We left Dublin today for a long but beautiful drive to Bundoran routed through Boyne Valley to experience the Knowth monolithic burial mounds. I was drawn to see the country architecture of cottages, large and small, very old and some new. I wondered why the houses were built so close to the road (6 feet at places) when there seemed an unlimited amount of land behind them. Niahm explained that's where the water and electricity lines were laid. The farther away, the more expense the owners would have to incur to connect to public services. I also noticed the small glass enclosed "mud rooms" at the front doors. I'm guessing they were added at some point. I also saw many water pipes and electricity wires sprouting along building exteriors. Again, add-ones perhaps hundreds of years after original construction. It chilled me to think how cold and unforgiving winters could be. You get a sense that ya gotta be quite hard and gritty to live here.