Linger

Baroom

I wanna Linger

A little Longer

A little longer here with you

Baroom

and as the years go by 

I look at you and sigh

This is goodnight but not goodbye

Baroom

From time to time you might hear me singing this song quietly to myself. Its quiet rare when I do sing it because it means something important to me. It’s traditionally a camp song but we adapted it for the religious youth group in my church. We would have a few gatherings a year with everyone from the 4 corners area. These weekends were filled with friends, connection, exploration, good will, and good times. At the closing of the weekend we all 100+ of us would gather in a huge circle, hold hands and sing this song. Sounds churchy and corny right?  Hey at least it’s not Kumbaya! Well it had a little bit of a twist to it. On each Baroom we would take a step . Louder and louder we would sing closer and closer we would get. Then eventually we would be throwing ourselves into each other singing the song at the top of our lungs into someone finally collapsed and the 100 of us would come toppling down in a huge pile. Someone always walked away with a sprained wrist or a bruised rib. It was the perfect closing, and now it means a lot to me. I sing it when I truly will miss something, when the people the moments around me have meant the world to me. As the sun sets behind the hills on this last night in this class, I’m singing it now. 

Well here it is;  3 weeks have flown by and here we are on the last day of class. It boggles my mind how much has been crammed into these brief few weeks. I have been to  places where great atrocities have taken place, where people died and bled in the name of freedom. I have seen countless works of art in all forms of medium. I have seen plays, heard poetry, studied sculptures, got lost in paintings, and got carried away by all forms of fantastic music. Heck I have even been able to have prolonged conversations with world renown artists. Today I stopped in to visit Carol Cronin. With my limited art exposure she is easily one of my favorite artists. She has this wonderful way of capturing the energy of the sea and the sky. The waves seem alive and flowing, so full of life, something that could never be captured by a camera. This is one of the things me and her talked about. Talking about her artistic process and how artists who base their paintings off a picture are never able to capture the energy of the environment. We also talked about the importance of expressing yourself. It doesn’t matter if your good at painting, or at any art form, the importance is that you do something to express yourself. To try to capture the world around you and filter it through your own lens.

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We closed today with final presentations from each of the class members. These were fantastic cause you could tell by the subjects that each of us presented on as well as how our presentation styles mirrored our personalities. I have really gotten to know all these people and have become quite good friends with them. Adam and his hilarious sarcasm and political views that just make me shake my head and smile. Maria and her wonderful laugh sense of exploration and her beautiful view on the world. Josh my New Mexico brother with his boundless joy and hilarious jokes. Austin and his great attitude and just fantastic understanding of things around him. Suzie and her wonderful singing talents. Kevie and her wonderful laugh and care free Hawaiian attitude. Jazmin always the one I could count on to head out and have a great time, but also super sweet and observant of everything going around. It’s so hard to sum up these people in a single sentence, but its the best I can do. Regardless they are all truly amazing and It was great to see us all grow and change. I’m looking forward to calling these people my friends for a long time.

Marie focused her presentation on the wonderful evolution of architecture throughout the Irish Islands. She  Started with the beautifully crafted Gallarus Oratory, whose angles I still don’t comprehend. Finishing with the very modern Titanic Musuem and its amazing angles representing the bows of the titanic.

Suzie talked about the various forms of the poetic Gaelic language. She covered all the variations of the langauge and how closely related they were to each other. She also covered how the Language was being reclaimed by the Irish people and what they were doing to preserve it.

Adam, are always political expert, covered not only the fascinating political system of Ireland but the recent elections that took place. He expertly explained, in terms that I could understand which takes a lot, what caused the recent upturns in the political system. He also covered the various difference between Ireland’s and Americas political system and covered what he would do to improve the efficiency of these systems.

Austin gave a fantastic presentation about the differences between Irish food and american food. Not only did he talk about the food, but he went on to explain why these differences occur because of deep-rooted cultural differences. I really have to agree with him that Irish food is so much more amazing the junk we eat back home. My stomach will be very sad after returning home.

