The Fountain Pen….

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Today has been another day of pie making. Yesterday I had a bit of a writers block, so made some pies. We have an abundance of apples, and pie making is almost meditative to me. Soon, the writers block was gone and I wrote yesterdays post.

After that post I started to question myself..”Is there anything in Ireland that I regret?” and the only thing I can think of was not getting that fountain pen, and journal.

I was staying in Cork, and one of the young house mates and I went into the city for the afternoon. It was a lovely sunny day, and she was showing me places I never would have found on my own. Oh yes, did I say her car was a convertible? We had a lot of fun and we took one of the side streets as she wanted to show me a really neat little shop, one of her favorite places. It was lovely and had all sorts of lovely things in it, and I spotted some fountain pens.

My friends know I like pens, they each have their own feel, and flow a certain way, and I am always on the lookout for “just the perfect pen”, if such a thing exists. I picked up a couple and tried them out- WOW- here it was, or close to it. It was well balanced, and I could not get over how smooth it wrote. It was lovely, as was the price tag. It was not outrageous, but on my budget at the time, I could not justify spending 45 Euro on a pen- that works out to roughly $72 Canadian. And of course, right beside the pens, was a lovely selection of leather bound, hand made journals, they were exquisite. But once again out of my budget.

We then went and had something to eat and had a lovely time. I mean, how could I not…I was in Ireland!!!

Well, for the rest of the trip, that pen and journal haunted me, I could not figure out why, but every once in a while it would pop up in the back of my mind. I found this intriguing, if not irritating.

Today was another pie making day, and as I’m making the pies I keep thinking about the pen, and wondering why it still keeps popping up. Then slowly the realizations come.

I have always loved the look of a fountain pens. As I kid, I associated serious writers, real writers with fountain pens. I must have seen a picture or a movie where there was a “Real Writer” with his/her fountain pen and journal. If you had these you were the “Real Deal”

I struggled in school! It was not a fun time for me. “Dick and Jane and Sally and Spot” bored the Hell out of me and I would go home and read Dr Seuss. I did not, and still can not understand the grammatical rules of writing. If you start speaking to me about the rules,my eyes soon glaze over, and I look like a dear in the headlights. You might as well be speaking Greek to me. I pretty much flunked, or came close to flunking, every English class I ever took. But I remember one magical moment……

I was 7 years old, so I would have been in grade 2 or 3, in Sidney Elementary. Up till then the only reasons I was noticed in school, was because my older brothers kept getting into trouble, I did not have the latest fashion- thats an understatement- and I was the kid with no pencils. I was to terrified to tell my parents I needed pencils. I had learned at a young age, you don’t ask for anything, because that just caused trouble. I had also learned not to stand out, being noticed was not safe.

Until I wrote!!

I remember that morning. I was at my desk and we had to write a story. I had no idea what I was going to write, then I started. Sitting at the desk, the forth row over, fifth seat down.,I was so small, my scuffed shoes did not touch the floor. My right hand grasped the small, well used, yellow hexagon chewed up, stub of a pencil. I wrote….”One night when it was pitch dark. I went out to my boat to sleep. I had a gun with me. When I got to sleep, a great big sea monster came out of the sea and took the boat and pushed it out to sea.When it was morning, I got up and out of the cabin, I saw the boat in the sea. I saw an awful man. I said, ” who, who, who are you?’…..

I remember I kept writing and it came so easily, it flowed and was effortless. And one of the very few times in my short life, I think I was relaxed and everything else, troubles and all seemed to fade away. This felt good, this felt right, like I was meant to write. I kept writing and got agitated when the class was coming to an end and we had to finish up. I abruptly finished the story.

The teacher then gathered the stories from the class as she was going to type them up for all of us. The following week she gave them back to us, and asked me to stand in front of the class and read mine. It was the longest story- about 3/4’s of a page long, and she wanted me to read the story to the class.

Now, the year before, during “Show and Tell” I stood in front of the class and told them about an insect I had learned about in a book. I showed the class the book, the picture of the insect, and told the class it was called a “Walking Stick” While I was still standing there my teacher told me and the class that I was “lying and there is no such thing as a walking stick” I then showed the teacher the book, and her reply was ” Well the book is wrong”

But, this was a new year, a new teacher, and she wanted me to read my story so I did. For once I was doing something right. I then ran home and told Mom about the story and showed it to her. There was no reaction, and it was never mentioned again. I guess I wasn’t meant to be a writer.

