The forecast was for torrential rain all day but St Brigid of Liscannor held it at bay for our visit to her well, as recommended by freespiral. What a place! More than anything else it reminded me of my visit to sacred sites in Burma five years ago. 

Around St Brigid's life-size statue in a glass case were stones inscribed with messages: 'RIP to Johnny Martin Eddie Kathleen Maggie from your nephew'; 'pray for us all'... Just beyond was a small grotto containing a cascade of holy water and filled with photographs, rosaries, flickering battery-powered candles, prayers on pieces of cardboard, effigies of Jesus, the pope and angels, and small items of significance only to the person who needed or was asking for help.

Hanging from the fuchsia and ivy bushes all around were ribbons and strips of cloth - even J-cloth - just like prayer flags.

Overhearing a guide talking to a coachload who arrived just after us, I learnt that these are rag-bushes, and that we should walk round St Brigid's statue five times in a sunwise direction. Two new words for me.

By the time we reached Limerick, St Brigid's effect on the rain had worn off. Perhaps I'd have had a better time there if I hadn't been quite so soaked and cold. It didn't help that the signposting to the castle led us into a council car park where any interest I'd had in history dissolved. The only consolation was a small cafe with a live fire. We drove on, car heater turned up high to dry out our feet, waterproofs and bags and to warm our blood.

The rain was still torrential when we got to Dingle but the atmosphere was quite different from Limerick. Bright colours, a sense of fun and far too small to be able to get lost. In Foxy Johns Bar and Hardware Shop, which also hired out cycles, we listened to an Irish fiddler with a guitarist; we moved onto another for fresh fish and Dingle gin, then went to the Dingle Pub for fiddle, squeeze-box and singing.

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