Day 2 - Cliff on the Cliffs of Howthe

Howth Travel Blog

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            L’Arche is one of about 160 communities worldwide that bear the L’Arche name and are responsible for taking care of people who cannot take care of themselves.  L’Arche was founded by John Vanier, a Canadian.  Blair (my CouchSurfing host) is from Canada also and admires Vanier for what he started.  Originally, L’Arche in Ireland was privately funded, and now it is funded through the government.

            I can honestly say that I think L’Arche is a great idea.  At the L’Arche I am staying at, there are 4 volunteers and about 7 people they take care of.

  Everyone gets their own bedroom, and there are three bathrooms; one near the entrance, one for the men’s hall and one for the women’s hall.  The entire complex is very well kept and welcoming.  A Catholic atmosphere pervades with pictures of Jesus and quotes from The Bible.  I feel very comfortable staying here, and am very thankful that Blair contacted me.

            This morning Blair found a bicycle for me and we rode to Howthe.  Howthe is a fishing village on the water.  The Eye of Ireland can be seen from the harbor, along with a few lighthouses.

            As we rode our bikes along the harbor we stopped to greet a visitor from the sea; a massive, vertically-floating sea lion (or was it a seal).

  In any case he/she bobbed long enough for me to take a decent profile shot with my zoom lens.

            After saying goodbye to our friend we headed on up the hill toward the cliffs.  Blair had been here before, but not with bikes.  It was much quicker with bikes, and as the pavement turned into a dirt trail we used our bikes off and on. 

            The views from the cliffs were beautiful with the morning clouds obscuring the sun and the mist providing a thin blanket over the Eye of Ireland.  Birds filled the rocky shores below us and their calls filled the otherwise silent air.

            We passed a few people (none on bikes), and made it about halfway to the lighthouse when we decided to turn back due to the narrowing of the trail (our bikes became more or a hindrance the farther we went).

            Blair had to return to L’Arche and so we said goodbye.  I went into one of the many SPAR stores and bought an orange juice (2 Euros) and a sausage roll (0.85 Euros).  I ad never seen such a roll before and asked what it was.  The woman behind the counter told me and smiled, probably thinking “weird foreigner”.

            After a nap back at L’Arche I was asked if I’d like to eat dinner with the community.  I gladly accepted. 

When we were all (Tomek, Blair, Karen, Jillian and two others) at the table we held hands and Blair read a passage from a Christian book.

  We had Shepherd’s Pie and salad.  It was very tasty and I was very grateful.  The conversation mostly revolved around me and my trip.  Tomek (Thomas in English) gave me some good tips on Poland since that’s where he’s from.

Reiji had the night off and I asked him if he’d like to grab a beer.  He said sure and so we walked down the street to a store next to a bar.  I didn’t feel like paying 5 Euros to drink a beer in an empty pub and so we bought a couple cans from the store.  I got Royal Dutch.  Reiji grabbed it from my hand and said he’d pay.  I was flabbergasted!  I was just about to offer to pay for his.  I told him I wouldn’t allow it, but he insisted.  So I finally submitted after a few more attempts.

We drank the beers by the walls overlooking the water as darkness crept over the quiet town.  The tide had come in and filled in whatever beach had been there.  The orange streetlights illuminated the serene landscape all along the coast.

We talked of the differences between Ireland, America and India.  He had also heard that American receive less vacation time than any other developed country.  He has been at L’Arche now for two years and is going back to India in a few months to take care of his mother.  It was a good conversation and I enjoyed the company.  But next time I’m buying!

escape-now says:
These Cliff at A must to See for anyone Visiting iN Ireland - I managed to go Hang Gliding of them in 1990 It was Fantastic Place and Time - Jaydee
Posted on: Sep 16, 2011
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photo by: fransglobal