Finally I've got my photos from my day trip to Ennis uploaded.  I'll have to go in tomorrow and tag them more specifically, but they are a visual feast for the eyes.  I am so glad I decided to invest in a worthwhile camera for this trip.  

Outside is blanketed with snow, and it is most peaceful and beautiful tonight.  I hope tomorrow I can get out before the snow goes away and get some pictures of the countryside layered in white.

Today has been fairly low-key for me.  I tromped around Ennis from 10am to 5pm yesterday, and only stopped to sit down for lunch at the Poets Corner in the Old Ground Hotel.  I wandered around the cobblestone streets visiting churches and stopping in to shops, so I think I was a little tired from all that walking.  Amazingly enough, it only rained for about 5 minutes the entire day.  It was bright and cold and I managed to get around to all the places I had on my list to see.

Ennis is laid out like a medieval town.  At the center is O'Connell square, and streets go out in all directions, like so many spokes on a wheel.  The river Fegus runs lazily through the center of town.  As I meandered down the streets, drawn to music, I turned into a short alleyway and found "Custy's Traditional Music" shop.  I purchased what else but a book of "130 Great Irish Ballads".  Complete with CD, sheet music and guitar chords, I can learn them when I get home.

I had a conversation with the shopkeeper, asking me why I was in Ireland.  The first question is always something like "do you have roots here?" I told him I did, and told him I ended up booking a cottage near Feakle and he asked, "how did you end up in Feakle?"  To that I replied, "I have no idea!"  Turns out his brother was one of the fiddle players at Peppers Bar the night before.  Small world.  

I didn't visit the inside of too many shops, just could not be bothered.  More intent on exploring and getting photos, shopping held no lure for me.  Around 2:30 I decided to go to the Poets Corner to eat, ravenous by that time.  The bar is located within the Old Ground Hotel.  And I had my first Guinness.  The bar is beautiful, but that you can see from the photos.  All morning I took photos of the Franciscan Friary, Franciscan Abbey, St. Colombo's church, the Clare library and a bunch of other street and landscape pics.!  Unfortunately I did not get to go into any of the church buildings, though I did try. 

Yes, I had camera in hand and backpack on.  Looking like and owning the tourist I am, I had to consult my map to make sure I oriented myself in the right direction.  After finishing lunch and exiting the Old Ground Hotel, I found Saints Peter and Paul's cathedral.  This church I did go into to.  I felt in awe the minute I walked in the door, struck by the beauty of the cathedral.  I lit votive candles and said a silent prayer of thanks and gratitude for the many blessings in my life, including this trip.  

The last few places I went were the Ennis bookshop, where I purchased a book filled with short histories of the most famous Irish writers.  And a new book by Nora Roberts, set in Ireland.  I could not resist.  Across the way is Honan Antiques, and the store, packed floor to ceiling with gilded objects was gorgeous.  I left my backpack at the front counter so I would not inadvertently break anything.  At the back I found a 20 Euro table.  Finally something I might be able to afford!

I left empty-handed and headed back out.  Steph had dropped me off at a small shopping center outside of town and so I needed to get back and meet her at five.  I picked up some slipper socks and a few knit hats. I neglected to pack mine and so I picked them up for cheap at a store called Penneys, as well as a few grocery items at Tesco, including gluten-free bread.  I was even early to meet Steph.   

Tomorrow we are supposed to get wind again, so who knows what that will be like.  The weather forecasters have been pretty accurate, I've been checking daily and they've been right.  After Thursday, I don't see anymore crazy wind or snow predicted, but that could change.  I think Ireland might be the only place where the weather changes more often and with more dramatics than Oregon.  And strangely, I feel quite at home.  

My pics are now uploaded here, more than 400 of them! I've only been in Ireland a week, good God!  https://www.flickr.com/photos/128803341@N02/