Yesterday was another very full day, involving a trip to Ardagh (the site of Bri Leith, where the tale of Midir and Etáin took place), where I sat out the trip to the well and to any of the churches or other bits in the two but had a quiet hour or so at the Midir and Etain tea shop in the Ardagh heritage center. I really needed the down time, considering everything I've been doing of late.
After that, we visited the Hill of Uisneach. It's been closed to the public for some time, apparently, but it's open now. The farmer who owns the property is apparently fixing it up with some wicker fencing around parts of the hill, gates at both ends in line with the ancient approach marked by stones, and also setting up a yurt (presumably for an information station) and a labyrinth made with live willow saplings that will probably be very lovely when it's done. The top of the hill remains undeveloped, and the view, even on a cloudy day, was spectacular. ogam
poured out a whiskey offering and those of us who climbed the hill spent some silent time. I wandered over after that to a standing stone surrounded by a small ring of much smaller stones and took a few photos; a frog leapt from near my feet, which I considered a pretty good omen.
Once we were finished at Uisneach, we went back into the little town of Mullingar (not much more than a crossroads and a pub) and walked down to the Brigid's Well maybe a quarter of a mile away. The well was quite lovely and in good repair. This well is, essentially, heart-shaped, and it was there that we held our closing ritual for the pilgrimage. I have photos from most of these places and will be posting some when I'm able.
When I returned to the B&B, I found that Michael had decided the piece of wood he'd chosen for the Suibhne Geilt wasn't the right one, so he had to decide on another. This meant that my piece wasn't actually started, but the lovely folks at the Ballaghboy Lodge Farm where we were staying offered to pick it up and ship it to me. I left them with cash for the piece itself and an additional 40 euro for shipping. If it costs more, I told them to email me and let me know and I would Paypal them the rest. They found this agreeable and all was arranged to my satisfaction. Michael refuses to ship and only deals in cash on delivery, so it necessitates someone nearby to actually pick the thing up if you can't do it personally.
This morning we did our final talk about our experiences then hopped on the bus for Dublin. We were able to check in pretty much as soon as we got here, though ogam
had neglected to book a room when we were actually here last week, so almost ended up with nowhere to stay because, apparently, Bruce Springsteen is in town and the place is booked solid. joyful_storm
and I did a little room rearrangement and she's now staying with another one of the group tonight while ogam
is staying in the second bed in this room.
After checking in and dropping the luggage, our chartered bus dropped us downtown in Dublin and we said our goodbyes to the driver, who has been a real champ the whole way through. He joined us at Mullingar well and up on the Hill of Uisneach, as well as asking us to take a stone up to Maeve's Cairn for him. He participated in quite a few of the things, including our closing ritual at the well.
Four of us (the CR contingent) wandered off to have lunch at a place ogam
dined at last week called The Farm, which has locally sourced and/or organic ingredients. It was reasonably priced and the food was quite good, with generous portions. I had a very good wild mushroom risotto with goat cheese and shavings of parmesan cheese. Very tasty.
After lunch, we parted ways and ogam
and I went to see the Book of Kells exhibit. They had not only the Book of Kells but also the Book of Durrow and a couple of other medieval illuminated manuscripts on display. After reading through the introductory material, I went in to look at the books. No photography was allowed in the exhibit or in the Long Room at the Trinity College library upstairs from the Book of Kells exhibit. The Long Room itself was well worth the visit, though I paid 9 euro for admission to the whole thing. Photos just can't do justice to the intricacy and beauty of these illuminated manuscripts. The gold lettering was raised off the page, glistening, even after all these centuries. Some of the colors were still quite vibrant.
We then headed for the National Library, where we viewed the Yeats exhibition, including a lot of his personal papers and manuscripts, photos and, for the occultists in the room, his magical tools and notebooks. I got photos of a number of things that I think folks will enjoy when I have the ability to post them. Photos were in fact allowed in the exhibit. This is the one that you can find a link to online, with a virtual tour, though it didn't work that well on a Mac when I tried it a year or so ago. Being there in the presence of all these things was really a moving experience. When you see a brilliant writer's notebooks and realize that they're just as messy as your own, I think it helps one feel a bit better about one's own processes.
I sat out on a bench in front of the library for a while to wait for my three companions, whereupon we went down to one of the local pubs for a pint. The first place we went was wall to wall people and I just wasn't up to coping. My cope with other people bucket is damned near empty at the moment, so I'll be glad to have some space to myself soon. We left the pub and walked a bit. Eventually we wound up at the Elephant & Castle for a light dinner. I had the spicy lentil soup, which was quite good.
Upon arriving back at the Travelodge, rooms and other things were sorted and some goodbyes said. joyful_storm
is heading back to Seattle early tomorrow morning and ogam
is heading for England tomorrow afternoon. My room here is paid for tonight and tomorrow night, but I had been mistaken about my departure date for Douglas. My itinerary and ticket both say 1am on July 22nd, but I had it in my head that it was happening at 1am on the 21st. This means that I get an extra day in Dublin to explore this really lovely city, but it also meant I needed to get myself a place to stay for the night of the 21st. I turned up a hostel in the heart of downtown for under 20 euro for the night. They allow luggage storage even after you check out, so I can leave my bags on the 22nd and continue my explorations of Dublin, then pick up the bags a couple of hours before I have to leave for the ferry terminal - they open the baggage locker once an hour, or I can just rent a locker that I can get into anytime for I think 1 euro a day. Well worth it. I'll be taking a bed in a 12-person dorm room (mixed gender, but that doesn't bother me -- the place is rated with an 81% satisfaction rating on one of the big travel sites, and its safety rating is something in the 90% range). They have free wireless (it's 5 euro a day here at the Travelodge and that's for only onee wirelss device), as well as an on-site cafe and offering free walking tours of the city.
Tomorrow one of my tasks will be to head out to the tourist information office and figure out the best and safest way to get to the Isle of Man ferry terminal around midnight in the safest manner that I can. I'm sure they'll have at least a little advice. If it turns out I need to take a cab then that's what I'll do, considering I'll have two bags with me.
I'm also hoping to meet up tomorrow (or possibly the next day) with a newer fandom friend who's in Ireland from England for a family wedding later this weekend.joyful_storm
left me with her little Lonely Planet guide to Dublin, so I'll have a little better idea of what to do and what's where than with a pocket tourist map of the city.
And now, a quick shower to rinse the green out of my hair, and some sleep. I'm putting the Do Not Disturb sign on the door and will try to sleep in tomorrow as best I can. No alarm for this Erynn! I've been getting up at 6:45 all week and am really absolutely DONE with that.