Just 15 minutes earlier, I’d been abandoned by my wife and two teenage daughters, who refused to join me on our afternoon bike ride when the heavy sky began spitting rain. County Mayo is the kind of place that visitors imagine when they think of rural Ireland: whitewashed stone houses in impossibly green fields dotted with sheep; rolling hills that tumble into the sea or break off in sheer cliffs; narrow winding roads that lead to villages with pubs and fish markets; residents with an admirable patience who are happy to take a moment to chat; small towns with cozy cafes and restaurants serving local fare. We strolled around Westport, a thriving town with shops that ably serve both the community and visitors, and enjoyed the cafes and tearooms. [...] mostly because of dumb luck, we climbed Ireland’s holy mountain Croagh Patrick on the annual pilgrimage day when tens of thousands of people make the ascent, some of them barefoot as a way to do penance. [...] you don’t have to be a pilgrim to join the conga line slithering up the holy mountain. A statue of St. Patrick marks the starting point to the climb, but to get there we had to run the gantlet of souvenir stands selling rosaries, candles, portraits of the pope, images of Catholic saints, prayer books and various trinkets. A welcoming sign read, PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD. Dozens of people milled about apparently contemplating just that while gazing up at the rocky trail sprinkled with confetti-colored specks that turned out to be distant hikers. Strangers called out words of encouragement as stones clattered under our boots and nylon rustled against nylon. Within minutes, the view opened up over the pastures and hills; islands dotted the silver sea below. Teams of paramedics relaxed around first-aid tents, ready for the inevitable injuries. Some say the annual rite began in the Stone Age 5,000 years ago when people climbed to mark harvest season; others say it started 1,500 years ago. Up and up we went, slower than some, faster than others, and stopped after an hour for a snack on a ridge, preparing for the next hour, which would be a steep climb up unstable scree to the summit. Clouds drifted in and partially obscured the view, but we could see the trail thick with people climbing, descending, passing each other along the way. On the steep climb, the rocks shifted with every step, and it would be easy to twist an ankle, especially in the crowd. Step by step we made our way up with our many fellow climbers, and before we knew it we were at the top, where groups posed for photos and in the chapel a priest was saying Mass at a window above the throng. A cloud had settled on us, and we waited in the chill, snacking again, congratulating ourselves and others, hoping to get the full summit view. [...] 15 minutes later, the sun broke out and I was skimming along the paved path through the pastures with the wild sky above and shimmering Clew Bay below. Later, when I decided I didn’t need to wear my rain pants anymore, I stopped to take them off and shoot a few photos. The Greenway opened in April 2010 through the efforts of the Mayo County Council and the agreement of the landowners whose property the Greenway crosses. Even though the right of way followed the defunct rail line of Midlands Great Western Railway, the county needed their permission. Since it opened, statistics show a peak of about 1,000 people per day using the path, with an overall average of about 250 people per day in the June-August high season. The Greenway has produced some 130 seasonal and 60 off-season jobs, 7 bike rental companies, and several cafes and restaurants in Newport, Westport and Mulranny. The county has plans to restore a railroad station at the Mulranny Park Hotel, create an interpretive center, improve the pathway surface in some places, and restore old railway cottages as shelters with toilets and refreshments. Just before Newport, it skirted then crossed an inlet from the sea over the arched stone Burrishoole Bridge, and I coasted downhill in glorious sunshine into town for coffee at the Blue Bicycle Tea Rooms. If the rain came, I’d be just another fool let loose on the wind, but I’d dry out in no time by the turf fire in our cottage, a cup of tea in hand and the green pastures and glistening sea outside the window. In the town center, Willow Cafe Tea Room serves simple meals of soups, salads, sandwiches, quiches and lots of baked goods along with excellent coffee and teas. Kelly’s Kitchen serves full Irish breakfast and lunches with locally sourced meats from the adjacent butcher (all in the family), who’s been serving the community for decades.
NYS Entity Status
NYS Filing Date
JANUARY 30, 2014
NYS DOS ID#
44 UPPER SPONGIA ROAD
STONE RIDGE, NEW YORK, 12484
NYS Entity Type
DOMESTIC LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY
2014 - APPLESTONE MEAT COMPANY LLC
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