Kevie did a wonderful summary of  the Irish people and their strength in overcoming all the struggles throughout the troubles. From their ability to cope with the suppression by the English as well as their ability to fight for what they believed in. It was a great summary of everything we had learned.

Josh did an analytic comparison between the troubles and the civil rights movement here in america. He drew comparison between the two talking about what brought them together as a community and what drove them apart. He really connected with this personally and it was a wonderful to see how much he had taken away from this trip.

Finally Jazmin closed with a presentation also comparing the troubles to the civil rights movement from a very different perspective focusing on historical parallels.  She showed the various art works and murals that showed the strong connection between the Irish plight and those of the African american community.  The civil rights movement is what gave rise to the Irish equality movement.

The rest of the night was filled with merriment and laughter as we told stories, ate delicious food and reminisced on everything that had transpired over the past few weeks. It was the perfect end to this class. I know that this is goodnight, it’s definitely not goodbye.

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Bob Marley the Donkey oh and the Blasket Islands

Okay yeah… The SD card in my camera got corrupted and I lost every single photo I have taken on this trip thus far. I mean I have the photos from my blogs and a few others from here and there but the majority of them are gone. I’m not that upset though, not in the long run cause I will have these memories and friendships. Between the few photos I have left, the blogs, the journaling, the scribbling, the late night conversations, and the explorations I will never be able to forget this trip. Plus I was able to fix my camera in time for the visit to the Blasket Islands which has been the place that I have been looking forward to the most!  So all is well and prepare yourself for a bunch of photos! 

Alright now tell me these aren’t beautiful? Before going any further on about entering into the Blasket Islands I figure I might as well educate those, who like me before I begin my Irish Immersion, have zero education on the history of these gorgeous Islands. There is a ton of history behind these islands, full of Spanish Galleons, priests, castles, and some hauntings, but were not going to talk about any of that. You want to know more I suggest you check out this site. What I will cover is the most recent history of the past 100 years. These chain of Islands have been officially been  inhabited since the 1800s, with the main population being on the Great Blasket Island. Well with only a peak population of 180 in the 1920’s you can understand that this is a very small but tight-knit community. The Island lacked any form of medical expert, priest, or pub. The men of the Island had to travel 3 miles back to the mainland by naomhóg, a small 3 person rowing boat, much like a canoe, for all the basic essentials and to sell their wares.

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Well as you can imagine, with such a tiny population it’s quite hard to keep the village substantiating growth. As children grew older they didn’t wanna live this harsh working life so they would  chase down opportunities in America, the next parish. Well this continued on until only one child remained only a handful of children remained on the Island. The straw that broke the camels back happened during one of the devastating sea storms that plagued the island. While these storms raged it was impossible to make it back to the main land. Even in relatively calm conditions the crossing was quite perilous and many an island man lost his life as their boats smashed against rocks or got carried away on the currents. Well right before this storm a man by the name of Seainin O Cearna had collapsed from what is now assumed to be meningitis. Within a matter of days he died. Now normally the bodies were taken by boat to be buried on the mainland because of the lack of priest or graveyard. Due to this storm they were unable to bring the body from house, so it sat there for almost a week upon the kitchen table. This completed shattered the spirit of the village and six years in 1953 the entire island was evacuated.

Cheery history now isn’t it? Throw that in contrast with the complete beauty of the Island. Which now you get to see more pictures of because now you understand the history.

As you can see it is absolutely beautiful place despite its dark history. As I talked about in my post yesterday, this rough way of living mixed with the beauty of the island led rise to some great literary achievements. Over 40 different books have come from this Island, and many are required readings throughout Ireland as well as being hailed as masterpieces throughout the world. Books such as Peig, The Island Man and 20 Years a Growing came from the hardships of this island way of living. They tell stories of the people, of the community, of the poems music and tall tales that came from this land.

I think that’s why I enjoy them so much, because they show the bare bones of humanity. These men and women struggled and fought against death day in and day out. They lost the ones they loved, they lost children, they lost themselves. Yet in all of this being so close to the brink they truly were alive. When you pay the toll of your own sweat and blood for everything you have, you appreciate it so much more. When things get taken away from you, you appreciate what you have. Living that connected with nature and the earth, seeing the beauty in it and the harshness, that’s life, at least for me. They must have felt the same way, you can read it in their books, hear it in their stories. This was a place they called home. A place that they didn’t want to leave, something they will hold in their hearts forever. All we hear is of the hardships and we wonder why they would ever stick around. I believe they felt something on that island, the raw energy of being alive.

