Tag Archives: Ireland

Bury ’em High

PoulnabroneDolmen5Back in 1968, Clint Eastwood starred in a movie titled, Hang ‘Em High, about an innocent man who survives a lynching and then who returns as a lawman determined to bring the guilty vigilantes to justice.

Locate in the Burren in County Clare, Ireland, is the Poulnabrone dolmen (meaning “hole of the quern stones”) (bró in Irish)) is a portal tomb that dates back to the Neolithis period, between 4200 BC and 2900 BC.

The dolmen consists of a twelve-foot, thin, slab-like, tabular capstone supported by two slender portal stones which support the capstone six feet up from the ground, creating a chamber in a 30 foot cairn. The entrance faces north and is crossed by a low sill stone.

In 1985, the dolmen was dismantled for some repairs, and it was discovered that between 16 and 22 adults and six children were buried under the monument. Only one of the adults lived beyond 40 years, and the majority were under 30 when they died. An analysis of all the fragments of disarticulated bones revealed a hard physical life and a coarse diet. Most of the children were between the ages of five and fifteen. The skeletal remains show evidence of arthritis. The tip of a flint or chert projectile point was found embedded in the hip of one individual. Two other healed fractures, one skull and one rib, were also found. Dental wear analysis shows evidence for the consumption of stone-grounded cereals. Also found in the burial chamber was a polished stone axe, 2 stone beads, a decorated bone pendant, a fragment of a mushroom-headed bone pin, 2 quartz crystals, several sherds of coarse pottery, and a number of arrowheads and scrapers. Having seen the Burren, I am sure it was a VERY hard physical life!

Personal items buried with the dead included a polished stone axe, a bone pendant, quartz crystals, weapons and pottery. In the Bronze Age, around 1700 BCE, a newborn baby was buried in the portico, just outside the entrance. With its dominating presence on the limestone landscape of the Burren, the tomb was likely a center for ceremony and ritual until well into the Celtic period, or it may have served as a territorial marker in the Neolithic landscape.

It is believed that the bodies of the deceased were placed atop the dolmen until the flesh had either been rotted away or picked away by birds, then the bones would be burned our buried. This would have been a good sequel to Eastwood’s Hang ‘Em High, don’t you think?  After all, if you hang ’em high, you might as well as bury ’em high, too.

I took today’s picture with a cheap point-and-shoot back in 2002.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: Jedediah Strong Smith, one of America’s greatest trapper-explorers, was born in Bainbridge, New York in 1798.

Smith explored a large area of the Far West during his short life. He began his western voyages in 1822, when he joined the pioneering fur trader William Ashley on a trip up the Missouri River. Unlike earlier fur traders, who depended on the native Americans to trap or hunt the furs, Ashley eliminated the Indians as middlemen and instead sent out independent Anglo trappers like Smith to do the job.

To escape dependence on Indians, Ashley needed to find his own sources of beaver and otter in the West, and Smith became one of his best explorers. A year after his first trip up the Missouri, Smith set out with a small band of mountain men to explore the Black Hills region of the Dakotas at Ashley’s behest. Despite being mauled by a grizzly bear in the Black Hills, Smith continued westward to the site of modern-day Dubois, WY, where he and his men camped for the winter.

During his long forced halt at Dubois, Smith learned from friendly Crow Indians of an easy pass through the Rocky Mountains. The following spring, Smith and his men followed the route outlined by the Crow and discovered that they could cross the mighty Rockies almost effortlessly. Later named the “South Pass,” Smith’s new route was a high plain that gradually rose like a shallow ramp to provide an easy crossing of the Continental Divide. Smith’s discovery of South Pass was actually a “rediscovery,” since employees of John Jacob Astor’s Pacific Fur Company crossed the pass in 1812 when returning to St. Louis from the Pacific. The Astorian discovery, though, remained unknown, so Smith is credited for alerting the nation to the existence of this easy route across the Rockies.

Smith’s discovery of South Pass was important. Not only did his fellow fur trappers prefer South Pass to the far more difficult and dangerous Missouri River route blazed by Lewis and Clark in 1804, but the South Pass became an early 19th century “super-highway” for settlers bound for Oregon and California.  Ideally suited for heavy wagon traffic, South Pass greatly facilitated the mass emigration of Americans to the Far West.

