Settling in...Photos of this lush green island...A new feature to our site...

 
Finally, after waiting patiently we got a good shot of this pair of cows, most likely a mom and baby.
"Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland"
 
"Ireland is a beautiful green country located in northwest Europe. It is an island that is separated from Great Britain by the Irish Sea. The island is considered the 20th largest island in the world and encompasses 84,421 kilometers squared of land. It is home to 6.4 million people, and the capital city of Dublin has a population of 1.273 million people. The island has hilly geography with numerous plains and rivers cutting through the land. Its currency is the Euro. The country’s official language is both English and Irish. Most people speak a dialect of English, however, many families who have lived in Ireland for generations understand and speak Irish. Ireland does not have an official religion, but the primary religion that is followed in the country is Christianity. Its flag is a horizontal flag with green, white, and orange vertical stripes."
The pleasant drive from the house to Clifden, although long, presents some stunning views.
There will be plenty of photos of Ireland as we get out more and more each week.  Since we'll no longer be posting "Sighting of the Day in the Bush" we've changed the feature to be befitting for our time in Ireland to "Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland."  We look forward to learning about this country as we share these facts with all of you.

Maumturk  Mountains in the background often referred to as the "Twelve Bens."  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[d] 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 walkersrock climbers,[2] 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 Twelve Bens was known as "Slime Head" or "Slin Head" throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and possibly before — a corruption of the original Irish name (Irish: Ceann Léime).  It was one of the four "principal heads" or mountain peaks that mariners used as navigational landmarks on the Atlantic coast of Ireland."
As I continue to recover with the left leg still an issue, I find I am beginning to be able to move around much more.  After all, I only began walking on my own and able to sit up for a little over a week.  
From African wildlife to barnyard animals, we've found a degree of contentment especially when they are as cute as these two cows, huddled together to stay warm on a chilly morning.
It takes time to regain muscle strength, stability, and mobility but right now the daily progress is clearly visible.  Today, for the first time in three months, I am making dinner, chopping vegetables, standing on my feet and actually made the bed this morning.  I am very hopeful.
Cows are very curious.  They often stopped grazing to check out who's driving by.
As for Ireland, it's not surprisingly beautiful when we both had been here in years passed.  This is Tom's fourth time in the country (twice before I was on the scene) and once for both of us as a port of call while on a cruise in September 2014 when we visited the port city of Cobh, the last port of call for the Titanic.

The people of Ireland?  Outrageously friendly.  Yesterday, the "fish guy" John O'Flannery stopped by with his refrigerated truck to see if we were interested in buying some fresh fish.  I couldn't have been more excited to see a fish guy but we didn't have any cash to pay him.  
We've seen these three burros.  "The only real difference between a donkey and a burro is their domestication status. A donkey is domesticated, a burro is wild. Other than that, there is no difference -- burro is just the Spanish word for donkey. There is no physical or genetic difference between a burro or a donkey otherwise."
The package from the US only arrived yesterday, containing our two new ATM cards.  When John stopped by around 1600 hours, (4:00 pm), we'd yet to take the 45-minute drive to the next biggest town, Clifden where we could finally go to an ATM for cash.
After we purchase the SIM cards at the post office, we walked along the boulevard in Clifden, enjoying the wide array of shops, pubs, and restaurants.
But, John, friendly and trusting encouraged us to take our choice of fish and we could pay him next week when he stops by.  We purchased a container of fresh crabmeat and a kilo of haddock, fresh from the sea, for a total of Euro 14.00, US $15.66, a sufficient amount for three meals.  

Tom doesn't eat fish unless it battered and fried so I'm on my own with everything we'll purchase from John in the three months we'll be here. Before too long, the "vegetable lady" will stop by with fresh organic produce from her nearby farm.  We love country living with these types of perks.
The strips of shops made it easy to get around the downtown area.
As mentioned above and in yesterday's post, our package from the US finally arrived.  The local DHL tried to deliver the prior day but had called our property owner Eileen to tell her we'd yet to pay the Euro 259, US $290 customs fee assessed on the package.  
Plants for sale at a local garden store. The owner came out to greet us.  The Irish are very friendly.
I spoke to the DHL driver and gave him the payment verification number, proving we'd paid when we received an email requesting payment several days ago.  At this point, he was too far away to deliver the box and didn't bring it out until yesterday after he received notice from the company that we had, in fact, paid the customs fees.  

Contained in the box were our two new debit cards which had expired at the end of March. We had virtually not a single Euro in our possession.  We desperately needed some cash.  
The Clifden town square.
Plus, we'd tried to purchase SIM cards in Clifden on Monday for airtime, text, and data from the post office only to discover it couldn't be accomplished without a debit card and/or cash, of which we had neither on Monday.  All we had in our possession was our various credit cards, none of which could be used for this purpose.  We returned to Clifden today with both cash and debit cards and now our phones have working calling, data, and text.
St. Joseph Catholic Church located in downtown Clifden.
Whew!  We've certainly had our fair share of complications lately but somehow, one by one, we've knocked them off.  In the next few days, we'll get to work on the waiver for the request to return to South Africa after we were banned as "undesirables" for the next five years when we overstayed our visas by 90 days as a result of the four surgeries in Nelspruit.
The island we encountered during the drive to Clifden.
For now, we're settled in. For days (if not months) we've been reeling with handling many important and at times frightening issues.  We've always known we ran the risk of dealing with such issues and as each of the situations, one by one, is resolved, we realize we can handle the most difficult of challenges.
Sheep are marked with paint as described here:  "Farmers “paint” their sheep for identification.  Frequently, you’ll notice large pastures blanketed in green grass and dotted with sheep.  Typically, these pastures are enclosed by stone walls or wire fences and are shared by multiple farmers.  When it comes time to claim ownership of the animals roaming around hundreds of acres, a customized painted sheep is easy to identify. Also, during the mating season, the male ram will be fitted with a bag of dye around its neck and chest.  When mating, the ram mounts the ewe and a bit of dye is deposited on the ewe’s upper back.  This way, the farmer knows which ewes have been impregnated and moves them on to another field away from the ram."
A most peculiar aspect to living in Ireland is the fact it doesn't get fully dark until around 2300 hours, 11:00 pm and it's fully light around 5:00 am.  So far, we're succeeding at sleeping through the night and possibly getting six hours of sleep each night, more than either of us have had over the past months.

Awakening to the divinely cool mornings and spectacular views of the sea is therapeutic and enriching.   We look forward to many more mornings, days and nights in this majestic environment as we "lick our wounds" and strive for a full recovery in this peaceful place.
A ram with curved horns painted in red.
Have a fantastic evening and thanks again to all of our worldwide readers for staying at our side during these difficult times.
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Photo from one year ago today, May 15, 2018:
None of the six of us or our guide Alfred could believe our eyes as we watched this male elephant build his mud pool in Chobe National Park.  We've seen a lot of elephants in Africa but this was a rare sighting for us. For more photos of this elephant and others, please click here.

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