Saturday, September 17, 2016

Day 2: Bantry and Joining the Clan

Billy rose early and treated us all to pastry and coffee in our living room. What a treat to be able to ease into the morning and realize where we were. The views from our balcony were just magnificent. We enjoyed our continental breakfast and Jeanne, Billy and I decided to go for a walk. It was pouring rain, but warm, so we dressed in what we thought was appropriate rain gear and went out. We soon discovered we did not prepare well for this rain at all.

Just down the block from The Maritime Hotel was what looked like a castle entrance to a long drive up to Bantry House. Above the entrance, was an apartment and Billy fantasized about what it would be like to live in it. We walked up the drive, getting more soaked by the minute, and the plants along it were what would be very large house plants for us in America. There were tree-sized Fuchsia, and variegated leafy plants we did not know the names of but recognized. At the top of the drive was a magnificent house that looked like Downtown Abbey. We did not go inside, but took pictures and headed back to town to find a shop that sold appropriate rain gear.

Jeanne popped into one shop to ask if the woman knew where we could buy rain clothes, and she gave us directions. We stopped for a coffee along the way and soon found what we were looking for. It was farmer's market day, and all the vendors were under tents along the streets selling produce, pastries, cheeses and soups. Once inside, we asked about Wellies and rain slickers/coats, and the very friendly and helpful young shop keepers helped us find what we were looking for. We tried on Wellies and chose what worked best for each of us. We did not bring money with us, so we promised to come back later and buy them. We had trouble figuring out how to get back to the hotel, so the male shopkeeper escorted us back. Everyone was so kind and generous. So many people went out of their way to help us. We were so impressed.

Back at the hotel, we showered and looked for lunch. Afterwards we headed back to the shop and bought our rain clothes. Cindy bought Wellies too. We were so happy we had them. Then, we headed back to the hotel to register for the Gathering. James Crowley, the Clan Treasurer, manned the registration table and sold two Crowley history books, and Clan pins. We met cousins from all over the world: Australia, Brazil, Canada and all across America. Everyone was so excited to be there, and it was hilarious that everyone had the same last name. Only first names were required, but the joke became, "What was your last name again?"

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