Friday 31 July – Cornelia’s (Day 68)

I understand how Jim gets stuck here, in Ireland. People are welcoming and, as Cornelia’s guest, I get invited to things.

Tonight, there was a barbecue. We dropped Cornelia’s daughter Isabel off there first and went on to Osbornes – a pub in the tiny village of Rathanna, recently reopened by a returned son. It’s really lovely.

Enjoying a pint of Guinness at Osborne's
Enjoying a pint of Guinness at Osborne’s

There I met an American couple, from North Carolina and Rhode Island but more recently Washington DC – who are now travelling. He’s a film maker and she’s a photographer.

He’s making weekly one-minute documentaries. They’re riding bicycles for now and stumbled upon Rathanna and the publican, Eric Osborne. They’d camped in the field the night before but have now moved into the walkers’ hostel Eric has opened. They are doing some filming and photography for him in exchange.

This is their website:

The Rathanna churchyard seen from the pub.
The Rathanna churchyard seen from the pub.

From the pub we went back to the barbecue and stayed until midnight.

It was cool as autumn and a bonfire was going. When we arrived it was surrounded by men. The girl-children were in a cabin watching a tween film. The boy-children running around.

The women were in the kitchen by a table piled with food and Sharon (I think it was), the hostess, was just taking pork roasts from the oven.

We women moved to the fire and slowly the composition there shifted from all men to a good mix of men and women.


I was instructed to hold my bread near the fire long enough to melt the butter then put my slice of pork on – yup, that’s pretty tasty.

The moon was full and shining through the trees and clouds. I spoke to John (?) whose accent was nearly impenetrable for me – but he’s a bit of a cyclist himself, you know.

Anna was encouraged to get her squeezebox from the car and a guitar materialised. Suddenly there was a bit of singing. Confident in parts, tentative in others.

And it was then that I thought – I can see how easily one (or Jim) could get stuck here.

It’s weird to be introduced around. Cornelia keeps saying: “You remember Jim? Elizabeth is a friend of Jim’s.”

I’ve moved from Matthew’s to Isabel’s room and my empty panniers are resting on top of Jim’s guitar case – which he’s left in storage here. So weird. I haven’t seen him in 70 days, all my worldly goods, not here with me, are stored in his shed in Australia. He’s roaming the continent someplace, but I’m going to wake to see my empty panniers resting on his guitar case. That is just weird.

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