Tuesday 23rd July ’19.
Last night, I found a really nice camping grounds to sleep in, Curragchase Caravan Park . It reminded me of the types of camping grounds I would find in the USA. It was in the middle of the woods, in a place called Curragchase Forest Park in County Limerick, with a lot more nature around than most of the other generic, run-of-the-mill campgrounds I've stayed in. The only downside was there was very little cellphone service and no WiFi. Although, for a lot of people, I'm sure that is a benefit when on holiday. For me however, it is a tremendous inconvenience, (the same issue I've experienced in most of the caravan parks I've stayed in) because it means that I cannot keep in touch with my family, and that I cannot blog. Hence the amount of time between blogs.
Notwithstanding the lack of WiFi and cellphone service, I would still highly recommend going to this Park if you're looking for a beautiful, woodsy, outdoors, in-nature experience, with all the basic comforts of home available. A place that feels like it's own little world.
I left there this morning aiming for Doolin in County Clare. Little did I know, that along the way, I would be drawn back into history.
I passed a castle called Bunratty Castle, which is a large 15th-century tower house in County Clare, Ireland. I figured I would stop off for just a few minutes, and get some photographs from the exterior. I warned myself that it would be longer than just a few minutes, but nooooo. Why would I listen to myself? When has that ever worked out for me?!??!?
Once I stepped onto the grounds, it felt like I was being sucked into another dimension. Another time. Another world. I could almost feel the peasants walking in the streets next me, with their heads bowed, and their backs broken, devoid of all hope, filled with dejection, and nursing shattered dreams. Somehow, they still managed to forcefully project their human spirit through haunting, yet melodious tunes. I wanted to reach out and pat them on the shoulders and tell them it was all good, and that there was hope for the future yet. But like the ethereal beings they were, just figments of my imagination, their lives shimmered brightly for a second, and then, like smoke from a turf fire flowing up a chimney, their forms melted and just like an early morning fog dissolving in the fields, there very essence dissipated from in front of my minds eye.
As I wander the streets, I can still hear the sounds of the musicians wafting through the still, empty air.
What could I do, other than try to capture their essence and their lives by photographing their homes.
After experiencing the hard, weighted life of the serfs (but a life nonetheless), I ventured forth into the opulence of Bunratty Castle itself.
After spending quite awhile wandering in and out of the aged hallways, and taking a self-guided tour of the sleeping areas, servants quarters and royal chambers, I came to the unequivocal realization that as much as I would have hated being a serf or a peasant, even more than that, I would definitely not have wanted to have been a Royal in those days. I realized that the average lower income family today, has greater luxuries and more amenities at hand, than the Kings and Queens of old could ever have dreamed of. After all, they had no electricity, no refrigeration, no running water in the castle, they had to use outhouses, and their medical care was shocking and medieval to say the least. If they wanted to journey to far off lands (hundreds of kilometers, forget thousands or even internationally), they were subjected to interminable days of boredom, cooped inside of a bouncing, rocking horse-drawn carriage, being dragged over uneven, rocky, and dangerous terrain, and then possibly boarding a ship whose perils were far worse, and could only have been called opulent compared to the norms of those times.
So, when people look up to the heavens, and with a small, wistful smile on their faces, say, "Those were the days" or call them "The good old days". Or, if they look back fondly at the fairytale existence of the "Days Of Yore" when knights roamed the countryside and engaged in daring and romantic quests, when the very virtue of maidens was dependent on those knights in shining armour, those very same days that we have romanticised and culled all the hardships and tragedies from, stop them. And dare to ask them if they enjoy being able to go the toilet in the middle of the night without being mutilated, or eaten alive by an ogre. Although I must warn you, they may give you strange looks. And if they do, send them my way. I'll talk to them. Although, I may just pull a tongue at them.