Decades later, my mom told me she had showed it to a friend of hers. This friends ex husband was the publisher of a British women’s magazine. They wanted to publish the story, and send me to a private school, but as mom said..”we couldn’t let that happen.”

I still have that story, I found it folded up in my moms jewellery box. This is very interesting as nothing was ever saved. I wrote that story on October 5th, 1967.

So today, as I was making the pies- eight of them, it was a long meditative day- I thought of all of this, and the fountain pen and journal. It fascinates me, how after all these years of therapy, things and beliefs are still sitting in the psyche, until they are ready to look at.

I have looked at this event before, its nothing new. I have looked at my moms lack of reaction. I understand the complexities of the family and the rules I lived in. I get that. But until this afternoon as I was taking one batch of pies out of the oven, and putting the other batch in, that the Eureka moment hit me.

I did not get the fountain pen and journal because somewhere in my psyche I believed, as a writer, that I am not the “Real Deal”, not a “Legit” or “Serious” writer. I was fascinated with this realization, and have some loving and gentle self talk to do.

Here is another gift Ireland has given me. Who would have known, not allowing myself to get something, would in itself bring me a gift. I will be contemplating this for awhile, and I imagine making pies as I do.

I also know, that when the time is right, the right fountain pen will find me, because I am a serious, and legit writer. I may not have a published book, but I am the real deal. Cant ask for much more then that 🙂

Thank you again for coming on this journey with me, we never know whats going to turn up.


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Times of Transition…

September is here. Overhead, the Canada Geese are flying in almost perfect formation -of course there always a few – the days and nights are cooler- and now wetter, and for me this is a time of reflection.

For some folks, September is a start of new activities, be it school, sports etc, but I look back and see that it has always been hard for me to jump into any new activity during this month, be its sports, singing, new hobbies etc. So for me, September is a time of quiet reflection, rest, and introspection, even more so this year.

I am still processing my Epic Irish Odyssey, and all I have learned. I am happy to say that since my last post I have been able to write a bit more, my brain seems to be coming back on line, and I have moments where I have some energy. And the processing continues.This is not something I can rush, as much as I want to, but some observations and realizations have been rising to the top of my consciousness.

Last week I was in the car with one of my sisters, we were going on a 2 day road trip- It was an amazing time. For some reason I started talking about my Outward Bound Canada, Women of Courage programs. I have in fact, through this program, been to some of the most beautiful areas in Canada. Canoeing in Algonquin park, hiking in the Selkirk, and Rocky Mountains, hiking and standing on the very tip of the magical and wild area on Vancouver Island. Now I have known I have done all of this, what was different , was the fact that as I spoke and reminisced, each trip was no longer a separate, fractured event. Now when I pull them up in my memory, they are as a group, a whole, I have never been able to do this before.

Its hard to explain, but I will try….

Think of an pre-school or early elementary school child, learning to group and categorize things. They have small coloured markers on the table, along with small plastic coloured bears, and cats etc. They learn that the animals belong in a group, the markers another. Then they learn each animal has its own grouping etc….then the teacher mixes them all up again, spreads them on the table. Its the same objects, but they are mixed up, but now the child can understand that one plastic cat, can be grouped with the other plastic cat, without having to physically put them together, if that makes any sense.

I guess you can say my brain is learning to group events in my life, no longer are they separate, fractured bits of information. This is pretty new, and pretty amazing to me. Who would have known Ireland would do this to me!

I have also come to other realizations. While my friend Sherry was in Ireland with me , I was amazed at the amount of information she could remember and retain. Be it information from a walking tour, place we visited or directions. I knew my memory was bad- but much better then it had been, I have no sense of direction and could get lost in a paper bag, and I have a hard time reading any map and orienting myself.

While in Ireland, my brain saw all these struggles, as separate fractured events, but now with this new ability, to see things as a whole, or in groups, I see how hard it is for me to do any of the above, and I will most likely struggle in these areas for the rest of my life. That’s a bit of a hard pill to swallow. Sometimes reality bites, but it is needed for growth. I know over the next week or so, I will have more unpleasant realizations, and the enormity and affect these have had on my life, – but thats OK, because thats how I learn to look at it, acknowledge it and move on.

