Day 4: The Road to Donegal

Monday, 3 June

We left Dublin today.  Took the bus to the airport where we rented a car and drove 3.5 hours north and west to Donegal, Co. Donegal.  We still need to drive another 3 hours (round trip) to get to Tracey’s grandfather’s location in Ballymichael, Co. Donegal which is practically the top of Ireland.

On the bus ride to the airport, I had a nice conversation with a gentleman who had a thick  brogue.  I think I understood a little more that half of what he said.  We talked about the weather, traveling and taking care of my parents.  My parents come up regularly as I am asked what I do for a living.  It leads to some interesting conversations about health care and how well we take care of our selves.   Regarding the weather, he was commenting on the good weather we were having.  We are getting some sunshine during the day and the clouds roll through with a little overcast and occasional sprinkle later in the day.  But all in all it is good.  I told him that a friend from Michigan once told me that, “If you don’t go out in the bad weather, you don’t get out.” He let out a big smile and told me it was true.

View from RossmoreSheep at RossmoreToday we spent an hour and a half on the Waterbus touring the Donegal Bay.  Most of the boat was taken up by a touring group of Germans.  On the trip out from the bay the guide pointed out many features as you might expect.  The information was not presented all that well, but we saw a small island in the bay known as Boyle’s Island (Ballyboyle Island) where the Gaelic Ó Baoighill origins may come from.  This really needs to be checked but Boyle is a popular name here.  However, on the way back we were thoroughly entertained by the Germans singing Irish tunes lead by our Guide.  The fact that he had his CD’s for sale gave us the clue as the nature of his true calling.

Megan and our Car at the Waterbus Port
Megan and our Car at the Waterbus Port

We are staying at the Rossmore Manor.  Wow! What a view.  No photo can do it justice.  (again, when I can find a decent Internet connection, I will upload some photos).  And lots of green hills covered in Sheep.  The water comes almost up to the B&B and it drains with the tides.  It takes about 6 hours to drain and another 6 to fill.  So plenty of water to be seen and later just a marshy bog.

View from the Rossmore Manor
View from the Rossmore Manor

Today was the first time we drove on the “wrong” side of the road.  In the US we drive on the “right” side or so a few folk remind us.  The speed limits are fast relatively speaking.  Imagine driving the old country single lane back roads at 65 miles an hour except that two cars are going in opposite directions.  A bit unnerving.  Not all that bad really so far as there have not been many cars coming in the opposite direction.  The main highways are an exception but there, the roads are wider and well marked.  We only made a few mistakes and kept to the left side…mostly.

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