Camping in Clare, Castles in Kerry

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While on a recent camping trip to the west of Ireland, my family and I discovered a fabulous castle. It would make a great setting for a book, of any genre. Follow the link below and take a look at the video if you would like to see a lovely example of a late 15th century Irish tower house.

Camping and a castle

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And they say that humans are the most intelligent animals

Jean Reinhardt:

Are you being attacked by an army of flies? We’ve been battling swarms of them this summer in my town. I just had to reblog this post – enjoy.

Originally posted on Suffolk Scribblings:

I am your master (source: permatreat.com)

I am your master (source: permatreat.com)

Our village has been under attack. A swarm of houseflies has descended upon our little hamlet, leaving a trail of destruction as tea cups, picture frames and Royal Doulton figurines became collateral damage in the battle between fly and swat. The only people happy with the invasion are the owners of our local hardware store, who have been doing a roaring trade in fly swats, fly paper and – for the landed gentry – the ultra-violet electric bug zapper.

In our household the preferred weapon of choice was a rolled up newspaper (and they said print news is dead). It’s cheap, practical and you can tear off a page if the squished dead fly residue leaves splat marks on your walls. Plus there is something about wielding a rolled up newspaper that takes most men back to their childhood. In our heads we…

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Moby Dick, The Irish Connection

moby dick, youghal, cork,

Each year, the town of Youghal in county Cork holds a Moby Dick festival. If you would like to find out why, follow the link to Irish TV’s Cork presenter Ruth Hayes as she interviews locals who were eye witnesses to the making of the movie Irish TV – Cork

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Unfettered freedom; America’s elbow room.

Jean Reinhardt:

Great motivational post from Shelley of Peak Perspective.

Originally posted on Peak Perspective:

Tis the week we Americans begin getting a sprightly gleam in our eyes. It could be suggestive of our massive appreciation and gratitude toward our forefathers—the ones who gave their lives for our liberties. Or it may simply be a reflection of all the illegal fireworks we’re setting off in preparation for the big day: the one where we’re supposed to be showing massive appreciation and gratitude toward our forefathers, but end up losing focus due to the overabundance of burgers, beer and bad behavior.

290614freedom (639x800)

Therefore, this year I am determined to explore the theme of freedom before my brain becomes befuddled.

Summertime is a season where typically we are encouraged by the onslaught of complimentary commercials to enjoy the hot, sunny days and wear the attitude of one who is footloose and fancy-free. And I think that works brilliantly if you have a trust fund and are allowed free…

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Sleeping With Your Crush

Candy Crush Fallout

Candy Crush Fallout

If you haven’t heard of Candy Crush you must be living on another planet.  It’s a match three game you can play on your smart phone or Facebook.  It can be addictive, so this article comes with a warning.  Do you remember Tetris?  That game spawned the medical term Tetris Syndrome, seriously, look it up on Wikipedia.  I admit to being a user of Candy Crush.  You either love it or hate it.  I don’t play it, I use it.  The word “play” gives the impression you are enjoying yourself, relaxing, having fun.  If you become addicted you will find yourself begging, cheating, just needing one more “fix” before making dinner, doing homework, finishing that job your boss gave you to do.  Get the picture?  Sweet.

On a more positive note, as the title of this article says, I use Candy Crush to help me get to sleep.  I even yawned as I wrote that sentence.  If I am lying in bed and that precious state of slumber is being elusive, though it is way past midnight, I get my phone and play until my lives are gone.  Usually I am ready to drop off before that happens but I force myself to keep playing that extra life.  On occasion, overcome by drowsiness, I have to give up and switch my phone off, finally allowing my eyes to close as I drift off to the land of nod.  Divine.

