BRAD     |     EMILLIE

Friday, April 15, 2011

A mental break in the asylum

Given the state of economic affairs in Ireland (ever dwindling, as we are back in a recessionary economy) hotels all over the country are offering deals. Since we are on the train line to Sligo, we thought a quick one night trip with Grammy and Panda was in order. The hotel deal included massages for all the guests... and had enough kid-centred to keep Nikolai happy too!

Most of my friends in Ireland travel to kid-centred vacation spots, especially on the continent. Perhaps these exist in Canada too (?) but certainly not to the same degree, as it seems that everyone who is going on holiday this summer will be heading to a family-"camp"-ground. (Camp only in name... since camping in Ireland is rarely the adventure that MEC provides for. They'll all be staying in cottages rather than a lightweight nylon tents.)

The Clarion hotel had a great leisure facilities, including a pool, mini-golf and a play room. They also have scheduled kid's activities (though only in high season). Having been to Sligo before, we were happy to hang out at the hotel. This time 'round we did eat at the infamous Hargadons Pub. Both would come highly recommended. The pub offered good traditional fare, the hotel offered some much needed R&R, and still had enough going on to keep Nikolai entertained!

There was only one slight pallor to the whole affair... and this pallor was brought about by Brad's natural curiosity and my vigorous imagination. The Clarion Hotel is located in a beautiful historic building. According to the marker stone, the building was built in 1847. But no other historical information is offered... not on their website... not in the lobby... not in the rooms. Clearly the background of the building was something they didn't want us to find out about. And despite the reluctance of the concierge when asked (I've never witnessed such avoidance before), Brad was finally able to get his hands on "The History of the Clarion Hotel Sligo".

And...

it was...

a Lunatic Asylum. Hum, Victorian era Lunatic Asylum does not generally make for easy ghosts. It also doesn't help that I've read The Secret Scripture, a supposedly true story with a poor view of the aforementioned asylum.

The next day my mother went into Keohanes bookshop to purchase the book, only to find out that it is the second book in a series. The first book The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty was not advertised as such because it didn't win the accolades that The Secret Scripture did. And publishers were worried that being the second book in a series would affect the sales of the award winning novel. I didn't find that my read of The Secret Scripture was lacking for not having read the first book. However, my mother now owns both books (I'm sure the bookshop purveyor's intention), so she should be able to give me a review in a few weeks time.

The picture above is from along the river in Sligo.

Below is a picture of some of the boarded up housing in Sligo. We saw a lot of this on our walk to the Clarion Hotel. One of the unfortunate causes of the current financial crisis was the lending of inappropriate mortgages.

From Hargadons Pub.

A typical view from the train. Rolling fields, livestock, and the quintessential piled stone fencing.

At one of the stations along the way (perhaps Mullingar?). The inscriptions reads "Keep the Pavement Dry". Any guesses what it's for? We can only speculate...

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