Day 08 - Sunday, September 16, 2018 - Visit St. John's Point & Hand Weaving; Travel to Fishing Port of Mullaghmore & Meet Fishermen on the Coast; Creevykeel Court Tomb
Liquid sunshine greeted us again this morning. The temperature was 54 degrees and those of us from Colorado and California were so envious of this moisture; wishing we could send a bit home. Thomas told us that with the changes in global weather, Ireland is getting the tail end of hurricanes.
We met at 8:30 and made a short trip to St. John's Point. We were treated to a demonstration of traditional weaving by Cyndi Graham. Brian, Cyndi’s husband greeted us and then Cyndi explained that her father bought the loom in the early 1960’s and she took it over. The loom’s history was dated back to 1890’s.
One of the few remaining hand weavers, Cyndi taught us about the cottage industry of tweed making. She started her career after an apprenticeship to learn her craft. She is the weaver and her sister and mother make the garments that are sold in her shop.
Cyndi explained that the flying shuttle was a revolutionary invention in 1733 and helped to make weaving faster and more uniform. In just a few minutes, she had produced four more inches on to the length of the fabric she was weaving.
There was an opportunity for more questions and a wee bit of shopping. Although we did not buy anything, Cyndi had some lovely wares. We thanked Brian and Cyndi and joined Richard on the bus.
Of course, there were no bathrooms in the Irish cottage, so we drove back to the hotel for a quick fifteen-minute morning break. At 11:20 we were back in the bus and on our way to Mullaghmore, an Irish fishing port.
On the way, we listened to more of Tom’s Irish History. Today’s lesson was all about the English wars from the 13th century and the conflict between the Irish and the Royal Family to the 17th century.
We made a brief photo stop on the coastal overlook. The wind was gusting at 29.8 mph and the temperature was 57.6 degrees. We had a beautiful view of Classiebawn, the 19th-century Gothic mansion owned by Lord Louis Mountbatten.
In Mullaghmore we met Peter Power, a fisherman who told us all about his Viking family history. A civil engineer from Trinity College, he was in business and industry. After two heart attacks, he sold his factories and began a company that fishes the North Atlantic Drift, in Donegal Bay in County Sligo.
Peter’s boat was The Prospector 1 used for sport fighting. First he demonstrated the vital use of the standard life jacket and described the changes in fishing rules after the European Union was organized.
He told us about the program of tagging the Blue Sharks that were caught off the Irish Coast. A reward was offered of $50 for reporting where the shark was found, many swim as far as Africa but the furthest was found in Venezuela.
We had lunch in the restaurant; Eithna's by the Sea and then we met Peter again for a walk out to the harbor and a look at his fishing boat. He told us more about the equipment that he uses to navigate the rough waters for fishing.
Our last stop of the afternoon was to visit a Fairy Tree. Thomas gave us each a piece of yarn that we tied on to the branches of the hawthorn tree and then made a wish for health, (never wealth) for our loved ones.
Near the Fairy Tree path was a standing stone circle, Creevykeel Court Tomb. A group from Harvard excavated the site in 1935. They found pottery, tools, and the remains of four people dating from 3,000 BCE.
Before going back to the hotel, Richard took us on a little tour of the town of Donegal. We asked to be dropped off and bought a few things for our dinner this evening.
We were happy to be in early to finish the journal, do a little hand laundry, and perhaps pick up a few highlights from the Broncos.
Accommodations: Mill Park Hotel - Meals included: B & L
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Just before we were to go on our first journey of 2020, the COVID-19 virus hit and the world shut down for travel and adventure.
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