Tuesday, June 24, 2014


The Spirit of Place clans gathered in Washington and Boston via New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut, Arizona, California, Pennsylvania, and Egypt (!) and arrived in Dublin, and headed to the Wild West of County Mayo! We stopped for a tour of Turlough House and the National Museum of Country Life outside of Westport. Not only is the museum a great example for architecture students of a modern design that fits it historic context and landscape with stunning effect, it also offers an insightful glimpse into 18th and 19th century Irish life at a country 'landlord' estate, and fascinating exhibitions about traditional Irish everyday life, craft and building traditions, and folklore.  It is a perfect introduction to Ireland, along with the Irish language radio and music that reeled through the bus as we drifted in and out of sleep while gazing out onto the pastoral Irish countryside on the 3 1/2 hour drive from Dublin to Mayo.

We arrived in Ballycastle, County Mayo--our home away from home for the next 2 and a half weeks, with a very warm welcome by our Mayo County Council project sponsors and good friends:  Peter Hynes, Joannne Greihan, Danny O Toole, and photographer extraordinaire, Michael McLaughlin.  After a round of Guinness and toasts in the Seaview pub (a very appropriate venue, emblazened with a painting of of the Downpatrick Head sea stack outside the door, and a view of the real thing!) we went down to check out this sight/site for ourselves!

Led by Danny O Toole, we met the rest of his crew (almost all of whom worked with us on last year's project in Inishturk!)  Danny's brother, Eugene O Toole, Gus O'Toole, and his brother, Viv O'Toole, and Joe Heanue.  We were issued out safety gear:  hardhats, and Mayo County Council yellow safety vests, and then we were oriented to this awe-inspiring site, and saw all the advance preparation that Danny and his team accomplished. Wow...we would not have been able to do this project without them...Slainte!!

After the tour, we checked into our three bed and breakfasts (Doonfeeney, Atlantic View, and
Keadyville) and met our wonderful hosts.  Then to Mary's Cottage, where we'll be having dinner each night, for the first of nightly huge three-course dinners!  It is clear we won't be going hungry this trip, but we;ll need the fuel to keep us going for the long days of construction (it doesn't get dark until 11:30 pm!)

What a wild ride we are in for on the Wild Atlantic Way!

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