In Search of the Elusive Leprechaun!

Trip Start Aug 09, 2008
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Trip End Oct 08, 2008


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Flag of Ireland  , County Cork,
Saturday, September 20, 2008

I drove and drove and looked and looked and no where could I find a leprechaun in the Connemara Region on the west coast of Ireland. Being a wild region to the west of Galway with bogs, mountains and rugged Atlantic coastline I figured they may be hiding out there.
 
Yesterday I drove up to Clifden on the main highway. This small market town is the starting point of the "Sky Road", an 11 km, motorcycle friendly route with a spectacular view of the Atlantic Coastline. After zigging and zagging up and down that road I headed back to Clifden for some lunch. From there I slowly made my way back to Galway following the coastal road. Now this was motorcycle heaven and automobile hell. I passed through Roundstone by skirting a massive bog that was the impromptu landing site of the first transatlantic flight made by Alcock and Brown in 1919.
 
Unfortunately the great weather from two evenings ago did not carry over to yesterday. It was another cold and miserable day with the odd sprinkle. On the drive back the winds off the Atlantic threatened to blow me off the narrow roads. But it was still a spectacular ride, seeing the landscape broken up by rocks walls in the fields and lining the roadway. Throughout my ride I saw numerous ruins of old houses and churches. All this riding through narrow, winding roads has increased my motorcycle riding abilities and in return, my confidence. My speed has increased substantially and I take corners at steeper angles.
 
I was back at the B&B by supper time. I started re-reading my "Paul's Journey" blog for the umpteenth time, needing a reminder of what I experienced on my "Journey of Discovery" and then continued re-reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I also chatted a while with Michael about Galway, the economy and Ireland. Then I chatted a bit with Amy and Keira and their Aunt Karen who was in for a visit.
 
Today.
 
  SUCCESS! I found the Elusive Leprechaun!
 
This morning at breakfast Keira and Amy came and said goodbye to me as they were heading out the door to school. Keira gave me O-Hi-O back. The other guests didn't get goodbyes from the girls. After packing up all my things I went and gave Ann a list of books that she could read. She had asked for some suggested reading material. She's just starting her Journey, I believe. Then, as I'm heading out the door I chat with Michael some more about "Me" and what "I" do. After chatting a while he has to get some work done and heads to his office. Then I chat with Ann some more about "Me" and my "strange" beliefs. Then Karen walks by and I give her one of my business cards. As we're chatting, Ann mentions the reading list I gave her and shows Karen. Karen laughs as she's read 2 of the 4 books and thinks she has the others in her "library", or on her "to-read" list. We continue chatting for a while then Ann leaves to do her B&B chores. I continue chatting with Karen as I'm putting my things on my bike. She was curious as to how I carried all my stuff. I believe Karen's started her journey a while ago but wasn't ready for the books she's read as she mentioned she didn't understand them. I think by re-reading them now, she'll understand better.
 
And so my stop at this B&B had a special purpose. More people starting or getting their journey kick-started. Everything happens for a reason! Keira also needed a visit from the Dream Catcher and she needed to chat with O-Hi-O.
 
On the road again and the weather isn't that nice. Still cloudy, but no rain. My "shortest" route takes me up and through this amazing forested region. Hardly any traffic. I drive through Limerick and stop for lunch. Just before stopping I had noticed this guy on a motorcycle a couple of vehicles behind me as I was riding through stop and go traffic. He pulls into the restaurant parking lot behind me and stops by my bike and starts chatting. He asks if I'm my way to the BMW motorcycle rally in Kilkenny. I say no. He had passed me on the highway 2 hours ago as I was leaving Galway. How he ended up behind me I do not know. More chatting then he leaves.
 
The next bit of riding was in heavy traffic. I'm getting tired and am trying to find a spot to stop and rest. Then I see a sign saying there's a picnic area in 1 km. I see a turnoff and turn down it. Oops! Too soon. I'm about to make a u-turn when the GPS indicates the road I'm on will get me to my destination by a "shorter" route. That's great as it will get me out of all that traffic. This road meanders through farm country and small villages. I was a little early so this slower paced road will get me to my destination later. I stop in one of the villages for a break and stretch my legs.
 
I'm about 5 kms from the B&B (this one is in the country outside the town of Blarney, which is just outside of Cork) when my GPS freezes up. I had made a turn to a new road and the GPS stopped working, frozen at the spot where I made the turn. What to do? Luckily I had put the B&B book with directions in my map holder. I had only a couple of turns to make and then there were road signs. Phew!
 
I am now, almost, on the south coast of Ireland. The landscape has changed considerably from the north and west. There are undulating hills of farmland and no rocky landscape. I find the driveway for the B&B and it's a very steep incline. I get to the top and I have a decision to make as to the best way to park the motorcycle so that it doesn't topple over or roll down the hill. There's no flat place to park it. My things unpacked I read my "Paul's Journey" blog for a couple of hours, that is, after fixing my GPS and doing some minor maintenance on the motorcycle. I've ridden over 6000 kms since I've arrived in Europe. A few straps needed tightening and I had to check the tire pressure.
 
I decide to go for a walk and start walking uphill from the B&B, no camera. The sun has come out and the blue sky and fluffy white clouds contrast against the undulating hills filled with dark trees, golden wheat fields, and green pastures. I can see far off into the distance at the neighbouring hills. The road I'm on is getting narrower and has turned to gravel. The trees lining the road form a canopy and off into the distance it looks like a tunnel. I'm still climbing. On each side of the road are rock walls that have been covered by vines, thickets, and trees over the years. I get to one area and I feel this magical presence. I look into the woods and the vines envelop everything. They cover the ground and are wrapped around all the trees. There are also ferns growing beneath the tree branches. I climb over the moss covered rock wall and make my way into the midst of this surreal scene. I come across this stream, water tricking down towards the valley. I close my eyes and am instantly transported to another dimension. I see dozens of leprechauns going about their business. I notice the ends of rainbows appearing and disappearing as leprechauns make their way to other dimensions handing out good luck. I open my eyes and the leprechauns disappear, instantly transported back to the present reality. In wonder from this experience I slowly make my way back to the rock wall and, as I'm about to climb over the wall, notice within the green of the moss and innumerable mushrooms, one...single...four-leaf clover.
 
Yes, I had found the elusive land of the Leprechauns.
 
Think It! Feel It! Live It!
 
PS. Tomorrow I have a stone to go kiss at the Blarney Castle.
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