Backsides in Ireland

 

I didn’t intend to snap so many rear shots, but when you loiter with a camera, it’s bound to happen.

Here are a few photos from the day:

 

Soaking up the view & braving the wind–

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Dog walking done–

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Rush hour in Connemara–

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More Irish updates amárach…

That’s “tomorrow.”

We’ve Run Away

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Maryland has had terrible weather in recent days: record-breaking cold and unexpected snow. It’s been a total drag.

Least that’s what I’ve heard.

I wouldn’t know firsthand since I’m in Ireland… pulling off a repeat performance of last year’s trip.

I didn’t plan my Irish return so soon. The plane ticket was an impulse buy, in the midst of mid-winter malaise. I was bummed out and blue for a few days.

Some people seek prescription treatment for depression. Others self-medicate with booze. There are those who find solace in shopping — watching the QVC network, or bidding on eBay items.

Me? I troll airline websites.

Still, looking at flights is one thing and buying is another. But one dreary day I was feeling exceedingly gloomy — trapped in that endless winter cycle of farm care, kid care, horse care — forever housebound. I needed to get out.

I tried rousting a few friends to grab lunch. But when no one responded, I cracked open my laptop and clicked on the Aer Lingus website. Then I barreled into Martin’s office.

“Can I go to Ireland?”

“Yes,” he answered.

“Are you sure? I mean, are you really sure? You’d have to take care of everything — kids, horses, farm… I’d don’t have to go but I was thinking maybe a week–”

“Yes, please, go.”

“Are you positive?”

“Yes, go! Farm, kids? I can handle it. Go. I want you to go.”

Translation: “You’ve been a moody cow lately. If Ireland’s the cure, I’m all in.” 

So that’s how this trip happened.

One “buy now” click later and I was booked for Ireland — departing the same day that I traveled last year. Afterward, Mom took care of Brynn’s plane ticket, and my friend, Sarah, decided to tag along, too. The three of us flashed our passports in Shannon before sunrise on Thursday morning.

 

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Castletownshend, Co. Cork

 

So far we are four days into this trip, and I’m feeling pretty happy. No longer blue.

Also I can report: there’s no buyer’s remorse, either.

 

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Finally: The Roof!

 

The barn roof. I promised “after” photos and a rebuild synopsis weeks ago — way back in 2014.

What can I say?

Sometimes life derails your plans.

If you missed the first chapter on the barn roof, you can play catch-up here.

Otherwise, here’s the finished product.

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John, our Amish contractor, did a great job. He estimated that roof replacement would require a month, give or take weather woes. And he was spot on. He and his crew dismantled the original roof, circa 1910ish… 1920ish… and rebuilt it within four weeks.

Well done!

There were, however, a few dicey days.

Initially, John planned to tackle the roof in bites, shelling a small section and replacing it, before crabbing along the framework to the next patch of real estate. That’s how construction proceeded for the first few weeks.

But near the end of the renovation, the guys changed their game plan: they stripped the roof naked, in one ambitious, magnificent gulp.

Behold, the belly of the beast:

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Unfortunately, this bold declaration of roofing nudity coincided with a shift in the weather forecast: meteorologists swapped their fair-sky guarantee for a wavering prediction of “maybe rain.”

Maybe-rain is a huge motivator. John and the boys moved fast.

Here’s the roof on a Thursday afternoon in mid-December:

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And here it is the next day, with rain imminent. See? A flurry of activity when precipitation is breathing down your collar.

 

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So, the barn roof roof is done. Mission accomplished. (Note: when the kids pine for anything, I point to the roof. For example — Brynn: “I wish I could sleep in my own bed.” Me: “You want your own bed? Look at that barn. See that nice shiny roof? There’s your new bed!”)

I’m relieved that this project is completed. I won’t miss the construction scene… living amidst a cast of pickup trucks and a crew of boom lifts and skid loaders. I’m tired of counting the throng of rutted tire tracks snaking through the muddy yard.

But I’ll miss you, John.

John would’ve made a top-notch regular among the Funny Farm cast.

His Amishness was entertaining. Granted, at times he was totally high-tech. John worked off a cell phone and I watched him maneuver earth moving equipment and pilot the boom lift to raise roofing panels skyward.

But in other ways, he was refreshingly clueless. There was the rubber snake incident.

And when he pointed toward a distance cell phone tower — so obviously a tower, thinly veiled to resemble a silo.

“Wow,” marveled John. “They must have a lot of cows at that farm.”

Martin was quiet, before stating, “John? It’s a cell phone tower.”

 

So many good John lines… so little time.

My favorite exchange?

John was standing beside the barn, trying to make small talk with Martin.

“So,” John said to Martin. “You play polo?”

Martin looked blank. “No, I don’t play polo. Why would you think that I play polo?”

John shrugged, then gestured at the pocket of Martin’s rugby. “Because of your shirt,” he said.

Hey Ralph Lauren, here’s a tip off: the Amish community is unchartered waters.

There’s a final frontier for your Polo brand…

 

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