“If God gives you the strength, see it through to the end. Mind ye, ‘twould come harder on you to travel the fifteen miles back to your starting point than to walk the thousand-odd miles yet before you.” Last of the Donkey Pilgrims, Kevin O’Hara, c2004
Yes, I’m reading it again. (fourth time through) And yes, I’m loving it again. Who can say what it is about a certain book that makes you love it? All I know is that I’m happy, and smiling, and chuckling just like the first time I read it. And I’m glad of it. Thank you, Kevin O’Hara.
So you might be hearing nuggets of it this week as I rediscover favorite lines along the way. Yay for donkeys! 🙂 Slainte, Lisa
It’s far too easy when I’m traveling to just focus on the structure, and not really think about the story behind why that structure was built. The real details of what life was like at that time, in and around that building. This is Eask Tower outside of Dingle, Ireland. The 1 mile hike up Carhoo Hill is gentle but persistent. At the top you are rewarded with amazing views of Dingle Harbour and Connor Pass.
This tower was built in 1847 as a famine relief project, headed up by Rev. Charles Gayer. The workers produced an amazing and strong structure…16 feet thick walls, rising 39 feet into the air. The wooden arrow points into the mouth of the blind harbor to help early sailors navigate. It also served as a lookout tower during WWII.
Imagine living during those days….not enough food for your family, for yourself, months and months of weakness, desperation. Yet those workers somehow managed to rally the strength to make this. Things like that always amaze me.
Enjoy your day, and look for the stories. They’re everywhere. 🙂 Slainte, Lisa
*If you are interested in a really good book to give you a small glimpse into what the Irish Famine might have been like, read “Galway Bay” by Mary Pat Kelly. It stays with you long after you’ve finished it.
With “The Hobbit” movie coming out soon, I am feeling Tolkien-minded as I look at this picture of the ascent of Carrantuohill in Ireland. If you stretch your imagination a bit, you can almost see Bilbo Baggins and his dwarf companions as they make their way on their great adventure.
“I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone.” (Gandalf)
I should think so — in these parts! We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!” (Bilbo)
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
“Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
Now I have put myself quite in a mind to re-read The Hobbit. For about the seventh time, but that’s ok, right? 🙂 Slainte, Lisa
Ok…I am officially excited! I got an email from the “Donkeyman”, Kevin O’Hara, wonderful author of “Last of the Donkey Pilgrims.” If you haven’t read it, read it! It’s a story of his journey around the entire ring of Ireland at the end of the 1970’s. It’s the story of his growth as a person, his relationship with a wonderful donkey named Missy, a glimpse into Irish life at that time, and a wonderful picture of the warmth of the Irish people he encountered along the way. Yes, I just used the word “wonderful” four times, and that was intentional. 🙂
I wrote him to let him know how much I liked the book, and he wrote back graciously and asked for one of my CD’s. Super cool! So now I am happy, and wanted to share some of that bubbly over-enthusiasm with all of you. If you like Ireland, travel stories, donkeys of any kind, and good storytelling, you will love “Last of the Donkey Pilgrims” by Kevin O’Hara.