Our last day in Ireland is a full and fun one. Glowering skies, bits of blue coming and going as Kat drives us to Killursa Church.
We go our windy way as the boy sings his traveling song. Happily, it stays dry, and we find the pretty church and cemetery.
They’re actually digging a grave when we arrive, using pick and shovel in the rocky ground.
I love visiting Irish cemeteries as they often make gardens in the plots to remember their loved ones. Spreading purple lobelia, bold red begonias, even hydrangeas covering graves where people leave momentos—poems, photos, and in one case a little thatched roof cottage.
There’s a sweetness to that.
I see a couple of Sweeneys, and wonder if they were distant cousins.
The ruin of the church is beautiful, and it feels like the right kind of day to pay this sort of visit. Not quite gloomy here, not quite bright. And the dead have views of the green hills, the grazing cows and sheep across the road.
Griffin laughs heartily at something (one) no one else sees, and seems to make a friend.
BW is unable to resist and asks the gravediggers if he can take a photo. They’re more than happy to pose.
We head on to Ross Errilly Friary, a massive, fabulous place we’ve visited before. We have this marvelously spooky place to ourselves.
Just inside the entrance is a newish grave with markers, flowers over the mound. We wander through with everything echoing with the spirits of those long-dead monks.
I always love the little road down to it, with the pretty houses and glorious gardens.
You could walk for hours here, inside and out.
Griffin wants the gravel, of course, and Kat and I take a break, sit on a low wall while he tosses stones or pushes them over a little stone threshold. At one point, he decides we’re not paying attention and tries to sample one.
We both give that ‘eeh!’
At the same time, and apparently loud enough to give him a serious jolt. His whole body jerks in reaction, and he wings the stone in his hand. If there’d been a runner rounding third and heading for home, Griffin’s pitch would have gotten him out.
Then he bursts into tears. Real ones, big, fat drops rolling. He’s: You scared the CRAP out of me!
We have to laugh even as Mama picks him up to comfort him.
Wandering more, up stone steps, into openings, down again.
BW, Jason and I are together when we hear Griffin wail.
Off we go. It seems he was determined to get another taste of gravel. We’re not sure if the wail was reaction—doesn’t taste so good after all—or insult that his mom reached in and took it out of his mouth.
But he gets over it.
We go out for the view, watch a big brown cow circle the castle to a feeder. And Griffin can play in the grass on the green rise.
One more stop on our day, and we’re off to Kinlough Castle.
It’s signposted, so we follow down a tiny lane that gets only tinier. Jason’s nav says to turn on what looks like a cowpath, but intrepid Kat makes the turn, and goes over a steep hump of a bridge to a gate.
She maneuvers her way off the road that isn’t a road, and stays with napping Griffin while we hike across the field of rough grass and sheep droppings.
This place, an old keep, looks as forbidding as they come. Glowering gray in the glowering sky. It’s fenced off, obviously unsafe, so we stay back and just study it.
I wonder if it was more welcoming once, or if it always had this dour look to it. It’s fascinating, must surely be haunted. I’m surprised if the sheep wander very close.
Back we go for Kat to prove her masterful skills. The only way to get out is for her to back up over that hump of a bridge.
Jason goes out to help guide her. The you’re too close to something signal shrieks the whole time as there’s about room enough for another coat of paint on either side of the stone walls of the bridge.
The warning red lights surround the view on the screen—Griffin sleeps on—and Kat just slides between the walls and over the bridge.
Back we head for a snack, for packing. Griffin wakes to visit and play.
We have dinner at Cullen’s where Griffin decides our waitress is the best ever. Every time he sees her he laughs, squeals, grins. She play the game back at him.
I walk him out once to take the air, and he’s thrilled to see her again.
Then he conks on the bench for a bit.
After a fine meal, I give the boy a mash-up session while Kat packs and Daddy takes turns entertaining the boy before bedtime.
A quiet night’s sleep, a short workout on a rainy morning.
We’re packed and about ready to head to the airport.
It’s been a long, lovely time.