Day 1 & 2 – Wednesday Aug. 16 & Thursday, Aug. 17, 2006
I had a Panini Bread Breakfast – bacon, sausage, mushrooms and tomato relish on grilled panini bread. The sausages tasted like mini Cooney’s from Heide’s in Liverpool, NY. Those were my favorite and a pleasant surprise.
By the time we finished our breakfast our one hour of disk parking was just about up so we walked back to the convenience store and bought three disk parking cards, some Cidona (Jeremy’s favorite) and some water. Disk parking would end at 6 PM but for now we scratched off and popped another card in the window and went off to explore Ennis.
We walked through Merchants’ Square again and took a left on O’Connell Street and headed for the center of town looking for the Tourist Bureau that the waitress had told us was in that direction, located near a large modern hotel. We were looking for a street map of Ennis and any other interesting items that we might find. Noël purchased her first package of marshmallows along O’Connell Street. The Tourist Bureau had a very detailed map of Ennis and some tourist maps covering some of the other areas we hoped to visit in the Burren area. So now we were set.
Again, another hour was almost up so we worked our way back to the car by a different route to check out my navigation skills. We took a shortcut up Parnell Street and down a couple alleys and managed to find our way back to Merchant’s Square and our car.
We moved the car to the other side of town to be closer to the Local Studies Center (LSC) – more Disk Parking. The Local Studies Center was closed for the lunch hour and didn’t reopen until 2 PM. Since it was only 1 PM we crossed over the bridge and visited the Ennis Friary. Along the way I took some pictures of the scenery and the many beautiful flowers that are all around the town and helped explain the many Tidy Town competitions that Ennis had won.
The admission at the Friary was only 3 Euros for both of us. In Ireland seniors begin at 65 when they are eligible for a state pension and reductions in taxes and utility bills and TV fees. Leaving the Friary we walked a ways up Abbey Street, checking some of the menus that are posted outside the pubs and restaurants, scouting out a place for dinner. However, with the traffic jams in Ennis we didn’t know if we would be coming back into town from the B&B that was out near Quin.
By now it was 2 PM so I popped another disk parking ticket in the windshield and we were off to the LSC. I was searching for a microfilm and two small publications. While I was trying to find a missing piece of information on Myler Magrath’s pedigree on the microfilm reader Noël had fallen asleep at the table in this reading room. After a little help from the director of the LSC I was able to find the information I needed. He was also able to find the other two publications from which I copied about 18 pages. We were done in just about an hour, so I woke Noël up and we walked back to the car.
Back in the car we checked the directions to the B&B on the map and via cell phone. It (Mountain View B&B) was located just 3 miles east of Ennis on the Quin Road. The B&B was run by Ann Moloney and her husband Michael. They suggested that we try the village of Quin for dinner – so we did. In the village were the spectacular ruins of Quin Abbey, that was a real tourist favorite. Quin was a very small village and without the Abbey I don’t know what there was to do in Quin. I got some great pictures of the Abbey, with the clouds in the background and the setting sun at just the right angle, for lighting.
There were only four restaurants in the village of Quin and two were closed. August is the height of the tourist season in Ireland so I don’t know why the restaurants would be closed at all during the month of August. The two restaurants that were open didn’t look that interesting so we decided to head back to Ennis – traffic jams and all.
The Cruise Hotel, in Ennis, that we originally thought would be good, was a real loser – mostly a pub, with the normal “pub grub.” We walked around for a while and finally settled on a small Italian restaurant just off O’Connell Street. We had a very good pizza and then walked back to our car that was parked just the other side of the bridge from the Friary. Noël stopped at a convenience store – the search for Terry’s Twilight Mints begins - and then we drove back to the B&B. We were in bed by 9:30 PM after being up almost 34 hours. The first day in Ireland is always the longest for tourists coming from the U.S.