“Let Me Get You A Wee Map”
IF THERE’S ONE THING I CAN SAY ABOUT THE IRISH PEOPLE it’s that they are friendly and very helpful. They all seem to be working as unofficial Ambassadors of Goodwill for their country. If they spot us as being from overseas (The U.S.) they will do two things.
First they will tell you that they have been to “The States” and where. Almost always they have been to New York City, Las Vegas, and Florida. Florida can be translated as Disney World.
Secondly, they will ask if they can help you in any way. And they mean it.
It was just a few days ago and we got ourselves up, dressed and fed and decided to venture forth into the County Donegal town of Carrick to visit to the Donegal Woolen Mill where they produce and sell some fantastic Blankets, hats, scarves, and other things. Shopping was the goal. Dawn and The Cousins walked out of there with a number of bags filled with gifts for friends and family. I bought a couple of stamps. They won’t mail my postcards back to the U.S. without them.
After loading the stash into the car we, exhausted from shopping, figured that our next move had to be lunch. Right next door to the Woolen Mill was the Aislinn Tea Room. A local cafe we had visited three years ago on our last trip to Ireland. I led the way because I was hungry and I wanted to sit down. I’m not sure which was the priority. Being ever so proper the Three Ladies ordered “Scones with butter and jam.” Being the masculine presence in the room I opted for a BLT. Meat! I craved meat.
The Tea Room wasn’t very busy. While it was the favorite spot of “The Ladies Who Lunch,” that still kept the crowd down to eight…counting the four of us. I think we may have missed the Lunch Hour Crush. I hope so for their fiscal sake. The staff looked bored until they figured out that we weren’t locals or even Irish.
One of the
waitresses…Servers, a young woman named Carmel, came over to our table and began to chat. She asked us all sorts of innocuous questions. All in Good Will. Then she asked us what were we going to see in the area. That opened the floodgates.
My wife, the lovely, and our Ireland Cruise Director, Dawn, mentioned that we were thinking of going to see the high cliffs at Slieve League, the biggest drop from shore to ocean in Europe. For the next fifteen minutes Carmel, whom I suspect has visions of becoming a Travel agent, gave us more information, highlights and lowlights, of going to experience The Cliffs.
“Oh, you should take the coast road. It’s got better views and the road is only a wee bit narrower.”
That “wee bit narrower” bit, when you are talking a drop of over a thousand feet into the North Atlantic, got my attention. Maybe Carmel runs an Ocean Rescue and Salvage business or she is taking correspondence school classes in the Funereal Arts.
Carmel went on with her hot tips on seeing the best that the area had to offer for without taking a noticeable breath. At one point she paused and said, breathlessly, “Let me get you a wee map.” Off she trotted out of the cafe and returned in a flash with an illustrated and colorful map of the County and the adjoining ocean.
Perhaps it was my pale complexion or my audible whimpering that got Carmel to wrap it up. She glared at me for just a moment and then folded her map, handed it to Dawn, wished us a wonderful time, and went back into the cafe kitchen.
Dawn looked at me, and said. “No Way am I going out on that Coast Road.”