An evening in a traditional Irish pub...Will this be our standard Saturday night dining experience?...Tomorrow, Part 2*...Irish history...Connemara Heritage and History Centre...

On the way to the pub, we stopped for a photo of this which I believe is some type of pheasant.
"Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland"St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated grandly in Ireland. People eat traditional Irish food which includes beer, pink bacon, and savory chicken.

*Part 2...Irish history...Connemara Heritage and History Centre...will continue in tomorrow's post.  

Today, in order to break up the seriousness of Irish history, we are excited to share our first night in a traditional Irish pub with excellent meals options. The atmosphere is delightful, the staff friendly and helpful and the ambiance of patrons stopping in for an ale and a chat depicts the image I had in mind.
The patio at Tigh Mheaic.  We commented that we doubt diners would sit outdoors in such cool weather even when the weather warms up by a few degrees during the slightly warmer summer months. 
The last time we were in a traditional Irish pub was while on a cruise from Harwich, England to Boston, Massachusetts (USA) which had a few ports of call in Ireland along the way.

At that time in September 2014, we'd met several couples onboard and eight of us took a van from the ship to the town to check out a few pubs and shops.  For photos on this port of call visit, please click here.  It was on that cruise that we visited the Blarney Castle.  

Tom had previously kissed the "Blarney Stone" during his two previous visits to Ireland before we met, once with a girlfriend at the time and the second time with his dear mom, Mary Lyman who passed away in 2008, months from her 99th birthday.  When we were there in 2014 we didn't kiss the stone when we'd read that mischief-makers peed on it after dark.  
Note the vines growing on the outside of their building.  Quite impressive.
Tom took his all of his accrued vacation time, 28 days, to take his mother to the Vatican to see the Pope, tour Italy to end up touring Ireland based on their strong Irish history.  It was this story that made me fall in love with him.  

I figured any son who'd use his entire year's vacation to take his mother (just prior to her going totally blind) to fulfill her dreams was definitely my kind of man.  He humbly told me this story on our first date in June 1991, when I'd invited him to my home for dinner. 

He hated the food I'd made but he didn't complain at the time: grilled Cajun swordfish, grilled baby asparagus, and couscous...none of which he eats. He didn't care for the Cabernet Sauvignon I served since he's not a wine drinker.  He did enjoy the Creme Brulee I'd made for dessert.

Hummm...we've seen this sign at locations throughout the world.
But, I was entrenched in the story of taking his mother to see the Pope and visit Ireland.  I realize I've told this story in a previous post.  However, after 2,479 posts as of today, it's easy for me to tell a story I've told in the past.  

When I do retell a story in a post, I'm always aware its a repeated story but I also realize we always have a flow of new readers from all over the world that may not have seen the previous story.

Last night's drinks and dinner at Fáilte go Tigh Mheaic, which the locals shorten to Tigh Mheaic.  The pronunciation of this name is tricky. Next time, we'll ask for clarification.  The Irish language is exceedingly difficult for us foreigners to grasp including pronunciation and meanings.
The design and decor of the bar depict exactly what one would envision for a small town pub in Ireland.
As I am writing today's post with Irish news on the TV in the background, a news story that unfolded was how the audience for the traditional Irish pub is going by the wayside.  These pubs used to be packed with heavy drinkers and loads of merriment and conversation, on occasion rowdy behavior.

The young generation of today has little interest in hanging out in a bar.  Instead, they spend time in more sophisticated nightclubs packed with people their own age.  

Us, old timers, easily recall years of great times we had hanging out in a bar, meeting people and at times, developing romantic relationships, as was the case with Tom and I...we met in a bar in Bloomington, Minnesota, 28 years ago.
Eventually, we moved into the dining room to dine.
For the locals, there may still be a few diehards, who stop at a pub after work or in the evening but they are definitely not as prevalent as they were in the past.
My vision of dozens of people clamoring at the bar, engaged in lively chatter, may not be a reality after all, especially in this low population area.

