Ok here is the intro for the day.... This is Mike Kingdon and he will be writing yesterdays blog as a guest. :) I hope you enjoy a break from me. :)
Boy, can these guys sleep!
'Just taking a nap...' Three days later and naps are interspersed with infrequent bouts of activity - moving to the fridge in search of recognizable food. Yes, our chicken still has its bones in and those round things really are Irish Potatoes, warts and all. We even have cabbage, which ought not be surprising in this country where many people try and grow at least some of their own food.
Bryant wants to fly-fish, so we went for lessons on our local lough, Carra. Not bad, actually, despite an untidy start. After an hour he managed to get a line out, but nowhere near a trout.
Carra is a beautiful lake, clear water, green islands (everything is green here, thanks to the generous climate we enjoy) and the finest fattest trout that were never caught.
We fished until dark and cold, which is generally the best time to stop. Nobody caught anything worth mentioning, apart from Bryant, who caught his coat several times and the boat once. We shall try again this evening. There is a bit of a breeze so hopefully there will be a wave, which gets the fish on the fin and high in the water.
I guess B told you all about falling out of a shrub and getting poked in the ribcage with a thin stick on his way to the ground, where he feigned death while we watched with something approaching apathy. That was Saturday. Today is Sunday. His recovery is slowww in stricken-by-small-stick terms, but by the time he gets back to the States all limbs should be functioning once more.
That was in Cong, home of one of Ireland's more impressive medieval monastic settlements and the location of Ashford Castle, a strikingly renovated building that is now an exclusive hotel with a man on the door to keep Bryant and Chelsea and the rest of us out.
The Cong River runs past the castle. It is full to the brim with wild Atlantic salmon, indeed, this part of Ireland is one of the last strongholds of this finest of fishes. The angling season has finished for this year, but next year we shall be back to catch them by the score. (I got one this season; it wasn't big, although what it lacked in stature was more than adequately compensated by the flavour of its succulent, pink flesh.)
Numerous fish-eating birds squabble along the banks of the river, vying for the best fishing posts. Of these, the grey heron, an ancient-looking bird with reptilian features and a murderous, croaking call is the largest and most prominent. Kingfishers, small azure birds that plunge for small fish, inhabit the overgrown riverbank, and numerous species of waterfowl dibble and dive for their various foods.
Cong village ought to be well known on account of its extremely picturesque setting. However, it is for that stereotypical Irish film, "The Quiet Man" that it is best known. The Quiet Man was filmed locally and now the village boasts a Quiet Man pub, cafe, restaurant, budget accommodation hostel and numerous other similarly titled tourist attractions which, combined, put this otherwise unremarkable place firmly on the tourist trail.
Hidden away among the tall pines at the top end of Cong Woods stands the Guinness Tower, a replica of an Irish Tower House built in the 1860s by members of the Guinness family, who owned Ashford Castle and the adjoining estate at the time. The tower can be climbed by means of the spiral stone staircase that winds around the interior. The steps ascend at such an incline as to reduce the thigh muscles of the uninitiated to a trembling, quivering mess - something that may well have been a useful defense mechanism during the Middle Ages, when tower houses of this sort were common throughout the strife-ridden Irish countryside.
Olive has joined us for the next week and a half, and will perform sister-in-lawly babysitting services over the next ten days, allowing time for further fishing excursions and historical expeditions, including a visit to the Guinness Heritage Vault, otherwise known as the local pub.
I fully intend to hijack this blog sometime over the next week... See you then.