Day 4: Sunday 18 May 2014
Raining in the morning, on and off, but sunny afternoon.
Began with walk over to the Ennis Friary (Franciscan, c. 1240). Open but free admission because some renovations underway, which did not appreciably limit what we could see.
Late lunch at The Queen’s Hotel and Nightclub, front bar, also on O’Connell Street in Ennis. A lovely room and attentive waiter, with breakfast offered all day. To be fair, it was after prime lunch hours, and we had the place nearly to ourselves, but the omelets were waaay overcooked; actually burned around the edges. Filling, but not exciting. We looked in at Cruise’s Pub, next door – an inviting dark wood and flagstone place.
We continued our exploration of Ennis by following the a self-guided walking tour [typical tourist map], seeing a number of interesting and evocative place. We’d hoped to see the Clare Museum, but it’s closed on Sundays. Should have thought of that. We did have a good walk, though. Some highlights were …
We saw a lot of these guys around Ireland. Very distinctive flashes of black and white in flight. Later research says these are Pied Wagtails, a specifically British and Irish type of the White Wagtail, which ranges across Europe, Asia, and a small part of North Africa.
Another bird interesting because we don’t have them here in North America. Also known in Ireland as the Corbie or Grey Crow. Fairly common across much of Europe and the Middle East.
Back to the Old Ground for a nap (B). Went down to Brogan’s Bar for a couple of pints each – Beamish Stout (Cork brewed) and Smithwick’s – and a couple of hours of trad Irish music. In this case a small group of young musicians: two Irish flutes, uilleann pipes, fiddle, and bodhrán. One of the flautists an American working in Ireland. The fiddler left early. The place was packed – an adult birthday party underway when we arrived – so there was a lot of chatting and a little dancing. We squeezed into the back near the musician’s table and could actually hear.
Afterwards, back to the Poet’s Corner for a nightcap. We had a Kahlua drink and short glass of Jameson’s. My new favorite brown sipping drink. Live music was still going there also, though well after 11pm by then. A larger group of musicians and generally older, too. 2 fiddlers: one having earlier been at Brogan’s, the other doubling on concertina, 4 string banjo, guitar, two flutes, bodhrán. A very nice sound. A little singing too. A nice finish to an easy day.