Keeping an eye out for those “unforgiving Irish police,” we closely tailed Dorothy’s car as she led us down a few roads to a restaurant where she was anxious to treat us for lunch. Barely making it before closing — it was close to 3:00 by now — we enjoyed fish, chicken, a variety of vegetables, rice, and potatoes, potatoes, potatoes.
By this time we were trying hard not to make a joke of it because potatoes in Ireland are really no joke. You can have them at all hours of the day (except when you have arrived without provisions and no store is open) and you can have them prepared in several ways: fried, boiled, mashed, formed into little balls, then coated and fried; the choices were endless. We sampled them all. I, for one, was pining for pasta.
We spent the rest of the afternoon knocking around the town of Knock, renowned for its Marian Shrine.
In 1879, fifteen people reportedly witnessed a “miraculous apparition of Our Lady, St. Joseph, and St. John” at the south gable of the Knock Parish Church. Subsequent visits to this now sacred site from Pope John Paul II and later from Mother Teresa have inspired an even greater devotion among the million and a half pilgrims who visit the shrine each year.
Later, as we pulled into the driveway of our Millhouse Thatched Cottage, we noticed a huge double rainbow dramatically arching across the entire sky. How lucky!
Then we began our preparations for the next morning’s early departure. This included using the washer (located in the kitchen where one would normally find a dishwasher) and the dryer (located upstairs in that odd, empty little room opposite our sleeping quarters). We were all so excited when Gino figured out how to operate them both. In true European fashion, the washing process took hours and the drier was still rumbling away long after we had gone to bed.
In the meantime, Dorothy, Tom, and two of her daughters, Sonia and Grace, came round to say hello and good-bye. We had a great visit, sitting in the living room comparing lives and stories. We had no cookies left, but were able to at least offer them tea. They presented us with a chunk of turf and a piece of brick from the old homestead fireplace — our tangible pieces of Ireland to bring home.