JWU study abroad student Samantha Riley is clinging to every moment left in her Irish adventure. This week, Samantha starts her long goodbye to the Emerald Isle at a remote campground in County Mayo.
With only about a week before my departure home, the clock had become the ultimate enemy. The never-ending tick… tick… tick…seemed to be speaking another language, one that repetitively announced, in a taunting manner, that the remaining time was steadily draining away. Wishing to hide away from the world, even if just for a little while, was the only reasonable way to avoid the dreaded Father Time.
The perfect location to begin this journey was a remote campground a few miles outside a village in County Mayo. Upon arrival, the office was void of any staff and a hand-written note was pasted to the door that said to proceed with set-up anyway. Without further ado, the tent was pitched on a patch of grass under the radiant sky and a picnic lunch was had to commemorate its completion.
Venturing back into the town of Clifden, where we had originally arrived by bus, we decided to see what this town had to offer. Strolling along, periodically a genuine place of business would arise among the midst of shops that left a slight tang of tourist in one’s mouth upon entering. Nestled on the street corner was a local bookshop that we merely had to glimpse at to be cast under its spell, no love potion was needed. As fellow book lovers, we spent time laboring over the pieces of literature and talking with the staff member on duty, until after what seemed like minutes but was more than likely an hour, a purchasing decision was made.
Equipped with a book, the next stop was to a café for a couple cups of tea, "couple" being the key word here in Ireland. Refreshed with tea coursing through our veins, we managed a brief jaunt around the outskirts of Clifden before finding ourselves famished for a meal fit for kings. When anything edible appears appetizing, choosing a restaurant is no easy task.
The purpose of the trip was to escape from the world to be one with nature and find pleasure in the simpleness of life, yet the main deciding factor was quite contrary to that. We were searching for somewhere that could provide a frivolous and sumptuous experience to celebrate the special occasion of my time in Ireland drawing to a close. The awards plastered to the side of a welcoming-looking restaurant named Mitchell’s helped enormously with the decision. Two seafood platters full of Cleggan crab, Connemara smoked salmon, fresh salmon, Oranmore oysters, Ros A Mhil A Mhil prawns and Killary mussels later, the place had indeed proved itself worthy.
Food is healing. It has restorative powers and this meal did just that. The seafood was fresh, local and allowed us to enjoy an extension of the Earth on our plates, part of the reason for being out there in the first place.
Stay tuned for Time is of the Essence: Part II which will conclude Samantha's study abroad blog.