Wednesday July 3rd ’19. 14th day but no saddle.
Today's blog is going to be fairly short (just like me 😉 ).
I got up this morning exhausted with quite a bit of pain in my legs, so I knew it was time for a day off. I don't recover the way I used to. I find that as I get older, the first 3 things that go, are sight, vision, and for the life of me, I can't remember what the last one is?!??!? Oh, and a bonus 4th, is recovery time takes longer. I thought of cycling in to the next town called Union Hall, which was only 2 or 3 kilometres away, just to make my muscles work a little and get the blood flowing.
So I asked my hosts what there was to see in the town, and they recommended going in to Skibbereen instead, which was around 15 kilometres. They were traveling there by vehicle to do some shopping and offered me a ride, which I gratefully accepted. I figured walking around the town there would afford my cycling muscles a chance to rest up and give me the opportunity to not only see a new town, but to work my walking muscles instead.
Once I arrived in Skibbereen, I went straight to the Skibbereen Heritage Centre where they have a museum on the famine that tragically hit Ireland very hard in the mid 1800's.
The following brief history is directly from their website (linked above), "The Great Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s is now recognised as the worst humanitarian disaster of nineteenth century Europe. In 1841 the population of Ireland was over 8.5 million people. By 1850, at least one million people had died in terrible conditions while more than 1.25 million emigrated as refugees. It is estimated that a further c. 400,000 births did not take place as a direct result of an Gorta Mór.
Ireland lost more than its people. The Famine fundamentally changed both the land and the people of Ireland, distorting the course of Irish history. The social, cultural and psychological effects of the Famine lingered on long afterwards and emigration became a part of Irish life. Fifty years after the Great Famine, the population of Ireland had almost halved.
Skibbereen played a very important role during the Great Hunger as reports from the area focused worldwide attention on the disaster. Skibbereen became synonymous with the Famine and many sites in the town have direct links to this tragic time, each with its own story to tell."
South West Ireland was exceptionally hard hit. It was remarkably sobering to wander the exhibition rooms and see how devastating the famine was, to realize how many peoples lives were tragically shortened, and to try to comprehend how many peoples lives were irrevocably and drastically altered due to this national disaster. I have to admit, I did not have a dry eye the entire time I was there.
I highly recommend the Skibbereen Heritage Center to everyone who travels to the area.
After going through the museum, I wandered around Skibbereen for a few hours, while waiting for my ride back. I found it to be a quaint and charming town, with all the modern amenities as well. People were friendly and helpful, and I really enjoyed my slice of time there.
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