Enough of my philosophizing and all that. You ever get tired of it? Think I might be going off my rocker a little bit? Well to bad, thoughts like this are always boiling around inside my head and often I can’t express it in voice, or at least don’t have anyone to listen to me ramble. So you, my lucky readers, get to see a little bit deeper. Enjoy more pictures!

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The Only Good Type of MSG

Full credit of today’s clever title goes to my good friend and fellow traveler Marie. Apparently her blog is too serious for such an amazing title and but my less then academic blog is capable of using it however. 

We finally got to see the fabled Blasket Islands today. To travel towards Dunquin we drove along the narrow one car lane of Slea Head Road  perched along he edge of the cliff side, the Atlantic ocean spread out in front of us with a storm front running parallel to the coast. As the storm passed and the sun broke through, there they were, the Blasket Islands illuminated in all their glory. And how I wish I could show you pictures but for now it would appear that I lost all my photos. So trust me, seeing those bright green islands jutting out from shifting shades of deep blue and cyan seas. The winds blowing along, carrying waves with white frothy  peaks crashing into the jagged rocks of the island. As if they are trying to reach the top of the cliffs, crashing again and again reaching higher and higher, but never achieving their mark.

Dunquin itself was such a reflection of the beauty out on the sea. It’s a quaint little village with houses that seem fake or out of a movie. Worn down white walls with slatted roofs, you can see how the wind and sea salt have weathered them down. Yet they each stand proud and resilient with the ruins of past villages and houses as neighbors. Nestled inside a ring of mountains. Clouds drifting along the ridge line, rolling over, like waves in the sea. With the sun shining down on us, birds soaring and calling from above, and the Great Blasket on the horizon, I swear we were in paradise. Once again I saw why this land attracted those such as Judy, why it attracted Artists and scholars, why it had called to me as well.

We travled to the Blasket Center, a place of remembrance and learning. Its purpose is to remember the harsh way of life of these stalwart islanders. Though their population never peaked above 200 people, even in their prime, they have created an astounding amount of literary works. Some world renown Irish writers have come from these Islands, or at least played visit to them. Paig Sayers is one such women, who all young Irish are required to read. I hear that it’s actually miserable to read as a child but many come back to her works as an adult with a new appreciation. I will talk more about this wonderful Island, its people, and its mark upon the world tomorrow after we have gone into the island and explored its ruins and history.

Until then we must head inland for a good dosage of MSG. Maria Simonds-Gooding is one of Ireland’s most premier painters and print makers of modern time. She stands apart from others for a few reasons. She has such a deep connection to the land of Ireland, its natural landscapes, and the struggle of its people, yet she herself is not Irish. She was born in India and its here that her connection to the earth, the ground, and the people who struggle daily at the basic level was formulated. This has perpetuated throughout all of her work. She has traveled around the world painting and print making based off the people who live closest to the earth. The people who toll away to make a living, who must fight to survive. From south american, to the American Indian, to the Blasket Islands, this is where she truly finds her inspiration and what she attempts to capture in her works.

I’m not setting out to write an art critique though, I have no words to really describe her unique essentialist art form, but I highly suggest that you look into it on her website which is linked to her name above. What I really want to focus on, what I have always focused on, is the individual who Maria was as a person. Walking towards her front door I instantly had this homey feeling, reminiscent of my almost daily visits to a house up in the Sandia Mountains back home. We walked down the cobblestone path between walls of flowers and trees, the smell of a fire calling us towards the house. Like the rest of the town, her cottage was quite simple and quaint. It was a reconstruction of one of the houses of the Blasket Island people. When they were forced to evacuate the Island one man, Mike Shea, decided to bring his roof with him to the mainland. Roofs were expensive and he didn’t want to pay for a new one so he brought it over and built his house around this original roof. Upon entering into the house we were greeted by a women just as warm and inviting as the surroundings. Marias voice was soft, with a gentle British accent, but full of this energy and excitement. When she looked you in the eyes you knew she was completely in the moment, completely attentive in talking with you and engaging you.

