Our last night in Ireland was at the seaside town of Tramore. Quiet and ramshackle, it had the feel of long tradition, longer memory, and grey wool coats over wool sweaters over cotton shirts. Houses were simple and flush with the street. It was the first place Sam and I were alone on the streets in the afternoon when we took a walk.
We weren’t alone when we boarded the bus and headed for the pub that had been in continuous operation since the 1500’s. I tried my first hard cider of the trip, more appley and lighter than what was in the trail of empty beer glasses I’d left behind through the trip. There was kitschy “for the tourist”
entertainment, but it was excellently performed and who knew a favorite Irish song would be written by Johnny Cash during a trip? I’ve listened to “40 Shades of Green” on YouTube and I think the man in the pub sang it better, but maybe it was also sitting in a pub as the sun was disappearing through the window on the night before we left Ireland. Leaving Ireland in the misty light of the next morning I thought Cash could have easily overlooked a
shade or two.
Wales sits down on either side of you like an ancient, ghostly grandpa and grandma who tease your memory to remember what you knew before you died into being born. There’s something spooky about that place. Ireland trumpets the Celtic
history and lore, Wales waits for you to find it and your only hello is a teasing smile that turns away. Biggest complaint of the trip’s itinerary: I needed more time in Cardiff.
Since leaving England I’d scouted stores for a quality Celtic necklace and earrings. It was like trying to find “quality” souvenirs at home. Souvenir does not have quality in its definition, though I did find adequate quality and my favorite bring-back item is a tenth century icon from a sword.
To Bath, a World Heritage Site, on another beautiful morning with
temperatures nearing seventy. Every metropolis, city, village, town, burg, and hamlet has had a distinct look, flavor and feel and Bath is no different. Its centuries old stateliness has an urbanity and settled gentry that disdains the clutter and air of London’s unfortunate fall into the dirty Industrial Revolution.
We visited the Roman Baths where we read a beseeching message (among many) to the goddess Minerva to dispense her royal wrath. “My robe with hood was stolen and I want the thief to lose mind and all riches and die of disease.” Ah, we are a vengeful species, but then again, a hooded robe probably had value above a Honda Civic today.
Visiting Stonehenge is like visiting the Statue of Liberty. Too many people and you can’t really get up close, so there is standing at the Lady’s feet and staring from a dozen yards at Stonehenge. It is emotionally renewing to some. Our heart strings are all tuned differently. I enjoyed more our last stop in Salisbury before returning to London.
We had a slow lunch in a Spanish tapas restaurant and wandered the market where we found the yellow pomegranates. Many tour people end their trip with a last night at the London theatre and I’m sure it would have been wonderful. But for me, a leisurely final dinner in a major city of the world and an evening walk by Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park with the man who had willingly spent almost every moment with me during these two weeks, was just fine.