While not far as the crow flies, ireland is quite different from Scotland.
Landscape is different. Accents are different. Money, food, etc.
I had to walk back up to the train station in Dublin after I tried to buy a tram ticket with Pounds Sterling, as I took a train from Belfast into the Euro zone.
It is always strange to be in a place where real things happen. Belfast spent decades in a violent Catholic/Protestant struggle.
As with many cities that were heavily bombed in WWII, Belfast is a mix of old, beautiful buildings, and horrid 50s-60s architecture. At least for me, this saps my enthusiasm for photographing it, as every shot will have a McDonalds or otherwise in the shot. I strive to take photos that can’t be dated . (And the horrible quality of my Li River photos is going to take me back there to redo them!)
Dublin on the other hand, has done what Belfast has yet to do: created an interesting, clean, walkable city, revitalized and bustling.
For a U2 nerd like your author, it was cool to go to Windmill Lane,
This is also the home of St. Patrick and he is celebrated by one of the oldest churches in Ireland.
Being Ireland, it needs a lot of rain to stay so green, and I got my share. I spent a rainy day being a tourist, seeing the Book of Kells and the Long Hall, the excellent library at Trinity College.
I also saw the Museum of Printing, which was interesting to a machine nerd like myself, but a bit of a walk on a rainy day.
Then it was off to the farm!
Tullywood farm is in Roscommon, a two hour train ride WNW of Dublin and about 30 miles from Sligo, on the west coast.
On the farm, Joe, Julie and 12 year old Tara raise pigs and sell artisan pork: real bacon and great sausages, white and black puddings…yummy! I have introduced them to homefries with the bacon and sausage mixed in.
The work so far has been varied and fun. Joe has built the farm from the ground up and there is lots to do. In the first week, I have laid a concrete slab, painted the farm shop doors, painted the weathervane, shoveled out a nice layer of old, dried (and not so dried) pig shit, and disposed of a couple dead goats.
I have finally got to do some cooking. Besides the homefries, I have busted out some rice krispie treats, chocolate chip cookies, lasagna and homemade bread.
And we started building a brick shithouse. No, literally. We are building a double bathroom with one shower out of brick and cement. And that’s just the first week.
Sadly,we took Tara to her first day at boarding school. She is head strong and whip-smart. Me:”Hey Tara, I need a piece of wood about kinda this big by this big.” Her:”Do you need a 2×4 or a 3×9 or what?” Me:”Oh…right. A 3ft. 2×4 will be perfect.” And she knows right where it is.
It will be quiet and boring around here but she will be home on the weekends.