Killenaule and Birr

January 6th, 2011

Boy, these Irish blogs are getting harder and harder to remember the exact details as time goes on. I blame the terrible internet connection that mandates that I should spend literally hours waiting for the pictures to upload, and my stubbornness in uploading images.

However I should have more or less good internet connection with some consistency when school starts up for reals this Monday.

So, from Tulsk to Killenaule.

Alden gave me a ride into town proper and dropped me off at the train station, there was some time before my bus left (the bus left from the train station) so I goofed off about the town a bit.

This was pretty cheap, and brown bread is quite filling.

This explains quite how I was feeling with so little sleep.

It's a thing! And it's Green!

You aren't fooling me Gannon, I'm not buying any of your hearts!

And I hopped on the Bus to Birr.

I had spoken to a friend before leaving for Ireland and asked her what I should check out, she told me she was from Killenaule so I figured I’d check it out.

Birr, according to google maps, isn’t too far from Killenaule.

And it isn’t.

Once in Birr I busted out my camera, and grabbed a coke-cola.

Oh well...that's reassure for a hitch-hiker.

Look! A Churchy Distraction!


More Church!

Sign! Sadly my eyes were not opened when I saw it.


Little House!

Potions! Sadly they were out of Longstrider potions.

You aren't fooling me! I know this isn't Tibet!

Cuz, you know, uniform color is for chumps.

After dinking about with the camera I made my way towards Killenaule, and found that my map had a slightly confusing off-road involved with it.

I stopped by a gas station to ask for directions, and found that no-one in the world knew where Killenaule was, except for one man, who was cleaning his car.

The gas station attendant who had helped me ask everyone else around was just off shift, so he decided to give me a ride, which was very nice of him.

He asked me who I was looking for, I then realized that Killenaule wasn’t a town, it was an area of a bunch of houses sparsely populating great tracks of land.

I told him the name of my friend, and he realized he knew where a house was with a person with that family name in it.

He dropped me off at the House.

I'm not creepy I just wanted a picture...

Of your car too...

And...your shed! RUN AWAY!!!!

He told me he’d go down the road abit and turn around, and if it wasn’t the right house he’d take me back to Birrs because the walk was long.

Now I had tossed around the idea of actually knocking on this random stranger’s door, but at this point had decided I really had very little to say or ask them, and just wanted to see their land.

I thought I may hide from the kindly guy who had given me a ride, but that would be silly I thought.

When he came back he asked me if it was the right house.

I fibbed. I told him that the owner hadn’t known my friend.

Of course, why should he?

I then told the friendly man, that I would like to walk home, but he insisted that it would be dark in a few hours and he knew a shop that was run by a few people of the same name.

Perhaps asking people in a shop rather than in their own house would be less intimidating to me.

I agreed and he dropped me off not too far from the bus stop, again this time for good.

The shop was sadly closed, so I decided to walk back to the Killenaule area for another good look.

Apparently this "Linda" shop closes before dusk. Crazy huh?

It was dark by the time I got there.

I found along my way, that something had not agreed with my stomach. I ducked off into the bushes, and later found my sunglasses to be broken upon returning.

Not a terribly pleasant experience, at all.

However Killenaule is pretty at night.

I lost my sunglasses about 3 meters from here!

So pretty!


More River!

Sky and field.

S'really green out here.


Other House.

Another house!

It gets dark sometimes

Dark Church!

I then headed off towards Cork. On foot, with sign.
Until next time, which may be a month or so from now, good grief!


Tulsk life

January 2nd through January 5th, 2011

Staying with Adlen, Maia, and Damien was absolutely fantastic.
I had plenty of time to take things slow, read, eat great vegan food, and talk with people of higher, much higher, than average intelligence levels.
Deep and meaningful conversations.
And shallow funny conversations that somehow were no less nerdy.
A genie’s 3 wishes was a great one, that for certain readers would not be appropriate.
Alden and Maia are vegan, and Alden is a professional chef at a restaurant, while Maia is an ‘enthusiastic amateur,’ a phrase I was particularly fond of. Damien is also handy in the kitchen.
Me? I can make some pretty legit ramen, decent cookies, and uhm, eggs.
Don’t get me wrong, I can do stuff, I’m just an average guy in the kitchen though.
The food was all great. Vegan waffles, pizza, chili, biscuits and gravy, all great food really. Damien made some great apples.
Did you know that he had the power to make apples?
He does.
It’s pretty sweet.

After a fantastic meal.

Damien is awesome.

So is Maia. (So is Alden, who is sadly not featured in photographic form in this blog.)
So is fire!

So... you think they got Baily's in Ireland?


House thing!

Uhm... they have an interesting idea of what candy is here.

Free time.
With my free time I polished off all four of my books [The fall by Camus, Goodbye Mr. Chips by James Hilton, Lola Lago Por amor al arte by Lourdes Miquel and Neus Sans, and The case book of Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.]
The Fall is interesting, recommended for anyone who finds the ‘human condition’ interesting.
Mr. Chips was a re-read, and a damn good heart-warming book.
Lola Lago was far below my Spanish reading level, but good practice.
Holmes was Holmes. Though it did seem that Doyle wasn’t much into writing them anymore at this point. His foreword smacked of ‘Let the man die! I have better things to do and write.’
I also watched Iron Man 1 and 2, and a great Irish Movie called ‘The Secret of Kells,’ very interesting art-work and story line. Highly recommended.