The blazing of the South Pass route alone would have secured Smith’s claim as one of the great explorers of the American West, but during the following decade, Smith also explored the Great Salt Lake, the Colorado Plateau, and led the first expedition to cross the Southwest to California—all before he was 30 years old. Having lived through dozens of narrow escapes on his intrepid journeys, Smith decided to retire from his dangerous trade in 1830 and enter the mercantile business. Ironically, being a trader proved more deadly than exploring: while leading a trading caravan along the Santa Fe Trail in 1831, Smith was killed by Commanche Indians near the Cimarron River. He was 32 years old.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  The rude act of raking foods into one’s already full mouth with chopsticks is disdainfully called komibashi in Japanese. (OK…I’m guilty of committing komibashi!!!!)

Ancient Graveyard

CathedralGraveyardWe Americans are such new kids on the block when it comes to history. Sure, we can trace American history back quite a ways, but when compared to the history of say, Europe, we are neophytes.

I am presently on the east coast of the United States. Things “feel” older here than they do on the west coast. What it typically thought of as “American history” didn’t really start on the west coast until about the time of the gold rush in the mid 1800’s. The East Coast, however, goes back quite a bit farther, especially up in the Virginia and New England areas.

Back in 2002, I “had” to take a business trip to an office I had in Longford, Ireland. I’d been there on a trip before, and my wife had let me know in no uncertain terms that if I ever went back there again that she would be going with me. And she did!  We took about a week or so after I finished with my work to vacation around Ireland. What a delightful place!

Today’s photo is from an old church graveyard located in Glendalough, Ireland. It was a fascinating, beautiful place…I can certainly see why people would live there…and die there.

Some of the stones dated back to the 9th century. Now that’s history!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: on January 5, 1933, construction began on the Golden Gate Bridge, as workers began excavating 3.25 million cubic feet of dirt for the structure’s huge anchorages.

Following the Gold Rush boom that began in 1849, speculators realized the land north of San Francisco Bay would increase in value in direct proportion to its accessibility to the city. Soon, a plan was hatched to build a bridge that would span the Golden Gate, a narrow, 400-foot deep strait that serves as the mouth of the San Francisco Bay, connecting the San Francisco Peninsula with the southern end of Marin County.

Although the idea went back as far as 1869, the proposal took root in 1916. A former engineering student, James Wilkins, working as a journalist with the San Francisco Bulletin, called for a suspension bridge with a center span of 3,000 feet, nearly twice the length of any in existence. Wilkins’ idea was estimated to cost an astounding $100 million. So, San Francisco’s city engineer, Michael M. O’Shaughnessy (he’s also credited with coming up with the name Golden Gate Bridge), began asking bridge engineers whether they could do it for less.

Engineer and poet Joseph Strauss, a 5-foot tall Cincinnati-born Chicagoan, said he could.

Eventually, O’Shaughnessy and Strauss concluded they could build a pure suspension bridge within a practical range of $25-30 million with a main span at least 4,000 feet. The construction plan still faced opposition, including litigation, from many sources. By the time most of the obstacles were cleared, the Great Depression of 1929 had begun, limiting financing options, so officials convinced voters to support $35 million in bonded indebtedness, citing the jobs that would be created for the project. However, the bonds couldn’t be sold until 1932, when San-Francisco based Bank of America agreed to buy the entire project in order to help the local economy.

The Golden Gate Bridge officially opened on May 27, 1937, the longest bridge span in the world at the time. The first public crossing had taken place the day before, when 200,000 people walked, ran and even roller skated over the new bridge.  It is today one of the most recognizable structures in the world.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Queen Victoria was the last teenager to rule England.

 

Be Careful Who You Work For

I’ve been fortunate to work for some great bosses in my life.  I’ve also had some tough bosses in my lifetime.  Three in particular come to mind.  One was just a very hard-driving guy who wouldn’t take “No” for an answer.  One, unfortunately, had a brain tumor and it was surgically removed, but left him with excruciating, constant pain. He had to take medications constantly for the pain, and if he was off schedule by just a few minutes, he could become very caustic and angry because of the pain.  Sadly, it eventually wore him down and became more than he could bear, so one night after work, he went out behind the building where we worked, put a gun in his mouth and took his own life (committing “euthanasia” as he wrote in his suicide note that was left behind.)  The third was so bad that when he left his subsequent employer after being fired abruptly, the entire staff in the office stood and clapped when he walked out the door carrying his personal belongings from his office.

