2004-2005: Covid Concern and Another Watery Pitch

2004: Portumna to Meelick Wier

Wednesday 25th September 2021

On the way towards Clonmacnoise, we stopped off at Portumna.  As we ended up spending longer here than planned, Clonmacnoise had to wait for another day.  Portumna was owned by English landlords and is therefore semi-fortified … God forbid that the natives should attack!   … they seemed to be related to every great British house … the list of marriages read like Debretts Peerage.  It was gutted by fire … a laundry room cause apparently … not the locals!  The Office of Public Works for Ireland, who very kindly waived all entry fees to their properties for the summer, have put a roof on (EU funding helped!) and have an exhibition about the family and castle inside.  The stable block is the restaurant so we have a lovely quiche and walk around the grounds with CO2.  There is an aire with services at the marina here, but it was choked and we hadn’t fancied being within 2m of the neighbouring motorhome, so we headed up river to Meelick

20210825 122323

Portumna Castle.

Meelick Weir proved to be another gem.  A car park right on the water.  A sunny afternoon so families were swimming.  A farm behind with a friendly farmer and wife.  A lot of work going on here … a new walkway at a cost of millions and the car park being given a coating of tarmacadam and big post with plants … J watered these.  In a few weeks the Taoiseach ({rime Minister) was arriving for a grand opening.  The weir was built originally to control the flow for that hydro power station that we couldn’t get into.

20210825 172712

The new weir … apparently it used to be much lower with boards and the farmer’s wife said the was always worried her kids would fall in.

20210825 172957

Corrie wasn’t impressed with all those holes, but she got used.  Interestingly the boards are the same as the ones we have for standing Jez on when the ground is soft … although Dad cut ours into 6  manageable pieces.

20210825 181741

Another pitch perfect, in fact so lovely we stayed another day.

2005: Portumna to Meelick Wier

Thursday 26th September 2021

Part of the decision to stay here was so we could isolate.  James 3 children had had negative PCR tests to fly back to their homes straight after the wedding.  Within days of arriving in Doha, Simon felt unwell … yep, Covid.  Had he caught it and spread it at the wedding?  Lots of guests had PCR tests … we had NHS antigen tests so we did one this morning and one the next day … fortunately everyone was testing negative.  Our biggest concern was that soon after getting back to the UK I’d booked to drive Zorba the Greek car to Crete with Maddy as co-pilot.  If we tested positive, we anticipated being stuck in a government isolation unit … and what would happen to CO2?  Fortunately … we didnt have it, but it was a worrying 2 days.

After our first negative tests, we walked to the Victoria Lock and then onto the narrower original canal and tiny lock.  Then in the afternoon we set off to St Francis Church – the oldest Catholic Church still in use in Ireland.  There was a statue from Portugla of Our Lady of Fatima … nice to join up dots … we’ve been there.  Talking (at a distance) to the farmer’s wife she had also visited Fatima and goes there with fiends once a week to pray.  

20210826 112112

Victoria Lock.  Actually had a lock keeper on duty.

20210826 131424

CO2 were unimpressed by this activity so close. Barking!

20210826 160859

St Francis Church and former monastery to the left.  I am not religious, but it really was a peaceful place.  The grave yard led down to the river front.

20210826 162402

Huge roof inside St Francis.  But really didn’t like the orange new wood of the pews and up by the alter.