Rest & Play in County Westmeath
06.10.2008 18 °C
It wasn't far to our local in Multyfarnham, County Westmeath
We're going to take it pretty easy here this week. First of all, Jenn needed some time to recover from her head injury. She seems okay, but it definitely was hurting the next day. Secondly, we need to conserve money and energy in order to make it through this final month!
On the way from Northern Ireland, we stopped to stretch our legs at Navan Fort. It's a iron-age Celtic site, but the "fort" itself is long gone. What's left is a circular grassy mound with a grassy trench running around it. Even that's only visible because it's been excavated, and they know shockingly little about it. But it's indisputably a place of Irish kings who people the ancient song cycles.
Where's the fort? Navan Fort Mound, Ireland
Having headed south from Magherafelt, weaving in and out of the open border (noticeable only because of speed limits changing back and forth between kilometres and miles), we are now in the Republic of Ireland. Where we're staying really puts the PUB in republic. We're in a converted barn in back of a pub in a village called Multyfarnham. Their smokers' patio is right outside our back window. No buffer zone, but luckily it's been quiet. Most people come to the pub for a meal, although last night there was traditional Irish music in the front bar, and I went over to listen and have a pint.
The owners here are really friendly, and - great for Anica - have two daughters aged six and three. Anica's been playing with them every day. The property is several acres, including a big lawn and a wild meadow beyond that.
Multyfarnham has a tiny main street with a general store and one other restaurant/inn, plus a "Victuallers" (took all our etymological skills to guess what that was). It's 10 km from a much bigger town, Mullingar, and less than an hour's drive from Dublin.
We went into Dublin yesterday, although not for a long visit because the rain came. We've been getting the changeable Irish weather we had expected this week. What we did do in Dublin this time was have lunch and visit the Chester Beatty Library. This was my must-see for Dublin, along with the Book of Kells. What a great city for bibliophiles! Beatty amassed perhaps the greatest private collection of books in the world, and left it to the Irish people. It's free to visit this museum, which is good because parking was about three Euros an hour in Dublin's "fair" city.
Beatty preferred illustrated books, such as medieval illuminated manuscripts. Even more so he preferred Eastern texts. We saw amazing centuries-old Japanese and Chinese scrolls, Mughal writing illustrated with miniatures, Korans as old as a thousand years, and the earliest Gospels (fragments from all four, dating to the second/third century). In fact, the second floor is called "Sacred Traditions" and is organized by religion. Anica was enthralled (for a while) and also liked the computer videos on book-making, printing, engraving, etc. By the time we were done, that was pretty much the afternoon gone. We'll be back in Dublin at least once more.
Today we were indeed back in Dublin, after a rainy day around the house. We went to Dublinia, a perfect cross between tourist trap and museum, where we learned about medieval and Viking-era Dublin. Including even the fun of throwing stuff at a mannequin in the stocks (if you hit him in the nose, he told you why he was there...I don't think the real stocks were as much fun)! A man who looked convincingly Viking-like showed us the making of clasps for clothes and of silver coins.
Her career as a Welsh miner over, Anica finds work on Dublin's docks
Then it was on to Trinity College and the Book of Kells. There's a good build-up to seeing the actual book, which, for Anica, was inevitably disappointing. Perhaps she thought it would be a giant book.
Since it was Saturday today, the Temple Bar area was in full swing. We had a somewhat lacklustre walk through it, with its street performers and stalls. We also walked past the Molly Malone statue (aka "the dish with the fish," the "tart with the cart") and the "Spire," a 120 metre tall modern landmark on O'Connell Street (aka, and now I'm only guessing here...."the prick in the brick," or...what rhymes with rock?).
"She wheels her wheelbarrow..."
When we got back "home," Anica started playing with Eleana and Donna again, and got invited for dinner (cooked by the chef and eaten in the pub, mind you) and spend the evening with them. Una said she'll have her back "by eleven" and sure enough, at 11:00 PM Anica came to the door and said "Dad, can I please stay and finish watching High School Musical 2 with them?" I think it was the first time I've waited up for Anica to come home. They'll be lots more of that in the coming years!
Two elusive tree-dwelling creatures, Anica and Eleana
We had the Sunday lunch in the pub today. That's their busy day, with a three-course carvery menu. Jenn and I both had the Prime Rib with Yorkshire pudding, etc., and for dessert both picked the Caramel and Toffee Cheesecake. To call it pub food would be misleading, their food borders on gourmet.
Then it was off to a country fair, the "Multyfarnham Field Day." We looked after Eleana, and other friends of the Weirs took care of Donna. We watched them in the bouncy castles, and getting pony ride, and looked at all the other events like the dog show, the baby show, cow-milking race, mouse race, horsehoes, etc.
Anica and Eleana do some of their own dog-show judging at the Field Day
1) Of all the days so far we've been here I played on stones, swings, gardens, houses, construction sights, and lots more with their girls Eleana and Donna.
2) I think our place is very old-fashined because it has wood toilet seat and walls in the washroom.
3) It's behind a bar called Weir's!
4) One of the days we went to Dublin. It was raining so we only had lunch and saw a library/museum full of lots of religious things!
5) Two of the days so far we rested.
6) We got to Mullingar to get all our groceries at Tesco!
7) Multyfarnham is a small but cute town.
Today we went to Dublin. When we got there we parked and went to Dvblinia and the Viking world! There you could do stuff like touch and do stuff from the market. Learn how some people got in jail by throwing balls on there nose, learn about the Black Death (a plague caused by rats-fleas, fleas-human, humans-humans), and lots more! I really enjoyed it! I also learned there was no evidence that Vikings wore horn helmets, that they used rings on capes and clothes, that the Vikings were good but bad too. We had sharmaha for lunch and then we walked all over Dublin! From Temple Bar to Dame Street it was everything! We then went back to the car park and drove home. When we got home I played with the kids from 6:30-11:30! 5 hours! We played tunnel tag, dress up, and do a play, and watched High School Musical 2! Yawn, snore, Oh sorry, G.N.! P.S. I also had dinner with them!
Today we went to the field day, when we got there we met Eleana and Donna. We first went on a bouncy castle where a boy younger then me kept on kicking me till I yelled at him so loud and pushed me over (!) that he moved to let me out. We then went to the ponys where we also had ice-cream and a drink. Then we went back to the bouncy castle where nobody kicked me. We then watched the dog show for a bit before going home. Then me, Eleana and Donna played for a bit before saying goodbye and having dinner. Watched some Shoebox Zoo with popcorn, went to bed. G.N! P.S. When I was wearing a tunnel and going on a swing I fell off and hurt my elbow.