(Things got a bit out of order and this should have appeared before the previous)
We left Bundoran on Aug. 30 and embarked on 12 hours of madness as we tried to get me in and out of the outpatient unit at University Hospital, Sligo for a shot in my eye to treat my macular degeneration and on to the destination we actually had planned, New Grange. We sat for what seemed like forever in the waiting area at the hospital, yet were able to cross Ireland and make it to New Grange in time to get on the second to last tour of the day. New Grange is an amazingly impressive site and sight. Its sheer size outdoes anything else in Europe. Purists may balk at the reconstruction, but the unreconstructed interior brings all kinds of images of past religious activities to mind (Photography is no longer allowed inside). The 93 or so huge stones encircling the mound at New Grange, as well as those on the inside, have been pecked with spirals, circles, undulating lines, cup marks and other symbols. I admit I did not enter the annual lottery–winners get 2 tickets to see the light of the winter solstice come in the upper window of New Grange on one of 5 days that this occurs each year.
As if that weren’t enough, we had decided to return our rental car and stay overnight in the city of Dublin. Leaving New Grange around 6 pm, the thought of driving into the city, disgorging the luggage of four travelers at the hotel and returning to the airport gave us visions of the 9th circle of hell. Around that moment, we discovered that the Dublin airport is on the route from New Grange into the city, so we stopped in, dropped the car, picked up a big taxi and arrived at our hotel for less than the cost of four bus tickets from the airport into town. Not only that but our 6’5″ retired army medic taxi driver told us his best stories of taxi driving. (Unfortunately, the one where the guy pulled a gun on him took place in Chicago….uh oh.) By 8 pm we were seated at dinner, having triumphed over all hurdles, visited a truly world class attraction, and were ready for our last day in Ireland. I am grateful for the patience of my traveling companions that allowed us to make this all happen.