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Excursion in Ireland

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  • shane_dublincentre
    I m just back from a two-day Centre excursion deep into the unexplored heart of Ireland. We didn t make it over to England because we were entertaining guests
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 31, 2004
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      I'm just back from a two-day Centre excursion deep into the
      unexplored heart of Ireland. We didn't make it over to England
      because we were entertaining guests - we had Jan from Brno in the
      Czech Republic and Rastio from Slovakia, who had just run the Dublin
      Marathon five days earlier. Colm also made it out from Galway on the
      other side of the country.

      The previous week had seen some of the worst weather I can remember;
      incessant rain, malevolent-looking clouds, biting wind and even more
      rain, and on our way down it looked like more of the same. We met up
      in Birr, Ambarish's birthplace, and duly went around to inspect all
      the statues he said had been erected in his honour. We didn't find
      any (must have been taken away for polishing), so we had to content
      ourselves with glimpses of the hospital where he was born and the
      barbers he used to get his hair cut at (awwww!).

      We then drove on to Clonmacnoise, a site of great spiritual
      significance. On the way we passed scenes of devastation caused by
      flooding - the Shannon, the largest river in Ireland had burst its
      banks and whole fields were underwater. But thankfully the rain had
      subsided. Clonmacnoise was one of the great monastic settlements in
      the period 600-900 AD where great saints resided and many copies of
      holy scripture were elaborately calligraphed. The place grew into a
      giant cemetery because everyone wanted to be laid to rest there, so
      the outward appearance isn't spectacular. However when I sat down to
      meditate at the river's edge (the flooding had almost come up to the
      monastery walls), I found that whatever else had changed, at least
      the vibration of all those ancient prayers and spiritual toil hadn't
      gone away. There was a nice informative audiovisual show too.
      Afterwards we had a frenetic game of football played until well
      after the light had faded, before we headed back to the town of
      Banagher for some food and bed.

      When I woke up the next morning, I couldn't believe the contrast in
      the weather. Autumn/early winter for me is both my favourite and
      least favourite season - least favourite when cold and miserable,
      but my favourite when there is not a cloud in the sky, the air is
      fresh and makes you feel alive, and the light is so sharp and clear;
      in summer I always feel that the sunlight saturates everything and
      infuses it with slightly lethargic qualities, whereas the winter
      sunlight draws out a crisp definition in all it touches; you feel
      you are seeing the world newly-born, seeing things as they really
      are... Yesterday morning was one of the finest examples of that kind
      of weather I have experienced.

      First item on the daily programme was the 2-mile Self-Transcendence
      race - on a 1-mile-and-back course measured by car practically from
      the door of the hostel! Seeing as we were away, we allowed ourselves
      a minor concession to luxury and held our pre-race meditation
      inside. Rastio is always joking that he likes to hang in behind the
      leader and make him do all the work before leaving him for dead with
      the last minute kick (so to speak). Well, he got a taste of his own
      medicine this time. I was just hanging on behind him, suffering
      away, suffering away... and then the turnaround came and we were
      headed straight into the sunrise, the dewy mist still rising off the
      fields, flocks of swallows off for the winter - still suffering,
      mind you... I don't know what came over me to pass him out so early;
      maybe I was thinking he had run the marathon and he won't have the
      kick... almost home... what's that noise behind me? Uh-oh, Rastio
      coming through! I struggled for one last burst...

      We both came home in 11.18. If the course was five metres longer,
      he'd have definitely had me. In fact, if I were absolutely sincere,
      I suspect he'd have won the photo finish; but I don't think he reads
      these postings that much - so let's keep the "ifs" hypothetical!
      Amarish was home in 12.32, Gary in 14.08, Colm in 14.30 and Vinny in
      14.32. There was a little debate as to whether the course was short
      or not; myself and Rastio both ran our second-best times (Rastio 5
      days after a marathon!), but the others seemed to think it was OK.

      Breakfast and onto Birr Castle - we thought this was just going to
      be a peek in on our way to the mountains, but little did we know...
      The castle was owned by a family who had an interest in all things
      scientific (Europe's first suspension bridge, and the world's
      largest telescope for 70 years are on the grounds; the family also
      made pioneering contributions to electricity, steam power and
      aviation). They were also into building the biggest and bestest
      gardens ever! A lot of the park is woodland and meadowland at the
      confluence of two small rivers - that's half the garden made for you
      right there - to which they have added lots of flora and fauna from
      all over the world and left the whole mixture for 100 years to fuse
      and settle and get to know their pace in the scheme of things. Such
      colours, and yet not one out of place, not one. I did not want to
      leave; I could have stayed there for a long, long time.