The huge entire area of Connemara only has a total population of 32,000.  Carna, where the bar/restaurant has a population of only.  From this site: "There are currently 178 people living in Carna Village but there are 1,786 people living in the townlands around Carna and the Iorras Aithneach area. The population dramatically dropped from the previous average of 8000 before the Great Famine."

With this low population and the risk of causing injury or death on the narrow winding roads to oneself and to others, excessive drinking makes no sense at all in this area or any area for that matter.  Surely, this fact, over the years has added to the lack of interest by the locals and tourists in "barhopping" or in "hanging out" at one location.
This taxidermy which we're not fond of in general reminded us of the antelope heads at Jabula Lodge, our favorite restaurant in Marloth Park.
Speaking of drinking, last night for the first time in 3½ months I had two glasses of an excellent Malbec.  Of course, after not drinking for so long, I felt a little tipsy but I thoroughly enjoyed the delicious wine.

Nonetheless, we had a lovely evening. After a while, we left the bar to enter the adjacent dining room to order our dinner. The food was fresh and filled with local flavor.  We both had grilled scallops, Tom's with salad, chips (fries) and mine with veg and salad.  Tom gave me his salad as he often does.

The bill was much higher than we're used to after living in South Africa for 15 months.  Our bill before the tip was Euro 89.03, US 99.73.  Had I not ordered the entire bottle of wine, the bill would have been about Euro 78, US 87.41, by ordering just the two glasses separately.  I won't do this again.  Plus, Tom left a cash tip of Euro 15, US $16.81, making our total for the evening Euro 104.50, US $117.06. We aren't thrilled paying this much to dine out once a week.
We thought there's be entertainment at this small stage but none started while we were there.  A handcrafted sailboat replica occupies the space between stage performances.
We brought home the remainder of the bottle with more than half remaining.  According to this site, a typical bottle of wine contains five glasses at 150 ml, 5 ounces each.  For my first wine since the cardiac bypass surgery, I wanted to make sure I controlled the size of my servings which in some locations, they pour too much, more than I'd want.

Today, cool and cloudy, we'll stay put, make a nice Sunday dinner and settle back doing a "bunch of nothing" which, from time to time, is quite enjoyable.

May you do the same today.

Photo from one year ago today, May 26, 2018:

The view from the restaurant, aptly named, Aamazing River View located in Marloth Park.  For more photos, please click here.

Part 1...Irish history...Connemara Heritage and History Centre...

The entrance to the Connemara Heritage and History Centre located near Clifden.
"Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland"
When children are little, each birthday it is traditional to pick up the child, turn them over and bump their head gently on their birthday cake. The child’s head is bumped once for each year they have lived. It is believed that partaking in this tradition brings good luck and good fortune to the child."
Yesterday, upon arrival at the Connemara Heritage and History Centre, we took photos of the exterior.  It was a rainy and misty day prompting up to visit an indoor venue but we weren't disappointed when we entered the gardens which we had no idea were so lovely and worthy of photos, rain or shine.
Beautiful flowers lined the parking area.
A sunny day would have ideal for many of the photos we'll share here over the next few days. But, we decided we won't keep the weather from preventing us from getting out and about unless it's raining heavily.  The narrow winding roads are dangerous enough on sunny days.
A tractor pulling a trolley car is used for tours to the centre.
Once we paid the senior discounted entrance fee of Euro 7.5, US $8.40, and walked through the shops we were escorted to a small movie theatre where we watched a 20-minute video on the history of Connemara including the sorrowful story of Dan O'Hara, a local man, and his family who's life story is heartbreaking.
There are numerous streams running through the scenic grounds of the centre.
Many farmers and families enjoyed a good life, although not easy, in Connemara up until the Great Famine as described below from this site:

"The Great Famine, or the Great Hunger, was a period in Ireland between 1845 and 1849 of mass starvation, disease, and emigration. Wikipedia

Start date: September 13, 1845

End date1849

Impact on demographics: Population fell by 20–25% due to mortality and emigration

Did you know: Great Irish Famine is the second-deadliest disaster in Great Britain and Ireland by death toll (1,000,000 to 1,500,000)."
Overlooking a stream.
In part, the video we watched focused on the Dan O'Hara family, the history of which must have been passed down over the generations.  The Connemara Heritage and History Centre dedicated the facility to his and his family's memory with grace and dignity.

