Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Irish Nobel-laureate poet Seamus Heaney died a week ago and there was very interesting radio, newspaper and TV shows about him.  He was 74.  Somehow that does not sound so old now.  If you go to www.RTE.ie, there are a number of shows about him.  If you have not read any of his poetry, give him a try.

The Golden Vale from Galty Mor

The Golden Vale from Galty Mor

On Thursday and Friday, I was over in the town of Fermoy, County Cork, at the Teagasc Moorepark facility.  We were there in 1998 and 2006.  It was interesting to be in the old stomping grounds.  That area is called the Golden Vale (valley), it is the most intensive dairy farm area in the country.  Really beautiful set of valleys, with high hills/mountains in between.

On Thursday, I had supper with some friends, Pat and Ger.  Ger was Jesse’s art teacher while he went to 10th grade here in 1998.  Ger still teaches art in an all-boys high school, one of her students died in a tractor accident just before the school

Friends near Fermoy

Friends near Fermoy

semester started.  She talked with her class about it.  Made me wonder if the other teachers mentioned this young man’s death.

After the meeting on Friday, I slipped into Cork City for a few hours.  Cork is the second biggest city in the Republic and is quite confusing, there are 2 or 3 branches of the Lee River and lots of bridges.  I remembered that I was to make a left hand turn over the Lee, but which one?  I made the first, and it was obviously wrong.  Traffic was stopped for a light- I was able to make a U turn and get off the bridge.  Then I tried the next one, wrong again, made 3 left turns to get back to where I went wrong.  Then I began looking for a blue P indicating the parking garage.  Not the 3rd bridge, but aha- the 4th one had the sign for the Paul Street parking garage.  Yes!  Back into the spot with maybe 8 inches to either side of the car.  Out to the museum that I wanted to go to in order to see a painting, ‘the Wet Day.’  http://www.crawfordartgallery.ie/pages/watercolour/Patrick_OSullivan.html

Mt Melleray Abbey

Mt Melleray Abbey

Above Mt Melleray Abbey

Above Mt Melleray Abbey

Then I got some smoked mackerel and really good olives.  After 3 hours, I headed out of Cork and up to a favorite spot, Mount Melleray Abbey and a walk up above the Abbey with a really nice view.  I did not realize how purple the heather was until I looked at this photo!

Week before last was Heritage Week in the whole country, with a big push on for activities.  Carlow, my town, was celebrating the 800th anniversary of the building of the castle.  I went on 4-5 one plus hour historical walks around town, and about 4 concerts, all but 1 was free.  One was in the demolished castle, with a guy showing and playing replicas of ancient horns.  http://www.ancientmusicireland.com/  Very interesting to hear how they may have been played.  One was in the Cathedral, with a few groups playing, and a priest doing a few readings- one was St Brigid’s prayer, about ‘a lake of beer.’  http://www.minogue.com/brigid/prayer.php

Then the last concert was in the Church of Ireland.  There were a few OK performances.  Near the end,  a local church’s gospel choir was going to sing.  I got concerned that I was in the front row and could not sneak out.  Oh- a change in the order, 7 Nigerians from a couple of churches were going to sing.  That is when it really got good!  Wow.  And then the other group came on, after 2 lines of their first song, the Nigerian choir came in to join them.  Wow!  And they finished with a Sister Rosetta Tharpe number, I Hear Music in the Air!

In the bog near Portlaoise, 1

In the bog near Portlaoise, 1

In the bog near Portlaoise, 2

In the bog near Portlaoise, 2

I was asking at work about where I could buy a few fertilizer bags of turf (peat for the fire).   James at work said he had bought 200 feet of turf this spring, that it was stacked on the bag, and he would give me some.  So last Tuesday, I drove about 40 minutes to the bog, behind the big (lined) dump and 2 knackeries (where they buy and process livestock not fit for human consumption, but for dog food).  We picked up the turf, leaving the bottom sods that were not quite dry, I gave him some cider and maple syrup, he gave me some homemade raspberry jam, and I headed home happy.  Burned some on Sat night, gives off a good heat and a nice smell.

Galty Mor, why I like to hill-walk

Galty Mor, why I like to hill-walk

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