Thursday, July 9, 2020

Ireland - Installment VIII: Isolation Lessons Learned and Kinsale Continued

I have been reflecting upon the current pandemic isolation thinking about what I've learned so far. Most of all I miss my family; my daughters and grandkids. That goes without saying. But maybe the biggest takeaway I've discovered is that I really miss my friends. I have always fancied myself as a bit of a loner. I really enjoy my "alone" time so that life out here in the sticks has been no real hardship. But when something like a pandemic takes away all of my socializing options I become a bit down like so many other people. Who am I kidding? I got really depressed and angry for a while until I realized what was happening. Poor Rich! 

I miss my lunch bunch girlfriends; the retired teacher group of friends that I have known for years. We haven't seen each other since February. We call, text and email each other to keep in touch but it's just not the same as sitting down to a meal to discuss our kids and grandkids, books that we've read and just plain gossip. I miss my two knitting groups, a bunch of ladies from different backgrounds who have our crafting in common. It's so much more fun to knit something when I can look forward to sharing my progress with those ladies who appreciate it because they are occupied with their own creative skills, too. I miss my international women's club meetings. This group of women from across a range of age groups and very diverse ethnic and national backgrounds who come together in joy just to share a meal and laugh together has added so much enrichment to my life. 

We have been able to have meals on the deck with some of our couples friends because we are able to remain six feet apart outside. Our double dates are restricted somewhat by the high heat and weather conditions but we're adapting and it has been lovely to see each other in person even though we cannot meet at restaurants. 

No one is sure when these conditions will end. I feel the most sorry for children who can't play with their friends and teachers who cannot be face-to-face with their students; young athletes who cannot practice with their teams and face the probable cancellation of their 2020-21 seasons. For most of them this is the first serious hardship that they have had to face in their young lives and explaining that there are worse things that can happen to them is no consolation. It's difficult to counsel patience for others when patience has never been one of my own strongest qualities. 

Maybe that's another lesson we've all had to learn from this. Be patient.  From the news reports it seems that many are still needing to do some work on this lesson.

Back to Kinsale, Ireland:

Another unplanned sightseeing stop that we found so moving and very much worth the out of the way drive was the Lusitania Monument on the Old Head of Kinsale. We drove out to the seaside and parked precariously on the edge of the road then made the short hike up to the Old Head Signal Tower that was built over 200 years ago during the Napoleonic Wars as a lookout for French invasion forces. It has become the site of a monument to the sinking of the Lusitania by a German submarine on May 17, 1915. Within 20 minutes of being hit the ship had sunk killing 1,198 people.  The names of the passengers and crew are engraved on the monument listing both victims and survivors. Many of the rescuers were Irish fishermen who sailed their boats eleven miles from shore to aid in the rescue operation.

Parking on a cliff, Old Head of Kinsale

Lusitania Memorial

From here we headed back through Kinsale and on to Killkenny. The road led us to the infamous Kinsale round-about just 3 miles south of Cork center. We had been through there on one of our earlier excursions around that area of the country. We didn't find the five road intersection so intimidating to navigate this time around. We also didn't find out until we had returned home that this was quite well known by both locals and visitors for it's complex traffic patterns! Another piece of advice for travelers new to driving in Ireland: look up this route in advance and memorize which road will get you to your destination because coming upon the signage in this intersection without prior knowledge will surely confuse those who are concentrating on driving on the left! You've had fair warning.

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