This is almost a joke considering the fact that I have been living in Ireland for over a month now, but I am finally starting my long-anticipated blog. I figure that I'll want to remember all the adventures I go on here and although my mind is a trap when it comes to phone numbers, birthdays, and the occasional PIN number, I regrettably forget details of the best times of my life on occasion. Plus if I start drinking at the same rate as my Irish comrades, I won't remember anything. So as a precautionary measure and for your (a total of 7 people, I'm sure) enjoyment, here is MURDERHOLE: an account of my life and times on the Emerald Isle. Mile fáilte! (A thousand welcomes!)
I chose "murderhole" as the title for this blog while sitting in a particularly fascinating lecture module that my friends and I call "Castles," which is short for AR 332: The Development of the Castle in Medieval Europe. My boy Kieran O'Conor is the lecturer and he was talking to us about tower houses, a late form of castle that is more prevalent in the Irish landscape than any other variation of castle.
Here are pictures of Sarah and I at Dunguaire Castle in County Clare, a 16th century tower house in excellent condition.
Sarah is showing off the strength of the yett, or defensive metal grate.
Tower houses are usually rectangular in shape and tend to be 3 or 4 stories high and were built by Irish lords especially in the 16th century. Defensive features included gun loops, arrow loops, a bawn (courtyard), machicolations, assommoirs, and my favorite, murderholes. Oftentimes, if a tower house was under attack and the main gate was breached, intruders could be sealed off within the ground floor of the castle and attacked from the floor above via murderholes with guns, arrows, heavy objects, and boiling water. Genius! I wrote "MURDERHOLE" in bold in my notes so I wouldn't forget such a fun new term, and now it's the title of this blog. That's the story. The cool thing about this castles class is that I am actually learning more from it than from most of my other classes, even though I intended the opposite.
So...I'm going to have to do a lot of backtracking in order to really do my experience justice, but bear with me, I promise the stories will be entertaining. Think of it like LOST - there will be flashbacks and flash-forwards and some stories in the present tense as well. I fucking love it here and if any of you are ever blessed with the opportunity to visit, do it. This island is full of warm, welcoming people and breathtaking landscapes that everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime. Rains a lot though...bring a good raincoat!
What a Long, Strange, Green Trip It's Been
7 years ago