Centro-de-rehabilitacion-de-los-adictos-al-Candy-CrushI have recently recommended Candy Crush to my clients who bite their nails, I own a salon.  One of the tricks to giving up this habit is to do something with your hands, besides putting them in your mouth.  I tell them to play holding their phone, not placing it on a  table or their lap.  It may even be used as a substitute for smoking.  This is an ongoing experiment and I will be publishing a scientific paper on the results of the trial in the near future. I predict Candy Crush will be classified as an illegal substance at some point, and only available on prescription.  Candycrush Anonymous clinics will spring up all over the place and we will read headlines about which latest celebrity has signed themselves into rehab, addicted to CC.

It is early morning as I finish writing this article and I am about to go downstairs to have my breakfast. I will prop my phone against a book (I used to be addicted to reading) at an angle that allows me to play Candy Crush without suffering from Repetitive Strain Injury.  Eating cereal with one hand, while striving to blow up jelly with the other is a strange, but somehow liberating way to start the day.  Delicious.

Originally posted on MARSocial by Jean Reinhardt (Sept 2013)

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1 Poet, 2 Rivers and Banksy

Vintage VespaWell, strictly speaking, Banksy himself wasn’t there. Neither was Thomas Moore, the poet – but samples of their work was. I  spent a lovely weekend with my three sisters in the beautiful county of Wicklow and the Irish weather did not let us down. We paid a visit to The Meetings of the Waters in the Vale of Avoca, the place that inspired some of Thomas Moore’s work. A bonus find was a group of fabulous scooters so creatively decorated and adorned that we spent as much time looking at them as we did the scenery.

Vintage Scooter

Vintage Scooter

Actually, we also took a lot more photos of the scooters. Thomas Moore would have been aghast at us drooling over mechanical contraptions instead of the beauty of nature. We couldn’t help ourselves as you can see from the photos. It was difficult to choose our favourites, but we all had one.

 

 

Which One?

Which One?

 Those three beauties in the photo on the left are my sisters, having a hard time deciding on which one they liked best. We must have spent twenty minutes walking around them discussing the pros and cons of each one. It was easy for me as my husband owned a similar one in the seventies.

 

 

My Favourite

My Favourite

Our little Lambretta was even the same colour, but we didn’t have the sidecar. It would have been so handy for the shopping and the dog. I also  took note of Thomas Moore’s beautiful Vale of Avoca, it would be difficult not to. You can check that out in the link below.

Thomas Moore and The Vale of Avoca

 

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Tiananmen Square Photos, Found in a Shoebox

Jean Reinhardt:

A wonderful surprise that brought some family history to life.

Originally posted on The China Girls:

It was a black film canister, rattling around the bottom of an old Naturalizer shoebox labeled “photos.” I opened it, wondering if it was a roll of unused film. Instead, I found a twist of white tissue paper wrapped around tightly rolled black-and-white negatives. I held them up to the light. At first I saw…legs.

Tiananmen legs

Then, people with bicycles.

Tiananmen bicycle people

Wait, that looks like the Monument to the People’s Heroes. Is that Tiananmen Square? With banners? Tiananmen monument

Next, a white form rising above a crowd, holding…a torch?

Goddess_crowd

Oh man, is this what I think it is?

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Mothers and Babies Forced Apart

This is a photo of two of my five children – twins a boy and a girl. It was taken almost thirty years ago and I cannot begin to imagine someone forcing me to part with either of them. Yet they were born at a time when a ‘home’ for unmarried mothers was still in operation. An excerpt from an article in the Irish Examiner written by Claire O’Sullivan tells us about it:

Adoption Rights Alliance Co-Founder, Susan Lohan said that the Tuam scandal is not isolated and that mother-and-baby homes in Ireland were known to have high mortality rates.

In his 1989 book To Cure and To Care — Memoirs of a Chief Medical Officer, former Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health James Deeny spoke of his concerns at the inordinately high child death rates at Bessborough Mother and Baby Home in Cork.

He estimated that 100 out of 180 babies born at the home for unmarried mothers, run by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart, died in one year.

“Dr Deeny was so concerned that he travelled to Cork to visit the home,” said Ms Lohan. “Initially he couldn’t see any reason for the high death rate but then asked one of the nuns if he could look at the babies’ nappies.

