Friday, May 8, 2015

Back in Ireland

After a rather hectic four days in the U.K. it felt good on Wednesday lunchtime to be landing at Cork Airport.  It felt even better to be driving the winding, undulating and leafy main road to Skibbereen.  The weather was typically Irish; grey skies weeping showers alternating with blue skies broken by brilliant white clouds between which burst shafts of bright sunlight.

“Lough Hine House Gate Lodge”, home for Lisi and I for the best part of the coming two weeks, a delightful small stone building, it was built into a steep cliff directly on the track which, borders the lough until it starts to rise up to The “Big House”.

On its ground floor the 18th century lodge has a single rectangular room with a central open fire and chimney, the rectangle extends into a semi-circular, five window bay.  A cast-iron spiral staircase rises to the first floor where there are two bedrooms both of which have doors into a single bathroom.  Incredibly the substantial and heavy staircase was cast by Hayward Brothers of Bermondsey, London, presumably cast largely in component parts which were subsequently assembled here in the cottage.

When we arrived I retrieved the key from below the stone beside the door where I had been told it would be and entered the cottage to find a log fire blazing brightly in the grate; a warm and welcoming start to our stay here.

Thursday dawned bright and sunny.  The cottage, blissfully, has neither internet connection nor, tucked as it is under a steep rocky cliff, has it a reliable cell-net telephone connection.  To access the internet we are obliged to visit one of the many local catering establishments where internet access is offered to customers.  Yesterday mid-morning, to catch up on our mail, we visited “Apple Betty’s” café in Skibbereen.  After shopping for a while for items missed during our initial stock-up the previous afternoon I drove to Baltimore where, in the warm sunshine outside “Bushe’s” pub, we lunched on crab sandwiches washed down with Guinness.  This leisurely sojourn we followed with afternoon-tea at the recently refurbished “West Cork Hotel” in Skibbereen.  Finally, back at the cottage, we stocked ourselves with logs from the ‘big house’ woodyard and strolled the woods which are presently a paradise of dappled green-tinted light on a patchwork of bluebell and primrose.