In fact, a couple times today I was really grumpy, irritable and I knew it had nothing to do with the present moment -well, actually it took me a few minutes to figure it out, but I caught on. This grumpiness and irritability is seeing the unpleasant realizations, no longer as fractured, separate incidents, but I now see them as a group or whole- what I mean by this is that when I saw them as fractured separate events, I did not see the cumulative affect of the trauma, its like all these dots are connection and new realizations are coming and me on all directions. And with new realizations come new adjustments. But that is the magic of the brain, it only lets you realize and deal with, what you are ready to deal with. So, I guess I’m ready for this.

As hard as this is- there is the flip side, and that is I can also now see the cumulative affects of all the positive connections I have had throughout my life, be it big small, or those micro connections. Not just in my past, but also those connections in my present life. And, once again when I see the positive connections I have with folks, it also reminds me of what I did not have, and that too is an adjustment and can be a hard pill to swallow, but this is all growth.

I went to Ireland, because it called me all these years, I had no idea how much the land would heal me. It allowed me to discover and retrieve a piece of myself. I have come back a much more whole, healthier and stronger person. The journey was not all roses, and there were some really hard times. I have been processing since I have been back, and yes there have been some hard truths that have risen to the surface, but I have and will continue to work through them, because I know I can.

I was speaking of this to someone the other day and they asked me if I had regrets about going to Ireland, because of the hard truths that are arising. Would I have been better to not know. Of course my answer was no, I have no regrets about my trip to Ireland, it has helped me find myself and helped heal me on such a deep , deep level, that is hard to explain.

And that magical land, continues to help me in ways I didn’t even know were possible. It, and my ancestors continue to gift me, even though I am 7000 km away. It is a land of magic, of depth, and of felt sense. It is powerful, restorative and continues to fuel my heart and soul. How could I regret any of that.

I will continue on this flight path of mine, I will make adjustments, and at times will miscalculate, and not be ” in formation” I will miss cues, and need relief, but I will continue on.

Thanks for continuing on this journey with me, and staying as I discover more to come…


Homer’s Odysseus, Lunasa Harvest, and Stepping Lightly….

It has been 6 weeks since I returned home from my Epic Irish Odyssey, and I still feel like I am in two worlds, one foot here, and one foot in Ireland. I am no longer discombobulated about it, and have in fact come to accept this may be how it is for a long time to come.

To say I was a little disorientated when I arrived home is an understatement, it took me at least 3 weeks before I woke up and did not have to figure out where I was. It’s been a long and slow journey back to my reality, but in a way my reality has changed- well, not so much as my reality has changed, I have changed. The way I see and view not only the world, but myself. I guess this is what happens to one when they go on an Epic Odyssey.

Speaking of odyssey, Homer has a lot to make up for- he writes about the great Epic adventures and travels of Odysseus, but he does not write about how Odysseus integrates all he has learned from his travels, into his –then- present day life. And that’s the point I am now.

I have been meaning to write a blog for the last few weeks, but the brain would just not get on board with it. It also does not help, that I naively thought that after resting for a few weeks I would be up at it, with no problems, like nothing had happened. WRONG!!- (insert buzzer noise here !!!!)

At first, I put it down to the heat, it was in the upper 20’s, low 30’s degree Celsius here, and I do not do well in the heat. Then I put it down to the heat and the smoky skies- there are over 60 forest fires here on Vancouver Island, and over 500 burning in the province of British Columbia. We are safe, but the smoke has drifted to the area from the fires. Then it cleared, and my brain and body were still “not on line”. My brain was still doing a lot of work in the background, and there is no manual to tell me what it is working on, and when it will be up and running. All I knew was that it was- and continues to work away. And the writing was not coming.

Then I read a blog by my friend, writer, and amazing Irish tour guide Barbara Smith, ( Bea) about what she does when she is not writing. and it inspired me, and got me to thinking. I messaged her that I loved the piece and a short conversation started. “This is just beautiful Bea, and so true! I too, have not been writing and wondered why, but mostly OK with it. I love the composting- as I feel that is what I am doing after my trip…letting it sift and settle and when the time is right, will feed not only my writing but my life. Thanks for this beautiful piece, it resonates on so many levels”.

