Saturday, 9 July 2016

The Return to Innisfree - Day 1

Me at Cairn Ryan

Cong                                                                              Ireland

Friday 6th June 2014

After months of waiting it was finally time to take on my Irish journey to a place known as Cong. However, the lone traveller would be taking this trip with his parents. This place was a special place to us as this would have been the 7th or 8th time we had been there. This was my mothers favourite place and for good reason. In 1952 a film was created in this place casting a very well known duo called John Wayne and Maureen O Hara. The film is called ‘The Quiet Man’ which became a huge hit and still loved today. It had been a long while ago since we were last there so we were eager to get going. A very early rise for a very long day of driving lay ahead of us to a place called Cairn Ryan. All morning was spent making sure that everything was packed and ready to set off in the car. Once everything was present and accounted for including the dog, we wasted no time setting off at 10:30am but only to go to the hospital to pick up my father from his dialysis session. It got that bit more exciting though when everyone was in the car and ready to go. We set off for the 176 mile journey to Cairn Ryan near Stranraer, Scotland. It was a great feeling to be driving there myself as it had always been my father driving with me sitting in the back. We drove along the quiet Cumbrian countryside looking upon the beautiful green valleys as far as the eye could see for a long time until we came to our first stop in Scotland, Gretna Green. It was a while since I was at this marvelous place and it was a beautiful sight to see. It was a beautiful Scottish village with a romantic history to it as this was the place for the so called ‘runaway marriage’. This was where a few century’s ago it was a place for young couples to get married without their parents consent. It was great to know the story behind this pretty place and at the time we were there; there were a middle aged couple getting married and having their wedding pictures taken. After sitting down for a moment enjoying the beautiful Scottish valleys and beyond, we set off for the second leg of the journey and from here on, the Scottish scenery and landscape were spectacular with its rolling hills, beautiful forests and quiet roads. Hours of driving went by and finally familiar landmarks led us to our destination at Stranraer with great and fond memories of this place. It was a relief to finally turn the engine off at Morrison’s car park with my parents and dog praising me. We all got out the car heading straight for the café in Morrison’s with my parents speaking to my sister on the phone. Afterwards we had a quick look around the area as it was getting late and it was great to know that nothing much had changed except the location of Stena line ferries terminal. We headed into the car setting off for a very short 2 mile drive to Cairn Ryan where we would be stopping at a Bed and breakfast not far from the ferry terminal. This place seemed like a passing through place as it only had a dozen houses set near the waters edge. ‘The Auld Cairn’ was the name of the bed and breakfast and the room had an amazing view of Lough Ryan where we would see the ferries going in and out. After getting comfortable in our overnight stop, my mother and I ended the evening by going next door to the smallest pub I had ever seen for a pint of Stella. The beer was nice to have after a long drive to get to this place. We then had a long walk along the long stretch of pebble beach with the dog and we came across the Stena line ferry terminal. It was reassuring to know the exact location of the place so I wouldn’t panic about it in the morning. As we sat down on a picnic bench, a P&O ferry was leaving its terminal and we had an amazing view of it with the sun setting behind the hills. We walked back along the pebble beach and I was freaked out when I came across an army of jellyfish scattered all the way along the beach which was very peculiar to see. We arrived back at ‘The Auld Cairn’ where we would all settle down for the night. Well, when I say settle down I meant trying our hardest to settle down with the constant creaking above us, laughing and growling from my dog. What a long night this was going to be. Despite this, the thought of being back in Ireland tomorrow was the only light at the end of the tunnel which made me happier though.
Gretna Green
Scottish Quiet Roads
Cairn Ryan

Lough Ryan

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