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June 5, 2003
Today, we again had an early ferry to catch. This time, 9:00, and the B&B is just about 2 miles from the ferry port, so we again had our breakfast early and scooted along. Today's ferry was not a happy hooker. We didn't even catch its name. It was a much larger, faster, sleeker ship which was good because we had further to go to get from Inishmore to Rossaveel. It didn't take us long to get ourselves together at Rossaveel, and we headed out. The roads we traveled getting out of Rossaveel were a bit larger, and more trafficked than much of what we'd traveled on so far, though still lightly trafficked compared to most roads state-side. We had the wind to our backs for much of the ride which was also less hilly than some of our earlier days so we made it the 12-or-so miles to our lunch stop quite easily. We got there about 11:30 AM, a full hour before they start to serve lunch.
A momentary digression about our would-be lunch stop: the place was called "Screebe House", and had been talked up by Fidelma at almost every encounter we had with her. After an early meeting with her, she called to make sure they'd be open, and at a subsequent meeting confirmed with us that they would. Fidelma's food recommendations so far had been excellent, and we were looking forward to our meal here. Upon our arrival, we were surprised to see what looked more like a hunting lodge than a lunch spot. Still, they were pleasant enough, and offered us coffee if we would like to wait until they started serving lunch. We declined and said that we might return, though we decided to keep riding and lunch later. Also, there was a typo in one place in our direction sheets where somehow, the "use" had gotten left off from the name "Screebe House", so our nickname for this mysterious hunting lodge/lunch stop that we didn't actually stop at was "Screebe Ho"!
After riding away from Screebe Ho, we came to some less busy streets, and I had my second experience with stinging Ireland. (You may recall the first was the stinging nettles on day 5). This time, a bee managed somehow to get swept up and trapped behind my sunglasses. This was a bit of a surprise for both of us and so I did get stung. Fortunately, it only got my upper eye lid, but it hurt pretty badly at the time. I batted my sunglasses off sending them to the ground and the bee and I both finally escaped the situation.
In looking for places to stop for lunch, we came to Patrick Pearse's cottage. Pearse was an educator and proponent of bilingual education in Ireland and a revolutionary leader in the Easter Uprising - a role for which he was executed. This was his summer cottage. It cost us €1.50 each to tour this 2-room cottage from the 1910s with a desk in the entryway at which sat a lone young woman doing her knitting, selling and taking tickets and answering any questions we might have about Patrick Pearse. We toured around the spot for a while, and though Carolyn didn't have any questions about Patrick, she did ask if the woman was bi-lingual which she was, so Carolyn took this opportunity to learn a little Irish. Carolyn picked up "Dia dhuit" (hello), "Go raibh maith agat"(thanks) and "slón" (goodbye). So, we told her "Go raibh maith agat" and were on our way again. There was a picnic table there, but there was also a sign above it that said "No picnicking" so we didn't stay there for lunch. Eventually, we just pulled over on the side of the road on a long, desolate, hilly climb and ate from our picnic supplies.
As we pushed on into the afternoon, either we turned into the wind, or the wind turned into us, but whichever it was we developed a headwind. Also, it had been threatening rain much of the day, but by mid afternoon, it made good on its threat. It wasn't a downpour like day 4, but it was enough that we were very glad when we got to Ivy Rock House, our B&B for that evening. Not too far outside of Roundstone, where the Ivy Rock House was, we passed a "For Sale" sign for an abandoned village. 8 cottages and something over 100 acres were being sold.
Still, we had to go out for dinner, so we headed back out into the rain into Roundstone (population 281) and decided on the Shamrock Pub. A couple of Jamesons later, all was right with the world. Carolyn had a good seafood chowder (though it paled in comparison to the one from Monk's in Ballyvaughn) and we split a chicken curry sandwich, chips and a tuna melt. All of it quite tasty. While there, we struck up a conversation with a Brit who was dining alone. It turned out he was also staying at the Ivy Rock House while finishing up some research on whale bones. He implied it was just a personal curiosity and that he'd be self-publishing, but with the British sense of humor, we weren't sure. The other occupied table in our area had some French people touring Ireland and clearly having some trouble with the menu, so Carolyn also talked with them for a bit to lend a hand. They seemed quite appreciative to me, though Carolyn was afraid that maybe she was being too nosey.
The proprietor of the Ivy Rock House let us put our bikes in her shed because although the rain had let up some by the time we'd finished dinner, the forecast (at least according to the Brit) for tomorrow was also quite dismal.
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