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Top O'the Mournin'

Top O'the Mournin'

Emily Andrew is earning some much-needed green by navigating the twisting roads of Ireland with a group of seniors, including her beloved Nana.

Page 2

"Dublin's nothin' like I imagined," said my grandmother. Her voice vibrated as we jounced down one of Dublin's most traveled thoroughfares in the back of a horse-drawn carriage.

(When we visited Dublin, I wanted to take a ride in this carriage, but the driver was nowhere to be found, so I let Emily take the ride for me.)

Page 95

"To yer left. In that field. That pile of rocks used to be an abbey before that God-cursed bastard Oliver Cromwell reduced it to rubble. For nine months he reigned death and destruction on Ireland. May he burn in Hell for it!"

(This is what remains of Dunbrody Abbey near Arthurstown in southeast Ireland. The abbey escaped Cromwell's wrath, but the look is pretty typical of Irish ruins.)

Page 98

"It's about a mile walk to the actual site..."

(The path to the rope bridge hugs the edge of these cliffs. It's an awesome walk!)

Page 97-98

We pulled into the parking lot of the Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge a mere hour behind schedule. Ashley presented us with a short narrative, explaining what we were about to see. "The bridge connects the mainland to a small island that's the site for a local salmon fishery. It spans a distance of sixty feet and hangs eighty feet above the sea... The handrails are sturdy, but the flooring consists of wooden planks strung between wires that begin twistin' and wobblin' the minute you step onto them..."

(That's me standing in the middle of the Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge, being battered by the wind.)

Page 210 and 228

As we pulled into the parking lot of the Giant's Causeway on the North Antrim coast, Ashley threw a few details at us in a voice that could melt butter... "The site consists of about thirty-seven thousand columns made of a volcanic rock called basalt. They start at the base of the cliff and descend like stepping-stones into the sea. Some of the columns stand forty feet high, and what y'all will notice is that they're mostly shaped like perfect hexagons..."

The site was a vast boneyard of twelve-inch-wide upright stone columns that were chimney-stacked against each other like patio tiles in a supplier's warehouse.

Page 229

"Check out the rocks at three o'clock," [Nana] said, pointing to a sprawling cluster of uneven spires. "They look like skyscrapers in the New York skyline, only smaller. And look at the big clump at high noon. If they was silver, they could pass for the pipes attached to the organ at Holy Redeemer. And would you look at those behind you. They kinda remind me a the little piles a chips in the craps table at the Meskwaki casino."

Page 231

When I reached the road, I eyed a towering stack of columns to my left and a pathway that curved around it, skirting the base of the plateau. These columns were fractured into horizontal chunks that resembled hundreds of ottomans piled on top of each other.