That’s bad, right?  Well…yes and no.  Everything in life is relative, I suppose.  Take for example the Irish king who had Corcomroe Abbey built during his reign early in the 1200’s.  I won’t even try to give you the Irish version of the name, but let’s just call him King Brian, OK?  Corcomroe Abbey was a masterpiece in it’s time, unique in the detailed masonry and intricate ornamentation, when most everything else was rather bland and blah.  The king, it turns out, was so proud of what he/they had accomplished, that he had the five masons put to death when they completed the Abbey so that nothing else could be built that would rival it in terms of magnificence.  Now THAT’S a tough boss!  (By the way, if it’s any consolation, the king died, too, and his tomb and effigy are inside the remains of the abbey to this day.  What goes ’round, comes around, I guess!)

Here’s a picture I took way back in 2002 of Corcomroe Abbey in Ireland, located on the Burren.

CorcomroeAbbey12thCentury

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1868, the world’s first traffic lights, located near London’s Parliament Square, were installed and began functioning.  Where would we be without them today????

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: jackrabbits are very powerful leapers.  A 20 inch adult can catapult themselves through the air for 20 feet in a single bound.  Rather like Superman, don’t you think?

Then They Got Wise…

It was 2002 (I can’t believe it was 10 years ago!) that my wife and I were on vacation in Ireland.  We combined the vacation time with a business trip that I took to the town of Longford.  After working through the week, we took off to explore the Emerald Isle…and what a grand time we had!  We saw so many wonderful things!!!  We want to go back sometime!!!!

Today’s photo was taken then with a small format (4 megapixel) digital camera.  It is of a tower at Glendalough (founded 6th century AD by St. Kevin).  There’s a story behind these towers.  Look closely toward the lower part of the tower on the left side (just above the top of the tree).  You’ll see an opening into the tower at that point.  Bet you’d like to know the rest of the story, right?  Well, I’m not going to tell you!!!!  (Just kidding!!!)

When the invaders would come (I believe that they mentioned Vikings in particular), the people of the village would clamber up a ladder that reached up to that opening.  Once everyone was safely inside, they’d pull the ladder up behind them and into the tower.  Since there was just that one way in to the tower, they could easily defend the invaders who tried to climb up there with a makeshift ladder.  So far, so good…but then the wily invaders/Vikings decided that the towers looked like smokestacks…so they built up brush and combustible materials around the base of the tower and lit it on fire.  The smoke would ascend up into the tower and either force the villagers out, or it would kill them from smoke inhalation.  Nasty Vikings!

Refuge tower at Glendalough, Ireland

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1453, Constantinople, once the capital of the once-powerful Christian Roman Empire, fell after a two month siege by the Turks and the Ottoman Empire.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: in Australia, it is considered very bad manners to wink at a woman, even if just trying to express friendship.  Those Aussies must be a very insecure bunch when it comes to their women…but who cares…as long as they keep throwin’ shrimp on the bar-b!

Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, Ireland

One of the delights of our 2002 trip to Ireland was a day we spent in the Connemara region – an area known for its rugged beauty and amazing Connemara marble.  As one might expect from Ireland, it was cold and very rainy that day, and it was dumping rain for much of the time that we were at Kylemore Abbey.  It is such a beautiful setting though, that we didn’t mind.

Mitchell Henry, M.P. (1826-1910), a wealthy Liverpool merchant, built a Gothic-style baronial mansion (castle) in Connemara for himself and his young wife – its reflection cast in Lough Polacoppul (the lake of the hollow of the horses). It nestles at the foot of Ducruach Mountain in the heart of Connemara, and its towers shimmer in the lake and there is a heavily-wooded hillside rising up behind it. A guidebook, published in 1859, not long after Mitchell Henry first came by that way describes the idyllic lakeside setting, “…and what a panorama! How the sunbeams catch the purple-dyed mist and drink up the dew from the flowery heather. The air is all perfume, and the lark shoots skyward with a volume of song. Everything seems to enjoy the scene; how beautifully the lake, with its mirrored surface, reflects the rising sun.”

