This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series Writing in Ireland
After a full day of writing instruction and discussion with Susan Spann and Heather Webb, we went out for dinner and a pub crawl. I don’t drink much at all, but I figured when in Ireland, do as the Irish do, and so I did have my first whiskey that night, a Bushmills 21 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey. “It’s like butter that’s on fire” was my impression.
The next day we went out again, stopping briefly to photograph Dunguaire Castle (Caisleáin Dhún Guaire) en route to The Burren. This is a region, now a national park, formed of weathered limestone and the resulting treacherous and sparse landscape. The Burren (Boireann, or “great rock”) is an ancient place, both geologically and anthropologically; there are multiple remnants of ring forts and more than 90 paleolithic tombs.
This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Writing in Ireland
wolfhound chained at front door
We went on to Ashford Castle, which you’ve probably seen without knowing it. Ashford was founded in 1228 as the principle stronghold for the de Burgo family, and throughout the centuries the new owners (Bingham, Browne, Guinness) extended in contemporary style. In 1939 it was purchased and converted to a classy hotel. How classy, you ask? Well, there’s a heliport beside the front drive, and the rooms are the kind that start at about $350 US per night and continue to the range where you have to have your people call for a quote. It’s a favorite site for society and celebrity weddings, as well as for television and film locations (I hear Reign is shot there now). Continue reading
So a while back I was browsing for something — I don’t know what, because I instantly forgot it when I found this instead.
First of all, somebody’s made a robotic Philip K. Dick. (If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s a major science fiction author whose books became some of the world’s hallmark sci-fi films, such as Bladerunner and Total Recall.) The robot is not only designed to look fairly lifelike (always an interesting choice in robotics, the aesthetics) but has Dick’s thoughts uploaded, in the form of all Dick’s works and recorded conversations. Thus the robot should be roughly able to answer questions as Dick would have done. It’s also capable, using its prodigious artificial intelligence, to form new answers to new questions, integrate new knowledge, and develop new “thoughts.” Continue reading
We arrived at the village of Headford and settled at the Angler’s Rest, which secretly pleased me because The Scarlet Pimpernel’s secret way-stop was the Fisherman’s Rest, and it was close enough. (I’m such a nerd.) The pub was downstairs, our rooms above. I was on the top floor.
Then we set off past stone walls keeping flocks of sheep for the Ross Errily Friary, the best-preserved Franciscan ruins in Ireland. Founded in 1351, the friary was once one of the larger Franciscan establishments in the country. The monastery is a fantastic view into a self-sufficient medieval life. There was even a tank for keeping live fish in the kitchen! Continue reading
This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Writing in Ireland
Last August I took a week in Ireland at a writers’ retreat of sorts. It wasn’t just a writing retreat, though I did do some writing. It was also a mini-workshop, with writing classes led by authors Susan Spann (The Shinobi Mysteries) and Heather Webb (Becoming Josephine, Rodin’s Lover). And it was also a tour of western Ireland.
Let me tell you about it.
First off, I landed in Dublin and immediately spied what I knew would be waiting: Continue reading