Returns to Holden Leather, Dingle Golf Links
May 2 – 12, 2010
- Updated June 14, 2010
Ten photos mainly
taken by Betty Nolan are posted at www.kodakgallery.com
in an album entitled “
By LEWIS NOLAN
May 4, 2010 – Tuesday
– Excursions to Holden Leather on
With my body’s clock scrambled due to yesterday’s overnight flight to a time zone 6 or 7 hours ahead of my home time, I was up early to find a newspaper in the Dingle Skellig hotel lobby.
Lewis Nolan outside
friends’ shop in Central Business Area of Dingle,
I found that several other hotel guests were waiting around for the indoor pool and fitness center to open at 7 a.m.
I also learned that the newspapers from Ireland’s capital city of Dublin were not expected in until 8:30 a.m. or 9.
Betty and I enjoyed a delightful, buffet breakfast in the hotel restaurant. I had two scrambled eggs, several pieces of the very tasty Irish bacon (a cut we don’t usually see in America that is sort of like a loin piece of Canadian bacon with a short tail of American-style bacon), a small glass of tomato juice, two poached eggs cooked to order, a bit of fruit and a couple of small pieces of Irish soda bread.
We took a couple of extra pieces of Irish bacon out with us for a mid-morning snack that was much welcomed. Our plans for our first full day in Dingle included stopping at a food store to purchase a few supplies. On this trip, laying in a supply of Jameson Irish whiskey or other hard liquors was out due to health considerations following my series of brain surgeries three years ago.
We drove from our hotel through the waterfront of Dingle and
After examining his nice inventory of hand-crafted purses,
she selected a rather small purse in a chestnut brown leather that I purchased
for her. Fittingly, the purse had been given a proper Irish name, “Aoife” pronounced like the traditional American name of
“Effie.” Conor told us that the firm had laid off all
but one of his crafts employees, closed a satellite crafting shop that was on
the coast and also a retail store in Dingle due to the continuing economic
difficulties and fall-off in tourism that
We also met Conor’s charming wife, Clair (or maybe spelled Clare) and their two beautiful, twin daughters, Chloe and Caitlin.
We also stopped at Foxy John’s combination electrical goods
store-bar-bike rental business in the hopes of finding an adapter plug to
A short block away was a fairly new, American-style hardware store – Fitzgerald’s HomeValue - that had just the right AC-DC converter plug in stock and a manager who was friendly and helpful.
It cost less than $5 (
While in town we also stopped at a Centra
food store to purchase some Diet Cokes and at Dingle Crystal, recently moved to
new space on
We in no way felt it was necessary, but Betty went ahead and
purchased a set of six of Sean’s beautifully engraved, crystal napkin holders
for our home use and also a six-inch high Christian Cross she planned to give
to an old friend. While in the store, we much admired banner blow-ups of a
photo of Sean astride his Harley-Davidson motorcycle and holding one of his
wine glass creations. It happened that the featured glass was identical to the
“wave” set he made for us that now sits in our dining room’s
Renewing our friendship with Sean and Liz were among the high points of our trip. Betty had included them in the close circle of family and friends she had emailed reports of my progress during the long recovery from my brain aneurysm in 2006. Sean very gently reminded me that they were among those who prayed for my return to good health. We learned that Liz had gone through her own medical ordeal and was nicely recovering from major surgery and a course of treatments for a terrible ailment.
I had to think that Liz and I are in a way common kin and
survivors whose recoveries to date are a testament to our Lord’s unqualified
love for all the human beings he lovingly created and has advanced over the
centuries. Betty and I briefly met the Daly’s shop employee, ironically named Fionra. Our much-loved and missed greyhound pet (whose
canine ancestry goes back to
As is often the case in
We slept in a bit and arose at 7:40 a.m. the next morning, determined to expand our visiting to include the famous Mulcahy Pottery complete along a gorgeous hunk of Irish coast and near one of my favorite golf courses in the world. The course is called Cheann Sibeal (also Dingle Links).
After another hearty and wonderful breakfast at the Dingle Skellig, we drove our rental KIA SUV through Dingle and out
a hilly, narrow and winding road past the
I found out that as a guest of the Dingle Skellig I qualified for a discounted rate of about 37 Euros
(about $50 in U.S. dollars). I think that was surprisingly cheap given what is
charged in the
We noticed the number of vacation homes built near the clubhouse had perhaps tripled since our last visit seven years ago. The one-story, white homes are available for rent, as are nearby condos. Oddly, I was told the club does not have an approved, PGA-certified golf professional on its staff because it doesn’t meet “standards” for such that I don’t understand.
But the club does have an affable Irishman running the pro shop. We purchased from him three lamb’s wool sweaters for me (in men’s size XX-Large), emblazoned with the club logo and in the colors of black, red and powder blue. The manager kindly threw in a club visor for me at no charge plus a couple of souvenir score cards. We also purchased a golf sweater for Betty, in pink. Nice place (again). It was getting well into the afternoon and the cloudy skies were somewhat threatening, so I decided to come back another day to play in hopefully better weather. But significantly, I saw only a handful of golfers on the course on this day.
We drove back out the narrow, farm lane to the somewhat
wider highway and went a few miles down the road to the Louis Mulcahy Pottery complex. It is near the turnoff to a
now-unmarked, paved lane leading to Clogher’s Beach.
It’s odd how poorly marked are the hit-and-miss road signs since the beach is
one of the really terrific, vantage points of the ocean offered on the
At Mulcahy, Betty purchased
several votive candle holders made of decorated pottery. We had an excellent
lunch of home-made, tomato-basil (in
Betty browsed around the Mulcahy
displays of lamps and other distinctive, hand-thrown pottery. Included were
some chest-high pots that sold for about $2,000 and up. We thought we might
come back on another day and left to drive our rental SUV back to Dingle on the
We poked around a couple of the very narrow lanes leading
from the cramped highway to
With the wisdom of after-the-fact hindsight, it seemed to us that it was probably easier to borrow money to build expensive facilities than to rent them so far from the tourism infrastructure of Dingle. But was still sad to see the once-nice facility that hosted lunches for busloads of tour groups traveling through the area was now closed.
Once back at the Dingle Skellig, Betty and I checked out Internet mail on the laptop Acer net book she brought from home. I napped for a while then we repaired to the hotel’s excellent restaurant for yet another great dinner. This one was fresh fish that included a small portion of my low-carb diet’s forbidden, hash-brown potatoes. Afterwards, we returned to our comfortable suite so I could work on my trip notes in a small journal while enjoying a taste of cognac.
We had resolved to revisit only those attractions and
locations that we really and truly wanted to see again. So we tried hard to
avoid our often-exhausting, go-go drive to see everything and anything when
traveling. Not making the cut on this trip – but well worth the trouble for
first-time visitors - was an ancient Celtic settlement of Reasc
and a few other neat places on the