The auctioneer (realtor) told us the house had been vacant for about a year – but the locals say otherwise. Damp is our biggest enemy. It rises up the walls from the ground and condensation collected from the house not being heated for so long. When we arrived, we immediately stripped the bedroom and bathroom of their carpets. Carpet in the bathroom=GROSS! The mattress and anything that might be musty had to go. We opened as many windows as possible, though many were guarded by giant flies or painted shut.
Next, we found the stopcock for the water and turned it on. Well, Hughie turned it on because I didn’t want to stick my hand in a cobwebby hole in the ground. That taken care of, we nipped off down the block to the pub, O’Mahony’s.
Andrew O’Mahony has been the star neighbor (and barman – best pint in Killeagh, so we’re told.) We met him in December when we first saw the house, and he gave us the hard sell on Killeagh. He fills us in about village history and directs us to anything we might need. Like plumbers and electricians. Because we needed both in the first week.
When we got to the pub Andrew asked if there’s still a leak. Assuming he meant the patched one in the kitchen, we finished our pints of Beamish (a stout made in Cork.) But when we got back to the house, there was no water coming inside – and a small fountain of it spraying from a pipe in the yard.
Once the burst pipe gets sorted, we’re in business…or so we think. Still no hot water, but that’s what the electric kettle is for. Except, when you plug it in and turn it on, ALL of the lights in the entire house go off. (Okay, they dim, but in daylight it seemed like they were off.) Your kettle should NOT act like an additional light switch. Which is how we met Colm, the electrician. Shortly thereafter we met Colm’s dad – also Colm, in the pub.
Anyway, Colm the younger discovered that hardly enough electricity was coming into the house. He said we could leave the immersion (hot water heater) on for a month and maybe we’d eventually get hot water… So the Electric Supply Board came out and sorted that. YAY hot water. YAY showers! While we were dirty, showerless humans, Andrew’s mom Betty offered up her shower to us. For me, this gets at the heart of why you would want to live in a little village. And Killeagh has welcomed us with open arms.
One day last week, while I was stripping dank wallpaper from the bedroom walls, Hughie came in and announced he had discovered a room we’d never seen before!!! The house has an apartment attached which has a sort-of sunroom. The ceiling there has some water damage and the room holds just a wardrobe and a chair. We’ve stepped in many times – but for the first time Hughie peeked behind the wardrobe, and found a door! It’s actually kind of creepy in there. Definitely the room where naughty children get locked up. Filled with spider webs, and not much else. It also s explains why every time I try to draw the floor plan I end up with a big empty square at the center of the second story.
In our short time here, we’ve managed to get a car – a 2008 Honda CR-V with only 30,000 miles on it. Automatics are harder to come by here, so we didn’t have a lot of options. It’s perfect though, and has already carted a sofa, chair, mattress and garden tools.
We also saw a dance performance, a process-discussion, and two plays as part of the Cork Midsummer Festival. Cork City is so close and is pretty easy to drive into.
The cats are adapting well enough. When we collected them at the airport, Spy had given the vet a fright by hiding under the blanket in his carrier. Both cats were just fine, though mega-antsy to get out of their cages. Now, confined to our very large bedroom, they are antsy to explore the rest of the house. Unfortunately, we have too many open doors and windows for that to be safe just now.
We are all settling in well, enjoying the best of Irish summer (today was rainy and cold, but mostly it’s been gorgeous,) and eating delicious local meats and produce. As I write this, I hear the water rushing in the river outside. It’s peaceful at the house, and at the nearby beaches where we’ve gone for walks & runs. But I’m definitely missing my family and despite all of the excitement and hard work ahead, I look forward to returning state-side in September for a few weeks.
P.S. Moving forward I’d like to post shorter entries more frequently. The first two weeks in Eire have been jam-packed and largely internet-free, but I think we’re finding our rhythm now. Cheers!