170902-What Goes Around

Last night, while sitting in the campground reading room recharging my phone, a young gentleman from France approached me to ask if I had a pen. Upon producing one, he expanded his request, although his English was not very good. I determined that he looked for was something to clean out one of his tent poles, packed with dirt. Knowing I had something that would work, we walked back to my tent. I produced a tent stake as my first suggestion. He lit up with glee, and actually skipped away to try it. I’m  not sure where he learned English, but he returned my “magic stick” with gratitude.

Later he found me again. He had just learned that the power outlets in France differ from the power outlets in Ireland. Having had the same experience, I pointed him to the electric shaving outlets in the campground bathroom, which are provided for those from Europe, which I have more than once used to charge my battery. He again effusively thanked me. I hope he had a great day; he was gone when I returned this evening.

As of this morning I still hadn’t heard from anywhere regarding accommodation in Trim, despite a flurry of email and web requests. Collecting all of the phone numbers, I approached the campground Reception, and they loaned me a phone. Everywhere that answered the phone was booked. I needed a new plan.

I decided to leave my gear at the campground, and make a round trip to Trim, and also (time permitting) visit Bective Abbey nearby. I tried that last in Bulgaria, visiting Belogradchik Fortress. Today, while I had a later start than I wanted, 50 km and less than three hours later I arrived in Trim.

I had passed something on the way into Trim, which I learned was New Town Abbey. On the way to Bective Abbey I routed back past it so I could take a look.

From there it was less than 10 km to Bective Abbey, one of the many Cistercian abbeys scattered around Ireland. I once heard that in any Cistercian abbey, “Even a blind monk could find the sugar,” because they all have the same floor plan. The best Cistercian abbey is probably Jerpoint Abbey near Kilkenny, but this one isn’t bad.

From there I just had the long road home. I considered going to Tara, only 5 km further away. However, I’ve been there before, and the Hill of Tara is hardly incentivising.

From Bective Abbey the GPS routed me differently, onto larger roads with more traffic and hills. Even with the addition of headwinds, I returned to the neighborhood of the campground before 6:30 pm. With time to spare, I headed to the ruin of Grange Castle indicated on the GPS, located in the middle of an industrial park. It was fenced off with signs indicating access not permitted, and there wasn’t quite enough space under the gate to permit me access.

I made one final stop at the Church of St. Cuthbert, a sad little ruin of a church covered in undergrowth. Located in the middle of a city park, the church has suffered greatly at the hands of vandals, the church now covered in graffiti and filled with trash.

I highly recommend County Meath for someone on a trip to Ireland. Tara, Kells, Newgrange, Trim, Newtown, and Bective Abbey are all right on top of each other.

Even after stopping for dinner, I made it back to the campground by 8 pm. The total distance for today was 112 km, the farthest this trip (although a baseline loaded day on my Istanbul to Ireland trip). I think I’ll do something similar tomorrow. I wonder where, but I know it will be less distance than today!


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