Friday, April 28, 2006

Easter Weekend in Letterkenny and Derry

I know it's taken a while to get this entry up but I got a bad review for the last few from Uncle Brian Faulkner as he doesn't find that we're dishing enough info to you guys lately. If you think I've written too much, blame him! :)

Easter Weekend!
We had a four day weekend so we decided to hitch a ride to Donegal with Joyce and Paddy. I rang Jimmy and Maggie about a month before Easter to politely invite Luke and myself up to spend the holiday with them. Originally Joyce and Paddy weren't going, but about a week before Easter Joyce got the time off and they decided to come up too. Luke and I were looking forward to this for ages.

Joyce and Paddy picked us up at our gaff at about 7:00pm. (The original plan was for Luke and I to take the bus to Derry that morning but we had gone out on the piss the night before so needless to say, Luke turned off the alarm when it went off at 6:30am and missed the bus). The drive up to Letterkenny was lovely. I think it is the first time we had a few hours of light so Luke and I were able to see much more of the scenery than we had previously. Joyce and Paddy weren't as rowdy as they usually are when they are in the car together, which was a nice change! They kept the bickering down to a minimum. I didn't hear Paddy complain about the heat and I didn't hear Joyce complain about the cold. It must have been because it was Easter. Paddy drove the whole way and we managed to get there in about 3 1/2 hours. Not too shabby.

We were greeted with smiles and hugs and were ushered into the livingroom for a refreshment (beer) and then we all sat down to eat. Maggie made a beautiful ------. We all stayed up chatting and laughing and listening to music. Luke and I went to bed first as we were determined to get up in the morning so that we could go to Derry for the day. When Maggie heard we were going to Derry in the morning she offered to drive Luke and I and invited Joyce to go along. They decided to pop into Derry for a coffee and a little shopping.

We were all up bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to leave the house by about 10 - 10:30am. The men headed out at about the same time to run some errands and then play a round of golf.

Luke and I were dropped at the Derry tourist office at about 11am where we found ourselves a map of the city and bought some shamrock seeds to plant. From there we walked up to the city centre. We walked along the wall, walked down to the murals and then walked around the city looking at memorials and doing a bit of window shopping. At about 2pm we decided to call Anne and Brendan who knew we were in town for the day. I spoke to Anne and we agreed that Luke and I would arrive at their gaff for about half three. While I had her on the phone I asked her about the pub my Grandpa lived above and she gave me the name and the directions. Luke and I wandered to that pub and enjoyed a Guiness and a chat about Grandpa.

After the pint we hopped in a taxi and were on our way to Anne and Brendan's. Luke and I hadn't been up to see them yet because every time we are able to head up there, they happen to be away as it is always on a long weekend. We were thrilled to be able to see them.

We arrived at the house and Anne opened the door. Apparently I haven't changed at all since I saw her 8 years ago. She said she would have spotted me anywhere! Big hugs, big smiles all around. It was great. Anne brought us into the kitchen where Brendan greeted us the same way. They both looked fantastic and, truthfully, hadn't changed much since the last time I saw them either.

We all sat down to chat and laugh over a cup of tea and some AMAZING sandwiches (And I mean dynamite!). Aoife arrived about 10 minutes after us (She also looks great and is doing great. She is a personal trainer and is leaving on Monday for a year long trip around the world with some friends! LUCKY). Everyone was in great form and Luke and I can't wait to get back up there to spend more time with them. After a few hours Aoife was kind enough to take Luke and I to visit Ena. We were invited in for a chat. Ena told us stories about Grandpa and Grandma. It was wonderul to hear them. She was lovely as usual. After a short visit Luke and I had to leave to meet Jimmy back at the tourist office in Derry as we were offered a ride back to Letterkenny so that we wouldn't have to take the bus. Aoife dropped us off and we promised to keep in contact. I am dying to hear about her trip as it progresses!

Jimmy took us back to Letterkenny where Maggie had been slaving over the oven making a delicious Easter dinner. (Luke and I were thrilled to smell dinner as we were told that there wouldn't be a dinner - they were pulling our leg and we believed them for some reason... we should know better by now, shouldn't we?!). We all sat down, stuffed our faces and relaxed. After dinner Paddy, Joyce, Jimmy, Luke and I headed to Micky's to meet up with him, Emma, Zack, Ross and Zack's friend Maggie. We had a drink at Micky and Emma's and then walked to Bridge Bar. Unfortunately a loud (and rather awful) band was playing so we opted to leave and hit the thatch-roofed pub on the other side of the village. There we managed to find a spot to sit and enjoy (numerous) pints. We all got a kick out of the band playing there - one guy with a guitar. He just played and sang along to songs. Kind of like Karaoke but with a guitar. Odd, but funny. We stayed all night, until we were kicked out of the pub. Good craic!

The next morning we all got up - without a headache! - had a great breakfast thanks to Maggie (She made great fry-ups for everyone each morning we were there). After a little relaxing Joyce, Paddy, Luke and I hopped into the car and drove to the Breslin property where we met Jimmy and Maggie and Micky, Zack, Maggie and Ross. We walked along the laneway across the property, enjoyed the view and the fresh air and then walked back to the cars. We were off to Malin Head - the most northern tip of Ireland! Off we drove. When we arrived, Luke and I were blown away. There we were, standing at the edge of Ireland at the top of a cliff, looking out to sea. It was incredible. Breathtaking. The group of us got together and walked along the cliffs for about an hour, taking in all of the views. It was amazing as you can see by the photos. It really blew Luke and I away.

After the walk we returned to the cars and decided that we were all hungry. We stopped at a hotel at a beach and had dinner and a drink. After dinner we piled back into the cars and made our way to the North Pole pub, run by Hilda, stepsister to the Breslin gang. We all gathered in the back room for a tea and some GREAT coconut scones that Hilda made. After the tea Luke and I went into the bar to try a pint of the Guinness. IT WAS AWESOME. Probably the best pint we've tried. Eventually the rest of the gang joined us in the bar and we stayed there for a couple of hours. At about 10pm we all started leaving as we still had a fair amount of driving to do to get back to Letterkenny.

When we got home, we all sat down and had some munchies and couple of drinks. Then Maggie brought out the GOOD Scotch and Whiskey, so there was more sipping and drinking done. Then a bottle of Wisnowka (Polish Cherry Vodka) came out, which of course only Luke drank. Then some Irish spirit was brought out so Luke could try it. We were told it puts horses to sleep (if enough is consumed) so Luke had some and well, it wasn’t that bad...according to him.

Eventually we all hit the sack as the plan was to leave before 2pm.

Next day we woke up, had some breakfast and were on our way by 1pm. Which is a miracle considering that was the 1st thing we did ON TIME all weekend.

Good times as always in Letterkenny...

Happy (late) Easter to you all!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Here are some photos which just didn't really go with any blog, but we wanted to share them with you anyways!