Thursday Doors – Caisleán Bhun Raithe (Bunratty)

I made my first visit to Ireland in June of 1994. I flew from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport to Shannon Airport where I met up with my parents and my older brother. We hired two cars at the airport, one for the parents and one for us “kids”. Our pre-planned scheduled itinerary consisted of: Day One – Visit Bunratty Castle and have dinner there, then stay overnight at a B&B where my parents made reservations before we left. Days 2 through 5 -Follow the sun. Days 6 & 7 – Stay at a B&B in Dublin then fly home.

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From left clockwise – My brother, Nik, my Dad, and my Mom invading Bunratty Castle, 1994

We drove to Bunratty Castle, County Clare for a tour & banquet….

Okay, so here is something I just discovered right now (or just remembered after 17 years)… see this sign?

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See the last paragraph where it mentions Admiral Giles Penn, and his son, William? THE William Penn who was founder of the American Colony, Pennsylvania? Well Giles Penn had a sister,  Hannah (William’s aunt). Hannah is my maternal great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandmother… A family connection to Bunratty!!!!

I have one other picture with any sort of door from this trip, and I believe I took it in the  Bunratty Castle Folk Park…

Limerick 1994

Thursday Doors is a weekly challenge for door-seeking souls (some of us sometimes steal door-thunder from the REAL Irish members of this grouping…) in search of group-inclusiveness. It is the blog-child of Norm 2.0. Want to see more doors from around the globe? Go to his site HERE and travel past all his wonderful door pics and click on the blue-rectangle-encased-frog…

Thursday Doors – Desmond Castle, County Cork

My offering for Thursday Doors this week comes to us courtesy of my older brother, Nik! He read my posting about the heavily debated “Hobbit Door” and sent me a picture of a (much younger) me standing next to what might just be another Hobbit door. He took this of me in 1994 at Desmond Castle (Caisleán Deasmhumhan) in Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland. He and I were on vacation with my parents…

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The following information about Desmond Castle comes from Heritage Ireland.

“Desmond Castle was built by the Earl of Desmond c. 1500. A fine example of an urban tower house, the castle consists of a three storey keep with storehouses to the rear.  Originally built as a Customs house, the castle also served as a prison in the 18th century (it is known locally as the French Prison) an ordnance store during the Battle of Kinsale (1601) and as a workhouse during the Great Famine. By the early decades of the 20th Century Desmond castle had fallen into decay. It was declared a National Monument in 1938.  Today Desmond Castle hosts the International Museum of Wine Exhibition, an intriguing story that documents the unique history of Ireland’s wine links with Europe and the wider world.

Location: In Kinsale town, 300 metres from Garda (Police) barracks along Cork street. Close to Carmelite Friary.”

And, the Blurb: Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Visit Norm 2.0 for more doors and details. When you get to Norm’s site….NO LUKE…USE THE BLUE FROG, LUKE!!!

Thursday Door, and 3 in a week…

I mentioned in a previous posting that every Thursday I get notification that the Irish writer & blogger, Jean Reinhardt, has posted a new blog entry entitled, “Thursday Doors.” I also mentioned that I am continually planning to go out and take photos of cool/interesting doors around the Springfield area and post them here under my own Thursday Doors heading… and never quite got it done.  Until this week! I refinished the door/hatch/board/whatever that leads into the cabin of our little O’Day22 sailboat and took photos, and so here is my very own Thursday Doors entry!

Before:

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After:

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AND… here is the really cool thing. I just got my Thursday email notification that Jean has posted, and her doors this week are on boats in County Cavan, Ireland! She also posted a picture of her boat, which is quite unique and looks pretty darned cool I have to say.  So checkout Jean’s blog and then go to the source of this madness, and check out the original Thursday Doors at Norm’s blog.

So, 3 times this past week I have sweated off a Constant Glucose Monitor Sensor, which is a companion to my Medtronic insulin pump. The CGM gives me a moderately accurate reading of my blood glucose levels. Moderately because it reads the glucose levels of the interstitial fluid of the insertion site as opposed to the blood glucose levels from a finger stick. The IGL lag the BGL by about 20 minutes or so… So, the sensor is adhered to the skin surface by an adhesive base pad, then a special tape strip, and in the summer I add a second special tape strip, and the past couple weeks I then cover the whole thing with waterproof first aid tape.  And still I sweated 3 of the danged things off (they are normally left in place for 6 days). It has been so incredibly humid the past couple weeks, and then I have been running, and outside working on the boat, and outside playing, I mean, working to get gear ready for a backpacking trip with my buddy Garrick… and it seems all I do is sweat, sweat, sweat… Viola! off slides the sensor! Yesterday morning after the 3rd one detached uninvitedly, I figured I would leave it off while I went running. By the time I got home, the insulin pump reservoir had run out.  I walked around to the lake side to cool down and stretch down by the dock and saw The Mrs swimming in the lake, so I trotted down the hill detaching and unplugging the pump, then yelled, “I’ll save you, dear”, and jumped in the lake!  It is such a hassle to secure the pump and sensor to prepare for water immersion, I rarely swim these days… so yesterday was a real treat!!