The centre is located within a 20-minute uphill walk on a rocky road to the remainder of the homestead and barn of Dan O'Hara.  Fortunately, we were able to drive to the historic home and grounds.
Once indoors, we paid the entrance fee of Euro 7.5, US $8.40, the senior rate.
Over the years private and well-known public figures from around the world have dedicated the planting of a tree to the grounds as stated here from the centre's website:

"Plant Your Roots in Ireland
Dan O' Hara's Homestead, the award-winning Connemara Heritage & History Centre has been welcoming visitors from all over the world for many years. Situated in the Gaeltacht and dedicated to the memory of the immortalized Dan O' Hara who along with his wife and seven children was evicted from this homestead by his landlord in 1845. Along with so many more people from Connemara and Ireland during this era, he was forced to immigrate on the coffin ships to the US."
The restaurant was quiet at 10:30 am.  Surely during tours, this facility would have been busy.
"Unfortunately, his wife and 3 of his children did not survive the journey and needless to say he arrived in New York a very broken man. Dan O' Hara's homestead offers a very unique insight into the life and times of Connemara during the 19th Century along with the history of the region not to mention a verse of the renowned Ballad Dan O' Hara.

As part of our commitment to the continued and sensitive development of the Connemara Heritage & History Centre and to Dan O' Hara's memory and those of the many Irish who were forced to leave their homesteads for America we have developed "A Roots from Ireland Park."
The Irish wear sweaters, flannel shirts, and fleece-lined jackets to stay warm in the cool summer months and snowy winters.  We have sufficient warm clothing with us and didn't make a purchase.
"Here we will plant indigenous Irish Trees, Ash, Alder, Hawthorn and Sycamore Trees which can be dedicated to your ancestors, a family member or a good friend. A personalized plaque at the foot of the tree will accompany each tree planted and the person for whom it is chosen will receive a Certificate of Ownership for their home or office wall."

Ironically, the above-mentioned song, Dan O'Hara, was sung by Finbar Furey at the Minnesota Irish Fair on August 8th, 2015.  The link for the song may be found here at this link.
More in the gift shop, filled with Irish memorabilia and trinkets of high quality.
Both of us were touched by this sad story and when we left the centre's main building and gardens to visit Dan O'Hara's home and grounds, it all had a special meaning, especially to Tom.  

As we've mentioned in the past, Tom's ancestors are from Ireland, many from nearby counties and many who immigrated to the US from the 1830s to the 1850s as they escaped the devastating famine and sailed across the sea after considerable loss of loved ones and a life of hard work on the land.
These 30 breeds of sheep may be found in Ireland.  We've already encountered several.
Tomorrow, we'll return with more photos and history of the life of the people of Connemara.  It is indeed special to learn about the island of Ireland and its rich history and determined people.

For our loved ones and friends in the USA, have a safe and meaningful Memorial Day weekend.  For our friends throughout the world enjoy the weekend and holidays in your countries at this time.

Photo from one year ago today, May 25, 2018:
A face of a cape buffalo only a mother could love spotted in Kruger National Park.  For more photos, please click here.

First "out of the car" sightseeing outing in over three months..."Cruising on down the road"...

Cashel Catholic church, not far from us.
"Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland" 
The Irish drinking song "The Hills of Connemara" has been recorded and performed by a number of Irish and Celtic-themed bands.