“When the nappies were opened, it emerged the babies and toddlers were sitting in putrefying diarrhoea that was being ignored and the nuns wanted it all covered up.”

Ms Lohan said it is widely believed that many children who died in the homes had health and disability needs that were not addressed, or suffered generalised neglect.

Dr Deeny had Bessborough closed temporarily in the 1950s but it reopened and was a home for single mothers until the 1980s.

With the discovery of hundreds of children’s bodies in a mass grave comes the public outrage that should have happened many years ago. Those with the power to force young women to give up their children for adoption had no compassion or sensitivity whatsoever. The most vulnerable in Irish society were being exploited and punished and left to deal with the consequences of other people’s prejudices and so-called piety, many carrying emotional scars for the rest of their lives. I have been hearing all week from different people in my locality who have had relatives who suffered in the past at the hands of those in charge of Mother and Baby ‘Institutions’ (I refuse to call them ‘Homes’ which is the official title they go by).

A friend told me how her husband’s sister was sent to one institution in a city not too far from where we live. She was young, pregnant and unmarried. Her baby daughter was adopted and she spent the rest of her life looking for her. In time she moved to England and settled there. Ten years ago my friend’s family received a letter from a woman who said that she was looking for her birth mother and believed she may be related to them. Unfortunately, the poor woman had died, never knowing that her daughter was also searching for her. As it turned out, mother and daughter had lived just two streets apart in England but never knew. They may have even passed each other on the street. If those records had been made available to that woman before she died at least they would have met and shared some time together before it was too late.

Another woman I was told about, had to stay in the institution where her daughter was born for a year, as an unpaid domestic servant and when she was released they kept her baby. She found work and had to pay a sum of money regularly to those running the institution where her child was being held. That little girl was sent out to work in various places until she was twelve years old, when her mother eventually managed to get her out.

There is an innate desire in many of us to learn about our roots. Whenever I  find a missing relative to add to my family tree, after months of searching on genealogy sites, I get a great sense of belonging and connection, even though that person may be a distant relative who died many years before. How particularly meaningful must it be to find the woman who gave birth to you, especially if she is still alive? If she has spent a long time searching for you, too, then you both feel truly blessed. I hope the records that have been kept hidden for so long will now become accessible to those who need and deserve to see them.

Nothing can take the hurt away or repair the damage of what went on in those draconian institutions, but the fact that it happened  should be acknowledged and apologies forthcoming. Where compensation is due it should be paid. Those innocent children and their oppressed mothers need to be vindicated of the reproach and degradation that the society of the day heaped upon them.

Here is a link to the synopsis Catherine Corless wrote about her research on the mass grave in Tuam that contained almost 800 children. Mother and Baby Homes

Link to Irish Examiner reporter Claire O’Sullivan’s article.

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AUTISM YOUTH HOME SLAMMED BY DOUG FORD

Jean Reinhardt:

Great post here on autism and how narrow minded some people are about something that affects a great many people.

Originally posted on yadadarcyyada:

1autism6

So while Rob Ford makes more headlines for  hanging around cottage country instead of rehab for the long weekend, big bro Doug Ford is busy insulting people with Autism and those who love them.

Doug Ford thinks a residential home for developmentally disabled youth in his ward is a “nightmare” for the neighbourhood. While his heart (ha!) goes out to the families of Autistic children, they have “violent tendencies” that will disrupt the neighbourhood and it should be relocated. Ford was told of this home in advance, but once some would-be voters complained he suddenly started thinking it was an issue.1autism7

According to Ford this home for some people with Autism has ruined the community. Apparently these Etobicoke families have worked hard for their homes and having child with Autismin the neighbourhood will destroy the entire neighbourhood.1autism5

I wish I was surprised by Ford’s prejudice about children and…

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Blogging Advice for Newbies: From My Blog Audience

Thanks to Damyanti for posting this. There are some good questions asked here that might be of interest to anyone new to it blogging.

Blogging Advice for Newbies: From My Blog Audience.

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