Before we could get settled in our “home away from home” in Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare, we had a few necessary purchases to make, including cell phones that worked in Ireland, and maps we had been unable to attain prior to arriving in the country. From Spanish Point, where we’d spent the night, we headed to Ennis, a small city on our way to Ballyvaughan.
What we found there was a thriving market town with a river running through the center of town, and a remarkable Friary (Monastery) ruin right near the river.
We were kindly directed for lunch to a small pub right next to the monastery, where we had a tasty meal in a quiet space. The Cloister’s walls are connected with the old monastery, and after enjoying our meal, we headed over to get a tour of the old buildings and learn a little history of the area.
Walking through buildings that were erected in the 1400s puts American modern history into perspective.
Yes, there were people living in America in the 1400s. But the multiple ancient structures that litter the countryside of Ireland gives some perspective about the degree of development and settlement that took place in Ireland long before anyone from Europe imagined traveled across the sea to the “New World.”
It is hard to imagine being able to keep warm (or dry!) in this wet climate. We climbed from one section of the friary to another, marveling at the small cells monks would have lived in, and trying to imagine how anyone kept dry.
We were grateful for the needed supplies we were able to obtain in Ennis, but even happier to get out of the crowds and onto the Burren.
Marjorie Turner Hollman
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and has completed two guides to Easy Walking trails in Massachusetts, “Easy Walks in Massachusetts 2nd edition,” and “More Easy Walks in Massachusetts.” A native Floridian, she came north for college and snow! Marjorie is a Certified Legacy Planner with LegacyStories.org, and is the producer of numerous veterans interviews for the Bellingham/Mendon Veteran’s History Project. http://www.marjorieturner.com