Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Irish Windows/Castle and Church

The fragile beauty of a stained glass window backed by the sunlight is compelling.  Regardless of the window's theme, the eye is drawn to the brilliant colors.  To me, these pieces of art are things of wonder.  It amazes me that some have survived the centuries, even through times of turmoil, and have retained their beauty.

All of the windows in this post are found in Ireland. Those related to Irish history are located in Bunratty Castle, a place well worth visiting if you wish to gain a feeling for Irish history. The windows of a religious theme were stumbled upon as we exited from exploring the Dublinia museum.  Once more, the joy of finding the unexpected was experienced.  In both locations, I had not sought out windows to see and photograph but couldn't resist once I saw them.  Beauty, artistry, and history all together- structurely just minor aspects of solid, massive buildings and so easily overlooked by visitors rushing on to the next site of interest.

One on hand, these windows were not in themselves one of the main reasons that I visitied Ireland.  I was more interested in experiencing its land and people as they are today.  On the other, you can't really gain a sense of place without spending time exploring its culture.  The aspects of religion and family reflected by these stained glass windows were certainly important parts of that culture, ones that could not be ignored.

Thank you for visiting. I hope that you enjoyed your stay at the tavern and will come back again.  In the meantime, may your travels be interesting and enjoyable.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Ireland's Rugged Coast

There's a relationship between the nature of the land and the nature of its people. Soft lands with abundant resources often produce gentle, easy-going people. Harsher and more rugged land produces a tenacious people, a people who have learned to survive and thrive.  These are some of the thoughts that hit me when I look at the images of the Cliffs of Moher and the Dunlikkey Cliffs. The other thought was a sense of awe of the natural beauty of these places.

I grew up in Maine, USA and thought I knew what a rugged coast is.  Cold gray surf pounding on steep, rocky shores that are topped by sturdy pines-that's rugged, man!  The southeastern coast of Ireland gave me second thoughts on the concept of "rugged coast".

As you look at the cliffs, you have a sense of strength of land and permanency. Not exactly the case, in reality.  I heard the story of a man who had a favorite fishing spot on the Dunlikkey Cliffs.  He would go there often and spend solitary hours enjoying nature and occasionally catching a fantastic fish.  One day, he rose early and went to his favorite fishing spot only to find it gone. The piece of land on the cliff's edge had fallen into the sea!  On that day he changed his fishing habits.
As I stood near the edge of the cliffs (you notice that I write near, not ON the edge...I do value the advice of people who live in a place) I enjoyed nature with a sense of greater caution than I normally would have.  I knew what to be aware of in my native environment of coastal Maine. I learned from the story told to me by one who knew this place unfamilar to me.  An locally informed traveler is a future traveler. Those who do not take heed.......

Thank you for visiting,  I hope you enjoyed the coastal views of Ireland.  Please feel free to stop by the tavern again.  In the meantime, may your travels be interesting and enjoyable.