Sunday, September 23, 2007

Our Ireland Trip from Q-R

Quebec: The Dunbrody, (we visited a replica of this 3 masted cargo ship), was commissioned in Quebec in 1845 and had a low mortality rate. It took Irish emigrants to Canada and returned to Ireland with timber, cotton and fertilizer. Actors playing the parts of passengers, one first class, one steerage, talked to us about the conditions

This cubicle might hold a family of 6 or more, or if they had no family, it might be people unrelated. They were sick and starving, so many didn't live through the passage. The passenger/actor who talked to us, a widow with 6 children, didn't make it.

First class passengers had more space and better food. Sort of reminds me of the difference between first class and coach on the airlines, but at least the time is less.

Only first class passengers could come up for a little fresh air--I suppose it helped control the spread of disease, but just worsened conditions for those already sick and using slop pails. I think only the most hardy Irish-Americans and Irish-Canadians survived to pass along their genes and desire to make it in a new location.

Residents of Kilkenny: Three people from the community met with our group on September 17th and fielded questions about the country and city. They were well informed, and our group asked good questions. My husband rarely takes photos of people, and I think I left my camera in my room.

Rock of Cashel and the fortress of Brian Boru: The word "cashel" is from the Irish word caiseal, meaning "fortress." The Rock of Cashel is several ruins, the largest structure is the remains of St. Patrick's Cathedral, built in the 13th century. It was destroyed by fire in the 15th century and later restored. Cromwell's forces destroyed it again burning to death hundreds of townspeople who had fled there. The British version is that this was a civil war; The Irish Catholic version is that it was a brutal invasion by a foreign power. I don't know that you could find a single person more hated to this day in Ireland than Oliver Cromwell.

If this sight doesn't put your heart in your throat, it's as hard as a rock from the Burren! Call it a castle, a fortress or cathedral, but it is incredible. Our guide Bridget seem to be one of the few guides who talked to us who believed with her heart the Christian symbolism she discussed.


Joan said...

Oh, what a trip that must have been. I would like so much to travel to Ireland, England, and Scotland! I am enjoying your trip vicariously -- and I really appreciate the pics you've included.

JAM said...

The Rock of Cashel and the fortress are nothing short of astounding. Beautiful. I can't help but think of the poor souls who had to build it.

When I was a teen, I saw a replica of the Mayflower. I was horrified at how small a ship that bunch of folks lived on on open seas for several months. A few years back, a replica of Columbus' Nina came to Melbourne and we took our girls on it. Same thing. I found it hard to believe that so many could live on such a small ship.