buddies, family and fellow wanderers..

I never wrote about my final month in Ireland; even though it seemed like the best time of the trip, it was hard to stop and write about it because so much was happening…

I spent the last month trying to see as much of Ireland as I could, keeping an opened mind and meeting people, learning their stories… I did a complete round of the whole country within a months time. I started in Dublin and went onto Kilkenny, Doolin ( for Patty’s day – incredible), Killarney, Cork, Galway, Sligo (my ancestral home), Belfast, and back to Dublin for a couple of nights to prepare for my flight home.

I met some interesting people; a semi-nude guy in tighty whities who looked exactly like a mix between Smeagol and Charles Manson – he helped me find my bed in a hostel in Dublin at 2:30am after arriving from Italy. I was very tired and grubby from my long day. When I got to my 20-bed male dorm, it was pitch black and full of loud snoring mongos.. I had a bed number but the place seemed packed from what I could see. Everywhere I moved to look for my spot, the hard wood floor creaked, I felt like a jerk waking people. That’s when I heard a whisper from a long haired bearded silhouette “Pss.. Hey.. Ar-are ya lookin for your cot?” … “Yeah, this place is a maze” I reply. He sits up and jumps down from the bunk and proceeds to flip the ALL lights on in the dorm. I was immediately embarrassed and ashamed to disturb everyone’s rest but at the same time, I was trying so hard not to laugh at this entertaining scruffy fellow in his skivvies guiding me to my bed. Once he lead me there, he insisted on chatting about all of the beds and the numbers and how the whole system works blah blah blah. I stopped him, patting him on the back and nodded. Thank you, friendly Charlie, and thanks for refraining to recruit me into the Manson family – I need z’s though.

Met lots of cool people in Kilkenny, loads of Irish and Germans in particular. I winded up joining a huge college get together on their party which took place throughout the town. (in Kilkenny with my German friend, Amiee – below)
IMG_1621
After missing the last bus to Killarney, I went to Doolin first instead.

Doolin

When I arrived in Doolin, I thought it was probably the most beautiful area I’ve ever stayed during my trip, lots of culture in that little town which consisted of a few hostels, restaurants, shops and farm homes with a view of the rolling green hills and the ocean. About a 10 minute drive to the Cliffs of Moher and being the capital of traditional live Irish music, this was the prime location for St Patty’s day – as I wasn’t really looking for a party, more-so a traditional experience. It was a great place to go for a nice quiet time to reflect. (Doolin town, left)

I met an American from Michigan, Jeff, who very nervously played the fiddle as I sat next to him in support. After playing for about 5 minutes, an Irishman from across the room approached us and told Jeff “that’s God awful! … But don’t put that away..” – he and his band came back  and joined our table with their instruments and then started the evening live music.Gus O'Connors - Doolin The man who was playing a bodhrán (an Irish percussion instrument), lent it to me and showed me how to play, although I was awful, everyone was having a good time. Words can’t describe how incredible that night was… I had sneaked in my own fancy 7 euro bottle of red wine that night in order to save my last morsel of funds, with that and a few beers, I was very sick the next day – but it was 100% worth it. (Gus O’Connor’s pub in Doolin – on right)

The Australian caretaker of the Aille River Hostel, Ann, treated me well and brought water to my room when she heard I was under the weather. Nicest lady ever.

When it was time to roam Killarney, I didn’t expect to meet someone special, but I did. It’s funny how things can happen sometimes. We met up in Galway (which I planned AFTER I met her😉 ), and then again in Belfast. She later came to visit me in Ontario for three weeks – I did my best to show her around and teach her what Canadians do (i.e. drink loads of Timmies), I hope she enjoyed herself as much as I did.

A last visit in Cork to bid farewell to Laura, my friends from Schuh and Robert the bartender from Callanans pub (where I went all the time). God I love you Cork folk, long live the Rebel County! (Ken M. and I in Cork)
W/Ken in Cork

Ancestral homeland Sligo was beautiful and awesome to see, but folks, there’s just literally nothing to do there. (Below)
Sligo

Driving into the North, which is under British rule, you immediately are aware of it with the rows upon rows of Union Jack flags along the highway – very in your face, like. War graffiti/murals coated many buildings, the people seemed a little different – it was very evident that a lot had happened in that territory recently and that there was unrest within the people. (Below)
Belfast Graffiti

It wasn’t all a downer, though. There was lots to see and do. (City Hall below)
City Hall in Belfast

I was pleasantly surprised when into another fellow Canadian while in Belfast, named Ian. He was from Kingston, Ontario. A very charismatic dude with an awesome sense of humor, we instantly clicked and were constantly sharing a good laugh and imitating Ron Burgundy – we thought it would be quite fitting to grab a Tim Hortons coffee from a convenience store in downtown Belfast (don’t do it, it was actually horrible – below).
Timmies in Belfast w/Ian!

