"Inis Mor - Home to My Heart" Personal Page by WhispersWest
As the ferry heads into the harbor at Kilronan, I feel a welcoming embrace and the heaviness that I have carried seems to ease as we swing in to the dock. From the first time I saw this harbor, I felt as if I was coming home. It is the small things that amaze me, the seabirds circling, the vans queued to contend with the influx of tourists and the friendliness of everyone I meet.
"Stand here" says Maura Wolfe, "On a clear day, you can see to Connemara" She had just brought out a pot of tea and had poured us both a cuppa. Staying at Man of Aran Cottage has never felt like anything less than staying at the home of a favored aunt & uncle. Joe is always thrilled to discuss his gardens with you. Maura will tell you stories of her days cooking for the Queen, culinary school, the escapades and accolades of her children. Each time I return the hugs are warm and long. Each time I leave a little more of my heart stays behind. I can look at this picture, with the edge of the table showing and recall Maura sitting there singing in Gaelic a song that has been handed down for centuries here on Inis Mor.
This is the view from the back porch of Man of Aran Cottages. It was my choice of lodging on my first trip. It has become the only place that we stay. It is well removed from the bustling port of Kilronan. Its remoteness is not for some people but it suits me just fine. It is a short hike (15 mins max) from Dun Aengus and there is a beach just down the lane. However, I find my best moments are spent in the rear garden or on the rock wall watching the sea and the fishing trawlers. Joe Wolfe is an organic gardening wizard. His tomatoes are the best I have ever tasted. He walked up behind me just as I took this shot and said "Across the Bay is Galway. It might as well be a million miles" Indeed it should, as time is slower here and the only hustle & bustle is down on the pier when the ferries dock.
How beautiful were the blossoms in Joe's garden! Even visiting during the hottest & driest July on record, the gardens were amazing. This rose was as big as a bread plate and very fragrant. He takes great pride in his gardens, whether flower, fruit or vegetable. His greenhouses are a delight to walk through. The artichoke plants are astonishing. The beds in the back of the house run all the way to the rock wall. Kittens play hide & seek amongst the shrubs and under broad leaves.
One of the reasons we stay at Man of Aran is because it allows us to come together and work out our stage schedule, practice our music and inspires new writings. Casey, shown here, is the guitarist and humorist of the group.
After the lunch has been cleared, it has become habit to take over the dining room and work on our music and poetry. Jeff Streeby is a Cowboy & a scholar. He teaches College Prep English in Yucaipa California. He is currently working on his masters in creative writing. Here, at Man of Aran Cottages, he finds the quiet he needs to work on his writing assignments, as well as join in to add his harmony to our songs.
"If these Walls could talk" people often say. They do talk but you have to sit still and listen. Man of Aran Cottage was built as a film set for the Movie "Man of Aran" in the 1930's. The irony is that they built an entirely functional cottage and the only thing that shows up in the movie is a short scene by the fireplace. The dining room today was the entire living area during filming. I often find myself slipping off to listen to those who have danced, laugh, sang, cried, grieved, lived within these walls long before I drew my first breath.
We really do seem to take over the dining room. We have even been known to wander into the kitchen and start our own tea. It truly has become like home to us. We step out to welcome the guests along with Maura & Joe. There have even been a few times when I am the first to greet the guests, as Maura will be town to the market and Joe will be having his rest. Here, we are working on our stage schedule for an upcoming performance in Boyle. We usually head for the cottage as soon as we land in Shannon. Our group is spread out across the country and you can only do so much practicing by conference call. We use the Cottage as our staging ground, we put on shows for the other guests a couple of evenings and we fine tune our act.
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