Monday, June 30, 2008

Queen Maeve's Tomb

The "mountain" of Knocknarea rises a little over 1000 feet in elevation. Situated west of Sligo town, Knocknarea overlooks the Atlantic Ocean to the north and the iconic Ben Bulben to the east. Around 25oo B.C., the people living in the area decided to add another 30 feet to Knocknarea by erecting Ireland's largest megathilic tomb outside of the Boyne Valley in the eastern part of the country. The tomb may or may not be the resting place of Queen Maeve, an accomplished woman whose prowess in battle and in the bedroom won her an important place in Celtic mythology. Whether she reposes on the top of Knocknarea or not, the tomb is definitely there, and on a clear day is easily seen from miles away.

Yesterday, Premium T. and I drove over to Knocknarea to take what a sign advised was a 45-minute "walk" to the summit. Ireland has not made a significant investment in switchbacks, so the "walks" usually go directly from point A to point B, in this case straight up a rock trail to the top. The temperature was fine and the rain spared us its presence, but the omnipresent winds grew more forceful as we neared the summit. (You can get an idea of the winds from the video on Premium T.'s blog here.)


On the way up, we saw everything from a solitary tree on a lonely hillside


to spectacular panoramas (that's Ben Bulben off in the distance):




The vantages from the summit were wonderful, if short-lived: The wind was so ferocious that we left nearly as soon as we arrived. On our way down, we met up with a pair of siblings, Shelby and Seamus, and a some kind of small, shaggy terrier who had followed them up Knocknarea. Shelby and Seamus hail from Minnesota and were in the middle of a 17-day trip to Ireland. They are making their way across Ireland by foot and bus, staying in hostels. (Shelby is a travel writer; you can read her work here.) This is the time in their life to do it this way; me, I've become partial to renting cars and nice hotels.


Meanwhile, in the rest of the world...
How can an even half-sentient human being remotely consider taking tripe like this seriously? And, yet, people do. It's enough to make a guy an elitist...

It was thirty years ago today, give or take, and I was present at Patti Smith's only San Antonio appearance. Greg Barrios looks back here. For the record, I was also at this legendary event, written up in Rolling Stone and now a salient chapter of punk mythology. I still remember people throwing full beers and plates of food at the stage. I've never seen an act feed off of hostility like these guys did that night...

Too good to be true? According to this article, Sens. Larry Craig (R-Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Men's Room, Idaho) and David Vitter (R-D.C. Madam, Louisiana) are co-sponsors of a Defense of Marriage bill. Just when you think right-wing hypocrisy can't be any more jaw-dropping, something like this always comes along. OMG, it is true...

Finally, in 254 B.C., the Roman playwright Plautus was born. Plautus established the conventions of modern comedy and pioneered musical theatre. Why do I care? Well, the estimable Roman was born about halfway between now and construction of Queen Maeve's tomb. Chronologically, she was as pertinent to him as he is to us. A little perspective never hurts!

5 comments:

Scrumpy's Baker said...

Amazing pictures as always.

I read my crazy Catholic forums every day. Each day, they seem to have some new chopped up words from Obama that prove he's a muslim racist who's sole desire is to take over the world and leave us Godless.

Sometimes I just want to curl up into a ball and not talk to anyone in the outside world. Ireland looks like a good place for that.

K. said...

Well, Ireland is a great place to do nothing. However, the Irish definitely like to talk. They all like Obama, though. What crazy Catholic forums do you read? I'm not sure T. and I could resist...

Foxessa said...

It's bs when they say they don't know what to believe. In their hearts they know all this is lies, but they WANT to believe the lies, to justify their lean to racism.

Without coming out as, yanno, racists. But it's o.k. to hate gay people.

Love, C.

K. said...

Politically, this is why I don't give it much thought. These people have already made up their minds not to vote for him because he's black (and a Democrat). They just want something to rationalize their racism. Hillary Clinton wouldn't have gotten their votes, either. In her case, they'd be rationalizing their sexism. They'd have figured out something else to not vote for John Edwards.

Socially, it's sad and shows how far we have to go. At least the people in the article are old. Hopefully, the next generation looks at this differently. Of course, one can't generalize, but I do believe that matters like race and sexual orientation mean less and less to each succeeding generation.

Of course, that's exactly what scares people. I like to tell them when I run into them: "If you want to see the future of this country, look at Tiger Woods." That wouldn't be so bad, would it?

Foxessa said...

It will be a future of very good looking people then!

But in the meantime Obama's shown the colors I always believed he wore -- he's rolling further to the right every day. I no longer am energized.

As I thought, he and Hillary are so much the same, and they are both approved of by Rupert Murdoch, so how change would either of them bring? Well, now we know for certain -- none.

Love, C.