I visited the Titanic construction site, which was one of my childhood dreams. (Below)
Titanic construction site
Belfast itself was an interesting city with lots of tours readily available at our hostel. If you’re ever in the city, be sure to take the black taxi tour. This was the most interesting tour I ever did on the trip.

Peace Wall - Belfast The black taxi tour is conducted by a local who will take you around the hot spots of the city while telling stories of the war between Catholics and Protestants, IRA, and the Troubles etc. It’s not the most cheerful thing to do, but very interesting, cheap and highly recommended – we even got to sign the peace wall. (Left)

Also don’t ever couchsurf – if you do, be careful. You may be couchsurfing with an unemployed drug addict (or worse) and need to be saved from a sticky situation..

When I got back to Dublin, I was sick, very sick.. So I wasn’t able to do much for my final two days but rest in my bed at the hostel. On my final day, I worked up enough energy to get my ass up, make some food with a friendly Frenchman and head off into the city to buy gifts for the family back home.

IMG_1869I flew home with the whole row of seats to myself, I laid down and slept like a baby – I never sleep on flights, I’m usually pooping my pants with anxiety. (Right)

When I was coming out of the luggage section, I caught my first glimpse of Dad and my sister. Dad raised his hands way up in the air and smiled, almost as in a relief I was back and made it in one piece – It was definitely a nice little moment.

It’s been exactly one year this day when I left home for my trip overseas. With that, I’ve been catching myself wondering what exactly I would’ve been doing exactly one year ago.

If you know me well enough, I don’t like sitting still and procrastinating (although sometimes I tend to creep into those funks) – I’ve been home for six months and I’m already itching to plan another escapade. A longer, more versatile one as far as locations are concerned. I want to return to Ireland as homebase, but before or after my stay, I’ll take off for an all-out Eurotrip. You down? I’m down. We’ll see what’s next – I’m open for recommendations!

Since coming home, I have been and will continue to be an advocate for traveling abroad, I always tell people to do it if they have some interest because the experience is too awesome to live a life without.

Pack my bagsI have a full time job and an apprenticeship for the trades – but I’m not quite ready for a career, I think I’m keen on round two for now..

Thank you all for reading my first blog, it was really awesome to hear feedback from friends and family and even get in touch with fellow travelers doing the exact same thing!

More to come soon in the new blog. Sorry for the blabber, sorry for being sorry – I am Canadian after all. Leafs just won by the way!

see ya soon lads,
w j walsh

ciao bella!

Brace yourselves for a long one – lots and lots of tea needed..😉

It was about a three hour flight to Ciampino airport, a smooth flight – thank goodness. We arrived at about 8:30PM local time and unfortunately it was too dark to see the surroundings, all the more excited I felt to wake up in the morning. The airport was small and I found my way to the shuttle to Roma city centre in just moments. My shuttle fare had already been paid for via Ryanair, so I boarded easily and struck up a conversation with an Irish couple from Dublin who were on my flight, they were also visiting Rome until Thursday, leaving on the same flight as well. We made a pact to meet up at the airport and share our Rome stories.😉

Finally got off the shuttle in Rome city centre, my phone was dying, but I managed to use up the battery to its last moments in order to pinpoint exactly where my hostel was. It was about a 5 minute walk from the main Termini station where the shuttle dropped us off. I found Papa Germano, my hostel, with not much trouble. I signed in, went upstairs to my 4 bed dorm (it was more like a hotel room with extra beds, quite nice). Greeting me in my room was Luke, a guy from Australia, John, from Georgia and another guy from Japan who was too sleepy to tell me his name and I, too sleepy to ask. I was chatting with the boys for a few minutes “I gotta get some food..” was pretty much the last thing I mumbled before I dosed off in my bed, clothes still on.

DAY I

I woke the next morning forgetting where I was for a moment. It was about 6:30am and I could hear Rome come to life as the minutes carried on. I laid there staring at the beam of light shining through the window and was glowing brighter. I felt like a child on Christmas morning; and so, like a child on Christmas morning, I couldn’t wait. I got up around 7am to brush my teeth, wash my face and went outside to meet Rome.

I stepped outside Papa Germano and my jaw would remain dropped for the remainder of my trip (I amaze real easily because I’ve never really traveled). The first thing I noticed was how different and old everything was, especially from home. I took the first few hours to wander wherever I felt like going. While roaming and taking pictures, I really began to think about how much I’ve been missing out and how much other people are missing out on when they don`t get to travel.

