Thursday, July 4

We docked in Portumna and visited its castle with its walled kitchen gardens.  Olivia gets as much of her produce as she can from here.  Our guide, Roger, was very informative.  This is another castle, where public money is being used to restore and preserve.  It’s lovely.  Lou is convinced that Sean Ryan should have taken some public money, too.  No one disagrees but Sean Ryan, who is fiercely preserving his autonomy.

There’s another interesting issue in the West of Ireland.  Roger’s surname is Waterson and his family has been here for five hundred years or so, but he is still treated as an outsider, because he hasn’t a real Irish name.  I guess there’s always the mistrust that one of his relatives, who obviously came from England, might have been a nasty bastard, a term we hear a lot.  The gardens had some interesting features, like trellised apple trees and this is Ernie, sniffing “Green Manure”.20180705-03PortumnaCastleErnieSniffing

It was probably an hour’s drive to Galway, so Rory got to talking about the potato famine, which wasn’t one.  It was just the failure of the crop that fed the poor people.  Lots of other things grew just fine, but they were contracted to be shipped to England, so off they went, leaving the poor Irish to starve.  To make matters worse, an Irish serf paid the rent on his land by selling half of his crop.  When they didn’t have potatoes to sell, many of the landlords evicted them and burned their houses so they wouldn’t sneak back in.  See what they mean by “nasty bastards”?

Lunch was at “The Derg” in Galway Bay, which was amazingly quaint for its size, and the food and ale were good.  I had a “Galway Hooker” pale ale, which was very nice, despite its name.  The town of Galway has gone very touristy, such that a walk around it is just a long succession of shops, not unlike Cape Cod, Quebec City, Villefranche—sur-Mer, Mikonos, Sorrento, etc.  Getting jaded, I guess.  Want the old Galway back.

We got under way in the late afternoon and sailed into Lough Derg, as the sun came down very slowly, as it does in this Northern Country.  We had our cocktail hour on the upper deck, and a buffet dinner downstairs in the great room.  This time a picture is worth a thousand words:20180705-11ShannonPrincessTypicalSpreadedit

My 2019 Assignment – Maybe a cruise for you?

Seas of Enlightenment – Oceania Insignia, March 4 to 31, 2019, yup, 27 days

Enlightenment or not, this is a dream of a cruise.  I got early access to this for long and faithful service, as a concierge host.  The starting and ending ports are Sydney and Tokyo, places I’ve always wanted to explore more fully, I love Indonesia and the Philippines, and what’s not to love about Oceania?   Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, Japan

Most categories are already wait listed.  That no longer scares me.  Three months before, plenty of cabins open up, and the wait list clears.  It is important to be on it.

And the one in between:

It’s a Mediterranean Cruise this October. We go Rome to Rome on Holland America’s Koningsdam.  I have clients booked in two cabins and it’s a Distinctive Voyage.  I bid for and got it.  Who else is coming with me? Take a look:  October 8 sailing.

It’s seriously inexpensive.  Treat yourselves to a suite.  Comes with a free cocktail party and shore excursion.  I’ll have no trouble booking you from wherever I am.