Sláinte County Cork!
Our travels continued from Dublin into the heart of West Cork. Driving our fancy-shmancy hired car, we travelled roughly three and half hours through the most picturesque scenery to the gorgeous Bethel Guesthouse owned by Jim and Margaret. After a somewhat frustrating Google Maps error that had us rerouting a gazillion times, the lovely Margaret managed to direct this frazzled lot to the guesthouse where we were to plant ourselves for the next five days!
Waking up to the view of rolling green hills and the Owenahincha Beach, which was just begging to be explored, settled a warm, nostalgic blanket over my heart... that was until I opened the window and was promptly forced backwards by the crisp chill biting in the air! As someone from an African country, eight degrees is not a spring temperature! I nestled all my dresses and skirts back into my suitcase resolving to purchase an extra jumper or jersey post-haste!
Our first morning in Roscarberry saw us hurriedly eating our breakfast so that we could venture into the charming town of Clonakilty. This was our reason for coming to West Cork. It was here, in this small town that we found our family friends who, having moved just a few short months before we arrived, were as eager to us as we were to see them! It must be noted that Jill and Gavin are two of the nicest people you will ever meet and true to this fact, when they entered the coffee shop, it was the owner who greeted them first, by name, with the enthusiasm of a trusted friend! We watched in awe as our friends were greeted with such incredible warmth as though they had been there all their lives! What a moment... I realised just how much I had missed Jill... my wise and courageous friend who carves a path for others to follow! It was an emotional reunion, one that won't soon be forgotten! As we settled into our little coffee nook, we eased into the rhythm of conversation that is born out of years of friendship... Needless to say, we saw them every single day spending as much time as we could with their family.
Whilst Jill and Gavin went through their daily routine with work and their children, we took ourselves off exploring. We explored Clonakilty itself and quite by chance, happened upon a bookstore which also happened to be next door to Jill and Gav's home - The lilac house with the Purple door! Going to a bookstore is never something that ends well for our bank account! After an hour spent in a store the size of a small bedroom, between the five of us, we walked out with twelve books... this, my friends, is a prime example of us conservatively spending! We found the charity shops in which I found a warm jersey, holding true to my resolve to purchase such an item because I was, in fact, quite cold! We returned to the coffee shop and then found another coffee shop the next day with a rip-roaring fire to defrost our frozen faces!
Over the course of the next few days we discovered Kinsale, Bandon, Roscarberry and The Wild Atlantic Way. Ireland is rich with scenic views and warm hospitality. The townspeople are proud of their homes and are a warm and receiving community. There is no shortage of smiles and a welcoming, 'Hi ya!' from the locals. Anthony and I could definitely see our selves living in such a place, with it's slow pace and easy rhythm. But not for a while yet... we still have teenagers who, though lovely, are not ready to settle for a slow and easy rhythm preferring the hum and buzz of Dublin City!
As we left our friends and our lovely hosts, Jim and Margaret, we all felt a little awash with emotion. In just five days, these towns and these people had quietly crept into our hearts leaving us forever changed both inside and out. Driving back to Dublin to spend the night at an airport hotel, our fancy-shmancy car was silent... each of us reminiscing the past five days in our own way. Tired, emotional and a bit cranky, we returned the car and made our way to the hotel. We were somewhat surprised to find that on checking in, we had to fill out an Irish census! After a bit of lengthy paperwork, we were able to make our way to our rooms and ready ourselves for the next leg of our trip...Italy.
One thing remains... in a hundred years time, when our families are tracing their roots, it will be cemented as fact when they find that the Douglas-Jones family, according to the Irish Census of 2022 were travelers and adventure seekers on Irish soil!