At this point in my life, Jo’s address has become something that I have well memorized. Since the first day she invited me over for a cuppa and we talked over the differences between California life and Ireland life, she has invited me to a large variety of functions, facilitated many chance meetings, and sprung many a surprise on me.
This week, she decided it was time to visit a new ruin.
Now, a word about ruins in Ireland: they are kind of like grain silos in Kansas–there’s always one in sight, no matter how far you drive. Unlike the grain silos, however, all the ruins in Ireland are under government protection. This means they act as public property, so anyone can go tromping around in them at their own risk. Still, farmers let their cows wander around them, plant their crops around (and sometimes in) them, and etc. No one destroys them, but no one particularly treats them like they are some amazing thing, mainly because, well, they are everywhere. To us foreigners, however, ruins! old things! beautiful imagery! so we all piled in Jo’s van and went.
We stopped by an old abbey and graveyard first, enjoying the beautiful sights (because…graveyards are pretty?) then went across the way, through a field of barley and past some cows, to the ruins.
When you imagine a castle, especially old ruinous ones, it is best to think of a box. If you draw a box, that’s your basic castle, but then some wise guy went “wait a minute, if it’s just four stone walls, it’s only a really sturdy house” so he added these four other stone boxes to the sides. Then because people are random they put stairs in some of the corners, but not all of them. Or, at least, the stairs only lasted in some of them.
Eventually we found the stairs that allowed us to go up along the walls. Referring back to my wonderful drawing of castle architecture (because I’m just that great at animated art) the only things that really last were the stone walls and the stairs, because everything else was made of stuff like wood and hay, and that collapses and gets eaten by little critters. It does, however, mean that you can still walk on the walls, which are just downright gorgeous, especially when covered by ivy. You see, the walls are built entirely out of stone, so while little tiny pieces of stone might wear away, the majority of it will far outlast everything else. And, since it has been outlasting for a long time, it looks old, but it still has a long way to go, so it’s just as sturdy as ever.
When I got to the top, I looked out and around, and the view nearly took my breath away. I settled back and stared out at the lovely countryside around me, wishing very strongly for my sketchbook, or perhaps just a good book to read, and maybe a cup of joe. After doing a wee bit of mental math, I decided to try to video chat my parents to share the view, but I did my math wrong, and ended up waking up my poor dad, who thought that the world was ending and I had been hurt.
It was a great view.