IRELAND II

9/11/2021

With a limited 7-day itinerary, Finn McKraut skipped the southern coast of Ireland and turned his potatomobile to the northwest towards Galway. Passing through rocky, elevated vistas that gave a duck’s eye view of the starkness and baroque (irregularily shaped) landscape, Finn saw the land as harsh and unforgiving. It had an attraction for the rugged. Churches, castles, and cemeteries speckled the terrain and history gained substance with every stone put there by an Irishmen. The inhabitants took life head on and memorialized their ancestors with labor intensive rock sculptures. They were a driven group in both stamina and stubbornness and were constantly driven out by their enemies and kin alike. This is what made the Irish the Irish. Galway was a coastal town overlooking the northern Atlantic Ocean and its persistent waves pounded the rocks gluing Ireland together. Lacking volcanic activity to replace it, the raised limestone and basalt plateau will get chewed to oblivion in a billion or so years. Better plan your Irish Adventure soon. Up to Donegal and its unique location at the southern end of the northern tip of Ireland, that is still Irish, this former Viking fort goes back to the 1580’s and previews all the multiple attempts, both successful and not to take control of the land. The poverty that resulted from wars and famine still frames the terrain as the locals churn up peat moss with horse driven plows. The stacked peat looking like animal turds will be their fuel source for the cold and windy, winter months. Just to the east is an example of persistent conflict: Northern Ireland, which is governed by the British since 1921. Born of the late 1960’s, the Irish Republican Army and the Brits went toe-to-explosion-amputated-toe for nearly 3 decades. A heavily fortified fence still separated the 2 countries in 1996. Finn figured as long as he was here, he might as well drive into the unmanned border crossing and check it out. That is what travelers do.

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