Monday, 30 November 2015

Brian Boru and Old Magic

Cashel town

On Saturday morning we were up early (for us) to drive down to Cashel in Tipperary in order to meet with some friends. They were also driving down from somewhere in Cork.

Has that confused you ?

Here in Ireland no matter where you live or in what direction you are going the phrase used is ‘going down to’, people who live on the south coast will 'travel down to’ places in the north.

For a few days I had been keeping an eye on the weather forecasts to see what we could expect.
On Saturday morning there was an orange alert for a high, west wind and heavy rain with a variable temperature of 4 to 7 deg C. 
"Damn to hell" I thought that can’t be right, "ah’ we will give it a go anyway."
So we did.  As we left home the temperature was 5.5 deg C but after a few miles it rose to 7.4 degrees. I sat in the front passenger seat and in my mind kept focussing on seeing blue skies over Cashel.

When stopped for a while in Urlingford to have a sandwich we had sleet falling on the windscreen. That did not deter me though as I kept on focussing on fine weather. We arrived at our destination, the temperature had risen and it was dry but with a chill wind. We finally met our friends and repaired to a pub.We sat in a window seat chatting away and drinking coffee. Nothing stronger as alcohol during the day makes me sleepy and I recall, when I was a 'dry’ driver, how annoying the fumes of strong drink could be.
Towards the end of our meeting a burst of sunlight shone through the window and as I looked up the sky was blue. “Ah-hah the old magic still works” I thought to myself.

The Rock of Cashel

Outside the pub we said our goodbyes and returned to the car park in a strong biting wind, we were very glad of the shelter that the car provided. 
On leaving the town I asked her Ladyship to pull over so that I could take a photo of The Rock of Cashel from whence the town of Cashel gets its name.

In the 5th century, the Eóganachta dynasty founded their capital on and around the rock and many kings of Munster have reigned here. In 977 the Dál gCais usurper, Brian Boru, was crowned here as the first non-Eóghanacht king of Cashel and Munster in over five hundred years. His great-grandson, King Muirchertach Ua Briain, gave the place to the bishop of Limerick in 110, denying it forever to the MacCarthys, the senior branch of the Eóganachta. 
The bishops once had a famous school in Cashel and from there sent priests all over the continent.They even maintained their own monastery, called Scots Monastery, in Regensburg, Germany.

These days Rock is under the care of Heritage Ireland whose scaffolding can be seen over Cormac’s Chapel.
The project underway currently involves conserving the chapel, built from sandstone, which has deteriorated to such an extent that it is letting in water. 
A notice on their web site explains that access to the Chapel is limited from May till September each year for bus tours until the work is completed. Visitors are admitted in small groups for 10 minutes maximum.

We had a great day out and by the time we had returned the temperature had risen to 10 deg, which proves that it is unwise to believe everything that the experts tell us.
Our next adventure will be ……. ah you will have to wait and see :)

Friday, 20 November 2015

A Bird in the Hand

Mr Chaffinch © GettyImage

Yesterday morning when I was sitting at my desk working quietly away I heard a loud bang on one of the front room
windows. Hearing nothing more I continued with what I was doing.
About ten minutes later her Ladyship dragged me out to go on a fuel run and as I was walking to the car she said
“What is that behind you on the path ?”
I turned and lying beneath a window was the crumpled form of a small bird that looked quite dead to me.
My first thought was to scoop it up and throw it into a hedge, but not wanting to waste time in getting a shovel, I stooped down and picked him up in my hands. It was then I noticed that the bird was warm on it’s right hand side and quietly said,
“ You poor little sod.”
The small bird moved feebly in my hand and I placed him gently on the lawn and got into the car.

After about twenty minutes we were home again and unloaded the car of it’s peat briquettes. 
I stepped outside to see if the bird had flown off, but no it was still there. 
I spoke to the bird and he turned his head, opened an eye and looked at me.
Once again I picked him up and held him in both of my warm hands for a few minutes talking away to Mr Chaffinch
and believing that he understood me. I told him that it was was time to take flight and immediately, as I opened my palms, he took off, flew high into the air and disappeared from sight.

Next time that I see a bird lying still on the ground I will check for life before disposing.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

France: Canine Casualty


“Diesel, a seven-year-old Belgian Shepherd police dog from RAID, was killed by the criminals/terrorists during the operation in Saint-Denis,” said a statement by the French national Police.

One Twitter user wrote:
“This dog certainly had more humanity than these barbarians,”

Diesel had been with the unit for five years and is the first dog to die on active service. He was due to retire from Raid in the spring next year.
“His role was to open the way for the rest of us. He uses all his senses to detect if anyone is present and if he can get to them, to go and bite them. If not, he stands and barks to indicate where the person is hiding,” said the handler.
“I had absolute confidence in him, and him in me. Both of us knew how the other would behave in the situation.”
Russia has sent a puppy named Dobrynia to show its “solidarity with the French people and police in their fight against terrorism”.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

A Witch in Training

Over the Hallowe'en weekend Lady H quietly disclosed a secret to me.

It appears that Granny has discovered that Ollie, despite his tender age,
is developing certain family traits.

As you may be aware
Lady H, especially when wearing the appropriate costume,
displays certain magical abilities.
Here she can be seen hovering above the ground.

Young Ollie is now learning his craft.

Calling on the local Faeries to lend their assistance....

and help Granny sprinkle her magic dust.

Lady H tells me that Ollie is a natural
and I say ' yes, but he'll have to loose that skeleton costume.'

Sunday, 1 November 2015

A Double Celebration

Only our friends are aware of Lady H's annual double celebration and of the joy that warms her heart as soon as she sees the shops selling their Halloween Witchy wares.

Lady H on Hallowe'en at her scary best!

I used to believe that it was an insult to call a woman a witch. I have though since learnt
over the years, that there are some who are proud of the term and know well their Craft.

November the 1st Her Birthday
Lady H sits beneath her painting WISE WOMAN 
with a glass of her favourite tipple
namely Bailey's Irish Cream.