After a lovely conversation in which we all talked about ourselves and our plans and aspirations she took us back to her studio which was a real treat. She explained the processes of making her paintings and more specifically her print making. She had recently moved towards Aluminium as her current medium and is absolutely loving it. It was fascinating to see the process that she has to go through to make these prints. We were even able to see some of the current pieces that she was working on which was really cool. More wonderful than all of that were the stories she told about her life and little pieces of sage advice that would slip out. She told of how she use to go swimming with Fungie the Dolphin, Dingles local dolphin. She had gone out with a group of people who had all had some form of serious trauma in their life and interacting with the dolphin was a form of therapy. One man in particular, Bill, had spent 20 years in prison for a crime that he did not commit. Ignoring all others Fungie swarm right up to Bill and just sat with him nose to face, unmoving for the entire swim. Once Bill was done and got out of the water Fungie swam off ignoring the rest of the group. No one was hurt by this, Maria explains it as being one of the most powerful moments she has seen, as if it had happened to herself.

Seeing her tell this story you could see how much she actually took from it. If you were to freeze each moment, and capture her expression you would see the laughter, the excitement, the hopefulness, that this women has. Maria is so alive and so full of love and passion, for the people she meets and for the art she produces. I think this is what I really took away from meeting this women. That having a passion for something, being involved in the moment is essential to life. Far too often were engaged in something far away, not completely there in a conversation with someone, not really seeing what were looking at. With our busy lives it’s never about the moment. Instead we are always focused on where we are going, what we are doing next, who we need to talk to tonight. We miss out on so much, the pinnacle of life that is happening in the moment as we are lost somewhere else. ts a terrible truth of living in American society, one that we don’t even have time to stop and look at. I think this is what truly is magical about Ireland and the Blasket Islands in particular, is it forces you to take that moment to appreciate everything around you. Staring out at the horizon, you can just feel yourself relaxing, your feet sinking into the grass like roots, your lungs being filled by the breath of life. A great calm washes over you in this country, and maybe that’s why it attracts and creates so many beautiful writers, poets, artists and musicians. You can’t help but want to express the wonder that is around you. Maria is one of those individual who was captured by this place, and maybe that’s why I am so drawn to her. I know that even in my short three weeks here that I need to take some time to appreciate the moment and not be so worried about the future, about what I’m going to say next, and instead just go with flow. That’s something I really hope to hold on to for as long as possible on my return home to Denver. Maria you extended the invitation to visit you again sometime, and if I ever return, scratch that, when I return, you can count on me showing up at your door.

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Humans Get in The Way of Everything

Was told by someone I need to find smurf candy for them. I have yet to be able to find the candy but I found a few of these guys scattered throughout the city while wandering. 

Today we were truly blessed to be able to be in the company of the Bibeanna of the Dingle Peninsula, as well as a few of the Men of Ventry. The Bibeanna are a group of elderly woman who grew up in the rural country side of Ireland and lived lives of hard work on the farms of their families or husbands. The Men of Ventry are the dying class of family owned farmers that are struggling to keep up the tradition of locally owned farms. This collection of wonderful folk have seen the world transform around them. From being able to recollect the stories of the great Irish Famine of 1879 as witnessed by their parents, to now communicating with their grandchildren over cellphones and Skype. They truly have a unique and wonderful perspective on the world and how things have changed, for the better and for the worse.

We viewed 3 segments from a series that covered the stories of these two groups of individuals. The first segment covered these Irish farmers and the issues they have faced with the implementation of modern technology. Innovations in farming technology have vastly saved farmers on costs and time to do tasks such as gathering hay, but at the same time have come at a great cost. A job that would normally take 20 men an entire week to do can now be performed and completed more efficiently by a single man in about a days time. This as well as the increase demand for independence and the draw of the big city has caused the amount of farmers to decrease drastically. The women are leaving to, as very few want to stick around to be a working farm wife anymore, so these hard-working decent men no longer even have the option to find someone to call a wife. This means that in just a few short years Ireland is going to face issues with its farming communities and I assume corporations are going to have to start coming in and taking over these small traditional family farms, much like the current agricultural community in the United States.