I then mentioned about the Lunasa Harvest- a Gaelic festival marking the beginning of the harvest season… something else Bea taught me, and once more this got me to thinking and inspired me. “ I wonder if this is another version of Lunasa Harvest, and internal harvest, to use later in the year. That may be what my next blog is about, sure feels like an internal harvest for me, then sorting and sifting to prepare everything for good storage to draw on later …..that came to me as I was sitting outside drinking my morning tea. J “

Needless to say, this resonated deeply with me, and made sense to me. I am still percolating, processing and sifting through my Epic Irish Odyssey, and there is still much for me to learn,- of what I learned while I was away. But, I need to sit quietly and let it come. I mean I have learned much already. Things like…. that the world can be safe, and that it is ok to ask for help- and not just from folks that are in my circle and life and love me- but by perfect strangers. Strangers who took me under their wings, folks who gave me directions to the bus, strangers I talked to on bus rides or sitting at the North Harbour of Cape Clear Island. The women in Sligo asked me about my trip, the women on Inishmore Island, when I mentioned being in Ireland I felt I was finally home and finding that long lost piece of me said “That’s your Irish Speaking”, the gentleman on the bus who showed me where to get the bus in Cork to get back to my lodgings. Strangers I met, who I can now call friends. These are just a few of the things I have learned.

But there is still so much to process and percolate, I can feel it, I know it’s there and I also know it will rise in its own time. I have had fleeting moments, when it seems to come up, shows a wisp of itself, and then as lightly dissipates. This has happened many times, and like my Epic Irish Odyssey, I need to honor the process, and let it take me where I am meant to go.

I was reading a bit of my journal from Cape Clear Island…..” A shift has happened, my tank is full, I have been fully nourished, -I don’t know what it is, it will come to me in time. Maybe it’s a feeling of no longer searching- I have found another section of myself,- but also found a part of myself on a much, much deeper ancestral level…..”

Soon into my Epic Irish Odyssey, I mentioned that Ireland had a “Felt Sense” and I believe that it has many levels of this Felt Sense, but one has to be quiet, be still and listen, and it would talk to me, and talk to me Ireland did, on so, so many levels. Ireland spoke to me and moulded me into who am now. I need to honor my process now, as I did then and let it take it’s time.

I had therapy last week and I mentioned that I was surprised that I was still tired and still discombobulated. My therapist mentioned that she was not surprised, then reminded me that I may have been site seeing every day, but I was also doing therapy every day, challenging old beliefs, stepping out of my comfort zones, had moments where I struggled, had panic attacks, etc. And because I did all of that, I received many wonderful gifts, both from others and from myself. It will take time to process all of this.

So for now, I will allow my Internal Lunasa Harvest to happen. I will sit in my garden with my tea, watch the birds and bees get their winter supplies, and let my heart, brain and soul continue to process, sift and integrate my Epic Irish Odyssey. I will step lightly into my new reality and see what happens.

Thank you for continuing to come along and see where this part of the journey tales me.

Musings on My Epic Irish Odyssey…the many hands that helped.

This time tommorow I will be on my way home. It’s hard to believe that my time in Ireland is almost over. It has been an amazing 10 weeks with highs and lows, challenges and break throughs and lots of growth.

I am sitting here in, in a suburb of Dublin, in the kitchen with my tea. It is cloudy,raining and kind of blah out. This reminds me on how fortunate I have been with the weather, especially when I was taking public transit as many places did not have bus shelters.

I have been fortunate with the people I have met, and felt welcomed by all the places I stayed, and Sherry and I stayed…well..all but one but more on that later.

I didnt know what I expected, but followed my guts. When people asked me why I wanted to come all I could tell them was that there was this pull all my life to go. Now when people ask me why I went, or what I discovered I can tell them I found a piece of myself, put many old ghosts to rest and met my ansestors even if they are not physically here.

I have many great memories and been to many special places that have spoken to my soul. These places have spoken to me on such deep levels and been a huge part of my healing.

It will be interesting to see how this growth unfolds once I get home.

Once again this has not been a solo journey. Everyone who helped me get to the point in my life where I could take this trip- family, friends, professionals. The smiling front line staff when I walk into my doctor’s office, especially during the tough times when I was seeing him every day, always welcomed with a smile. Friends and family who made tea for me and quietly sat beside me. They have all helped me get to the point where I could take this trip.

