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Comment Dated Nov 17, 2007


RALLY IRELAND

I thought that for peace, quiet, tranquility, and serenity, in northwest Ireland I had found the ideal writer's retreat. But of course it was only a matter of time . . . This weekend we are descended upon by high-speed maniacs from far and wide, the lanes cleared of occasional cattle and tractors to be transformed into a ruralized Indianapolis 500, and the skies above buzzing with helicopters, as the area hosts the inaugural round of the World Rally motoring Championships.

Comments from the official web site at http://www.rallyireland.org/:

"The roads of northwestern Ireland exacted a heavy toll on the world's top rally drivers today - something that will come as no surprise to anyone who has experienced the region over the years."

"It's official -- Irish roads are enough to scare some of the best drivers in the world."

I don't know so much about our roads scaring them. Last Tuesday, Sheryl collided with a couple of champions out reconnoitering the route. She said they seemed to think they could get past on a single-track road and didn't have the locals' mastery of nudging past with wheels up on the verge, or veering into a convenient farm gate.

Others among the locals weren't over-impressed. Tommy-John, the farmer who lives a quarter of a mile along the lane from the cottage, went along to the "iron bridge" where the "black road"--notoriously windy, even by local standards--ends, and commented, "They came down the hill there like a load of auld grannies." Two cars went off the road, and one hit a wall by Loch Gill (the lake where Yeats's famous Isle of Innishfree is situated). I think I'm glad they didn't stage this the Christmas Eve before last, when a freak blizzard iced everything up just when the pubs were (finally) closing.