On July 19, a beautiful Saturday, I chose to make my way through the village on foot to see the rural scenery that would be my temporary home for the next four days. Not wanting to be stuck and cramped up in my hostel room, after having my Shaklee 180 Vanilla Chai smoothie, I made my way up, literary, to the hilly, winding, narrow road, without sidewalks, and on one side of the cliffs that nestle Gleann Cholm Cille. As I made my way through, I found that “next door” to the hostel was a large plot of land with a small house owned by a middle aged couple that had a seven or eight year old mutt (black Labrador and a Newfoundland) dog with a white muzzle and a displaced hip. In addition to the dog there was a lonely, but graceful gray Bay horse that cantered over to me and stopped at the barb-wire fence as soon as he smelled people passing by. I spent some time with the horse and I was surprised that this horse wasn’t skittish when it came to strangers. In fact, I think the horse sensed my somewhat limited range of movement, because it lowered its head enough for me to stroke it from its nose all the way up to its diamond-shaped forehead.
After my time with the horse, who I later learned was named, Lemon, I continued to drive down Gleann Cholm Cille’s winding road and soon saw flocks of sheep on different plots of land. Soon enough, I saw that two white ewes had broken out of their flocks and were ambling down the road competing for space with me and the cars driving passed. To my surprise, I found that ewes and sheep in general are more afraid of humans being near them than cars that can possibly run them over! Every time I tried to get close enough to them for a picture, the ewes trotted away to a “safe” distance, but when it came to cars they would stop and stay still until the cars passed them. Sheep are definitely smart, because they know from experience that their wool is sheered off by humans, who leave them stark naked until their wool grows back many times during their whole life span. In contrast, cars are perhaps an intriguing and interactive distraction, since they are noisy but never sheer them.
Aside from the animals that I found along the way, I also got a chance to see many hues of green as well as a variety of flowers and herbs that are native to the region. Passing over the road, I found a lookout spot and spent some time admiring the ocean and the mountains in the distance. After sometime, I realized that I was hearing silence accompanied by the calm rush of the waves as the water crashed on the rocks. I even took the opportunity to record a video of this ocean-side silence. Yet, it soon became time to head down to the Folk Village Museum and spend some time in the walk-through exhibit. The museum is a small complex consisting of different size thatch-cottages that were meant to recreate the living spaces that the Irish people used in the 1700’s, 1850’s, and 1900’s. The museum allows visitors to have a glimpse and a taste of the living conditions faced by the Irish in these different historical periods. Two details that were emphasized throughout the walking-tour were the good use of the limited space in the cottages and the central importance of the hearth fire, especially under the consideration and the strain of probably being used to heat up a home of seven to thirteen people from three generations. I thought that the walking-tour really allowed me to sample the way of life that would have been led by the common and the well-off villagers of Ireland over the span of three centuries.
In the afternoon, I headed back to the same lookout to that I could watch the sunset which was happening around 10:00 P.M. After a long day, it was relaxing to just lean back in my chair and watch the sun change colors, casting while its light over the water as it descended beneath the horizon.