Rainy day in Ballaghaderreen

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(This is why rain is so great… it makes wonderful green stuff)

Today was a little bit wet so I didn’t get a chance to take many photos. Fortunately, I took a lot yesterday. We’re staying in the small town of Ballaghaderreen, I’m not sure if I know how to pronounce it so I was waiting to hear someone here say it… but no one has yet. I think it’s Balla-hah-dreen but don’t quote me on that. We are staying in a room over the pub on the main street and when we dropped all our gear we went looking for a coffee shop.

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(Perfect cafe in Ballaghadereen… with only one small problem)

We couldn’t find one on our own so we asked a lady in the supermarket and she was very proud to tell us there was a beautiful place up near the church. Her friend told us it won some competition as the best in Ireland. Well, of course that’s exactly the coffee shop we want to go to, right? We followed her precise directions and spotted a pretty little gate lodge with flowers in hanging baskets and window boxes. Perfect. We took some pictures outside and congratulated ourselves on such a great find. Then we went in through a little gate and spotted the sign. The CLOSED sign…. We were twenty minutes late. We pressed our noses to the windows for a bit and returned to our room over the pub. The instant coffee isn’t award winning but grand all the same.

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(Claire and Paul’s lock-keepers cottage on the Royal Canal near Mullingar)

It definitely makes us appreciate yesterday’s tea break on the Royal Canal in the little lock keeper’s cottage. Paul made us great tea while Claire had baked delicious soda bread. If it hadn’t been for Claire chatting away outside with the passing walkers and cyclists we wouldn’t have noticed the opportunity for tea. She grew up in this cottage and years later when she and her husband retired they decide to renovate and they’ve been welcoming passers-by since.

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(This was great tea)

They had been very busy yesterday by the time we arrived and all the scones were gone, then we ate the last of the soda bread. So that when Claire  got word from one of the cyclists that there was a boat coming she had to dash off and put more scones in the oven. I wondered to Paul if there would be enough time to bake the scones and he told us the boat was coming from Mullingar and would have five locks to navigate. There’d probably be enough time to cook them dinner too. I really hope the people on the boat stopped yesterday and I hope Claire and Paul keep welcoming people into the little cottage because it’s a really lovely experience.

All the best from Ballaghaderreen, Mairead.

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