Sunday, October 18, 2009

Farmstays and backroads

The B&B I stayed in in Northern Ireland was the most georgeous place I could imagine. It's an 1800s restored farmhouse that overlooks rolling, lush green hills with cows and sheep. The owners are amazingly friendly and do everything they can to make one's stay pleasant. I made friends with a working sheepdog and met a brand new baby cow.

I haven't had much internet, and this current connection is Windows whereas I've been journaling on my Mac, so I might catch up more later. Friday I went to a still-working, 18th century library in Armagh and got some leads for next week when I'm back in Dublin. An unexpected discovery was the ordinance survey map of County Westmeath. For the first time I saw Toorfelim (sometimes Tuarphelim, etc.) on a map, where Thomas English lived. It was not a town, but a region - maybe that's why it's been hard to find!

Saturday was the Ulster-American Folk Park, which is a living history, outdoor museum. I learned that the weavers were men, and each one, usually a tenant farmer, would have several women spinning (in their own homes) to supply him with yarn.

Today I drove, forever, along winding backroads to get to Co. Westmeath. Before settling into the B&B off in the countryside, I drove around Moate. It's grown some since 2006. Most things were closed for Sunday, but I can't wait to get back to my research tomorrow, in Moate and Athlone.

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