I started to wonder where I was after a little while, so I pulled out my map and realized I had wandered out of the city centre, I quickly went back on track and began to make my way to the Colosseum. Along the approach, I passed through a nice park, Parco del Colle Oppio, which is filled with ancient ruins – a marvel of a site (which was free – also jaw dropped even farther). It was there when I noticed how majestically odd the trees and greenery looked.

the dancing trees(Photo on the left: The Dancing trees in Parco del Colle Oppio)

Wandering through the park, I spotted the Colosseum as it slowly emerged from the tall trees of the park. As I anxiously headed closer, there were more and more “souvenir” and snack stands which had eager salesmen waving tourists in to spend money. I found it funny how there were men dressed up in cheesy Gladiator costumes accepting money for a picture – I debated on getting a picture with one of them, but I didn’t have any spare change. Nothing could be distracting enough from the great Colosseum, though! I took out my camera and started taking pictures like a madman as I headed on inside for a gander (jaw is now dragging on the ground). It was about 18 euro for admission with an English tour. I ended up staying in the area for a good 3 hours, explored in and around the site with the guide. The guide herself was a local lady, who was very informative; I found it to be so crazy that they found preserved food in the centre pits of the Colosseum from when spectators used to chuck their left overs into the centre of the show. Also, just so you’re aware, a “gladius” is a type of short, broad sword which the contenders of the period often used in battle and this is actually where the term “gladiator” comes from. But one of the most amazing facts is that there is nothing between the giant stones that make up this structure to hold it all together – obviously there was no kind of cement used in that time, it’s all gravity; the weight of the massive stones is what keeps everything standing strong! So cool. Turns out my A.D.D was out-to-lunch that afternoon.

Colosseum(Photo above: The Colosseum of IV Templum Pacis…)

interior.(Photo above: Colosseum Interior..)

yours truly.(Photo to the right: A nice friendly Scotch couple took this shot for me – getting this picture made my day.. The one thing I don’t like about travelling alone – it’s hard to get proper pictures with you in them. P.S. I won’t do arm-extention shots – sorry.)

After the Colosseum, I wandered some more and took many pictures along the way. I stopped in a cafe along the way for a quick cappuccino, which costed 5 euro plus tip! Now, I’m going to give ye a little tip, if you’re ever touring Rome (this goes for any other touristy spot, I’m sure) and you’re fancying a bite to eat – don’t go to a place located too close to main attractions. If you do, the cost is sky-high. Do yourself a favor and take a gander down a side road for 5 minutes, you will find a place offering the same goods for less than half of the price of the busy areas – mark my words! I unfortunately learned this the hard way. On a good note, I’ll know for next time.

After a long day of roaming, I headed back to the hostel for a seater. Luke, the Aussie was there taking it easy when him and I started to hit it off a bit – we decided to get some food at a restaurant close-by. We got seated and ordered some good old fashioned Italian food and split on (the cheapest) bottle of red wine. I was relieved to see this place was reasonably priced even though I was probably still spending a lot more than I would be in Ireland. I ordered a mushroom pizza, Luke had pasta. Now, unfortunatly, from this experience alone, I will never be able to apperciate Canadian/American pizza ever again – and I’m okay with that! This was when I was remembering Massimo telling me about how different the pizza is in particular, it’s the truth. The crust/dough on the pizza is a lot thinner, light and crispier, they use little tomato sauce, generous amount of authentic mozzarella cheese and the arrange of toppings of your choice – very gourmet! I liked the thin, crispy dough, the flavor has no where to hide😉 . I think Luke and I ended up hanging around there socilizing for a decent amount of time, just taking in the Italian restaurant atmosphere, exchanging jokes about how we probably looked like a couple – not a single f**k was given that night, I assure you. One last thing, if you’re ever in Italy, make sure you tip generously. Our waiter rolled his eyes at us when he saw how much we left (he wasn’t amazing, we gave him 15%… we’re travelling, what do you expect?) – we left with no intension of coming back just because of his reaction. Food was top-tier though!

first supper in Roma!(Photo to the left: Cheers, Rome!)

After bromance dinner, we got back to the room and fell asleep instantly due to said bottle of wine combined with a belly full of amazing Italian cuisine..

DAY II

Okay, I used this morning to catch up on sleep, but just a tad. I woke up at around 9:30AM everyone in my room had left already. I had a nice long shower which was revitalizing in itself, got ready and headed out again – next stop, the Vatican.

It was pouring rain this day (no umbrella) and I had a map given to me by the hostel manager, which was very needed, as the Vatican was at the other side of town and I had my hike made out for me. The map was very helpful, yet somehow I got very lost that morning and wandered about a block away from being off the map. The roads in Rome are very windy and some are very narrow, so it’s hard to tell if some of them are even on the map. I couldn’t use my phone to navigate because roaming charges had already racked up my minutes to sh**. All in all, I wasn’t too upset being lost in such an amazing place, but I often needed to rest because blisters on my feet were getting unsettlingly large and probably infected – but what can you do?