The sites.
Me and Damien went about looking at the sites of the area around Tulsk, sites Damien had already seen, but were very lovely none-the less.

This was a prison...

Now it's a mall!

Apparently some lady killed her son, or something, on accident, and then volunteered to be an executioner, while serving, and they let her, or made her, and she got to be so good at it she became a local legend.

Dude’s Castle.
So there’s this version of story-telling that I’ve discovered I am found of while I and Damien explored this old run down castle. This type of story-telling is what I call ‘The Dude Version’ and is specifically designed for foggy memories and quick summaries.
I will no unveil ‘The Dude Version’ of this castle’s story.
So there was this dude, and he was a really good soldier, or something like that. So after some fighting with these other dudes, the government-figures gave him this castle and he kind of retired into it. He then spent a lot of time and money on making it all fancy and nice.

Here are the images from some dude’s castle.

It's got a great view. No that's not a hole, it's a strategically placed open window.


This guy's got a castle in his backyard! Kinda!

Technically the park was closed, luckily Ireland is really bad at making not climbable walls.

Lay out #1!

Lay out #2!

No! I swear, it's a window!

Lots of windows, sir, it's all very modern.
Not grass sir, bio-carpet.

And a lovely prison filled with rocks!

This hole, it had things in it. Things.
Damien looking at stuff. (No I didn't climb anything!)

Uhm.... okay I fibbed. I climbed a wall.

Stair prison!

Did I already upload this?

The decorations are all very natural.

We on't even charge extra for the ivy!

Me and Damien created characters between us of the owner of this castle, and his steward, who would speak of things we found humorous. For example we couldn’t figure out what a structure was so high for, and we decided that this man kept ‘tall horses’ which were actually giraffes, but he would insist that they were ‘tall horses.’
Because no one liked this man, they built arches all over the place.
See the Arch is low enough to let non jerks through, but sadly isn’t low enough to let ‘tall horses’ through.

An old abbey.
After the castle me and Damien went out to check out this super sweet abbey, also old and ruined. It was very beautiful, and I got some wonderful images.

The Old Abbey ain't what she used to be.

I love this picture.

Is there something oddly beautiful about a grave stone that is itself laid out?

This man's guards were given full funeral rights and life insurance if they died in his service, sadly death was grounds for termination from him employ.

Very modern windows.

Lovely view of the town.

Yew! NO, yew!

After the abbey we went out into a little forestry park area.
Also lovely, also amazing photos.


Fencing? En garde! (Give me a break this blog has taken 5 hours to cobble together.)

Pretty Sky and stuff!

Damien made sure that I was well aware that the Keep Away was a dangerous thing, bees these days just don't know how to train their pets.

Those are blocks of the moss-stuff, stacked and left to the environment.

OH NO! The Keep Away saw us! We did not beware! We did not beware!

Irish heather! Makes for great Whiskey I'm certain.



Sky and field!

Tree and windy-wood-vine things!

More trees!

A tree path!

Hawthorn, again! Good luck!
Better Hawthorn berries!

No Giraffes! *Ahem* tall horses.

The Caption above? That's what this sign says.


The trees are so cool here!

No jerks here.

This thing is what we call a symbol. It means something.

Lucky bastards.



Creepy sun through the trees!

And then there was Curry-Chips.
If you go to Ireland have the damn curry chips.
I don’t care if you are allergic to chips or curry, have them.
That’s a direct order. (Even if using direct orders hurts my chances of you ever responding to my proposal, I’m still doing it. They are that awesome. Yes I do love them more than you. You will too.)
They are amazing.
While me and Damien ate our little buckets of wonder, we discussed Irish Soap-operas, which apparently are really confusing, because nothing really happens. The watch like situational comedies without the comedy part.

A new year’s gift.
After a wonderful dinner, and a few drinks, Maia honored me and Damien by giving us a new year’s blessing.
Maia and Alden are spiritually aligned with Norse Paganism and have strong connections with Frey and Freya.
Alden also participated in the reading that occurred before the blessing, Maia not only practices tarot but she is also learning a new reading system that involves plants and cards.
I am quite illiterate when it comes to these things, so bare with my lack of understanding and or misuse of the proper terminology.
One of Maia’s psychic foci is a black veil, which she used in the reading.
I forget precisely what our “over-card” was, a card read for all of us, but it implied a deep-seated wound that required healing.
My Tarot Card was the two of cups, and my plant card was wheat, which implies a great fertility [which can be interpreted as creative fertility, I choose to take that as that I’m not keen on makin’ babies anytime soon, at least not the babies part of makin’ babies.]
My reading was fantastically affirmative, and spoke to me as dreams do. The mind interprets something given to it, and what the mind interprets is a very real and interesting thing to observe.
Maia, after reading us, and giving us a low down on what are cards could mean to us, she then proceeded to Damien and I with a blind gift each drawn from a box of psychic odds and ends.
I was gifted a bent nail, a very potent image in theatre regards, though I forget exactly what the bent nail means within the theatre world (and I’m fairly certain it means something) but allow me to explain it to you as I have to someone special not too long ago.