I have met some amazing folks on this trip and they have all helped me discover a bit more about myself and this has been one if the many treasures I will be taking back home with me.

I will continue to write this blog for awhile when I get home, – and thankful on my laptop instead of my phone – and have been thinking I should turn it into a book. We will see what happens…but my guts tell me it is a good time to do that.

Thank you to all who have helped me get here, those that helped feed my body and soul while I was here. There have been many hands that helped in my past and present, and will do in my future. I hope I have honored all of you. Thank you all of you for coming along this Epic Irish Odyssey with me…please stay tuned to see how this journey unfolds once I get home….

An Unexpected Visit With My Ancestors

Well, I’m writing this post on my phone as my tablet does not seem to want to hook up to the internet. This will be an adventure and I’m sure there will be many spelling mistakes, but bere with me.

While travelling around in the car we have been listening to the Ray D’Arcy show in the afternoons on RTE1 here. Last week he was at a few places in the midwest. One of them was the oldest pub in Ireland, aparently, a few nights ago while in Galway we took an evening roadtrip to Athlone and went to the pub. After the pub we walked over the Shannon river and I tossed in a few pebbles from home.

Yesteraday on our way down to our lodgings in Kerry, we went to the Portumna Workhouse center. I didnt know what to expect but I’m glad we went.

This place was a real workhouse at one time and the folks there are restoring it and making sure the story of theses places are not lost. These stories need to be brought to light.

For those of you who have been following me from the beginning, you know this trip is about putting old ghosts to rest and honoring my ancestors. I have done that during the 7 weeks, solo part of this trip. I did not expect it to happen during this 3 week roadtrip with a friend.

I have 6 days left of my Epic Irish Odyssey, and just the other day was thinking about my time here. The dreaming and planning of this trip. Things I wanted to do, but never happened. I thought things would go one way, but they went the other way. I thought of frustrations I felt when what I had planned never happened.

As I was feeling this frustration last week it’s like someone had put their had on my shoulder and let me know it was ok I had honored my ansestors it was all right. I also knew that the ansestors will take me to where I am meant to be, and the workhouse in Portumna was one of them.

We arrived when it was drizzling and parked in front of a 2 story building. We walked inside and a tour was just about to start. We have been so lucky this way.

The tour guide was a personable local gentleman named Pat and he did a great job telling the story of this workhouse. You need to put this place on your itinerary if you come to Ireland.

Pat took us out into the yard of this place and while others were listening I had to step away because I was feeling. I dont know what I was feeling but it was as if I was meant to come here and I once again felt the presence of my ansestors. I have mentioned how this had happened in other places, but not all places I have visited.

This was a powerful moment. I have given up trying to figure this out and have come to believe what many have told me…” Ireland will take you where you are supposed to be” and here is a perfect example of that. As I stood in the complex, of a site, where such suffering in such desperate times happened, I felt a connection I cannot explain. But it is something I needed to honor, so I stood back from the tour and was just there in the present, feeling something

Of course I felt anger, outrage, and this place does have a feel about it, but this was something different. What I felt was at a much deeper level, and dare I say it was strength I felt. Strength of my ansestors and their tenacity to survive, and those genes have been handed down to me to help me survive what I did. And I felt a pressnce of an ansestor while I stood in the courtyard. I may never know who it was, but I will honor their story. Once again I wonder if this is my DNA remembering.

After the tour we had tea and then went and looked at an exhibition called “Irish Faminr Exhibition Dark Shadows ” it is a series of sculptures made from 5000 big oak. Do Google this, it is a power and moving exhibit.

I fly back home in 6 days. It’s hard for me to believe my Epic Irish Odyssey is almost over, but it will never really be over. I came to this land because it called to me since I was a small child. I hope to get back many times. This land has fed my soul in ways I could never imagine. It had helped me connect to myself, given me strength and has nourished me. This land and people I have met have all been amazing gifts. Who would have thought one of these gifts would be found in a workhouse.

