Beautiful sunny morning, not a cloud in the sky! First clear morning we've had the whole trip. Killibegs is a town of 1200 people, home to the best natural harbor north of Dingle in the west of Ireland. Most of what is left of the fishing fleet is out to sea but it is a lovely place. I went out early to hunt down a laundry, I really need clean clothes!
Our morning began with a talk about Ireland's fishing industry given by Tony O'Callaghan, a local journalist. Here's a bit of what I learned: the Atlantic just off the west coast of Ireland is one of the best fishing areas in the world and many countries have been fishing there for centuries. Spain, England and Germany to name three. When Ireland joined the European Union they submitted to a quota system on the amount of fish they could take based on historical takes. So Spain has a quota and Great Britain has one, Ireland has one too but because of the English occupation their historical take wasn't as large so their quota wasn't as large. For a while each year Irish fishermen would take more than their quota and the Irish government would pay the fine imposed by the EU, then someone decided to begin charging individual fishermen (or boat owners) for taking excess fish so now the government can't pay the fine and the fishermen can't fish as much. None of those charged have as yet been brought to trial but the fishing fleet is quite small compared to a few years ago.
Life is complex no matter where you live. After his talk he took us on a bit of a walk, I dumped the laundry off and it will be washed and returned to my hotel tonight-cool. After the walk we had a very nice lunch at Number 22 (a local restaurant) then we loaded up the bus for Glencolmcille.
St Columba (one of Ireland's three patron saints.) I think this may be my favorite part of Ireland. It is fairly remote and very quiet-I think it might be a 2 pub town. The obelisk seen on the hill is part of Columba's Turas, a pilgrimage site. From here we go a short distance to walk in a farmers fiield to view Megolithic tombs.
On our way back to town we notice a sad sign of the times, a little housing division of new homes all standing empty save one.
This has been a busy day and it's not over yet! After dinner in the hotel bar (a light dinner as I've been eating far too much on this trip!) and hard cider, a new taste for me. We got to watch two young ladies dance. They both have made it to nationals in their age group and travel all over to dance. We got to see them do both the heavy dance and traditional soft shoe dancing, it was quite amazing. Neither had taken ballet but there were ballet moves in there. They were cute and interested in us as well. After that we had a lesson on the Tin Whistle. I'm not very good, although it is quite similar to the recorder. Mind you I gave my recorder away because it hurt my ears! In the end we played a whole song accompanied by our teacher on the concertina and Mark on the Irish flute-it was only half bad!