The two segments covering the Bibeanna talked about the myths and ghost stories they grew up with as children as well as the premise of fixed (arranged) marriages. Though we often view arranged marriages in a very negative light, their interviews and conversations showed it under a very different light. Sure not all the marriages were good or even healthy, but the majority of them were happy and deeply in love couples. The thing about living on a farm is that there is no opportunity for serious strife as the couple is constantly working together. They must wake up early in the mornings to attend to the animals, work long days in the fields, have lunch and dinner together, and go to bed together to repeat it all the next day. Often they would also be in a house with half a dozen other family members which made true privacy a rarity. Due to constant exposure, appreciation of the hard work of the spouse, and the general caring attitude of the Irish, though love might not exist before marriage it is often gained and remains stronger than we see in modern American marriages.

Great Company + Great Food = Great Irish Day

Great Company + Great Food = Great Irish Day

After the screening of all these intriguing clips we were lucky enough to be able to attend lunch and tea with all these wonderful people with the intention to be able to just talk ask questions and learn from them. After eating from the marvelous collection of food it seemed like open discussion was about to start so I snuck my way out to go to the bathroom before so I wouldn’t be distracted while listening and inquiring into their stories. On my way to the bathroom I became engaged in conversation with an eccentric old man named Michael. He was married to one of the Bibeannas and also a local beekeeper.  We proceeded to talk for the next hour about every issue under the sun. From religious fundamentalists, American and Irish Politics, ties that he had in America, and so much more. One common theme that ran throughout our entire conversation was that concept that systems seem to work perfectly as long as humans don’t get involved. This was most evident while talking about religious fundamentalists. Though Michael declared himself religious he believed that religion had spoiled the world of God and had become quite corrupt. All these different sects preaching love and killing and discounting all others who had the wrong type of love. This was a first hand account of how drastically religion has changed in modern Ireland.

In recent polls over 90% of the Republic of Ireland declares themselves to be Catholic. Interestingly though only 72% actually believed in God. Irish society for the last few hundred years has always revolved around religion and the church. It use to have the highest rate of church attendance in all of Europe at a whopping  85% back in the 80s. This number, though still realtively high, has taken a huge drop down to 60% if not lower. In addition to this it seems that many Irish attend church not for any divine reason but for the social aspect, its part of the heritage and culture. I believe what me and Michael talked about is one of the key points in understanding this large reduction in support of the church here in Ireland. With a corrupt organization located in Rome, the Magdalene Laundries, The Irish Industrial Schools, and the numerous child sex scandals perpetuating throughout the church, it’s no wonder people have lost their faith in the church. The Irish people who were so ingrained with the church, so trusting, got hit hard by these revelations.  Spirituality has moved to a far more independent form, instead of relying on the creeds of old white men. Talking with Michael just showed how much Ireland has changed in modern times. Socially, economically, religiously, politically, Ireland is on the brink of finding a new identity for itself. It will be interesting to see what comes out of this.

After finally breaking away from this engaging conversation and finally making it to the bathroom I finally made it back to the Bibeannas and their stories. I arrived just in time to be serenaded by a select few of them singing songs in the old Sean-nos tradition of music. These long songs often tell sorrowful tales of the simple lives of Irish villagers and common folk. Though the songs are full of woe they sound absolutely beautiful and often quite lively despite their content. Poetry was also read by the daughter of one of the Bibeannas, one of Ireland’s premier poets who I had the pleasure of talking to while in my intense kitchen conversation. Our very own Marie, recited poems and sang in French which was quite lovely to hear. We closed the night with the men of the group telling hilarious tales of the shenanigans of their youth. It was a very irish day, with everyone laughing, singing, eating good food, and having a grand ol time. This place feels like home, no matter where you actually make berth.

Just some photos from today.