Today was the first time in over three months that we went out on a sightseeing tour.  During my recovery period, I haven't felt motivated or energetic enough to engage in the walking often required on such tours.
Low rocks walls line most of the properties in Connemara.
In this past week, as I've worked toward my goal of walking 10,000 steps a day (the highest day was 9500.  I'm working on the rest!) while doing a series of circuit training type exercises in the process using household items as props.

As it turns out there isn't a fitness center nearby, not within an hour's drive.  There's no way it makes sense to drive two hours a day to go to a fitness facility when I can exercise at "home."
Cattle on the side of the road.
Thank goodness for this past week's exercise.  Had I not done it, there's no way I'd ever have been able to participate in any type of self-tour.  Not only was there a lot of walking and standing within the facility but with many outbuildings, a garden, steep rocky walks and hills to navigate, it would have been impossible.

Most patients three months after cardiac bypass surgery are quite able to engage in such activities since they began walking right after surgery.  For me, the leg infections and two additional surgeries prevented me from being able to walk and exercise up until a little over two weeks ago.

Chaiseal describes a "stone fort" in the Irish language.
One of our kindly reader/friends wrote to me concerned I am being too hard on myself by attempting to catch up so quickly.  But, I decided if I can do without strain, to proceed without fear and excess caution.  

A few days ago when I managed the 9500 steps in one day, I was elated but exhausted.  Never during the walking itself did I struggle.  I only had to ease back a little the next day to 7500 steps when my legs were tired.  Today, with our outing and the climbing up and down hills, I should be able to accomplish around 8000 steps, again striving for the higher number.
View across the bay.
I have to remind myself that walking the 10,000 steps is equivalent to walking over eight km, or approximately five miles. A little over two weeks ago I gave up using a walker and had trouble easily walking across a room without holding on.

Our bodies are amazing.  They so much strive to homeostasis, described as:  "The tendency towards a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes."  Basically, our bodies strive to be well.  We need only to pay attention to this process.
View across an inlet, a bit tilted in an effort to avoid the car's side view mirror.
I don't have all the answers.  I only know my own situation and it may be entirely different from others in a similar situation.  All I know is I am bound and determined to be as healthy as I can be based on the fact I still have bad arteries throughout my body, a genetic condition over which I have little control.

When we returned to the house after the tour, this late in the afternoon, I wasn't up to preparing a detailed story about the history of Connemara, its people and its heritage.  Tomorrow is another day and after a good night's rest, I'll be looking forward to sharing our photos (of which we took many) and interesting history of this area.

We'll be back tomorrow with much more...

Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, May 24, 2018:
This warthog we spotted in Kruger had tusks that were almost a full circle. For more Kruger National Park photos, please click here.

The simple life...Ireland elicits a slower pace...

This morning's catch when John stopped by with fresh caught Atlantic salmon, a container of crabmeat and another container of prawns.  The cost for the above was Euro 25, US $27.85.  There's enough salmon for three meals and a fourth meal with the crab and prawns on a lettuce salad.  The average cost per serving Euro 6.26, US $6.97.  We paid John the Euro 14, US $15.60, we owed him from last week's fish.  I asked if he could bring salmon each week.  Tom doesn't care for fish so I'll happily enjoy every morsel.
"Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland" 
"Northern Ireland is governed by the United Kingdom, while the rest of Ireland is an independent nation."

Living in Ireland is very different from anywhere we've lived after over 6½ years of world travel.  The environment, the people, the chosen pace of peace, calm and good humor is present in every situation we encounter.
Today's mist and clouds over the sea.
This is appealing.  Thank goodness we have this website requiring new photos daily and a goal to research Tom's ancestry.  Otherwise, we'd be so content, we'd hardly go out other than to shop and dine out on occasion.

We're far from many restaurants but now that I'm beginning to feel better, we'll go out to dinner more often.  Since our arrival on May 12th, we've only dined out once.
A gate to a private drive or boat launch.
We've so enjoyed the wide array of fantastic food products from the SuperValu supermarket in Clifden that cooking has become such a treat.  We can now find ingredients we like to use that we never could find in the Spar Market in Komatipoort.