Wee Thoughts During The Wee Hours…

Well, its not really the “Wee Hours” now, but I have been awake since 4:00 am and I wonder why. But then I think..I may be like this for the rest of my trip…

I am now into the last 13 days of my trip- I remember when I was counting the last 14 days before this Epic Odyssey started 🙂 I guess my brain, heart and soul is processing that this is the last couple of weeks of my Epic Irish Odyssey and I’m thinking about the past 8 weeks. I know I will be processing this for a long while once I get back home.

This morning my knees and shins are talking to me, I’m still a bit sore from the Sligo Camino, – as I’m sure a lot of folks are-but am so glad I did it. I’m also glad that my hiking and adventure buddy Sherry joined me, and yes we are still speaking and laughing 🙂 While doing the walk I also had time to think about these past 8 weeks. And like the walk, there have been moments where I was challenged. But what good journey does not have its challenges ? And from these challenges come growth, awareness and discoveries of long hidden gems. I will be coming home with a basket full of treasures, and as I process and write about them, I’m sure I will discover some more, as not all gems are in plain site.

I have been to some amazing places that have spoken and fed my soul, I have met amazing people who have welcomed me into their homes, and have I broken so many “cognitive errors” and “false beliefs” that still lurked in the back of my mind from my childhood. And, I believe, I have made some friends along the way.

The weather has been amazing- someone told me that last time this happened was 1995, but I am also aware of the plight the farmers are going through.

I have stood in the homes of the living and dead, stone age peoples. Walked a land they walked on, felt it feed my soul and spirit. I have been moved to the core by these powerful and restorative places.

I have met strangers, who have become friends. Learned that Guinness really is better over here, and one of the most important lessons for me- that generally, the world is a fairly safe place. I have learned that it is OK to ask for help. This may be a no brainier for some, but for folks who have had childhood trauma- this is something that we were taught…the word was not safe, and asking for help was not safe.

So you see, you really can teach an old dog new tricks. 🙂

Well time for me to finish my tea and start moving as the alarm is about to go off. Sherry and I have one more day here in Riverstown- a village of 350 folks, 15 minutes from Sligo and today we are driving up to Slieve League

Tomorrow we leave for Westport- where we will send 2 days. then 3 days n Galway, 3 days in Killarney, the 3 days in Dublin before we leave. And yes, we did not see it all, I did not see it all. You could spend you’re whole life here and not see it all.

Ireland, and the folks I have met have given me so many treasures that I will be taking back home. I’m glad the airlines cant charge me for them 🙂

Thanks again for joining me on this amazing, life changing journey

5W, Rathlin Island, Visiting the ancestors and a 36km one day walk….

Today is a down and chill day, so I thought I would try to catch up on my blog post. My friend and I did the one day, 36 km Sligo Camino, and can hardly move, -more on that later- but thought this would be a good time to try and catch up.

The day after my last blog post, I took a bus from Cork, and made my way over to Wexford. Did I tell you there is a heat wave here? And one of the buses did not have air was warm. But I finally made my way to Wexford and was met by one of the 5W members. This time it was Heike, and what a wonderful generous women. I also met her lovely husband Thomas and wonderful 4 legged sidekick- a golden retriever name Rocky 🙂 We visited The Irish National Heritage Park, Hook Lighthouse, / a famine ship, a tapestry exhibit, Which Heike took part in, a walled garden and so much more.

They treated me like royalty, showed me around, had great days out and lots of laughs. They fed my body, spirit and soul, they were amazing, kind , welcoming and caring. I feel blessed to have met them.

Wexford and the surrounding area is a must stop on your trip to Ireland, its beautiful and full of history.

After a wonderful welcome it was then off to Dublin, and the next morning my hiking and adventurer arrived on a 7:13 am flight. WE rented a car- did I tell you there was and is a heat wave- we upgraded to one that has air conditioning. Even the lady at the car rentel desk said he never thought she would be recommending to people to get air conditioning while in Ireland.

After a day of adjustment with time and traveling for 17 hours- the 1st day you feel like you have been hot by a truck. The next day we drove- well Sherry did- up to Crossmaglen. We visited another 5W lady, Roisin, the very same person who picked me up back in May when I first arrived in Ireland and I stayed with her for 4 days. It was great to see her again, and she had invited us up for brunch, it was also great to see her mom again who gave me a photo of my last visit. It was lovely of her.

