We went to west Clare for a few days. We stayed with friends and had a lovely time. Our location was Spanish Point. We planned to have a few walks and plenty of rest. It turned out to be more like walk, sit, eat, rest and begin again; walk, sit, eat, rest. All the while, we chatted.

There was no big agenda of visiting historical places or doing special things. It was a time of being really present in west Clare. The morning walks along the beach were invigorating and refreshing. A few weeks ago, I couldn’t walk. The joy of walking was deeply beautiful. I love the ocean. I love to pace the sand in my bare feet.

I walked along the shore’s edge with gusto, appreciating the ebb and flow of the waves as they dribbled onto the sand and died only to be quickly followed by another. The sea is all consuming in many ways. Its power stops me dead, my mind clears. Unbeknownst to myself, my worries and fears disappear and I’m just present with the sand and the sea, the wind and the birds.

Armada Hotel

In the last few years, everything is punctuated with a coffee. It’s not just a coffee but a particular version, from the plain Americano to the sophisticated Cappuccino. There is a lovely little café attached to the Armada Hotel called Gulls Café, serving exquisite coffee and cakes. The twisted chocolate and pastry logs were hard to pass! Allowances can always be made when on holiday. We managed to drop by every day. We had an evening meal in the Armada Hotel when we managed to secure a booking. It was lovely, with the staff attentive and service and food excellent.

The second day, we had lunch in a little restaurant in Ennistymon called An Teach Bia. The menu was varied and the food and ambiance were lovely. The tables were close enough that we could chat to the people next to us. There were four 15-year-old students from Spain in blue school uniforms attending post primary school in Inagh. We got chatting. They were on an exchange scheme for a year to learn English.

They were articulate and enjoying their time in Co Clare. The only thing they missed about their own country was the fine weather. That says a lot for the welcome and care that they are experiencing. There was an elderly gentleman accompanied by his wife and daughter just behind us. He came over to chat. He is a retired Garda sergeant who was stationed in Dublin. We told him we were from near Blarney. He answered, “Tower!” musing. He told us his grandfather was from Tower. It’s such a small world. His name is Gerry O’Leary and he had a fine chat with Tim.

The second day, we had lunch in a little restaurant in Ennistymon called An Teach Bia. The menu was varied and the food and ambiance were lovely.

Tubridys on the double

That evening, we went to Tubridy’s restaurant and bar in Doonbeg. What an absolute treat with delicious crab and prawn ravioli, prawn laksa, pan fried hake, rump of lamb and lots more. The special desserts were fabulous creations. Artur Lazewski, the chef, passed and Tim complimented him on his delicious offerings.

He has been cooking in Tubridy’s for six years. Bridget Tubridy and her team made us most welcome. A group of Americans were celebrating a birthday in the bar and we were kept amused with the antics for a few hours. The Brown Boys (brothers) were playing lively music. The whole experience was so good that we returned for a second night and were just as impressed.

When on holiday, you have time to make choices and really enjoy the food. When we are working and busy, food serves the purpose of sustenance and energy to keep the body functioning. Tim and I strolled up and down the streets of one of the local towns looking for a place to have our last lunch. We made a choice. I ordered seafood chowder and brown bread. The chowder came with a bit of white sourdough. I asked for the brown bread. “Sorry, it’s sourdough today,” came the curt reply.

Immediately, I was disappointed. I really like brown bread and I enjoy tasting the different kinds in various places. Why have it on the menu if you are not going to serve it?

Honestly, the little things do matter.

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