Travel # 14 -- April 3, 2005
A confused side trip to Listowel

By Bob Corbett

Marian was back in the morning, having come back from Dublin early, not so much worried about us, we had assured her we didn't care at all, but there was a doctor coming who was working at the hospital. The fringe benefit was that we got the marvelous Marian breakfast. She really doesn't like to cook at all, so she has developed some non-cooked breakfasts that are very attractive. She does offer the cooked full Irish breakfast and variations on it, but hopes the guests will be attracted by the other two cold platters. I was very much attracted and in the weeks I was here earlier I always had them. Now Sally wanted to try it too.

I had the Irish ham breakfast. This is a gigantic platter with fresh cold Irish ham, a huge amount of strong yellow cheese, a full salad with greens, tomatoes and such, a fruit cup of grapefruit sections, lots of toast and tea. This is one gigantic breakfast. There is also yogurt, cereal and such available.

Sally had the same breakfast except that she chose smoked salmon rather than the ham.

It was Sunday morning. Marian had been rather amazed at how much I like to read. (The best light and chairs for reading had been in the dining room. When I was there for so long in November, I often read down stairs and she would want to know about the books I was reading.) This Sunday morning she came in excited and said there was a literary festival in tiny Listowel, just hour away by bus and that all day long there would be various authors there in all the pubs reading their poems and from their novels in the pubs and there would be discussions and such. She had heard about this on the news.

This sounded just marvelous to Sally and me, especially since it was very cold and rainy, and going out to sightsee didn't look so very attractive. After breakfast there was a slight let up in the rain, though not in the chill, and we walked the 15 minutes down to the bus depot and got a bus to Listowel. We arrived close to noon, but not much was open, not even the pubs. However, right by the bus stop (too small a town to have a depot, just a stop in the city square), there was a tourist bureau and it was open. Well, it turns out it wasn't open at all, but the DOOR was open. The person who ran it had come up to get something and just happened to be there and hadn't locked the door. We asked if he had a list of where these readings would take place. "Readings?" he asked, "What readings?" I explained about the readings we had heard about that would take place in the pubs. "But," he said, "this is April 3rd. The literary festival in on June 3rd. You're two months early." Well, we had a good laugh anyway, and we did spent time walking around Listowel, doing some window shopping, and visiting an open book shop. Eventually we found a pub open, but they had some law that prohibited them from serving drinks before 1 PM.

We headed back toward the bus stop, but had to use the toilet. Right behind the bus stop was a rather sleazy pub and it was open. We went in and had been wanting to try Paddy's whiskey anyway, so on this cold and rainy day, actually just needing to use the bathrooms, we sat for a while sipping a Paddy's whiskey. DEFINITELY inferior to the Bushmills by a great deal. Soon it was time to get the bus back to Tralee and by early afternoon we were back in the town center. Not much was going on and it was quite chilly, so we just went over to the e-mail place and did some e-mail home.

About 5 PM we made out way to Brewbaker's for our last meal here. They had some Sunday specials and I had roast leg of lamb loaded with huge amounts of lamb, potatoes and wonderful Brussels sprouts with crunchy carrots, just a delicious platter. Sally had "crumbled" chicken. It was a delicious juicy huge chicken breast with the same vegetables I had. I think Sally was less excited by the Brussels sprout than I.

We got home early, and we happy for the warm house, and also very tired. We'd been up to nearly 3 AM the night before, and had walked a good deal in the cold and rain today.

Tomorrow was to be a long travel day, going all the way from Tralee, via a bus change at Limerick, down to Cork. I must admit, I really dislike Cork. But, that was the town we needed to get to in order to do this trip Paul had guided us to in Bantry and Beare Peninsula. Off to sleep very early, getting rested for this long day of travel tomorrow.

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Bob Corbett