Some sad and strange happenings while on the trip

Robin Gibb has died at age 62. (image courtesy of The Sun)

I like to keep tabs on what happens in the rest of the world while on a trip – just to keep tethered to the “real world” as we explore new territory. Here are a few items so far:

– Rod Stewart flew with us on Delta to Shannon, Ireland, in “coach plus.” go figure. I walked past him in the airport and had no idea he was on the flight (my other co-flyers confirmed).

– Donna Summer passed away at a much-too-young 63. A very sad day for Disco-heads. She lost a battle with cancer.

– A Florida mom went on a lunatic rampage and killed her children and herself, sending a text message right before she did it. This type of crime is a scourge on our society.

More to follow I’m sure. Rod Stewart looked as good as he ever has – spiked white hair and a nice looking gal on his arm.

UPDATE: Robin Gibb, another in the iconic disco era as a member of the Bee Gees, has died. he was 62. he lost a brave fight with colon cancer yesterday.

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Three Simple Rules for B&B-going in Ireland (and anywhere)

Sign for a B&B (courtesy of gaelick.com)

1. Fornication. Don’t get so sexy that you wake up the entire house at 2 a.m. It sounded like they were “filming a porno” right in our hotel, as one of our group members put it. Great for them to have such passion, but know the limits of these paper-thin walls (and ceilings and floors). It’s beyond-all-reason inconsiderate. We lost an entire night’s sleep – and Jason had to march upstairs and pound on their door. I slept in the main-floor lounge for about an hour and that’s about it.

2. Proprietor hospitality. If you aren’t an accommodating person, don’t run a place of accommodation. It’s that simple. (Identical to the axiom of politics: if you hate government, stay out of policymaking.) They tried to pawn us off in the attic area where four bedrooms used one nasty bathroom. We were moved to a room with an en-suite bathroom, but the carpet is filthy and the windows don’t open. I write this after having learned about Irish immigrants being banished to steerage while trying to make it out of the country – by those standards, to be sure, we’re getting fanned by the pool at the Taj Mahal.

3. Internet. While 10 years ago wi-fi was a luxury, it is now a necessity. Our Cashel Town Hostel B&B has piss-poor connectivity – and, as a writer, I need that to do research and stay in communication with the outside world. Remember, travelers have a life at home that they are trying to manage while traveling abroad. The technology is there, it’s just the willingness of the host to make it work well.

Complaining is tricky business, and I don’t want to sound like a curmudgeon-grump. But these simple rules followed by all involved in the B&B business could make traveling much more enjoyable.

UPDATE: The visit to the Hostel/B&B improved considerably after the “porno-gate” fiasco, with a visit coordinated by the B&B owner to the local Cashel Blue plant outside of the city – as well as a general improvement in proprietor demeanor. All of the above still applies, though, but I thought I’d mention that sticking something out can actually pay off in the end, depending on the situation.

Poetic Justice II: They Had to Drag Me Away (and other musings)

We stopped off at a number of places on our first full day, but none was as spectacular and enchanting as Thor Ballyee, the home of W. B. Yeats. From Wikipedia:

“As he had an affinity for the Irish language, Yeats dropped the term “castle” in naming the property and replaced it with “Thoor” (Túr), the Irish word for “tower”; thus, the place has been known as Thoor Ballylee. For twelve years, Thoor Ballylee was Yeats’ summer home as it was his country retreat. In a letter to a friend, he wrote, “Everything is so beautiful that to go elsewhere is to leave beauty behind.” Consequently, it is no wonder that Yeats was inspired and compelled to create literary works at Ballylee such as poems as ‘The Tower’ and ‘Coole Park and Ballylee.’

The light reflecting off the water was like nothing I had ever seen before – with a singular glow and a shimmer. I was quite literally the last one back on the bus after shooting the area for about a half-hour. I will dig up some highlights when we land in Cashel today, assuming we have Internet access.

Meantime, check out my first “iPhone Ireland” photoshow on Facebook, here.