Saturday, May 31, 2014

Red Cow, Blackhorse and the Curragh of Kildare

Image from Rewarding Times

I didn't see the races at this famous track on my recent trip to Ireland, but I got a glimpse of it at sunset, from a green inter-city bus. That evening I was travelling from Dublin to Port Laoise with a friend met by prearrangement at An Tur Solais. Also jocularly referred to as the Stiletto, the Spike and the Nail, this very tall Monument of Light, or Spire of Dublin, is easy to locate.

My friend and I cruised through Marks and Spencer and rode the LUAS tram past many stations including Blackhorse, to a stop called Red Cow, with a hotel, pub and garage by the same name. Interesting how the city's place names reflect the importance of livestock.

At Red Cow, we watched our hourly bus pull out just as we alighted from the tram but it was all good. After a morning of cloud and an afternoon of rain, the sky cleared and we chatted happily as we watched the most astonishing displays of changing cloud formations from the bus shelter.

When the green double-decker rolled in, we climbed aboard and ascended the narrow winding staircase to the nearly empty top floor. We passed race horses grazing in the fields, then the Curragh of Kildare, in a perfect evening lit with late light. It was a moment to experience, not to photograph, so I didn't get a picture.

Having known the words from the song by the same name I sang in my teens, I've added to my knowledge that the Curragh of Kildare (County) is actually a large tract of land like a common. Flat and suitable for horse farming, it is known for Thoroughbred horse breeding and racing, and also contains the large Pollardstown Fen and the Irish National Stud near Kildare town.

The nearby town of Newbridge, I was told, is known for its beautiful silver jewelry, cutlery and other artifacts.

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