October 10:

Anyway, I’m still in Sligo. This morning I found my way to the dealer, picked up the wheel, found my way back THROUGH TOWN(!!!) to the garage, they put the wheel on but advised me to have my ball joint checked as there was a lot of play in the wheel. Guess where I had to go to do that? Back at the dealer's, they tightened the ball joint and said that was all it needed, BUT when they did that, they realized the steering rod was badly bent. The car couldn’t be driven as it was. And the shock absorber is mildly bent.

Let me just assure you that these people are all very nice, in a very genuine way. I have no doubt that these are real problems with the car. As I drove it on bumpy roads, it squeaked. I figured something else was going on. And the steering rod being bent, well, if you’d seen the wheel rim, you’d know I whacked that bridge pretty solidly. That has to have an affect. I’m not out to cheat the rental company, just as I hope no one is out to cheat me.

The upshot is that the steering rod has to be ordered in. So here I am, in a different B&B in Sligo proper this time. It has given me the chance to wander the town which I hadn’t had time to do. What else can I do? At least I'm not desperate to get back to catch a flight or something. I’m sure my poor B&B in Slane wonder if I'll ever get there.

The rental company has been very good too. They’ve already said I should hold on to my receipts because, though my insurance company and Mastercard said before I left that they wouldn’t cover these expenses, they often end up doing so if the receipts are in order. It’s worth a shot, I suppose. (The fellow today commended me on how I’m handling this. He was impressed with my organization and said most people fall apart at the slightest puncture. Somehow that made me feel strangely better about the whole thing.)

But enough about the ridiculous car! Sligo (pronounced sly-go) is a lovely small town on a river, near the sea. Like most Irish towns, it is a maze of narrow, one-way streets, with buildings set very close to the street. Sometimes there’s nothing but a curb between the buildings and the road. I’m convinced that’ al the streets of Ireland were plotted out before the straight line and the right angle were invented. Everything feels so twisty and cramped. It feels that when even when you’re on foot. I walked out the back of a sort of plaza today into a parking lot and what relief I felt! There was space!

Sligo’s biggest claim to fame is that it was immortalized in many of W.B.Yeat's poems. There are many memorials to him here. I'm not a huge Yeats fan so I didn’t bother with buying a book of his poems. I did notice a fairly good selection of Canadian adult fiction writers in a local good bookstore: Margaret Atwood and Rohinton Mistry to name just two. I asked and they get no children's books from Canada though. I wonder why that is.

The second biggest claim to fame is Sligo’s music. The folk music in this area has an annual international reputation. Actually, they also host an international choral festival in early November. Choirs come from all over, apparently.

I meandered about, looking in several shops. I bought some Irish music that features guitars, voice, accordion, bodhran (pronounced bough-ron) and fiddles. The band is a Sligo favourite and the musicianship sounds very good. I stumbled on an abbey and took some pictures. (Old rocks, don’t you know?)

I’m back at the B&B early, but I need an early night. I’ll eat my sandwich here and then write a postcard or two. Maybe I’ll even watch television.

So, once more my plan for the morning is pick up the (hopefully) fixed car and drive for Lough crew, then Slane. Sligo may be pretty but I’ll be glad to put it behind me after this. And now it’s time to eat my sandwich. I'm starving!

P.S. It's now Tuesday. The part had to be couriered from Cork and didn't make it today. Can you hear me grinding my teeth? They promise me I'll be away by noon tomorrow. I hope they're not wrong this time. Saw Sligo Abbey from the inside today. Pictures to follow...

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