When Mitchell Henry bought the 13,000 acres of scrub and bogland in 1866, this man of progressive Victorian ideas embarked on extensive agricultural and horticultural experiments. He drained and reclaimed thousands of acres of bogland and embarked on massive tree-planting schemes that gave much badly needed employment to the area. About a mile west of the castle he created an 8-1/2 acre walled garden. Although that area was the site of a small clachan (village), Mr. Henry had new homes built for the occupants in the vicinity, presumably better ones, and with their agreement, for he was regarded as a good and caring landlord.

The Mitchell’s apparently first visited Connemara while on their honeymoon in 1850, and the young bride, Margaret Vaughan, was so charmed with the place that the couple decided they would build a home there, but it was 16 years before that dream would be fulfilled, when they managed to purchase the hunting lodge which stood on this site, along with 13,000 acres of mountain, lake and bog, shooting and fishing rights. Margaret Mitchell was able to enjoy her dream home for only a few years. In 1874, on a visit to Egypt she contracted a fever from which she died. Mitchell brought her body back to Kylemore, to be laid in a mausoleum close to the Castle.  There he built the wonderful miniature Gothic Church. Mitchell died in 1910 and although then he had sold Kylemore and retired to London, his ashes were brought back and laid to rest in the mausoleum next to his beloved Margaret. The new owners were the Duke and Duchess of Manchester. They carried out extensive and expensive alterations to the house.

Here’s a shot of Kylemore that I took through the rain on a cold Irish day.

Kylemore Abbey, Connemara area, Ireland

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1968, a U.S. B-52 bomber carrying unarmed hydrogen bombs, crashed near Thule, Greenland.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Point Pinos is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the western coast of the United States.  It has been in operation off the rocky coast of California since 1855.

Dunguaire Castle, Ireland

Yes, there are abbey’s in Ireland (witness yesterday’s post).  But you know what?  There are also castles in Ireland, too!!!  I can’t say that I own any of them.  Never have owned a castle in Ireland.  But when you see some of them, they’re great for photography, but from the looks of them, they would have been miserable places in the cold, wet Irish weather!  It doesn’t matter much to me how thick the walls were, but they just don’t look very warm at all.

Still, who am I to judge?  I don’t own one, as I said, and I doubt that I’ll ever spend the night in a castle (but one night might be really cool if you were in a room with real windows, a blazing hearth, a bed with plenty of blankets (or an electric blanket), 6 furry dogs to lay on the bed to help keep you warm, and electric space heaters blowing warm air on you.  Then, perhaps methinks, it might be tolerable.  (What is it with me?  The older I get, the less I like cold weather!  Probably a circulatory problem, right?)

Nonetheless, here’s Dunguaire Castle.  I took this picture on the same day as yesterday’s photo of Corcomroe Abbey, but it was later in the day and it was raining (hence the rain spots you see in the picture).  Both yesterday’s and today’s photos were shot with a really old Nikon point-and-shoot type of digital camera (4 mega pixels).

The castle was built in 1520 and features a 75-foot high tower.  It’s located on the southeastern shore of Galway Bay, near Galway (duh).  It is said to be the most photographed castle in Ireland.  If you Google it you’ll see photos of it when it wasn’t raining, but this was real Irish weather and I think it makes it more authentic with the rain drops blurring a couple spots in the picture (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it!)  The family that built it appears to have been in the area since 662 AD.  The lore of the castle includes the legend that the lord of the castle was a very generous man and his generosity continued into the afterlife: it is said that if you stand in the front doorway and ask a question, you’ll have an answer by the end of the day!

The tower and defensive wall have been restored to excellent condition and tourist are allowed to tour the place in the summertime.

Dunguaire Castle near Galway, Ireland

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1778, Captain James Cook discovered Hawaii (just don’t tell the native Hawaiians who were already there – they think they found it) when he landed near Waimea on the island of Kauai.  I’m sure glad he found it…think how sad it would be if it was still lost!!!!

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Several of the Bond girls (Ursula Andress, Shirley Eaton, Eunice Gayson, Claudine Auger) were unable to match an alluring voice to their amazing physical attributes.  For each one of them, their lines were dubbed by aspiring actress Nikki van der Zyl, who later left the film industry to practice as a barrister.  On Doctor No, van der Zyl did every female voice except those of Miss Moneypenny and a Chinese girl.  She also did the grunting for Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C.  

