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Wednesday May 19, 2010.


Before leaving Northern Ireland we stopped at the famed Belleek factory. There were many pretty examples of the delicate china for us to purchase and see, but we weren't allowed to take photos. We then continued through the green land until we reached Donegal, back into the Irish Republic. We were welcomed by a Leifear roundabout sporting a monument called "The Three Coins", symbolizing the three rivers that converge at Leifear, or past, present, and future, or the shamrock's trinity. The coins have inscribed "Preterita Fecunda - Futura Preclara", meaning "Fruitful Past, Bright Future".



As we continued our journey, we went to Drumcliffe, in County Sligo, the burial site of William Butler Yeats, the well known poet, whose grandfather was the rector of St. Columba, a church built in 1809. I chuckled as I saw our family name on a plaque.



The tomb of Yeats is a popular tourist attraction. I was a bit disappointed to see his likeness portrayed in what I thought was an unflattering way, but I really don't know what he looked like while he was alive.


Our next stop was the Knock Shrine, a place where on August 21, 1879, a series of miraculous apparitions took place. Our Lady appeared at the South gable of the church, accompanied by St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist; there also were numerous angels and on the altar stood a lamb. The apparitions were deemed true, and a shrine was built.


It is a beautiful site, with many different churches within it. There were many people of different nationalities praying & singing hymns, an a Mass was being said at one of the chapels at some time during the day. I personally felt that it was very commercialized. There were all kinds of shops selling religious articles, books, bottles in where one could put the water springing from a well, and so on. I couldn't help thinking of Jesus throwing the merchants and moneychangers out of the Temple. I can only imagine what  Lourdes or Fatima must be like.


We left the Shrine to continue on the road to Galway and we were surprised to see some windmills similar to the ones we have in Brigantine in New Jersey. We also went by some bucolic church ruins, and finally arrived at the Hotel Clayton where we had dinner and stayed for a couple of nights.

Tomorrow we will leave for a full Connemara day tour.


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