Finally, this morning’s sunrise, followed very shortly after by the clouds rolling by southeasterly carrying rain to Indiana…

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Healing….

Last September after our return from our walking holiday in Wales and Ireland, I had blood vessels rupture in my left eye (diabetic retinopathy related). This caused partial blindness in the eye because of the pooling of blood. I had experienced a similar episode in my right eye with total blindness in July 2013. Since the initial rupture, I have had three opthamologists, several laser surgeries with over a thousand individual laser strikes in my eyes.  And now, I am going to have invasive surgery in the right eye to remove scar-tissue from the retina and replace the vitreous fluid which is still cloudy with pooled blood… My vision right now is correctable to 20/50 in the right eye and 20/20 in the left. Over the past few weeks as my vision has returned in the left eye, I have been able to read printed pages, see clearly at night, and depth perception returned…. Huzzah! I have been able to read using the computer by enlarging the type quite a bit, and started buying/borrowing books in Kindle format for the same reason. So life is good, and the gift of sight is still mine, with hopes for complete or nearly complete recuperation.

What this also means is my trying to return to documenting our holiday trip from my perspective…  The Mrs is way ahead now and has been posting video as well as photos! She recently posted about playing “tourists” in St. David’s, which was the end destination of our walking along the Pembrokeshire Coast.  Our next leg of the journey was to Ireland! But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Since I have been waiting for my eyes to heal, I have been entertaining myself by driving The Mrs crazy and building an acoustic dreadnought guitar… Today I am going to mix up some fresh shellac and start shellacking the neck and body. This is quite a project and I am thoroughly enjoying it!!

A couple photos to close this entry…

Sunrise March 1st

Trussrod set

Installing frets
Installing frets

Preparations for Blue Water time…

We are starting to organize our trip logistics including snack items and boredom deflectors.  Amazon has proven to be a really great source for finding packaged food items that we can carry in our packs and/or pockets for a quick carbo boost. And at reasonable cost. This is important as:  1) I am a type 1 diabetic wearing an insulin pump, and 2) our hiking trips will be pretty much done all day in countryside without passing through any towns/villages.

One new item I just tried is an Oatmeal Fruit Squeeze by Munk Pack.  I read about these on another hiking blog and thought they sounded just about perfect. I got Apple Quinoa Cinnamon. Ingredients are pretty simple:  oatmeal, apple, apple juice, flax, quinoa, cinnamon, & citric & ascorbic acids. 19 carbs (3g of that is fiber), 2g protein, 80 mg potassium.  I like the flavor, it is easy to pack, and easy to ingest. These are going in my pack! And I checked the UK regulations to make sure I can bring with me… No Worries!!!

Munk Pack... yum!
Munk Pack… yum!

I have finished the arduous task of selecting reading material for the transatlantic voyage and the down-time during our hiking.  Eight books made the final cut. The toughest part now is not reading them before we travel!!!  The first two at the top of the list were written by Jean Reinhardt, an Irish writer I met through mutual blogging.

Jean's first 2 books
Jean’s first 2 books

These are historical novels set during the time of the Great Hunger in Ireland and afterwards. Some of my Irish ancestors came to the States at this time, so this holds a special fascination for me. I bought these copies on Amazon, and they are also available on AmazonUK. Jean’s 3 other published books are also available, which I intend to purchase after I read these first two.  Our Ireland walks will be a couple hours north of Jean’s location, so I will have to wait for our next trip over to get her to autograph my copies!  🙂

The Bad Tempered Gardener
The Bad Tempered Gardener

This next book is by a Welsh author, Anne Wareham, with photos by her husband, Charles Hawes. I found Charles first as he is an avid hiker and has a great blog about hiking in Wales. He has been my “answer man” throughout our struggles to organize our trip to Wales. Anne is an accomplished author on the subject of gardening, and her gardens (Veddw) are open for tours. We will be visiting their gardens on our trip!!  I am hoping to convince/cajole/bribe Anne into autographing my copy….

Enough about books… I was hoping to take the Hilu out on the lake today, but storms were threatening early this morning, then as the temperature and humidity rose, the wind petered out to a galeforce of 2 mph.  Now it is clouding over again, and the radar is indicating more rain.  I guess I might try to mow the lawn instead…

Watching the skies, and no wind...
Watching the skies, and no wind…