“The bent nail is affirmation. It encourages me, reminding me that I have the power to be a director, and I need not fear asking to direct. Taking initiative.,. I will then begin my career as a director from the ground up, as one builds the theater in which theatre is practiced. I will lay out a foundation of communication, in advertising myself as an acting coach, in putting together weekly (or more frequent) readings of scripts, I will build its skeletal structure in putting together shows on shoe-string budgets with actors desperate for ‘recognition’ work. I will cement my work to the foundation of communication by getting my ‘day job’ within an actual theatre, most likely as an Usher or House Manager (because this kid can manage a house. I mean, if houses were dungeons, I’d be Gary Gygax.) I will do this work, and even in doing it I will be a director, and it will lead me to ‘real’ directing work. Perhaps I will become a token director for a philosophically challenging off-off-off Broadway group. (As that Off-Broadway has gone the way of the commercial theatre, and off-off-Broadway is shortly following in its footsteps… yes things are getting quite silly in the off-worlds) or maybe I’ll amass the connections needed to be what I truly desire, the traveling director. Every three or two months on the move again, putting something together, and only staying long enough to bask in its glimmer for one short night, and then off to inspire something else. And when my house is complete it will have a door, and in that door I will bend the nail. Which means something more that putting a nail into a door (they used to bend the nails on doors because fancy nails were expensive.) But it meant something more, something I have forgotten in all honesty. My memory is foggy as to the exact meaning of the bent nail in theatre circles, but I believe that its origins are in the final nail placed within the church-door or something akin to that, that is intentionally bent, more as ceremony than as utility as it used to be, signifying that the church is finished. At least, that’s what my foggy memory and active imagination tells me. The church was very closely knit with the theatre… well still is, in its way. Strange bedfellows theatre and the church. It could be that they ‘bent the nail’ when the house is filled or when the show is a success, or something like that, meaning that the work is complete, both finished and filled with something. The bent nail reminds me that I can indeed build this career of directing, and it will remind me in the rough times that it will be worth it, when they bend the nail... The nail, it echoes the greatest compliment I have ever received, in earnest... “Austin, you know you are a director, right?” to which I responded with “Yeah. Thanks though.” It echoes a Spanish actor’s words, and I don’t know if my mind translated them or if she did, I seem to remember all my Spanish conversations in English, “I love talking with you, because it all makes sense.” It reminds me that I am a very capable young muse, with a lovely life ahead of me. Funny enough I feel no shame in claiming that I am a good director, because, well because I don’t think directing is my own accomplishment, I cannot direct if I have no artist to do so with, and the product of the direction is not my own, but entirely the artist’s. I touch the nail, and I feel a reassuring calm. My shoulder blades relax, instinctively, and my jaw tingles slightly, full of a hungry energy.”

The nail, rainbow moonstone, amethyst. Divine gifts.

After this we were both gifted a small amethyst, which offers one direction in life, and a rainbow moonstone, which is interesting for representing our mutable darksides.
Which is fascinating considering my recent approach of some of the darker sides of my mind.
There was also something to do with fire, and the eternal activity it provides.
I speak mostly of my portion of this blessing and reading because I do not feel that the parts that passed between Damien, Maia, and Alden without specifically relating to me (as in each of their own readings and blessings) do not belong to me to share.
One of my weaknesses as a communicator is that I struggle to realize that not all experiences that I witness or am a part of are fully mine to be expressed freely, so this is me practicing respecting other’s experiences.
After the gifts, or perhaps before them, Damien and I were given a short presentation over Frey and Freya, more for my ignorant benefit, as that I believe Damien is very familiar with the stories behind these gods.
On Alden and Maia’s alter they have both a torc of Frey and a representation of BrĂ­singamen.
We were given the honor of wearing both of these symbols, the weight of duty and the beauty of sacrifice.
Again all very strongly reminding me of the path that lays ahead.
It was a very beautiful experience, and one that I have oathed to somehow pay back, and very much intend to do so.


Rolling out a bit early.
Because I wanted to keep a tight schedule, and that it had taken me two days to get to Tulsk, I rolled out of Alden and Maia’s house on Wednesday morning. I had intended to check out a super traditional thatch pub which was in the area, but felt the need to be on the road again before I could take advantage of this. In honesty, this will probably be my biggest ‘Ireland’ regret, as that I wound up travelling much faster than I had imagined I would.
Alden gave me a ride into town, and dropped me off near the bus station.
Many thanks go out to Damien for helping to set up these lovely few days, and to Alden and Maia who accepted a perfect stranger into their house for several days, fed, entertained, and offered a bed and shower to a young traveling weasel, and all for nothing asked in return. I was very lucky to have such an opportunity, and I will not forget that which they have given to me any time soon.

Not to worry friends, this train looks pretty modern for Ireland, all will be fine, I’m certain.

Until my next blog,