On the way back to Dublin we stopped at Newgrange, oh dear, I’m so upset I had to see that again 🙂 Once again it was amazing, and magical…. we both enjoyed it. However because of the heat the grass is a little brown

The next day day Tuesday, we made our way up to meet up and stay with another 5W lady, Pat, who lives is Coleraine, Northern Ireland. On the way there. we stopped and had a tour of Trim castle. Back on the road, “Jane” our GPS took us on a side trip and up side roads that Sherry said..” this isn’t a road, this s a cow path” and she was right as there was cow poop in the middle of the road. After being turned around, filling the tank and bathroom break…we were back o the road and made our way up north, stopping at the Giants Causeway on the way..WOW!! IT is stunning….we could have stayed there all day…

That night we met Pat, and 3 other 5W members, who were from Japan , for dinner. The food was lovely, as was the company. Sherry and then followed Pat to her house, where we had a good nights sleep. The next morning we were up, and off to Rathlin Island for the day.

A friend of mine has a cousin who lives there. They have never met, but she hooked us up. We were met by the lovely Allison, and we were treated like royalty. She took us to the Rathlin Island Bird reserve, we saw Puffins, Razor Bill, Kitty wake and their chicks and more.

On the ferry ride over I saw Gannets plunging into the ocean like missiles when they fold their wigs…they hit the water at 65 mph…it was amazing to was from a distant, but was still amazing.

Allison then took us on a tour of the island, I got to pet some lambs, see some young bulls being let out in the field for the 1st time, it was really funny, we saw all 3 lighthouses, were giving the history and treated to a delightful lunch. It was an amazing day, treated like royalty by a wonderful warm and funny lady. Time passed to quickly and it was time to get the 4:15 ferry. It was an amazing and magicial day.


n the way back to Pat’s house we stopped at the “Dark hedges” where some of the Game of Thrones series was filmed- poor Sherry- I have never seen an episode, but it was still pretty cool.

We returned to Pats house and she had done so much for us, made us dinner and wouldn’t let us do anything. She is wonderful, caring and funny, and anther amazing example why love 5W.

The next morning after breakfast, we stopped at a few more sites the Game of Thrones was then on our way towards Sligo. But, we picked up a passenger, the “tire pressure loss” indicator showed up on the dash. We stopped at Bushmills, the guy there had a quick look and said it was fine. We stopped in Derry for lunch, and when we came out the tire was lower. But the universe was taking care of us and there was a tire shop 400 yards down the road. We got a new tire and on our way, everyone safe.

We eventually found our place in Riverstown…Jane took us on another side trip… we unpacked, went tot he local pub and Sherry had her first Guinness in Ireland, it really is better here…

I had arranged to once again hire the guide I had last time I was here in Sligo, to take us to Carrowkeel. yep- you can see, I was upset again to go back to Carrowkeel 🙂 If your ever in this area, and you want to see the surrounding area, especially archaeology, myths and history , hire Auriel Robinson of Seatrails Guided Heritage Tours and Special Experiences

She is amazing, bright, a wealth of knowledge and funny. We met and followed her to Carrowkeel, which was once again magical and amazing and I said hello to my ancestors once again. This is a magical. powerful and restorative place.

After that we went over to the the Keash caves, once again Auriel showed her knowledge, passion and humor. It was great, the views are stunning and calcite from this cave have been found in Carrowkeel cairns. As well as human remains that go back thousands of years, as well as bones form extinct animals.


Then we come to yesterday…last year I saw information abut the Sligo Camino… I thought it was a good idea to do this while I was here. I asked Sherry if she would be interested, she said “hell yeah”- what were we thinking…we an hardly move today, and that’s much better then last night.

It was a memorable day, stunning scenery walking through forest, lane ways and up the Ox Mountains- where they found beads in Carrowkeel made from the stones in these very mountains. It was a day to remember, 36km in one day, up and down and around, and 1000 walkers in total. It was well organized and very welcoming. It was challenging physically and mentally and I’m sure we both learned lots from it and will be processing this walk for awhile.


I continue to be amazed, surprised and delighted on this journey. By the people, places and landscapes of this magical place. I have 2 weeks left here, but know I will be processing this journey for months once I get home. The gifts I have received while here, are priceless and will last a life time.

Those are a few thoughts for today. thanks for coming along with me on this journey 🙂