A Kinvara Story|
Tonight January 31, 2003, I met both Dr Robert (Bob) and Harriett Brannick at the San Francisco Irish Cultural Center and I was flabbergasted when Bob identified the castle in the painting on my card as Dungaire at Kinvara. He is the owner of Delmaine Lodge in Kinvara which looks across the bay at the old castle. I was handing my card to the Irish Counsel General of Ireland when Bob grabbed it in excitement. I painted Dungaire years ago and no one has ever identified it correctly before so I was impressed. It is now part of a book I recently printed entitled: "Paintings and Poems of Ireland" which includes 80 paintings and 80 poems that I have produced based on my many travels to Ireland.
He said then that he had restored a lodge in Kinvara called the Delmaine Lodge. A year later I stopped by looking for accommodations. He was there that day and greeted me at the door. He apologized by saying it was a private lodge and not available for drop in overnight guests. There was a lot of piping for water or sewage being laid to the house at the time. He said he would give out certificates for a weeks stay at the lodge for charity. I had totally misunderstood but asked him if he could recommend any of the B&B's in Kinvara. He recommended a very nice one which looked out on Dungaire which was lit up each night. Embarrassed I sheepishly said goodbye and removed myself to the B&B he recommended. A beautiful view that night - much enjoyed. However they being only a 1/4 mile away was not sure who he was - which is typical for Ireland - each to their own.
We spent a lively evening when a "big" traditional musician came to the local pub to warm up for a big gig in Galway. He sat down and the Guinness flowed to his table magically. Soon several other musicians came in and there was unbelievable music. A little later a horde of young musicians (children actually) came in bring all sorts of instruments to play along with the famous musician. They would play when they knew the tune otherwise the would sit with their instruments at ready.
It was not much later that the pub began to fill up and the floor was cleared to a small space and dancing began. Amazing how the dancers could work away in such small space. Lovely to watch but dangerous to be in the way. Fortunately we were tucked away at the edge of the floor enjoying our Guinness. A couple joined us from Finland who were delightful but all the woman could say was Yat, Yat, Yat which we interpreted as Yes, Yes, Yes.
A year or two later Bob gave a presentation on the lodge and how he and his family had restored it over the years. It was a fascinating story and included the discovery of a tunnel that led to what may have been an old pier where smuggling could have occurred. It was a well documented story with a slide show and very well done.
I had been to the castle years before my knowledge of Bob and his efforts and my feelings for the castle were enhanced when I stopped there for tea and scones. It had just recently been renovated. Five very senior and local ladies enjoying their tea took up with me in a lively and humorous chat. A very delightful hour was spent. As a result I will never forget Kinvara and its lovely castle Dungaire. We loved our stay there!
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