Corcomroe Abbey

Back in 2002 I went on a business trip to Longford, Ireland where I had some staff.  The first time I went there, I went with a couple of other people from work, but in 2002, I was able to take my wife along (I had so many frequent flyer miles back then, earning a free round trip about once every 30-45 days!).  After I finished my work in Longford, we took about a week to travel around Ireland and see the country and some historical places.

One of the places we saw was Corcomroe Abbey.  Construction on the abbey most likely began sometime between 1205 and 1210 and used locally hewn limestone.  Legend says the building was commissioned by King Conor na Suidane Ua Briain, who died in 1267 and whose tomb niche and effigy are visible in the north wall of the choir loft at the Abbey.  According to the legend, Ua Briain executed the five masons who completed the abbey to prevent them from constructing a rival masterpiece elsewhere.  That’s what the legend says, but in reality, it was probably built by Conor’s grandfather, Donal Mor Ua Briain (Donald O’Brien), the patron of a number of other religious structures in the historic region.

The abbey functioned for about 400 years, with its final known use taking place around 1628, as the last Abbot was named in 1628, being Revd. John O’Dea, a Cistercian from the Irish College at Salamanca.

The day we were there is was overcast, drizzly and cool.  Well, I guess that’s no surprise…it is Ireland, after all!!!  This was shot using an old Nikon 3 or 4 MP digital point-and-shoot type of camera that I had at the time, looking through one of the archways towards a portion of the small, ancient cemetery.

A view through an arch at Corcomroe Abbey, Ireland

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1718, the English pirate Edward Teach (better known as Blackbeard) was captured off the Outer Banks of North Carolina (off Okracoke) and was taken back to England in chains where he was tried and executed.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: a group of bees can be called a hive, a swarm, or a grist.

New Grange, Ireland

Here’s another picture from our Ireland trip back in 2002.  This is New Grange – and no, it’s not a town.  New Grange is a truly amazing and fascinating place.

Newgrange has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and attracts 200,000 visitors per year. Newgrange is a prehistoric monument in County Meath, on the eastern side of Ireland.   An example of a megalithic passage tomb mound, Newgrange was built between circa 3100 and 2900 BC (making it at least 500 years older than the great pyramid at Giza and a thousand years older than Stonehenge), during the Neolithicperiod, in order to house the remains of the dead. It has also been speculated that it had some form of religious purpose, particularly in regards to an afterlife, because it is aligned with the rising sun on the day of the winter solstice, during which time the rising sun shoots light directly down the entryway to the tomb to the burial chambers.  Because the ashes of the dead were scattered at the end of the entryway, our guide told us that the speculation is that when the light entered the entry on the day of the solstice, the dust particles in the air that were visible in the beam of light may have been thought to have been the souls of the dead as they departed into the afterlife at that moment.  No one knows for sure what the thinking was.

After its initial use as a tomb, the entrance to Newgrange was sealed and it remained closed for several millennia. It first began to be studied as a prehistoric monument in the seventeenth century AD.  Today, Newgrange is a tourist site, and is “unhesitatingly regarded by the prehistorian as the great national monument of Ireland” and is also widely recognized as one of the most important megalithic structures in the world.

The building materials used to construct Newgrange were locally sourced; with the exception of four slabs which are a brown sandstone, the rest of the 547 slabs that had been used in the construction of the monument were a form of slate found to the north of Newgrange.  None of the structural slabs were quarried, for they show signs of having been naturally weathered, but they must have been collected and then transported somehow (again, no one knows how!) largely uphill to the Newgrange site.   Meanwhile, the stones used for the cairn, which together would have weighed around 200,000 tons, were likely taken from the river terraces between Newgrange and the Boyne.  Estimates suggest it may have taken 300 or more persons over 20 years to build.

The roof of the burial chamber is made of corbelled slabs of rock with nothing to seal them.  Though they were placed there over 5000 years ago with no cement or pitch to seal them, to this day they don’t permit even a single drop of water inside the tomb, though the stone structure has been covered over with 500,000 tons of soil for thousands of years!

It’s an amazing place and you are allowed to go into it only as part of a guided tour.  Next time you’re in Ireland, check it out!  This picture was taken with our old Nikon 4 megapixel camera…the best thing we had in those days!!!!

New Grange in County Meath, Ireland

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1607, Captain James Smith and a group of settlers landed in the new world and established Jamestown, the first permanent British settlement in North America.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: the average male ostrich, the world’s largest bird, weighs as much as 345 pounds.  Now that’s a drumstick!!!!!

