Posted by: mdmusingsie | May 5, 2010

Settling in….

I made my first meal at the apartment – tortellini carbonara. Of course I’m excluding the fine breakfasts I’ve been making of Irish brown bread and fruit, but that’s not exactly cooking.

Went with Todd to see Birr castle on Saturday. The castle has been inhabited by the same family for over 400 years. They must have made some good investments way back when, as few families in the Ireland (or UK) have been able to keep their castles and lands. Since people are living in it, you can’t go into the castle, though the lad at the desk said they are planning on opening part of it at some point. The grounds are beautiful and they have a huge telescope that was installed in the 1840’s. During the famine years to provide employment they had people dig a moat around the castle which still remains; though they did not ever fill it with water (ya, I know, what’s the point).

Just as we neared the telescope the skies opened up and started to dump (yes, it really does rain in Ireland; it had been perfectly sunny when we got out of the car). Luckily there was an enclosed gazebo nearby where we hung out with some other like-minded folks until the rain let up. Like many estates in Ireland, this was taken from the Irish and given to a Brit. The other sad note (IMHO) is the current heir is living with his wife in Beijing. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m thinking there was more than a little controversy over that wedding.

On the way back we drove through Portland, which is near Portumna, but I must have blinked while driving as I never saw the sign for the town (it would have made a fun picture). Signage is at a premium in Ireland, anyway. I’m starting to suspect it’s not a financial or resource issue, but merely the Irish sense of humor, meant to confuse the tourists and amuse the locals. Since I’m on to this game, it no longer bothers me – I consider it all part of the adventure.

We saw a poster in a window in Portumna for a Cinemobile – a traveling Cinema for towns that don’t have their own. Check out the picture on the web site. Might not be a bad idea for the US – get one of these and travel the country to small towns.

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