Written 8/10/13

Heading into the wind, but notice the cord on our right.

Heading into the wind, but notice the cord on our right.

August 3-5 was a Bank Holiday Weekend, Monday was a national holiday. Becky and I did a number of things. A Country Fair in Borris- some of the highlights for me were the falconry show.  There were a number of falcons, owls and hawks on display, plus some flying demonstrations.

Cossack rider playing dead on moving horse

Cossack rider playing dead on moving horse

There was also a Cossack Horserider who did a real interesting show.  He was riding backwards, on hiding on the side of the horse, went around and under the horse’s neck, then under the horse’s belly, and stood up. Here he is playing dead.

Plus we went on a hill walk, thru some woods near a wind farm with 4 towers, and some delightful views. Then the Big House Festival, where we saw some really good trad music, with Liam O’Flynn, an uillean piper that I have been following for about 20 years. This was at a huge mansion build in the 1770s or so, and now is on the historic sites list- usually only open

Castletown House

Castletown House

with guided tours- but on the day had events happening in many of the rooms, so we could wander around. There was opera to the left in a fancy porch here, food courts around the back (found a really good beer- Porterhouse porter) plus an interesting band that had put some Irish poetry to music.  We were there most of the day.  The concert was in what had been a formal garden behind.

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

A week or 2 ago, Rick asked what did our house look like.   Good question. Here it is. A duplex in a subdivision (estate) built in the late 1970s or so. Our address is 86, I think it goes up to 120 or so. All are on Green Road, even though there are a couple of loops. Roughly 90% are filled, the downturn of the Irish Celtic Tiger economy raised havoc. There was building going on beyond the number of families that there were. So there are some ‘ghost estates’ (with nobody living there), and ‘semi-ghost’ (with some people living there). Ours is pretty good, with most filled. There are not very many kids around, and quite a few older folks, so my guess is that people bought when the place was new, raised their kids, and the kids moved on. The folks next door just found a better place, I think that they were also renting. This is more of a house than I need, but I wanted a yard and a fireplace and a place to park a car. This place is really quiet now, it will be interesting in a month. The Institute of Technology, Carlow (ITC) is a couple of blocks away, a local state college, so it will perk up some.
Some numbers. St J has 7,600 people; Caledonia County has 31,000 people; Lyndon State has 1,500 students. Carlow Town Has 23,000 people; County Carlow has 31,000 people; ITC has 4,000 students. (Most of the students are here, there are 2 other smaller campuses, some commute, some live here, I just saw on Wikipedia that Microsoft invested in a Computer Games Development course of study here!)
We are a little less than a mile to ‘downtown Carlow,’ Tullow Street. Becky and I have walked to go out to eat, and to go to a performance. I walked in for some shopping yesterday and to the Methodist Church this morning. There is a movie theater (with 12 screens), and a couple of little malls within walking distance. Plus you can hear cows bellowing, and see tractors with wagons full of grain going by. So it is quite a mix.
Sad day on Wednesday, with a trip to the Dublin airport. Becky headed back to Vermont.

Dennis at desk, at HQ

Dennis at desk, at HQ

Before she left, Becky took a few pictures of the place where I am studying. Teagasc has it’s headquarters just north of Carlow town. It used to be an estate, they use the house and the land.  I am housed in the main building. There is plant breeding, genomics research on ryegrass and grains, and variety trials. Lots of people, many students from around the world working on PhD plant research, plus a group of in-house scientists, and plenty of grain.

Paddling on the Barrow River, in a lock- the water is rising

Paddling on the Barrow River, in a lock- the water is rising

And I guess I will finish up with a photo of Becky and I in the lock on the Barrow River July 27 when we were paddling.

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