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Ireland98

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Monday, September 14, 1998

The sky is blue. It should be a nice day to go fishing. After breakfast we drove into town around 9:30 a.m. to exchange some money. We were getting low and needed some cash to pay Paddy. We got to town before the banks opened so we spent some time walking around. It was a beautiful morning. We had even seen a rainbow driving into town.

We were trying to find a branch of the Bank of Ireland as we had coupons for no fee exchanges. After looking around and not finding one we went to the post office instead. In the post office Sallie asked a man in line if he knew where the Bank of Ireland was located. His replied with a puzzled look, "Right next door."

It wasn't entirely our fault. Every Bank of Ireland we had seen to this point had been painted this blue-green color. So we had been looking for a building painted that way. This branch was a basic brown on the outside. But the inside was painted that blue-green color. As far as exchanging money goes, I found out (after I got home and looked at my bank statement) that I had received the best exchange rate from the ATM machine at the airport. And there are ATM machines everywhere (even it seems in the smallest of villages) so there is no problem getting cash whenever you need it. I think I am repeating myself.

After exchanging our money it was back to the B&B. Catherine, had made us cheese sandwiches to take along. We walked down to the bay where we had to wait a few minutes for Paddy. His boat is definitely a fishing boat. It appears to be very old and very well used (which is the way a fishing boat should be). The boat was powered by a small car engine that was mounted in the floor in the back of the boat. This worked well except for the exhaust fumes that occasionally drifted into the boat.

We went out into the bay and fished by trolling around several islands. Clew Bay is filled with small islands from several feet across to several acre's. Sheep were on most of these islands. I guess they don't have much trouble herding them out here. Sallie, Jody, and myself each had fishing poles with 4 or 5 jigs on the line. Mom fished using a line tied to the boat (no pole). She caught the first fish.

We fished from about 11:15 a.m. to about 2:00 p.m.. As we would go over a shoal off an island we would each catch several fish. Several times we each caught two fish at once and a couple of times Sallie and Jody caught three fish on their line. By 1:30 p.m. we had caught over fifty fish, mostly mackerel. Sallie caught 19 fish, Jody caught 12, and Mom and I each caught about 10 each.

After 1:30 the fish stopped biting and we had plenty so we called it a day. As we headed back to shore Paddy filleted several of the fish for us. We had so many that we gave him more than half to keep. Back on dry land we paid him for the trip. It only cost us 10 each ($15 USD) which I thought was a very good deal.

We went back to the B&B to change clothes and to put the fish in the freezer. Catherine was going to cook them for our dinner tonight. Sallie and Jody went back down to the bay to clean a few of the fish that Paddy didn't have time to fillet. When they got back and washed, we drove to Crough Patrick.

We had been able to see Crough Patrick from the bay. The day was beautiful, the sun was shining, there was very little wind, in other words, perfect. We got to the base of Crough Patrick at 4 p.m.. After asking someone coming down from the mountain how long it took to climb we learned that it took four hours. We decided there wasn't enough time left in the day and that we would come back in the morning.

We went back into Westport to find a place to get a snack. We parked near the center of town and found a small restaurant, Dunnigan's Pub. I had a Guinness Beer, oysters and Irish Stew. The Irish Stew was wonderful. The oysters were larger than the ones I had in Rosscarbery but they tasted strongly of the bay. Mom only had a dessert and Sallie and Jody split a small pizza. We would be eating again in a few hours but we were hungry.

We walked around town some more and spent some time in the local grocery store. It is always interesting to go to the grocery store in a community. We bought several snacks including two more of the Carrot Cakes that were so delicious (we had bought one several days before).

Back at the B&B we found Catherine rearranging the furniture. Jody and I lent a hand moving tables and chairs back and forth until everything was just the way she wanted. Finally we were allowed to relax and catch the news. Gee...more news on Bill Clinton...I'm so proud to be an American. Where is that all Simpon's channel?

An hour later we were called for dinner. She had baked some of the fish and fried the rest. She had also prepared a potato dish that was very good and a vegetable plate. For me she had cooked several pieces of chicken (as I am allergic to fish). For dessert she had made a sort of short cake soaked in rum. Or should I say some Rum with a piece of short cake thrown in. All the food was delicious. Unfortunately, those oysters decided to make a return visit. I had to excuse myself several times to run upstairs to hug the porcelain throne.

In spite of this the meal was delicious even with my bulimic routine. After dinner I went to bed early. I am not sure what everyone else did. I didn't really care.

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ireland98@johnpmartin.com