Now that I can cook again, we're making a few more interesting dishes I didn't burden Tom with when he was cooking all the meals by himself.  That's not to say, he's not helping.  
Many homes in the countryside have this similar look and are very old.
He's right beside me in the kitchen doing all the "heavy lifting" including washing dishes, hauling food and pots back and forth to the laundry room where the second refrigerator and another bigger sink is located.

This morning feels like a typical Irish day.  Ann, the lovely house cleaner arrived at 9:30 am informing me that she'd lit a candle at her church for my continuing recovery.  How sweet is that?
Fishing boat in the bay.
Moments later, Eileen, the owner of this house who lives in the house next door, also stopped by.  They both possess a wealth of fascinating information about Connemara and Ireland in general.  We love their accents, warmth, easy smiles and enthusiasm.

We'd planned to head out today but it's raining, not uncommon for Ireland.  Also, Eileen called the fish guy, John to find out if he was coming by today.  He stopped by before noon. Note the above photo and caption for further explanation.

We paid John the Euro 14, US $15.59, from last week when he'd insisted we take some fish when the package had yet to arrive containing our new debit cards leaving us with no cash (euros in Ireland).
A boat at the organic salmon station.
After the ATM cards had arrived we immediately drove to Clifden to an ATM to get enough cash to last for quite a while. Weekly, we pay Ann Euro 60, US $66.82 for three hours of housecleaning, the highest we've ever paid.  That's not to say she isn't worth it.  She does a meticulous job.  

Housekeeping wasn't included in the rent as it was in South Africa where we had two cleaners, Zef and Vusi, each day of the week.  We've been spoiled.  But, knowing we have a cleaner only once a week, we're being diligent about keeping the house tidy and organized in between Ann's visits.

No, we don't have a social life here yet and may not be able to make lifelong friends here as we did in Marloth Park many of whom we are staying in touch, particularly, Kathy and Don, Linda and Ken (we spoke on the phone yesterday) and Louise and Danie.

Now that I'm beginning to feel better, we're planning on getting out more.  In the interim, this simple life is suiting us just fine.

Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, May 23, 2018:
This was our first sighting of a good-sized herd of cape buffalo we spotted from Marloth Park yesterday, on the banks of the Crocodile River.  There were from 24 to 30 in the herd.  For more photos, please click here.

The scenic beauty continues as we get out more and more...

At every turn the scenery is breathtaking.
"Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland" 
"Most Irish people believe that fairies exist. In their culture, fairies have magical powers and bring happiness and great things to families."


The scenery from every turn in the road, let alone the views from the windows in our holiday home, are nothing short of spectacular.  This morning overcast and cloudy with rain predicted is still gorgeous as the clouds gather around the mountains known as the "Twelve Bens."
Wildflowers are often found blooming on the side of the road especially this time of year as summer nears.
From this site:
The Twelve Bens or Twelve Pins (Irish: Na Beanna Beola; the peaks of Beola) is a mountain range of sharp-peaked quartzite summits and ridges located in the Connemara National Park in County Galway, in the west of Ireland.

Topographically, the range is partnered with the Maumturks range on the other side of the Glen Inagh valley (a Western Way route). The highest point is Benbaun at 729 meters (2,392 ft). The range is popular with hill walkers, rock climbers, and fell runners. The 15–kilometer "Glencoaghan Horseshoe" (Irish: Gleann Chóchan) is noted as providing some of the "most exhilarating mountaineering in Ireland," and "a true classic". A more serious undertaking is the 28–kilometer "Twelve Bens Challenge", climbing all bens in a single day."

The plural word for a group of sheep is flock, dove or herd.  A very large group of sheep is a band of mob.
Now, as I write here I can see the "Twelve Bens" from the house as we gaze across the Bertraghboy Bay.  On any cloudy day, we can peer out the window to see the fluffy clouds leaving trails of mist over the mountains.

