In sorting through some of my postcards this morning, I came across this one of the Zetland Hotel, overlooking Cashel Bay in Connemara, Ireland. The Zetland Hotel is where relatively new husband Ian and I spent a lovely weekend in December 1968, only a few months after we had moved there from Kenya. It was such a treat to find this hotel. We had a very spacious room, reminiscent of the rooms in the old hotels in Kenya, particularly the Outspan Hotel in Nyeri, where we spent part of our honeymoon. Since our honeymoon incorporated Valentine’s Day 1968, in a convoluted way that makes this a good card to post on Valentine’s Day – yes it’s still Valentine’s Day here in Seattle, even though it’s almost over in Ireland, 8 hours ahead of us.
The Zetland Hotel is still there in Cashel Connemara. A very popular spot. What struck me then in 1968 when I was a newcomer to Ireland, were the lovely peat fires and the friendliness and casualness of the hospitality. And I particularly remember the open door to the office and the huge pile of money just sitting there on the desk. I could hardly believe it, particularly coming from Kenya, or anywhere, where such a trusting situation would not have occurred.
The other memory from that hotel was the bright full moon, a clear crisp night, and daylight not until about 10 a.m. This was December and my birthday weekend so I have a few anchors there to pinpoint the Zetland in my memory.
A few years later French President De Gaulle came to Ireland and he too stayed at the Zetland. I wonder if he had that nice front room that we had occupied.
A bit of postal history also from that card. I like the address to which it was sent. Roger Casement Street in Cavan. I can’t make out the postmark. Maybe my friend Maire can help me here. It looks like CONAGA…..I can’t make out the rest. The website showing the Irish names for places in that part of Connemara doesn’t have anything resembling that. But the stamp – the green 2 penny stamp – the first stamp issued by the new independent country the Irish Free State, 1922. Note that the stamp shows the entire island of Ireland. The North of Ireland was not officially recognized as being a separate entity. A lot of history lies behind the design of that stamp! A history I might add that is very complicated and I still have much to learn in trying to understand it.