“A bad doctor makes the same mistakes day after day and calls it experience” – Tommy Palella, 1982.
I’ve swapped patients for posts, and surely had a few duds, but have been at it a while and it’s been quite the experience. I thought I’d learn from WordPress that this would be my 300th post. Instead, I see I’ve tallied 287 posts but 53 drafts! So depending on how you count it, I’m either a little short or way over. As I had much of this composed in my head while out on the trail this afternoon, why waste it? Not all of those posts were very pithy. The very first – “Introduce yourself” – was provided by WordPress. Some were “shameless plugs” announcing books, and others were tables of contents meant for readers of those books to access. But I started on January 12, 2020 and intend to keep going. Putting my thoughts out there for the public has been immensely fun and satisfying, and I’m pleased at least a few of you joined in.
The number 300 brings to mind a movie:
Hard to believe I’d be so fond of a movie about Spartans, but their battle against the vastly larger Persian army was a glorious thing to watch. Of course, this has nothing to do with writing, other than the number.
The trail we were on wound though the Killarney National Park and ended up at Caisleán an Rois (Ross Castle).
It has at least half again as many years on it as I have posts, built in the early 1500s. It sits on Loch Leane (Lake of Learning) across from a monastery dating to the 7th century that schooled the first King of Ireland. It was the last Irish castle to be taken by Oliver Cromwell’s navy in 1652, victim to a battleship that had been disassembled into 7ths, take to the lake, and reassembled to batter the castle. Residents of the castle and monastery met horrid ends.
We learned these details from the driver who took us on his horse cart back to the city center. There were a song about the English perhaps I’d better not repeat.
The horse carts gather conveniently near to many pubs and shops. We ventured down High Street but turned onto narrow Sráid an Phluincéid (Plunkett Street) where the entertaining pedestrian traffic continued with nary horse nor automobile. Courtney’s pub looked inviting, and indeed it was. A compact set of taps contained all you might want, including 2 fine IPAs: O’Hara’s 51st State and Kilkenny’s Full Circle IPA.
The barkeep said O’Hara was not wading into America’s controversy about DC, but wistfully thinking that Ireland had so much in common with America maybe they should be the 51st state. I assured him I’d be honored to see a shamrock up there among our 50 stars.
Should you want a bump with any of these fine beers, there were many choices.
I went with the special, and it was outstanding.
There were a couple of tables out front for those rare days in Ireland when outside might be inviting, like today’s 20 degree sunny offering.
Drinking like that, such seats can’t be occupied in eternity. The road back in the pub, as it often does in this country, brought wonder. Again the genius Irish engineers had constructed a gleaming temple to men’s needs. I haven’t felt this satisfied since they took the troughs out of the men’s rooms at Michigan Stadium.
It was a sporting event drawing in patrons in the early afternoon.
This was the championship game for hurling, a uniquely Irish sport. Held at Dublin’s Páirc an Chrócaigh (Croke Park), the third largest sports arena in Ireland, all 82,300 seats were filled. I did some hurling back in high school, but I believe this is a different sport. Played on a “pitch” like soccer, the game is much more lively and fast paced. Ya gotta love a sport where the game starts with a ”throw in”. Let ‘em have at it!. Played by men in short pants wearing helmets who tussle with each other at every opportunity, the aim is to propel a small yellow ball through the goal in two different manners using what look like long spoons. There are actual goalposts involved, with similar goalposts also used for Irish football, making the countryside schools look like a place Harbaugh should come recruit. At the base of the goalposts is a net looking much like a soccer goal, manned by a goalie, into which a successful shot garners 3 points. But most of the scoring comes from scooping a ball from anywhere on the pitch up through the goalposts, getting 1 point. The shots were pretty amazing. Limerick – favored by the locals – was ahead at halftime, when we left. By the time we got to Beaufort, they’d won. The game is fun enough I hope we can find it on TV at home.
Beaufort’s where we’re at for the rest of the week. There’s a castle on the grounds that will see my mom’s 2nd 90th birthday party tomorrow. We’ve learned of the Dunlap Gap, Danny Man, and Tomies Wood, so should have plenty of activities to accompany our drinking. Éirinn go Brách!