      Everyone at work is going to ask me all kinds of scientific
      questions when I tell them I was in Birr Castle - I won't know what
      to tell them; even the exhibition of sciencey stuff I viewed with a
      wonder quite unconducive to the gathering of facts. There was also a
      photographic exibition of space photos - supernovae and nebulae and
      cosmic dust and stars and stars and stars and stars - if I were able
      to see these photos at the pace I would have wished, I would still
      be there now, I daresay.

      It was well into the afternoon when we did manage our mountain
      stroll - these mountains (the Slieve Blooms) are largely planted
      with trees for commercial use, but there are quite a lot of lovely
      deciduous trees there. Then of course another game of football which
      I tried rather unsuccessfully to play whilst simultaneously watching
      the molten orange sun lowering its way through the wispy pink clouds
      on its way to exit stage left. Winter sunrises or winter sunsets -
      simply cannot beat them. Suitably tired, we piled into the cars and
      had one last meal in the town of Mountrath before we all had to go
      our separate ways. This is one trip which I will definitely call on
      for inspiring memories for quite some time.

      Shane
    • vitalpi
      I liked Shane s story. I like his postings and I believe this is so because I always see his ever-smiling face in front of me when I read them. I had a chance
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 4, 2004
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        I liked Shane's story. I like his postings and I believe this is so
        because I always see his ever-smiling face in front of me when I
        read them. I had a chance to know him better in Wien, and I will
        always remember his: "Everybody else calls them hills, but WE call
        them mountains" – this is about the Irish mountains.

        When he said it in his Irish accent it was so "fonny"… I will
        remember it and I will always laugh at it no matter when I will be
        in a situation to use this word "mountain" in English – since I am
        not English-speaking…

        Igor T.-
        Macedonia



        [Welcome Igor! If you're commenting on Shane's story "Excursion
        in Ireland" (message #8954), please help readers follow the
        discussion by quoting Shane's original message. If you're confused
        about how to reply to a message, please use this shortcut to message
        #8672, and scroll down to the section called "Replying To A
        Message." Thank you. -Assistant Moderator]

        http://tinyurl.com/2z72h/8672
      • shane_dublincentre
        Hi Igor, Your posting brings back some very nice memories of my time in Vienna with you and the Macedonian guys (plus one Croatian and an Israeli, both of whom
        Message 3 of 3 , Nov 4, 2004
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          Hi Igor,

          Your posting brings back some very nice memories of my time in
          Vienna with you and the Macedonian guys (plus one Croatian and an
          Israeli, both of whom shall remain nameless, considering their
          leading role in the nefarious goings on below).

          -the morning you all tried to buy a Turkish restaurant with my
          credit card.

          -travelling around Budapest in a van with Christian and the other
          Igor: apparently I was giving directions far too quickly in English
          to Igor, who was driving the van. Christian tried to translate in
          Macedonian, which was fine until I guessed the Macedonian for
          straight (brava), right (dobra) and left....er, maybe I didn't
          actually deduce the Macedonian for left, it would explain why we
          were driving around in anti-clockwise circles :) I still feel a
          little remorseful when I think of the stress poor Igor had to go
          through.

          -the Thursday when, after some consideration, we decided against a
          plan to open the door whilst the car was still moving and bundle an
          unsuspecting pedestrian inside to help us with directions, and took
          the subway instead.

          Anyway, Igor it was great to hear from you. You're no stranger to a
          good smile yourself.

          Shane
          who believes a mountain is a mountain not because of its height, but
          because of its majesty



          --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, vitalpi
          <no_reply@y...> wrote:
          >
          > I liked Shane's story. I like his postings and I believe this is so
          > because I always see his ever-smiling face in front of me when I
          > read them. I had a chance to know him better in Wien, and I will
          > always remember his: "Everybody else calls them hills, but WE call
          > them mountains" – this is about the Irish mountains.
          >
          > When he said it in his Irish accent it was so "fonny"… I will
          > remember it and I will always laugh at it no matter when I will be
          > in a situation to use this word "mountain" in English – since I am
          > not English-speaking…
          >
          > Igor T.-
          > Macedonia
          >
          >
          >
          > [Welcome Igor! If you're commenting on Shane's story "Excursion
          > in Ireland" (message #8954), please help readers follow the
          > discussion by quoting Shane's original message. If you're confused
          > about how to reply to a message, please use this shortcut to message
          > #8672, and scroll down to the section called "Replying To A
          > Message." Thank you. -Assistant Moderator]
          >
          > http://tinyurl.com/2z72h/8672
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