Seeing the Tower or Seeing the Story

pic61

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.

Secret Garden

“She was inside the wonderful garden and she could come through the door under the ivy any time and she felt as if she had found a world all her own.” ~ Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

DSCN1147

“The Secret Garden was what Mary called it when she was thinking of it. She liked the name, and she liked still more the feeling that when its beautiful old walls shut her in no one knew where she was. It seemed almost like being shut out of the world in some fairy place.”  ~Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

My plan for the day?  Look for the beauty of my secret garden…because it’s there if I look hard enough.  Beauty, joy, peace, stillness, God.  And when I find it, I will turn the key and go inside.  Blessings, Lisa

My Tribute to a Great Writer

Maeve Binchy, born 1940 and passed from this world two days ago in 2012, was my favorite Irish writer.  She wrote fiction set in rural Irish villages, and filled that fiction to the brim with characters of all types, realistic daily happenings that somehow never seemed boring, and some of the best dialogue writing I have ever read.  When you read her books, you felt as if you were transported to that Irish town, and had suddenly become close personal friends with the characters by the intimate writing voice she used.

I didn’t always like her characters or the choices they made…sometimes they made bad decisions that I didn’t agree with.  But they were always real.  Binchy’s characters weren’t flimsy, stereotypical fabrications; they seemed like people you run into everyday.  People making good and bad decisions, people making decisions that affect the rest of their lives one way or the other.

So thank you, Maeve Binchy, for giving me so many wonderful reading hours beside your stories.  I enjoyed every one of them, and will enjoy many more when I re-read them.  Slainte, Lisa