So, yesterday the wonderful Tom Keith took a group of us on a day trip to Lismore, Ardmore, and Youghal (pronounced Y’all). It was freezing cold and miserably rainy but I got to see some new parts of Ireland and get drinks in a new bar, so, all in all, I consider the day a success!
The day started off bright and early (except it wasn’t bright because the sun refused to shine all day). We packed onto the bus and headed off for Lismore. For those of you who remember, I’ve been to Lismore before. It’s where my future house (castle) and husband (a duke) live. For those who need a refresher, or joined this adventure late, read all about my first trip to Lismore here: I’m a (self-proclaimed) duchess.
While the rest of the group went to watch the video with Father Declan, me and Naomi sat in a cafe and got coffees.
After the group watched the video, we went up to Saint Carthage’s Cathedral. Last time I was in Lismore I didn’t get to see the cathedral so it was cool to have the chance to explore it!
St. Carthage’s is really old (I forget the exact number) and was founded by the same sect of monks as Father Declan.
After we were done in Lismore, we hopped back on the bus and headed off for Youghal (again, pronounced Y’all).
Once we got to Youghal, the bus driver dropped us off on top of a huge hill where the original walls that used to protect the city still stand. Usually, the gates are open so you can walk through the wall and then up onto the top to see the whole city, but they were locked so we had to get back onto the bus and drive into the city itself.
Once we started on our way to the cathedral, we stopped to hear about one of the large houses in the center of town that got turned into a poor house where the impoverished could come and stay back when Ireland was having difficulties.
We continued on our way and came to the Collegiate Church of Saint Mary. This church was gorgeous and used to be attended by Sir Walter Raleigh!
Once we were done seeing the cathedral, we were put back on the bus and traveled to Ardmore. Once we got to Ardmore, the bus drove up a huge hill where the original church of St. Declan used to be.
After we were done here, we went to an area called Declan’s Walk or Declan’s Hermitage. It’s where he went to escape the pressures of the church. To get there, we basically scaled the side of a mountain in a tour bus. I was sure we were gonna die, but our bus driver, John, was a champ!
On a trip a few years back, a girl asked why there wasn’t a Mercyhurst rock, so the group picked one at Declan’s Hermitage, and it’s still there. We made a cross on it with our rocks as well before we left.
After we left the Hermitage, we went to a college that teaches only in Gaelic for tea and to meet the director who took us on a tour of the tow and gave us a little history lesson. The town speaks predominately Gaelic. Road signs, building signs, everything was in Gaelic because the community speaks Gaelic!
And for the record, the word “fork” is still pronounced fork in Gaelic. They spell is with a “c” at the end (forc) but the pronunciation is the same. So, now you can speak a bit of Gaelic. You’re welcome!
After our tour of the town was done, we headed over to The Marine Bar for food, drinks, and live music!
At the end, one of our Irish caretakers, Joe, got up and said he wanted to sing the American National Anthem in our honor. So we all stood up and put our hands on our hearts… and Joe starts belting out “Livin’ On a Prayer!” I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard, or sang that loud!
To close the show, Christy sang “Dungravan, My Hometown.” I got really nostalgic and teary-eyed. It seems crazy to me that I’m coming home in about a month. Where did the time go?
So, with the time I have left, I’m gonna cherish every little bit of Ireland!