Poulnabrone Dolmen, Ireland

Another shot from Ireland in 2002 today.  This is a picture of the Poulnabrone Dolmen.  Poulnabrone Dolmen (Poll na mBrón in Irish meaning “hole of sorrows”) is a portal tomb in the Burren, County Clare, Ireland, that dates back to the Neolithic period somewhere between 4200 BC and 2900 BC.   Surrounded by a field of Karst limestone where neither crops nor brush could grow because of the shallow soil, this tomb is one of the most visited sites in County Clare.

The dolmen consists of a twelve-foot, thin, slab-like, tabular capstone supported by two slender portal stones, which lift the capstone 6 feet from the ground, creating a chamber in a 30 foot low cairn.  The cairnhelped stabilize the tomb chamber, and would have been no higher during the Neolithic times. The entrance faces north and is crossed by a low sill stone.

Excavations done around 1985 showed that between 16 and 22 adults and 6 children were buried under the monument. Personal items buried with the dead included a polished stone axe, a bone pendant, quartz crystals, weapons and pottery. In the Bronze Age, around 1700BC, a newborn baby was buried in the portico, just outside the entrance. With its dominating presence on the limestone landscape of the Burren, the tomb was likely a centre for ceremony and ritual until well into the Celtic period or it may have served as a territorial marker in the Neolithic landscape.

Here’s how we were told the burials took place: the bodies would be placed on the top slab until the flesh had been eaten away by birds or decayed, at which time the bones would be taken off the “lid” and placed inside the structure where they would be at least partially burned.

It’s cool to see something this old…something that pre-dated many of the pyramids!

Poulnabrone Dolmen, the Burren, Ireland

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1932 the body of the kidnapped child of Charles and Anne Lindbergh was found in a wooded area near to Hopewell, New Jersey.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: the world’s fastest reptile on land is the spiny-tailed iguana of Costa Rica.  It has been timed at speeds of up to 21.7 miles per hour.

Ireland Famine Village

It was a cold and rainy day…that day back in 2002 when my wife and I were taking a bus tour in Ireland.  Of course, in Ireland, many of the days are cold and rainy, but that’s beside the point.  Why did we take a bus tour?  Because I was too scared to rent a car and drive on those CRAZY Irish roads!!!!  The roads were really skinny (barely room for 2 small cars to pass each other – and they were zooming around like they were on a turnpike!), not to mention that EVERYONE there drives on the wrong side of the road!

Oops…I got side-tracked.  So, back to the bus tour.  We went various places that day, including the Connemara region, saw the Two Bens, Kylemore Abbey, the lake district, a gift shop (who, I’m sure, paid kickbacks to the bus company for whatever they sold to tourists on the bus!) and a famine village.

What, you may ask, is a famine village?  Precisely what it says.  Remember the great Irish potato famine?  Nah, I didn’t either, but you can look it up.  Today’s photo is of a part of a famine village, showing a hut with a roof that was part tin and part thatch, along with rock walls all over the hillside.  I suggest that you click on the picture to see a larger version…and maybe click one more time to see it at its largest.  You’ll notice what seem like small “pens” made up of the rock walls on the hillside in the background.  Here’s how those came into being: an Irish farmer would have originally owned this entire plot of ground, but over time, as he had kids (sons in particular), he would build a rock wall dividing his property up between his boys.  Then, the boys would farm their part of the land.  Eventually, they had their own kids and followed the same tradition of dividing their land between their descendants, until it got rather ridiculous because the plots eventually were so small!

Still, I thought it made for an interesting picture.  It was shot with our very first digital camera: an old Nikon (without interchangeable lenses – more of a large point-and-shoot) that took about 4MP pictures as I recall.  It was a good camera, though.  We eventually gave it away when we got a better one.  I hope you enjoy this look at Ireland.  I may share a couple more in coming days!

Irish Famine Village Home and Farm

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 330, the city of Constantinople was dedicated as the new capital of the Roman Empire.  Named after the Roman emperor Constantine, it rose over the ruins of the ancient city of Byzantium.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: the 1998 movie blockbuster Titanic lasted for 3 hours and 14 minutes.  The time it took the real Titanic to sink after striking the iceberg: 2 hours and 40 minutes.