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The Valley of the Mad and the Well of the Insane

We left Galway and made our way via three separate buses to the town of Dingle located off of Dingle Bay in the Dingle Peninsula.  Throughout the duration of this Irish Maymester course we explained our studies and travels to a variety of people. Whenever we explained that the last leg of our trip was to the Dingle Peninsula and the Blasket Islands people gushed over how amazing and gorgeous it was down there. Everyone said that we would have an amazing time, and it was so beautiful, and peace and they were jealous and on and on and on. Our teacher Judy has always gone out about the peninsula as well and claims that its her most favorite place in the world. So yeah I expected it to be quite beautiful. So far it has held up to my high standards. Coming down N86 passing between Lock Mtns, Knockmulanane, and Knockmoylemore I could understand instantly why this place captured the hearts of so many. I took a few pictures which ill show to you, but mostly I just sat and watched the country side roll by. Sometimes you just need to put down the camera, stop trying to capture what you see, and just make it yours.

There isn’t much to talk about the day. It was just a quiet relaxing one as we wind down into these last few days. This should be the perfect end to the trip where I can just take it everything, take a deep breath of fresh air and just find that serenity and peace.

Now of course we can get to that wonderful Blog Title. Step back a few weeks to  the Inter-Changes: A showcase of Fulbright Writers & Performers (see here) After the performances were over I was wandering around socializing with the Fulbright scholars and other attendees when I got to talk with one man, Mike. He had been to New Mexico the year previous so we quickly got into a great conversation. In the course of the conversation he brought up The Well of the Insane which immediately peaked my interest. Located near Camp Village in West Kerry, he told me I really should check it out. Sadly I won’t be able to make it over to this area but I still did a little bit of research into its fascinating history.

Tobar na nGealt (The Well of the Insane) exists in the valley of Gleann-na-nGealt known as the valley of the mad. References to this well date back as far as 1584. The story goes that the King of Ulster, Gall, traveled down to this well, drank of its water and feasted upon the watercress growing from its death. Miraculously this cured him of his madness. Since then those who had a touch of the madness traveled from across all of Ireland seeking out this magical healing water. The tale of An Bhuile Shuibhne talks about Mad  Sweeny the King Of Munster and his banishment from his Kingdom.  He wandered around the whole of Ireland generally  acting like a crazy person, until he found peace within this valley. Sweeny has often been said to be the inspiration for Merlin the Magician in the Arthurian legends. The book “On the Trail of Merlin” talks about Merlins adventures and wanderings throughout the British Isle and talks extensively of his stay at Gleann na nGealt.

So what is it about this water that was so magical? A group of historians and scientists stumbled across this myth just like I had and asked the same questions. After some investigations and interviews they traveled to the well and took a water sample. Turns out the well had an abnormally high supply of lithium within it. Lithium is used quite often within in the modern psychiatry field. Specifically it’s used to treat the maniac symptoms of manic depression as well as one of the best treatments for bipolar disorder. It reduces manic symptoms such as rapid speech, hyperactivity, aggression, hypersomnia, and reduces the frequency and intensity of manic episodes.  Though the effects of Lithium are not quite understood by the science community possible causes could be it acts like a reuptake inhibitor or that it allows for an increase in the secretion of serotonin, the feel good molecule. Though science has been unable to answer this question we have used it as a treatment for over 70 years and it stands apart from other drug treatments for bipolar disorder. It had few to none psychotropic effects on an individual when taking a standard dosage. For those not neurology inclined this means that it doesn’t alter the mood of the individual taking it. It just helps alleviate the effects of the disorder which makes it a relatively safe drug.

It’s amazing to me how throughout history there has been cases of cultures and people using nature to treat issues that they could not understand. They didn’t understand the causes of the disorder, or why eating a certain plant, drinking from a certain well, and so on would help alleviate this ailment. So myths and legends were built around these treatments in an attempt to explain and understand them. It’s a great feeling for me, going into psychology, and seeing that throughout history, no matter where in the world you are, no matter the time period, no matter the people, everyone has sought out answers to the questions that I find myself asking today. Why do we act the way we do? What can we do to improve ourselves? What can we do to help?

