Early in our journey Jack’s sandals fell apart. They were totally un-wearable and since he doesn’t like to drive in hiking boots it was clear we needed to find him new footwear. At the same time another in our group discovered she had failed to pack an extra bra. We were now on a mission. The very small village of Doolin has four pubs, a delightful cafe, and a few sweater shops but no bank, no gas station, and not even a grocery store. With limited shopping prospects we would need to drive to another village.
Of all the options Jack suggested Lisdoonvarna, home to the only remaining matchmaker festival in Europe, only fifteen minutes away. It seemed a good idea. However as we entered the village it didn’t look hopeful. Then, as I drove the few blocks of the main street, Jack spotted the very small sandwich board outside a shop with no other signage. “Ah, it’s the draper,” he said. “Let’s try there.”
As I stepped through the door I was immediately taken back to the five-and-dime store I used to frequent as a child. But this was far beyond that experience. As I looked around, trying to take it all in, it seemed there is really nothing they don’t carry. From bed sheets to Barbie doll clothes. From fashion to fishing gear. From kitchen ware to kitsch. From stationery to soccer balls. From wrapping paper…well you get the idea. I will let the photos tell the story. Jack found a great pair of sandals and our traveling companion, though limited to one style and one color, found what she would later say was perhaps the best bra she owns. But best of all was the proprietor.
Folks who join us for the Sacred Ireland journeys tell us that among their favorite experiences are encounters with local people and local culture. Indeed there is a rhythm to these trips that allows us to step into the energy of what my friend Colm would describe as, I’ve nothing to do and all day to do it. And Joe O’Loughlin was no exception. He was delighted to wander into conversations of local football matches, global politics, and of course the shite weather. And we were delighted to listen.
When it was time to return to Doolin and dinner with our other companions, we left reluctantly. We came away with what we wanted. We came away with a delightful encounter that lifted our spirits. We came away with what we needed.
Judith – firstname.lastname@example.org