In August 2017, my daughter and I embraced our Dork side and journeyed a thousand miles from New York to Tennessee with the hope that we would witness a total solar eclipse. A thousand mile in exchange for two and a half minutes of midday darkness.
I didn’t quite realize how far out we were into the countryside of Costa Rica until our next door neighbor told us about the six foot iguana who climbed in bed with him!
We wanted our last stage of vacation to be as comfortable and trouble free as possible. We choose a NYC to Ithaca direct connect bus line noted for its free internet, on board snacks, and safe drivers. We looked into each other’s eyes as we snuggled into our comfortable seats and said “We made it!”. We were so wrong.
Donald Trump is wrong when he says it’s easy for bad people to enter the US. The screening process for getting into the US is so hard that even US citizens can’t enter…at least not easily.
1916 was the year a few brave Irish men and women rekindled the revolution that had been smoldering for many years before. This rekindling was termed The Easter Rebellion. The rebellion centered in an area of Dublin close to Dublin Castle. In the castle we visited a display to celebrate the centennial of this rebellion.
Always carry an umbrella in Dublin. We had barely arrived when the skies opened up and we found ourselves outside a natural foods juice bar with Batman (out of costume).
Micheal McCabe AKA Batman, Spider-Man, Ironman, any of the Ninja Turtles …has a expanding variety of costumed personas. Not entirely crazy he runs a for profit company called Loc-Down Events which you can find on Facebook
Micheal has great social intelligence and kept us entertained talking to us about his company, Irish politics, and places to see in Dublin.
His company, Loc-Down Events has a number of staff who get to dress up in movie quality costumes and go out to businesses, parties, festivals and be not-themselves for fun, profit and sometimes as volunteers to help kids heal in hospital settings. His company has a long list of characters they portray. With the new Batman vs. Superman movie, no doubt they are busy.
We were sitting outside under an awning that had to be pushed up every once in a while to drain the small lake of water accumulating just above our heads. Micheal showed us an article in that day’s newspaper featuring their company’s characters hanging out with kids at the hospital. This was where Micheal really got proudly expressive describing the events that his company takes part in to help kids.
Micheal is just as enthusiastic and lively as his photo portrays. He didn’t have to say he loves his work, loves kids, or loves giving of his time and talents – this was written all over his face.
Micheal’s work with children in hospitals got me researching about how widespread a trend it might be for there to be heros in hospitals. Though the costumed company Micheal represents obviously helps, some hospitals in Ireland have recognized the need for play in healing for years. There are play therapists of course that help kids with deep seeded issues and trauma but there are also a growing number of professional “play specialists” who likely prevent trauma by helping kids be more relaxed about being in a clinical setting. On the practical side play specialists require less training, cost less, and can therefore be hired in greater numbers. Here is a great article on this trend in Irish medicine..
I had a lot to learn about Ireland. I soon realized Ireland, the island, is divided in two. Check the map. Ireland is composed of Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland which is independent of the U.K. If you say only “Ireland” then most of the population in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland thinks you mean the Republic of Ireland – the big dark green part.
Maybe you didn’t know but the Republic of Ireland was neutral during World War 2 though many Irish did join the allied forces.
If you plan to visit Ireland or Northern Ireland its best to understand a bit about Irish history before you say anything stupid. We tried not to let our ignorance show but I occasionally said “Ireland” when I meant Northern Ireland. Carrickfergus is near Belfast in Northern Ireland.
My memory is not linear so forgive me if I back up to Scotland for a moment and relate how Ariana’s boots got fixed so she could safely walk again.
Ariana and I took a train to Portrush – just about as far as you can go north in Ireland without swimming into the ocean. Portrush is a small town just before getting to one of the big tourist sites in Northern Ireland – the Giant’s Causeway. The Causeway is a UNESCO site and one of the most unusual geological formations in the world. Tall tubes of hexagonal shaped rocks emerge from the shoreline – a result of volcanic activity from 50 to 60 million years ago. An identical type of formation exists in Scotland directly to the east in a place called Fingal’s Cave. This gave rise to a myth about an Irish giant and a Scottish giant challenging each other to a fight. The Irish giant builds the causeway to get to his foe only to realize, from a distance, that his enemy is much bigger than expected. The mother of the Irish giant then disguises her son as a baby to escape. However the Scottish giant, seeing the baby, assumes the father must be his opponent and a giant of all giants. Terrified he flees destroying the causeway behind him.
Geology seems boring by comparison to this tale.
If you have heard the word “Carrickfergus” before may have listened to a song about the place from Charlotte Church who sings:
“I wish I was in Carrickfergus
Where the castle looks out to sea.
I would swim over the deepest ocean
For my love to be with me.
But the sea is wide and I can not swim over
Nor have I the wings to fly
I wish I had a handsome boatman,
To ferry me over, my love and I.”
Our Airbnb had a view of the ocean from our apartment in Carrickfergus just down the block from the castle.