Views are even more spectacular on sunny days as soon in a few of today's photos.  We often choose to take a drive when it's a sunny day to enhance the quality of our photos.  But, still, there remains the magic and mystery of clouds filling the skies on days of predicted rain, such as today.

An abandoned boat in part covered in vegetation creates this classic scene.
Tomorrow, when lovely Ann, our house cleaner arrives at 9:00 am, we'll let her inside and take off to explore areas of Connemara we've yet to see of which there are many.  Connemara is described as follows:

From this site: "Connemara (Irish: Conamara; pronounced [ˈkʊnˠəmˠəɾˠə]) is a cultural region in County Galway, Ireland. The area has a strong association with traditional Irish culture and contains a major part of the Connacht Irish-speaking Gaeltacht, which is a key part of the identity of the region and is the largest Gaeltacht in the country."

Rocks are seen everywhere in Ireland.  From this site:  "The geological map of Ireland displays a wide variety of rock types which have originated at different periods of geological time. The oldest rocks are metamorphic gneisses which are to be found on Inishtrahull, several miles off Malin Head in Co. Donegal, and elsewhere in the north-west. They originally formed as igneous rocks 1750-1780 million years ago."
"One common definition of the area is that it consists of most of West Galway, that is to say, the part of the county west of Lough Corrib and Galway city, contained by Killary Harbour, Galway Bay and, the Atlantic Ocean

Some more restrictive definitions of Connemara define it as the historical territory of Conmhaícne Mara, i.e. just the far northwest of County Galway, bordering County Mayo. The name is also used to describe the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking areas) of western County Galway, though it is argued that this too is inaccurate as some of these areas lie outside of the traditional boundary of Connemara."

Ireland consists of many boggy areas which are prevalent here in Connemara.
There are arguments about where Connemara ends as it approaches Galway city, which is definitely not in Connemara — some argue for Barna, on the outskirts of Galway City, some for a line from Oughterard to Maam Cross, and then diagonally down to the coast, all within rural lands.

The wider area of what is today known as Connemara was previously a sovereign kingdom known as Iar Connacht, under the kingship of the Ó Flaithbertaigh, until it became part of the English-administered Kingdom of Ireland in the 16th century."
Clouds reflecting on a lake.
The population of Connemara is 32,000. There are between 20,000–24,000 native Irish speakers in the region making it the largest Irish-speaking Gaeltacht.  The Enumeration Districts with the most Irish speakers in all of Ireland as a percentage of the population can be seen in the South Connemara area.  Most Irish speakers are of school age (5–19 years old)."

There is so much for us to learn about Ireland, the birthplace of Tom's ancestry.  Soon, we'll begin visiting some of the towns/counties from which they originated.

In the meanwhile, we're so much enjoying our sunny day drives through the winding, hilly roads, occasionally encountering a one car road or bridge.  One must be extra careful driving through the area with many blind spots and farm animals standing, walking or sleeping on the road.

Today, we'll stay in.  We're making mozzarella-ball stuffed meatballs with a red sauce and sprinkled with parmesan cheese, along with grilled vegetables on the side.  Lately, both of us have become tired of eating side salads and are taking a break for a while, having more cooked or raw vegetables as an alternative.

We hope each of you has a peaceful and pleasant day!

Photo from one year ago today, May 22, 2018:
Although it's impossible to conquer all of the alien plants in Marloth Park in order to protect wildlife and humans, the dedicated Marloth Park Honorary Rangers spend considerable time (their own free time) pulling out invasive plants.  In the case of "Mother of Thousands" every last bit must be pulled since it will regrow from even the most minuscule portion left behind.  It was this morning that we met friends Uschi and Evan (not in this photo) with whom we've since become great friends.  They are leaders in Honorary Rangers in Marloth Park.  For more details, please click here.

Weakness...Working my way toward familiar every day life...

