got home!