Ferry Ride to Cape Clear
Cape Clear Harbor
Walking the rocky road sites
Early the next morning we loaded up the bus for our trip down south to the port at Baltimore to catch the ferry to Cape Clear Island. However, we did not leave fast enough. We missed the ferry! And it didn't return for 4 hours. Well, when life gives you cabbage - you make cabbage soup. So, we took that opportunity to see the Skibbereen Heritage Museum http://www.skibbheritage.com/famine.htm with info on the great famine
While we waited for the ferry, we ate at a quaint little restaurant that looked out over the bay...and then got down to the port EARLY for the ferry ride to the island.
Cape Clear Island
The ferry ride was comfortable. Clear Island is very "earthy." They didn't have all the amenities of our other stops but that made it all the more quaint and charming. Even the signs and islanders often spoke in Gaelic. It is very rainy on the island, but, lo and behold - the sun shone bright every day. The harbor was small - barely enough land to house the Inn, a pub, and a Lourdes Shrine. Along a trail we found a mermaid masthead. To get anywhere on this island you had 2 choices - take a cab (an old van) or a "20 min" walk - straight UP! It was surrounded by cliffs! Absolutely, stunningly beautiful - but hell on my legs.
When I first arrived a nice handsome bloke took me on a quick tour up (and I mean up) to some houses, farms, and horses/sheep. It was very pastoral with wooden fences and old barns highlighted with unexpected flourishes of flowers and setting sun over the waters....
Back at the harbor we took the "taxi" to our B&B - a lovely old farmhouse called "Mary's Place." We barely had time to settle in when we were whisked off to the Friday evening concert. The stories were wonderful, but we were disappointed that they did not provide microphones all 3 nights. It was difficult, if not even possible, to hear at times. After the concerts each night we walked up a very dark, rocky path to await the taxi. Finally, we settled in Mary's Place with some fun and stories and called it a night.
(click here to read about them)
The International Clear Island Festival featured 5 fine tellers from USA, Austria, Wales, Ireland and England. Sometimes, dealing with thick accents and ambient noise without mics posed problems. We tried to get to the sites early and sit up front. Some of the sites included: Workshops and Solo Concerts in a small room atop the Inn; Swapping Ground outside Murphy's Pub (with a mic- yeah!!); Regional teller concert in a school gym; Main Concerts in a small community center. Please keep in mind that these sites were scattered up and down the rocky, narrow roads that sometimes went straight up (you do see what I mean about "earthy").
Highlights of the festival included sitting and talking to fellow tellers, sightseeing on a boat with our own "storytelling captain," listening to stories, discovering new and very accomplished tellers from other countries, telling "Skunny Wundy"at the Swapping Ground; and enjoying the uniqueness of Clear Island.
Quick Mini-Tour of Cape Clear
Boat Ride around the island
Quilt backdrop for evening featured tellers
Concert Hall, Workshop;"20 min. walk"
Maureen and Marilyn at Swapping Ground
Eating at the Harbor Inn Sight-seeing boat