Wednesday, October 8, 2014

More Fascinating People and a Trip to Carlingford

This old bucket sat in the bay at Carlingford.
This is not a toy.
The conversation has been swirling tonight. Joy Carroll, the New Zealander who is working on the farm, brought home her Irish boyfriend, a bright bohemian named Kenny Martin from Narrowwater Castle, about 20 or so miles south of the farm.

Kenny grew up during the most recent troubles, one of those who thought the bombings and killings in Northern Ireland were normal. He says almost all the family violence took place in Belfast because of the proximity of the Catholics ("I'm no longer practicing that") and Protestants. There are/were walls separating them throughout the city, but they didn't stop the violence.

Sonya at the castle door.
Kenny heard about British soldiers storming into nearby houses and rousing families into the street. "It grew old eventually, but at first it was exciting," he says. He didn't want to say a lot for general circulation because "I'm a private person," but the war left scars on many people like Kenny, a man who has overcome it to a great degree. He's an easy-going, talky, fun-loving man who makes fun of the fact that he's short. And he has a serious political side that I like a lot.

Kenny trains people in the forest ("climbing trees, that sort of thing") and is a personal trainer and a festival music professional. He went to art college and is a vegan, one who stood toe to toe with Sonya talking about GMOs and knowing a great deal about them.

Victoria, whom I mentioned earlier, sat with me for a while and talked of becoming interested in creative writing, especially the short story. She gave us the name of a friend who lives in Paris, very close to where we will be staying, and says the friend will get us inside the culture. I like Victoria. She's smart, free and lives life her way. She seems balanced and happy.

Earlier today Sonya and I ventured down to a little village on the peninsula south of here called Carlingford. It's small, charming and has what Ireland believes is one of its great pubs if the awards on the wall are telling. It's P.J. O'Hare's and we had lunch there. The food was grand, the rain hard and steady and the fire warm. I now have a lasting impression of a real pub.

One of the highlights of the walk through Carlingford was a stop at the Carlingford Castle, built in
Love this business name.
1200 and host to King John (Magna Carta John) in 1210 for three days. The bay was sprinkled with boats and made for some nice photography.

Boutique, not a bar.
The ride down and home was, of course, an adventure. This time, we got lost on a tiny road (and "tiny road" in Ireland is the norm, but this was ridiculous). Sonya negotiated, I fretted and I think we could both have used a four-pound Valium by the end of the day.

When we got home, I took a nap. I needed it. All this fun is exhausting.
Pampa at the castle with Sonya on his shoulder.
Beautiful downtown Carlingford.
Carlingford Castle is 814 years old. 
Colorful trawler with the village behind.
I'm a sucker for pretty flowers.

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