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Sunday, 1 June 2014

"Just a good stretch of the legs...."

One of the highlights of my life has been a trip Himself and I took to the Celtish Isles, (the Celts predate the Brits, so that's what I call'm, so there, and I don't care if that's historically wrong,) and one of the highlights of that was a stay in Doolin and a jaunt to the Cliffs of Moher.
We walked it.

Oh, did we walk it.

Quite aside from it being quite a distance for couch potatoes such as ourselves (the guides say two and a half to three hours, which seems a lot for just under five miles, but it is pretty meandering,) and from having started from a delightful B & B on the far side of Doolin center, there was a small construction  project going on, causing some signage to be out of place, and allowing us to mistakenly walk down one path for a good 3/4 of an hour, find a gate, realize we were on private property and  have to trek back to the main road.

Anyway, finding ourselves back on the main road, (after running a bit to get away from a bull at whom Himself had mooed, before he realized there was no fence between us and it; good for the circulation,) we forged ahead, encountering a man thatching his roof (REALLY!) who assured us we were on the right path, it was "maybe a  half mile down the road."
Another hour later, we passed someone who told us, yes, we were headed the right way, it was only another mile, and a bit after that, a nice lady estimated it was just another tow mile, then....
You get the picture.

After quite a bit, we met up with a German couple heading the opposite way, also looking for the Cliff of Moher.
But we were pretty sure from the map (this was pre-GPS days,) they had just missed a fork, and indeed they had.
And my, oh my, oh my, it was more than worth it, what a place, what a view, what a felting!

And Himself had himself a new story to tell, which he might embellish just a touch, "Ah, fer sure an' it's just a good stretvh o'the legs!" and which he might tell in a vaudeville Irish accent, or rather, several such accents, just this side of offensive.
It's a good story, entertaining as he tells it, (which he does quite a bit,) but there's a note of cynical disbelief in the response from his auditors once in a while.

So I'm surfin' around, looking to understand the whole Franciscan Friars Fracas, (idle curiosity,) finding Catholic sites I never knew existed, and what do I find??!?@??#????
That's right, our experience is not only authentic, but common as dirt!
[C]harity is the most childlike of all the virtues, and it thinks sometimes, in its innocence, it can do service for every other virtue besides itself, even for the virtue of veracity.
This idea as it exists in the minds of simple Christian folk was brought home to me strikingly on a certain lovely morning in Galway, when I went for a walk, and asked an Irish peasant to tell me how far it was to — let us call the place, for I forget it — Corofin.
“Good morning! How far is it to Corofin?”
He was sitting on a wall. He raised his hat and gave me a bow.
“About a half mile down the road, Father. And God speed you!”
“Thank you.”
I walked a half mile. I walked another half mile, examining sign-posts as I went. And another half mile. And another. And not until I had duplicated this distance twelve times did I arrive at Corofin, for it was six full miles away.
When I returned in the late afternoon, I met the same Irishman sitting on the wall. I went up to him indignantly.
“What did you mean by telling me Corofin was only a half mile away?” I shouted. “It was six miles away! You knew that when I spoke to you! Why didn’t you tell me the truth?”
“Well, you poor man,” he answered quietly and with great seriousness, “I didn’t want to knock the heart out of you, and you looking so tired in the early morning. I gave you a half mile to Corofin. That got you started. Somebody else gave you another half mile. That drove you on a bit further. In Ireland we do be always wanting to soften the journey of a stranger by giving him little dribbles of encouragement. Sure, there’d be nobody going any place here on a hot day, if people knew how far they had to go to get there.”
“Now listen,” I said, refusing to smile, “I don’t think that’s really funny It may be Irish, but it isn’t honest. I just came from England. In England one doesn’t get fooled that way. An Englishman takes great care in giving any information that is asked of him, and he takes great pride in giving it truthfully.”
“Do you know the trouble with the English, Father?” he replied vehemently, as he pounded the wall with his fist. “Do you know the trouble with the English? They wouldn’t think enough of you to tell you a lie!”

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