2011 UK and Ireland travel blog

Purple Heather on the way to Donegal

Beach near Donegal Town

Out on the wild west coast the smaller villages are a nice change of pace and the climate so similar to home. From Westport going north we were through some remarkable landscapes that were quite like the mesas and buttes in Wyoming except of course being covered in green. We passed between two of these stunning monoliths just south of Sligo and the sweep of Sligo Bay. Our destiny today is dear old Donegal. Our quest today is to find a laundromat! Our last washing was in Holyhead, Wales and none of the hotels in Ireland have guest laundry, at least not the type to which North Americans are accustomed. Oh certainly some of the larger hotels offer a service but at extortionary prices and if "ye 'ave in by 9 'smornin' should be doon ta'marra mornin'". The type of laundromat we know does not exist in Ireland. The put-your-coins-and-soap-in-slots, read a bunch of boring pamphlets or postings for free guitar lessons (just tear off the tab with the phone number on it at the bottom), toss wet mass in a giant dryer and watch the psychedelic movie ensue, fluff and fold and you are on your way. No! We arrived in Donegal early to search any enterprise that might accomodate our great need. What became immediately apparent was that we would have to explore other options. Mary's Laundrette, Dry Cleaning & Dress Making shop on the High Street was it. Always taken for a pushy American when in reality I am but a pushy Canadian, I ventured into the tiny shop and made my inquiry. "Hello Miss" I tapped the service bell. I layed out a tale of woe, the weary traveller desperate for some laundring. With remarkable patience the old gal laid out the terms. "Be 13 seven for 10 pounds,ye want foldin', ring at 'alf o' four, mix 'em do? Be t'ankin' ye, get yer name." 13 euros and 70 cents for 10 pounds of laundry, will fold if you want, call back at 4:30, does the laundry need separating? All acceptable I went back to our car parked in the city square, rummaged through and selected our most desperate needies and like some bedraggled Santa Claus marched our dirty laundry back to Mary's through the very heart of Dear Old Donegal. We checked into our lovely hotel just on the outskirts of Donegal, did some sight seeing by car around the area. We hit Donegal in a clear blue sky and quite warm temperatures, but this being Ireland, it quickly turned in clouds and showers and a chill. Now twice on this trip Joan has managed to leave her PJs behind so it was down to the High Street for some new ones and back to Mary's at half of four. "Aye lad 'tis doon, be fifteen four, check 'em ye want". All done perfect, the old gal a delight. "Be cooming back soon" she beamed, for I told her to keep the rest of the twenty I gave her. And that is how laundry is done for the motoring traveller in Ireland. Dinner at the hotel, a real cool autumn night. We have escaped the touring buses of annoying Germans, replaced with busloads of Americans on "Rick Steeves Tours". Now all Americans are wonderful people, but Rick Steeves people...well, that Eurowimp dullard kind of rubs me the wrong way. At least they don't gobble down all the buffet's sausages. There is just something about watching a General Burkhalter type guy in Bermuda shorts and platform shoes loading a plate with enormous helpings while loudly exclaiming his joy to his orange haired frau in the support stockings. This is our last night in the Republic Of Ireland and have enjoyed it immensely. Tomorrow we cross over to Northern Ireland, staying in Derry. The English call it Londerderry but I refuse to. Ireland I recommend to all, I would love to return but how to get here without flying. It's been a grand time, but now it's late...goodnight all from Steve & Joan & Patricia.

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