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Cureeny Mass, Aherlow & Lismore

May 25, 2008

Lismore Castle Gardens

corey says…This morning, Liam was taking the ladies to Glenstal Abbey for mass and then was heading to his cousin Mary’s in Toor. Since I had just walked to Mary’s yesterday, I opted to go to mass at nearby Curreeny Church instead with Tony and his parents.

Cureeny is an old country church. We arrived fifteen minutes before mass and there were at least five cars with men sitting in them waiting outside the churchyard. When we entered the church, there were only three other people inside.

We sat at about the midpoint of the church and waited as a few people trickled in. Then about one minute before mass started, the entire back half of the church filled up. In fact, behind us, it was absolutely packed…in front of us, there were several empty pews.

Although this is a very reverent crowd, you might not know it if you observed the mass. The priest spoke very quickly and the congregation began their responses at the very moment he sounded the last syllable of his prayers. The overlapping of the priest’s voice and the congregations’ was almost like watching a tennis match as the ball was hit back and forth across the net.

When the priest stepped away from the altar to give out communion, the first two rows practically leapt from their seats so as to be standing there waiting when he reached the aisle. In 35 minutes, mass was ended and we went in peace…asking ourselves, “Was that mass or a race?”

We then headed to the Glen of Aherlow. The sky was a bit hazy, but the drive was still spectacular.

We then continued taking a roundabout way to Lismore. Outside of the town of Mitchelstown, we saw some strange procession of blue Ford tractors. There was clearly something tractor-related going on, but we had no idea what it could possibly be.

Outside of Fermoy, we missed our exit on a roundabout and ended up on the speedy toll road to Cork. A few miles down the road, we paid our €1.80 ( $2.83 ) and easily found our way back on course.

In Lismore, we ate at Foley’s on the Mall. It’s a little pricier than the places in Nenagh €12-16 ( $19-25 ), but we had eaten there before, and we knew it was a winner.

Then it was off to Lismore Castle Gardens. We started in the lower gardens and admired the rhododendrons and azaleas. The lower gardens were very nice, but in the back of my mind, I was thinking, “I hope there is more…otherwise, I don’t get what all the fuss is about.”

Well, my concerns disappeared when we started roaming the more formal upper garden. The place is fantastic…and will be even more impressive in July when the plants are more mature and colorful. The €7 ( $11 ) admission will definitely give more bang for the buck later in the summer when the garden starts bursting with even more flowers and foilage…right now it’s a little early.

I also stopped by the modern art gallery on the grounds. I hadn’t really heard much about it, so I toured around a bit. It was a very nice space and the work was quite good. On my way out, I was asked to complete a survey. I gave them high marks but had some very honest feedback to give…The entrance needs work and does not reflect what I saw inside the complex. In fact, the entrance makes the place seem quite second rate, as you slide in through a door and pay a girl at a counter that looks quite shabby and there are mismatched signs posted throughout. I hope some people don’t get turned off by the entrance, because what they find inside is much more impressive!

After Lismore, we headed for The Vee. We had made our way through the mountain pass last year about a week later, and last year it was peek rhododendron season. This drive is incomparable during a two week period when the hills are painted in waves of purple.

Unfortunately, because of the hard winter, most of the plants are about two weeks behind schedule, and it looks like The Vee falls into that category. Tony was disappointed his parents didn’t get to see it, but the drive is still quite impressive, so not all was lost.

Tony and his parents dropped me off at Knockahopple, and I caught up on several projects…namely contacting my friend Brad back home who will be able to pick up any freelance work I can’t complete because of my computer issues. That’s a big relief…I know that he’ll do a good job, and I won’t have to stress about it.

Liam, Pat and Gaeney returned about an hour later from their day with Mary…she served them the equivalent of two and a half meals, before they finally left.

This Week’s Photo Album

My Ireland Expense Report

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