Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Kildare to Longford

Friday 23rd May.
My landlady in Athy had suggested I check out the library for additional information about the Ardreigh mill, so I planned to go there in the morning before leaving town.

I had the oddest experience, still not sure exactly what it was all about.  I settled up with the landlady at breakfast, and prepared to take my bags out to my car, but she absolutely forbade me from doing so, to the point that she was actually blocking my exit. She insisted that I leave my bags in my room, and that I come back after the library and have a sleep before moving on.  And this even after she had already stripped the linen from my bed!  I had anything of value in my day pack, so I reluctantly did leave my main bag behind, but had to argue my way out with daypack. 

Not much success at the library, the only things of relevance being some articles I had already found on-line.  But, while perusing these, I was overcome by such extreme tiredness that I couldn't even keep my eyes open.  I left the library, took myself for a walk along the river to get some fresh air and wake up a bit, then back to my lodgings where I sneaked up the stairs, rescued my bag and left as quickly & quietly as I could, fortunately avoiding contact with the landlady in the process.  But for the rest of the day, I was so very tired, and stopped several times along my drive to get some fresh air.  I have no idea what, if anything, was going on, but her absolute insistence that I return for a sleep mid-morning was decidedly odd!

Leaving Athy, I drove north into county Laois, stopping at Mountmellick where I wanted to visit the Embroidery Museum.  Mountmellick work is a white-on-white embroidery, using motifs of flowers and berries, which developed in the region and was taught to local women during the Famine by Quaker women, as a means of providing an income.  The museum was fascinating, and the work on display beautiful.  And yes, I couldn't help myself, I did purchase a little kit to do myself.  Probably a bad move, given that I have not yet completed (or for that matter, barely started) the Kenmare Lace sampler that I purchased during my visit there in 2007!  One day........

After lunch in the cafĂ© at Mountmellick, my journey continued via the Slieve Bloom Mountains, with a scenic drive.  Had more time been available, and the weather more agreeable, I would have liked to spend a day and do some walking there.  As it was, I did do a small detour in order to take a walk to Glenbarrow Falls.  This walk forms part of a circuit walk, but given the circumstances of the day, I chose to walk just to the Falls and back to the carpark, about 20 mins each way. 

As the man I spoke to in the car park said, Niagara Falls they were not!  But still a very pretty little walk and scenery. 

Back in the car, then on to Tullamore, to the Tullamore Dew Visitors Centre, just in time for a tour & tasting.  The centre is on Bury Quay along the Grand Canal, in the original building, and although the whiskey is not produced on site anymore, the tour gives a good idea of the process.  They are presently building a big new  complex just out of town. 

Coffee and scones in the cafe there, then off for the last leg of the day, to Edgeworthstown, in county Longford, for a family catch-up.  Lovely to see Margaret again, not changed a bit since our last meeting 7 years ago.  Margaret is my 3rd cousin x1 removed, and we had stayed with Margaret and her husband Jim at Kilbaha last trip.
Wonderful to see Patricia and Elizabeth, who had travelled down from Belfast for the weekend.  After being in email contact with Patricia for the past couple of years, it was great to be able to meet in person.


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