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The Cliffs of Insanity!!! Now with 100% Extra Free Post!

Finally I got everything to work so I can add these photos. I’m not going to describe anything and will let the photos speak for themselves.

They are amazing aren’t they? The Cliffs of Moher are one of the most sought after locations for tourists of Ireland. The cliffs themselves inspire a terrible beauty as you gaze across them to the north and south. Not only that but you have the vast ocean unfurling in front of you with views of the Aran Islands far in the distance. As I walked along the cliff side a few boats and a two seater airplane buzzed past the cliff side. Rising at 702 feet at its highest point, coming in by boat and seeing these cliff sides towering above you must be a terrifying and awesome experience.

Walking along the path ontop of the cliff was a powerful experience in itself. Once you leave the actual Cliffs of Moher park and enter the neighboring farm all forms of safety features disappear. Minus a few signs warning you that the cliffs kill, that people have died, shouting EXTREME DANGER at you, there is nothing between you and a quick fall with a quick stop. Of course  this meant I had to get right to the brink. At first I just peaked my head over staring straight down into the waves crashing into the rocks below. As I trusted my self more, and judged the wind, I was able to get right to the edge. Photos such as the one of the ocean and a bunch of others were taken while crawling out on my belly and leaning out or sitting with a foot hanging out. It was an exhilarating experience to be that close to the edge of life.

Maybe I’m just a crazy person, but it sure did get my heart pumping.. Almost gave a few of my class mates heart attacks at my antics. Only once did I have a sense of vertigo where I looked straight down and had to step back for a second to catch my breath and realign my reeling brain. Don’t worry though my readers I’m typing this post now which means I remained safe. As light hearted and jokingly as I talk about it now, there is a real danger to these cliffs, and that needs to be respected. Actually in my research there are relatively few deaths associated with the Cliffs of Moher. Though there have been a few cases of suicide at the cliffs, and a few accidents reported as well, I couldn’t find any statistic of the amount of accidental deaths. Based on some discussions I had, looked into, and new articles it seems like only a couple dozen have slipped off the edge. Still the possibility is there and strong winds can easily give that final push. At no point did I lose sight of the danger that these beautiful cliffs have.

The parallels between beauty and danger is why these cliffs have also attracted so much attention in the media. Movies such as the Princess Bride used this location to represent The Cliffs Of Insanity! In Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Harry and Dumbledore travel to the cliffs to destroy a Horcruxes. In the 1970s one movie even drove a car off the edge and let it crash into the rocks below to be washed away by the tide, something that seems inconceivable to us now a days. I

If you ever find yourself in Ireland make your way to the Cliffs of Moher.

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Mám Clasach

This is a video of a man biking down the Mám Clasach Road in country Kerry Ireland. This road is renowned for its scenic overlook of the Blasket Islands the beautiful country side of the Dingle Peninsula. It runs up Conor pass which I really am looking forward to seeing tomorrow. The research on this road is particularly hard to do as all topics on the internet often just reference it as something you should already know. I believe that it’s not actually the name of the road but instead the saddle of the pass. The actual road has a boring number association attached to it so instead it’s often just referred to as Mám Clasach, or just Clasach.

As you can see from the video I posted above it’s a lovely road where you can pick up some serious speed on a bike. Of course this also makes it a very challenging road going in the opposite direction on the bike. Uphill is a lot less fun then downhill but hey different strokes for different fokes (the saying of this trip.) In fact it is such a popular road for biking that it is being featured in the Dingle Adventure Race this year. This is a yearly event that will be taking place actually the day we are leaving from Dingle which should make for an interesting time. There four different events but the DAR full is still the most popular. In this race they will start by biking on this road uphill of course otherwise it would be too easy. Once at the top of the pass they are to run up to the peak of Mt Brandeon and back down again. Then its just a quick 10k dash to Dingle. If you’re not exhausted reading this by now just wait, they still have 2km kayak race across the sea followed by the final push, a 1km run to the finish line. It should be very interesting to see this beautiful pass and also the large crowd of athletes that will be drawn to this area in preparation for this race. Hopefully I’ll get to see some of it happening as I’m leaving town!

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