Donkeys are highly regarded in Ireland to the point there are special programs available to adopt and a specialized Donkey Sanctuary in Cork.
"Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland" 
"Irish people speak English, but Irish school children are still taught Irish, which is the Gaelic language."

It doesn't happen overnight.  The past challenging three months have left me longing for our form of normalcy, by our standards, which includes getting out, exploring an unfamiliar country, learning about its people, customs and culture.
Yellow irises growing wild in the countryside.  Please click here for information on the wild yellow irises in Ireland that often grow along the road. 
However, after lying down for almost three months with my feet up, I am weak, unconditioned and every movement requires a concerted effort.  Now that the withdrawal has abated, I'm back to walking today, adding some lunges and arm exercises to the mix.  It's slow going.  

Many patients after cardiac surgery go through a rehabilitation program for a few months.  With my legs being infected, leaving me unable to walk and with the program only available in distant Nelspruit, that option wasn't available to me.  Nor could I have handled the 90-minute drive every other day.
We love the reflection of clouds in the water as we drive through the countryside.
Instead, I have researched typical exercises suitable for my situation and am determined to rebuild my strength and flexibility.  I worked out for most of my life. I am very familiar with different modalities useful for rebuilding strength and mobility.  

The doctors informed us that the strength of my heart kept me alive with my outrageously bad arteries.  It was through years of ardent exercise that I was able to keep my heart strong enough to keep beating while it's arteries literally collapsed.  And now, I refer back to my years of exercise experience for this important task ahead of me.
A little sheep family resting near the road.
The key word here is "motivation." Mentally, I am highly motivated but my weak muscles and body defy me.  I must work past this feeling of being somewhat "feeble" to being able to move about freely and with confidence.  

I only started walking again two weeks ago.  And yes, there's been some improvement within the past two weeks with the walking I've done each day but it simply hasn't been aggressive enough to affect the type of change I need to stop feeling so weak.
As we approached the town of Clifden we noticed a number of apartments and townhouses on the inlet.  Clifden, our area to shop, only has a population of 1,597.  "Clifden is a coastal town in County Galway, Ireland, in the region of Connemara, located on the Owenglin River where it flows into Clifden Bay. As the largest town in the region, it is often referred to as "the Capital of Connemara". Frequented by tourists, Clifden is linked to Galway city by the N59."
Today, I decided to step it up, literally and figuratively, as hard as it is to muster the energy, to become more aggressive.  I've been able to manage 7000 to 8000 steps a day on my fitness device but sadly, this is not enough.  Strength building is a vital part of the equation.
This precious photo was my favorite of the day.
Last night, I slept poorly.  Without the pain meds, my leg is painful and woke me several times during the night.  I don't think I slept more than three or four hours.  

I'm exhausted but still, during the day, every hour I will get up and walk at least 1000 steps, do a few lunges at the kitchen counter and use the spring water filled plastic one-liter bottles of  Pellegrino as hand and arm weights, performing a variety of movements.  I'll add repetitions and other exercises as I become stronger.
A dark brown ram along the side of the road.
The amount of discipline I'll need today is over the top.  Perhaps after a better night's sleep tonight, it will be easier tomorrow.  But, I've resigned myself to this hard reality: no excuses and no rationalizations.  It's a "must do."

It's necessary to keep reminding myself...I don't want to continue to be unfit and feeble with a likelihood of falling that I've been over these past many months. Perhaps, I was in this state, justifiably so, but no longer.  The time has come for change.
Yesterday, we crossed this single lane bridge on the way to Clifden.  There are a few different routes we can take from here to Clifden and will change it up each week.
I write this here to enhance my commitment, to declare to our readers that there is a better and more fit life awaiting me as I continue on this mission.  Are you experiencing a similar state of being?  if so, join me in this process and let's get up and get moving!

Happy, healthy day to all!

Photo from one year ago today, May 21, 2018:
After dark, "Mom, Two Piglets and Auntie" came back to see us along with another male group of four zebras.  For more photos, please click here.