Tuesday, August 12, 2003
I've been thinking alot lately about the abortion issue. I cannot believe that a people as advanced and civilized as us can practice what amounts to human sacrifice. There's an Irish song I was just listening to, about World War One, called "The Green Fields of France," and some of it's lyrics are appropriate here:
But here in this graveyard that's still no-man's land
The countless white crosses stand mute in the sand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man
The whole generation was butchered and damned
For the babies who've been murdered, there will be no white crosses on the green fields of France. They don't get graves. They get stored in some plastic buckets in wharehouses of abortion mills. They get discarded in the trash. But they never get a monument. They were helpless when they were killed, they couldn't fight, they had no option. Babies trust their mothers. They never think their mothers will kill them.
Now, I don't know what we can do. It seems that the Supreme Court decided the issue pretty finally. All we can do is wait for a conservative enough court to overturn Roe v. Wade. But we can't surrender. Never let anyone convince you the fight is hopeless. Somehow, the babies of the future will be saved.
posted by d |
Sunday, August 10, 2003
Alright, I've promised it and here it is...talk about my trip to Ireland.
posted by d |
First, the political aspect. If you've read any Irish newspapers or anything, you get the idea that Ireland is very anti-american. However, from what I saw it is not. Almost every hotel had an Irish flag, an American flag, and a European flag. While the European flag is disappointing, it seemed interesting that they should put the flags together like that. Furthermore, when we met with some distant cousins of mine, they had some very interesting things to say. My sister was showing American money to one of our Irish cousins (he called American currency "the Buck") and he asked about the White House. My sister told him about how its the presidents home and such, and he said, "So George Bush lives there?" then expressed his admiration for the president. Later on, we heard that another cousin was very much in support of the war in Iraq, and was quite happy about Uday and Qusay's deaths. I found all of this encouragin. The worst (politically) things I saw in Ireland were a Che Guevera flag on a sandwich stand, and a Palestinian flag in a window of an abandoned building in Dublin.
Now, as far as the trip itself, it was great. We stayed first in Dublin. Now, Dublin is just a city, pretty much like any other. It's got some historic stuff, and a great many statues (which have rhyming names in the slang of Dublin: for instance, the statue of Molly Malone is "The tart with the cart," the statue of Oscar Wilde is "The fag on the crag" and the Millennium Spike is "The stilleto in the ghetto"). The Book of Kells is a great thing to see, but it seems to be surrounded by old German tourists, who hit and push. Dublin Castle is also rather interesting.
After that we went to Knock. Knock is a very strange place. Apparently in the late 1800s, some people saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary. Now there's a huge shrine there, and the whole town exists for the shrine. The little shops along the main road have bizzare mixtures of goods. Mostly religious items, such as holy water bottles, pictures of Christ and of various saints, etc. However, they also carry things of a less sacred nature....it results in a very strange mixture. In the shrine's graveyard, we saw, strangely enough, a grave with the name of my (living) grandfather. We asked him about it, and he didn't know anything about the guy who shared his name.
We visited relatives in Kilkelly, which is near Knock. They invited us for "tea." Now, "tea" to them is probably more than I'd eat in a week. There was all kinds of food, and it was all most excellent. They live on a farm, and we got to see where they cut peat for peat fires (then they burned some to show us) and we got to walk up into the bog and look around. All their family lived on the same farm, in different houses they build. In fact, one was being build just then, at the top of the hill.
We drove to Achill island, which is an interesting place, because it has the castle of the Pirate Queen, Grace O'Malley. It was a very interesting tower, which you could climb into and walk around on. Achill island was a beautiful place. After we left it, we went to Cong, which is where "The Quiet Man" was filmed. It is also where Ashford Castle is. Ashford is the best hotel I've ever stayed at. Better, even, than the Del Coronado in San Diego. Ashford is an 18th century castle, built on the site of a 13th century castle. It's on the shores of Lough Corrib, the second largest lake in Ireland. We walked in the forest there, took cruises on the lough, and listened to Irish music in the Dungeon Bar. It was a most excellent place.
After leaving Ashford we stopped in Lisdoonvarna, which is actually a rather unremarkable little town. It apparently has some kind of matchmaker festival in september, which is why it's so well known. Anyway, it's a nice little place. We stayed at a bed and breakfast there, which was an interesting expirience.
We went for a day to Inis Oirr, one of the Aran islands. It's the smallest, and it's very interesting. There is a saint burried in the graveyard there, and an underground church that he built. On Inis Oirr, almost everyone is named "O'Flaherty" or "Costello." We went into O'Flaherty's pub, which was a very authentic sort of place. It seemed that everyone on the island was there to watch the hurling match (Wexford vs. Antrim) and it was a good place to eat. The owner had a great deal of stuff on the walls, including a gun and some medals from some country (I don't know what they signify).
We then went to Adare, and stayed at Adare Manor. Adare Manor is owned by an American and a former Marine, who we met and talked to for a while. Adare Manor is a castle of sorts, which belonged to the Earls of Dunraven. Adare's Clubhouse restaurant has the best food in Ireland. It's extremely good. It's got some very interesting things, most especially a beautiful ruin of a Franciscan friary. It is beautifully preserved, and you can find the dormatories of the monks and the church, as well as a walled garden and a few towers. It is a fun place, and the most beautiful ruins I saw (there are ruins everywhere in Ireland).
We went to Kilarney next, which is a beautiful place. The national park has a great many lakes and forested areas, and the Ring of Kerry and the Ring of Dingle were beautiful. This was the end of the trip, really, because we went to London a couple days after that (I'll write about London a little later."
So, if you go to Ireland, here's advice. Don't worry too much about the food being horrible. The food isn't bad. In fact, they don't seem to have really Irish-seeming food at most restaurants. I'm sure you could get it some places, but not at hotel restaurants and such. If you're buying candy bars, they have different names there. What they call a Milky Way, we call a Three Muskateers. What they call a Mars Bar, we call a Milky Way. So remember that. Also, if you pick up a Gaelic football jersey from County Mayo, you might not want to wear it in County Kerry. I hear thats a bad thing to do. Also, it's hard to find real Irish music. You go into a pub where they have music, and they're playing John Denver. Seriously. There is no song the Irish love more than "Take me home, country roads." You might have to ask if you want to hear real Irish music. But, on the whole it was a great trip. Ireland is a beautiful place, and the people are extremely nice. It's sad that they saw fit to join the EU, but they really don't seem to fit the regular European stereotypes.