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Landscape as Witness - Field Trip: Day 15

Today didn't get off to the start that I had been hoping for. I had originally planned to cycle around the area, calling into various people who had been recommended to me, as well as visiting the famine road in Poulaphuca for a second time. However, as I was leaving the research facility my bike began making strange noises every time I put pressure on the pedals. I presumed that this was due to the fact that I had overtightened the back brakes last night, so I brought the bike back to the facility to loosen the brake cable. After doing so I noticed to my dismay that the bike chain had slipped once more. On closer inspection I could see that the issue had to do with the rear derailleur, and it appeared that a screw had come loose. As a result of this, the chain was unable to stay on the derailleur while the bike was moving.

After multiple attempts with an Allen key I was still unable to tighten it, so I decided to call the bike hire service in Kilfenora to see if they had any suggestions. I wasn't too keen on bringing the bike to a repair shop as the nearest one is in Galway city, about a two-hour journey from here involving a taxi and a bus. The bike hire service in Kilfenora were extremely helpful, and asked me to send on some images of the problem so that they could suggest any further actions that I should take. I received a response soon after sending the requested images saying it appeared that the screw just needed to be tightened, however they would send the images onto their mechanic for a second opinion. I attempted to tighten the screw once more, and sure enough, after a couple of attempts it was as good as new.

As this had taken up so much time, and with the relationship with my bike deteriorating rapidly, I decided to set off by foot. I called into the man who lived just outside the village, as his house was only about a 3km walk away. He must have just arrived home, as I saw him exiting his car while I was approaching. I introduced myself, gave him a rundown of my project, and inquired whether or not he would be interested in participating. He seemed intrigued by the idea, and insisted that I come inside to have a cup of tea so that we could discuss it further.

As we began chatting, I brought up the possibility of recording our conversation. He dismissed this, and suggested that we could arrange that for another time. He also wasn't keen on me taking notes while we conversed, recommending that I simply listened and took notes for now. Originally from Limerick, he has been living in Carron for the past 50 years. Despite this, the locals still refer to the house as belonging to the previous owner, whose family had lived there for generations. As he is of poor health of late and requires frequent visits to the hospital, he lives down in Limerick during the week and travels up to Carron on the weekends. The cottage he is living in is about 200 years old. Although many extensions have been added to it, most of the original building still remains. He was kind enough to give me a tour of the house, explaining in detail the history behind everything. A keen floral/nature photographer, the walls were decorated with his prints. He claimed that at one stage he could recite every plant in the Burren , however over the years a lot of that information has been forgotten. He claimed that the act of photographing had aided his memory retention. We proceeded to discuss multiple topics, including that of the famine, until the late hours of the evening. As I was leaving we arranged to have a recorded conversation on the 13th to discuss my project further, but I was welcome to drop in whenever I was passing by.

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