Sunday, 17 March 2013

Geting away from the Yank's House

This week Pat and I decided to get away from it all. We headed to Birr in Co Offaly. Maybe not your first choice of destination for a two day break – but somewhere Pat and I had not been to before. We didn’t have a lot of money to spend on our get-away so we booked a deal on We picked Birr because it is one of Ireland’s best examples of a Georgian Town. I was looking forward to seeing its streets and malls and lovely buildings. I was not disappointed.  

To check out the town try this web site

We arrived in Birr at lunch time on Thursday 14th March. We were booked into the County Arms Hotel –

We booked in to our room which was lovely and headed down to the bar for some lunch and to watch the racing on TV. I hear some of you groan – but it was Cheltenham Race week and also it was Pat’s birthday and he follows the racing. So on your birthday, you should get to do exactly what you want. 

After a few races we walked down the town to explore where the locals were watching the racing and joined some of them in the bar at Dooley’s hotel. We had a lovely afternoon. The streets and buildings are so impressive.  That evening we had dinner in the hotel and shared a lovely  bottle of red. I was so relaxed and could feel myself starting to unwind from the moment we arrived in Birr.

Next day after a lovely breakfast we headed to Birr Castle Demesne

It was a lovely crisp bright morning – cold but sunny. We decided to start with a walk around the gardens because in Ireland you never know when the next season is about to start. As my mother used to say - Make hay while the sun shines

So this week on the blog I decided to share my walk with you. I was really taken by the beauty of the place and by the sounds - the flow of water, birds song and blissful quite made it a great experience. I have been a bit stressed lately and this was just what I needed. So here is my visual record of our walk and I hope you can also experience a little peace.

Pat heads off on the trail.
Clear waters - spring sunshine

Springing into life
Stimulating - sound - sight - smell - touch
Reaching to the heavens

This footbridge was built around 1820 and is the oldest suspension bridge in Europe. The River is called Camcor

Nature also provides it's own bridges
Birr Castle is the seat of the Earls of Rosse, the Parsons family, who still live in the castle. The castle itself is not open to the public – pity. 

A large telescope dominates the grounds. This was the largest telescope in the world for 70 years. It was built in 1845 by the Third Earl of Rosse. The telescope fell into disrepair in the early part of the 20th century, but was fully restored in the 1990s. There is also a very interesting Science Museum – worth a visit

I like this view of the telescope showing the castle in the background
 I hope you enjoyed our walk and maybe someday you will find time to visit Birr for yourself.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Yank’s House – Seven years and a few hard weeks

I tried to write this post last week – failed – so I am trying again today. 

Did you ever feel you were holding onto your dreams by your fingertips? That is how I am feeling about the Yank’s house. It has been seven years since we first found the house and I never imagined then that it would take soon long, eat up so much of my life, my energy, my money, nor did I believe that these resources would run out or be so stretched that I would have nothing left for the Yank’s House. But that is how I have been feeling recently. The last day I spent there was so bright and lovely that I tried to encourage myself with a happy bright posting to the blog to match the day. But since then I have been feeling less than enthusiastic about the whole project.   So - where to from here?

I remember what I wrote in the very first blog entry…..

It was magic! Romantic and blind, I hear you say. But I could visualise it all finished and I standing on the steps, lady of the manor in my summer frock and straw hat. My garden a wonderful wild flower meadow full of butterflies and bees, in the warm summer sunshine. I loved it.
I posted that to the blog last summer. But I wrote it seven years ago. I really want to feel like this again – but I am struggling. Back then I was still young and energetic – now I am a tired middle aged menopausal woman.  Seven years ago was just before the economy crashed. We were all dreamers. Who couldn't have imagined things could get so bad. Seven years ago was before all the pay cuts, extra taxes and before owning property became such an undesirable asset. Seven years ago Pat and I were in better health, stronger, sillier and very impulsive. A pair of dreamers!

I know it doesn’t help if I don’t get to visit the Yank’s house for a few weeks. 

The longer I am away from the house and dimmer my dreams get. I need to go there to freshen up the colours in my head, to let the light and the warmth into my dreams and memories. But other commitments kept me busy much of the time now and the Yank’s house gets pushed into the background.

I used to see the place every night when I close my eyes, spend hours dreaming about it, envisioning what it would turn out like, imagine living there - but these dreams have become very dim. I struggle to resurrect them. I struggle in the dark of dreary weather, short days and worries.  

Last week I would have sold the Yank’s house as it stands. But Pat says we cannot give up - think long term he says. In five years things will have picked up. We might be ready to retire. The things we worry about today will be a distant memory. We might have more time on our hands; we might have more money in the bank. Who knows – but we will still have the Yank’s house.  

This is love - having someone to carry you when the going gets tough.
Thank you Pat x