Friday, July 30, 2010
Visitor From New Zealand - Val Part 1
Val admiring our garden and the butterflies.
As I have previously mentioned, Val is Jim's older sister and they are quite close. Jim went and picked Val up from the airport while I stayed and finished the cleaning up! The new spare bedroom went down well and was just right for Val. She is an undemanding visitor and is happy to sit and chat or to go out and play.
The day Val arrived was Killanena GAA Family Day. I gather games were played and there was a bouncy castle and a barbecue. We chatted for ages then decided to head to the GAA Field. It was about 4.30pm by then and the festivities were almost over! We saw Michael, a local farmer and he chatted away to us happily. As we walked away I asked Val how much she had understood. 'Very little' was the reply! He has a very strong accent and speaks really fast!
Val knew little about Hurling and asked some unsuspecting chap all about it. She is very interested in any sport, particularly rugby league. She is the Gran of the 4 Burgess boys of whom I have spoken a few times. They all play rugby league, Luke, the oldest, plays for Leeds first team. The twins at 18 are already signed with Bradford Bulls, where Sam used to play. Sam now plays in Australia for Russell Crowe's team! More of that later
We stopped at Cannys on the way home and the quarter finals of the Hurling championship was on the large tv there. Val was fascinated and we sat and watched. The spectators in the pub got very excited as it was a very close game between Galway and Tipperary. We were cheering for Galway but they lost by one point. Boo!
Val engrossed in the game.
Watching the game intently
Our neighbour Hilary and Joe's daughter Cassie, who works in the pub. You can see the tv with the spectators at the game.
So off we went home and Jim made our dinner. Val and I took Buster for a short walk to the lake:
It was rather misty but this fisherman wasn't put off.
Neither was Buster of course. He has fattened up well since his last adventure.
Jim went out that evening back to Canny's as there was a concert on. I wasn't really interested and Val was very tired, so she had an early night and I waited up for Jim - who'd had a great time.
On Monday we decided to go and visit Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. Every time Jim and I go to and from the airport we pass Bunratty and always say 'we must go there one day'. So this was the day. It was quite warm and the sun shone intermittently. We first visited the castle itself:
This was probably used for animals. Here are Val and Jim ready to explore.
On the next floor up is the Banqueting Hall. Today they hold medieval banquets with music, mead and lots of food. This superb bell was on one of the window sills:
Many of the windows had pretty little stained glass sections:
The castle had fallen into disrepair and was bought by a wealthy gentleman. He restored it completely and gave it to the nation (of Ireland). The Castle is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland.
'Built in 1425 it was restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendour and now contains mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings, tapestries, and works of art which capture the mood of those times. Today, the castle stands peacefully in delightful grounds. The houses and cottages of the folk park spread out at the foot of its massive walls, much in the way that the cottages and crofts of old would have clustered around its base. We invite you to wander through the castle and marvel at the finest collection of medieval furniture in the country which brings to life a vital part of our Medieval past.'
I think that's enough for today - more of Bunratty tomorrow in Part 2.