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Creevelea Abbey / Friary by Ann Treacy
July 3, 2009, 10:41 pm
Filed under: Dromahair

In Dromahair there’s a great old abbey. It’s kind of obscured from the main street. You have to walk through a hotel parking lot to get there – but once you cross the river behind the hotel it feels as if you’re in fairy tale.

It’s about a 5 minute walk down the river and next to a sheep field. Due to an actual thunderstorm the night before the river was rushing the morning we all went to the abbey. It is a Franciscan Friary that was founded in 1508.

There are 2 fun things about it. First, it’s just there. It’ really been used as a cemetery for the last 100 years or more – but it’s there and you can climb all over it if you want. Well and if you can take the heights.

The second thing is that there are 3 Franciscan Friars hidden in the abbey – in the stonework. We found all three. I’ve taken picture of 2 – the third wasn’t as good. The abbey is huge though and you should be impressed with our feat. It took 2 visits.

Tour of Dromahair by Ann Treacy
July 3, 2009, 10:11 pm
Filed under: Dromahair

We have been staying this week in Dromahair. It’s in County Leitrim about half an hour away from Sligo city. Patrick has a friends here who has kindly invited us to stay at their place while they are in Italy. We stayed here with them last year. It’s a great house in a great town.

I thought we’d give a tour this time around. According to Wikipedia, the population of Dromahair is 509. Apparently WB Yeats used to visit here often to see the parish priest. Yeats refers to Dromahair in “The man who dreamed of Faeryland”:

He stood among a crowd at Dromahair
His heart hung all upon a silken dress
And he had known at last some tenderness
Before earth took him to her stony care…

We arrived on the night of the big summer festival, which was fun. There were bands playing and beer in the streets. Who could ask for anything more?

We’ve been checking out the town. They have clearly had a ton of building here in the last few years. There are loads of new homes – 3, 4, and 5 bedroom homes – but many of them are empty. It’s kind of a sign of the times.

The town is very nice. There are 3 pubs, a couple of hotels, a Catholic church, a Church of Ireland church, 2 grocery stores and a drug store, which we visited nearly every day with the kids being sick. And there’s that amazing restaurant we went to on Sunday. Also there’s the super cool Creevelea Abbey – which I’ll write about separately.

Very long Leitrim Way by Ann Treacy
June 29, 2009, 8:35 pm
Filed under: Dromahair

On Sunday we decided to go for a way. We wanted to walk up to O’Donnell’s Rock. We had a map and while the walk was long (9 km, which I think it 4miles or so), it was also pegged as moderate – not hard. So 9 of us set out to Manorhamilton, the next town over from where we are staying in Dromahair.

We parked and we started off. Our first hint should have been when within 10 minutes we had second guessed the map twice and were walking down a super narrow road to get to the trail. You know the kind of road you imagine in Ireland with just enough room for 2 cars.

Patrick found the trail. Julie and I would have missed it because for some reason this was the only sign that was a part of this journey that was in Irish.

So we started off straight up hill for about an hour. The view was beautiful! The kids were relatively spunky. Kate unfortunately has really been sick the 2 weeks she has been here – so it was tough on her but she was OK. So after an hour or so we got to the first marker. The markers (we thought) we great we followed them then through most of the walk.

We climbed over a fence to see the megalithic tombs, which it turns out look a lot like any other ruins you have seen. But they are thousands of years old – and aside from the view this was our first sighting of anything – so they were cool. So we walk for another hour – uphill but at least on the grass this time so the kids especially were much happier. Also we were in a sheep field – with the sheep so that was kind of exciting too.

Aine lost her shoes. So she went barefoot and/or got a lift on Patrick’s shoulders – as time wore on there was less bare feet walking and more shoulder time. Also she cried about the darn flip flops as if they cost more than $2 at Target.

We walked through a bog, which was pretty cool. Then we walked through a pretty murky bog, which was OK. We got to a place where we thought maybe we were looking at O’Donnell’s rocks. Everyone had a piece of well deserved fruit.

We trudged on. We walked through a forest, which was also pretty cool. It turns out that forest are very, very dark even during the middle of the day. We weren’t in darkness but we could see the darkness of the forest on either side of us.

The Julie looked at the map again. Hmmm. Seems following our beloved markers was not such a good idea. The markers led us through the Leitrim Way – but that’s not the walk we were taking and it’s not the map we had. And we didn’t know at all where that might lead.

