Ring of Kerry. Western Ireland.

A Road trip of Road trips today. The stunning Ring of Kerry. Starting in Kenmare, this is a 110 mile circular route around the Iveragh Peninsular covering stunning views, charming towns, rugged forests, gushing waterfalls, all edged by the rolling, crashing waves of The Atlantic Ocean. It was a sublime journey, covering breathtaking land and seascapes. Key stages of the journey included the Coomakista Pass, Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, Molls Gap, Skellig Micheal in the Atlantic, Waterville village and Cahersiveen.

‘And some time make the time to drive out west
… along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter…’

Seamus Heaney, Postscript.

It was a long day, but a memorable one. https://www.newmarketholidays.co.uk/holidays/europe/ring-of-kerry-and-wonderful-western-ireland

Clonakilty, Timoleague and Kinsale. Western Ireland.

Timoleague, Western Ireland.

Day one of my Western Irish tour started in Clonakilty, birthplace of Micheal Collins (1890-1922), Irish revolutionary, soldier and politician who was a leading figure in the early-20th century struggle for Irish independence.

Next stop was Timoleague, a small village where the ruins of a thirteenth century Franciscan abbey stands picturesquely at the waters edge.

Kinsale, a harbour town with a maze of narrow streets and an eclectic mix of bars, restaurants and shops was the next stop.

Kinsale, Western Ireland.

It was raining hard during my visit here, but it’s Western Ireland and it’s October… It took nothing away from the beauty of the location.

Last stop of the day was Charles Fort, just outside of Kinsale. A star-shaped military fortress that has stood firm for centuries. It was raining even harder by now, but the fort was totally worth getting drenched for.

Despite being partially ruined, you could imagine the soldiers and their families living in this fortress.

https://heritageireland.ie/places-to-visit/charles-fort-national-monument/

Charles Fort.

https://www.newmarketholidays.co.uk/holidays/europe/ring-of-kerry-and-wonderful-western-ireland

The Power of the Dog

Rudyard Kipling – 1865-1936

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie—
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find—it’s your own affair—
But… you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!).
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone—wherever it goes—for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we’ve kept ’em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long—
So why in—Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

England and St. George.

‘…Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’

William Shakespeare (from Henry V)

Happy St. George’s Day 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

BBC Radio 4 Short Works. The Cleaner by Mary Paulson.

I’m loving this Short Works series by BBC Radio 4.

In The Cleaner a woman returns to her home village in Scotland to clear her mother’s house. But things do not turn out as she expects.

What ties us to our past? Makes us return and stay, even though we might have moved on?

Concise and clever story writing. I will be looking out for more Mary Paulson.

Find here on the BBC Sounds App:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p095lvsg

The Tunnel. Sky Atlantic.

And how brilliant is this?

Clémence Poésey as Elise Wassermann and Stephen Dillane as Karl Roebuck, the detectives

Based on the original Swedish series “The Bridge,” this British crime drama centers on British and French detectives who are forced to work together when a French politician is found dead inside the Channel Tunnel, sparking a complex cross-Channel investigation. This is very clever writing by the team comprising Ben Richards, Chris Yang, Jamie Crichton, John Jackson and George Kay.

Again a bit late to the party, but really enjoyed this.

Neil Gaiman’s The Sleeper and the Spindle.

BBC Radio Drama

Written by Neil Gaiman

Adapted by Katie Homs

Directed and Produced by Allegra McILroy

A twisted fairy tale part Snow White, part Sleeping Beauty with women at the forefront of the tale. Sleeping Beauty is awoken by a kiss from the Soldier Queen- the prince is redundant and the dwarfs aren’t to be taken seriously. On her awakening we find that Sleeping Beauty put a counter-spell on the old woman, ensuring that she can never sleep.

A brilliant BBC radio dramatization narrated by Dame Penelope Wilton with Neil Gaiman himself as The Home Secretary.

New Year.

“I hope that in the year to come, you make mistakes. Glorious, amazing mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.

Neil Gamain, Neil Gaiman’s Journal

Famous writers and Active Service.

Found an article in a National Newspaper a month or so ago. We are familiar with the war poets such as Rupert Brooke and Wilfred Owen, but I was interested to read about other writers that saw active service.

Tolkien: served as a lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers and saw action at the Battle of the Somme. He was hospitalised with trench fever.

CS Lewis: saw action in the trenches arriving in 1917 aged 19. He took German prisoners and was wounded by a shell blast.

AA Milne: Winnie- the- Pooh creator. The famous bear was named after a real bear that had once been the mascot of a Canadian Infantry that Milne joined up to in 1915. He was injured at the Battle of the Somme.

Ernest Hemingway: was wounded by mortar fire as an ambulance driver on the Italian Front, where he fell in love with a nurse.

We tend to forget our famous writers have lives apart from their books, so I was really interested to read about these classic authors in the Great War.