So we turned around. If anyone had read “We Going on a Bear Hunt”, you’ll know what we did – expect no bear was chasing us. We booked it back past the forest, past the rocks, past the murky bog, past the bog, into the sheep field where we found Aine’s shoes and she cried again because this meant she had to walk, then past the megalith tombs, and down the hill.

All is all the walk took about 4 hours. It was hot. We made into back to Manorhamiton just in time – the Centra shop closed 2 minutes after we got our treats and it started to really rain about 4 minutes later.

The good news is that we really earned the beautiful meal that we had that night at the River Bank between Dromahair and Manorhamilton. If you ever find yourself near this area you will have to stop in. I had tiger prawns, salmon, sticky toffee pudding and wine. It was my belated birthday dinner from Patrick’s mom.

Road to Dromahair by Ann Treacy
June 29, 2009, 8:35 am
Filed under: Dromahair

Patrick was doing well until…

Pretty much we’re just glad that no one got injured in the changing of the tire!

Saturday in Lissadell by Ann Treacy
June 11, 2008, 11:54 am
Filed under: Dromahair

After the cemetery we headed out to Lissadell, a huge castle (nearly castle) where the Gore-Booths lived. The most famous Gore-Booth was Constance Markievicz – a patron and good friend to WB Yeats. (See the theme of the area?) The house reminded me of the James J. Hill House back home – with a ton more land.

The house was fun. The coolest thing was in the dining room the family had etched their names in one of the windows to prove that someone’s diamond engagement ring was indeed a diamond.

The gardens were amazing. We learned from the vegetable garden that 2008 is the year of the potato. So, happy year of the potato!

The strangest thing about the house was that there was a tunnel behind the house and that’s how the servants got to and from the house so that the people of the manor born would not have to see them coming and going.

While Patrick and I toured the house Mary and Paul kindly took the kids to the nearby beach. The beach was to the North Atlantic but it was shallow enough to be fairly warm – or so it was reported to me. I know the kids had a great time.

That night we had a really nice meal at their house. The kids ate hamburgers first and then the grownups had steak – and mine was a perfect medium rare! Living in Dublin we have remarked how we miss having people over for dinner or going to other people’s house so it was very nice to just relax.

After dinner most of us pretty much fell asleep after a long day. Poor Paul had to sell raffle tickets at the pub, which mustn’t have been too bad since rumor has it he came back pretty late.

Saturday in Drumcliffe by Ann Treacy
June 10, 2008, 2:10 pm
Filed under: Dromahair

Saturday morning we headed out to Drumcliffe, where Yeats is buried. I have a picture or two of the grave – his epitaph is famous:

Cast a cold Eye
On Life, on Death
Horseman, pass by!

The cemetery is very unassuming. The grave is nearly in the shadow of Ben Bulben, a mountain made famous by Yeats:

Under bare Ben Bulben’s head
In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid.
An ancestor was rector there
Long years ago, a church stands near,
By the road an ancient cross.
No marble, no conventional phrase;
On limestone quarried near the spot
By his command these words are cut:
Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!

Also in Drumcliffe is a great Celtic Cross. I hope the picture turns out, as you can really make out the scenes in the stone, starting with a picture of Adam and Eve. The grownups were talking about the picture, which the kids had trouble seeing over the wall of the cemetery. One of them (Imogen maybe) climbed up and was sorry disappointed to see that we were talking about a picture not real live Adam and Eve.

Friday in Dromahair by Ann Treacy
June 10, 2008, 2:06 pm
Filed under: Dromahair

This weekend we visited friends in Dromahair – the Jordans: Paul, Mary, Cliona (7), Imogen (6), and Lochlann (2). We had a great time. Dromahair is about 10 miles outisde Sligo – so we were knee deep into WB Yeats county. Aine summed up our weekend best on the train home – we hadn’t even left the station and she said, “I miss those guys.”

We took the train up on Friday afternoon. It’s 3 hours from Dublin to Sligo. Paul and his dad were nice enough to pick us up at the station. We had some food and then the grownups headed out to the pub. We were sad to see that it was open mic night, not tradition music at the pub but that was OK. Dromahair is a small town. Paul and Mary have lived there for a few years so we got to meet a few people in the pub, which is always fun.

I forgot to mention that they live in the old parsonage – it’s beautiful but best of all (for Patrick’s sake) is that apparently Yeats actually spent a night there. So we were sleeping with the ghosts of famous people.

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