Along the way to the Vatican, getting soaked with rain, I stopped by Altare della Patria, a massive white monument, made almost entirely of white marble – this monument also holds the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” circa World War I. This site is incredible to see, a must visit in Rome.

Altare della Patria(Photo above: Altare della Patria)

Altare della Patria(Photo on the right: Looking out from the top of Altare della Patria)

Onto the Vatican, I knew I was getting somewhat close. I found myself referring to my map almost every block to make sure I didn’t get lost again. However, I found a river which would lead my right into the Vatican city – so I followed along the side for a good half an hour after stopping for a quick bite at a small bakery hidden away in a side road (cheap!). When in Italy I was always sure to thank the Italians in their native tongue, after any satisfactory service I was shouting “ciao! thank you, grazie – grazie!”. When in a foreign country, I find that the locals appreciate if you try to speak their language. Try it; you’ll learn something new, it breaks the ice and builds a little banter with the locals! But I digress, I continued up the river and headed up to Vatican city. Et Voilà!

Vatican(Photos above: soaked in Vatican city – loving every moment)

And headed on inside..

Vatican interior(Photo above: Vatican interior)

Belly of the beast(Photo above: The belly of the beast – in the Vatican)

There were some audio guides available but I didn’t learn this until afterwards. The museum was closed due to the commotion with the Pope election – but hey, I explored Vatican city and enjoyed it thoroughly. I was absolutely amazed at how a place like this exists, the detail put into building these murals, statues and altars alike must have taken ages to perfect. Everything tells a story. You truly have to be there to understand what I mean. A side note as well; I’m writing this blog as I’ve just found out a new Pope has been sworn in – and I’m a little disappointed that I just missed the white smoke! Ah well.

After a good while at Vatican city, I made my way back to the hostel, hitting a couple of attractions along the way. It had been raining all day, but at this point, on my way back to home base, the weather was starting to get a lot worse. A downpour. If you’ve ever been in Rome, you’ll know there are tons of people around every crevice trying to sell you things, in this case, umbrellas! I can’t even begin to tell you how many guys came up to me (can’t speak a lick of English) “YIS, HALLO HALLO – YOU BUY – YOU BUY”. There was actually one man who thought I couldn’t hear him cause I had my headphones in and he actually ended up chasing me down a street – yes, I started sprinting away from him! I found the best thing to do in dealing with these annoying people; just raise your hand and shake your head – I totally left my chipper polite Canadian persona at the door for the rest of that day. Anyways, here’s what Trevi Fountain looks like..

Trevi(Photo on the left: Fontana di Trevi)

I was running below my budget during my trip (due to spending on food – it adds up quick!), so I got a cheap take-out dish from a restaurant near the hostel and had a lazy night in chatting with Luke and writing emails.

I was on Facebook that night when a good friend and former co-worker from Fionn MacCools, Melissa, who had been to Rome before, was online and told me about a “must see” church / museum – the Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini / Capuchin Monk Crypt. This is a mass burial place located beneath a church in the city, I was instantly interested. Though I didn’t have much time on my day of departure, I made sure to set aside the time to fit this in the schedule…

DAY III

Woke up bright and early at the sound of my alarm, which I dread at this point – but I was in Italy so it was all cool, man! I got up, washed up and packed my things – said so-long to my roommates and took off, next stop; the Capuchin Crypt. But first, food, I’m starving! Being on the third day of my trip, I had an arrange of different types of Italian foods; pastries, pizzas and deli sandwiches – but what? No pasta!? Come on man, this had to be dealt with immediately, I thought to myself this morning. So I first tracked down the church which was about a 15 minute walk from the hostel (I made sure to stick to my map religiously this time). I stood in front of the Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini and oh, how convenient, a restaurant right across the street! In I went and ordered a full on, good old, spaghetti and meatballs…

Pasta(Photo above: This was unreal – and this time, the server was nice, so I tipped him generously “grazie, grazie”)

I finished up quickly and took off across the way and to the Crypts. To go in, it was about 8 euro. They have it set up so you walk through a museum and then the actual Crypt is at the very end on the way back out. The museum itself was pretty interesting, but needless to say I was interested in reaching the crypt, there was a loud crying baby and I was running out of time. So I tried to gather as much info as I could in the museum and I headed to the crypt. I was feeling a bit like Indiana Jones at this point (“Genius of the res-to-ration!” – pretty sure only Dad will get this reference, sorry guys). But, no. It turned out to be a bit more grim than that, guys. Everything went super quiet when I stepped inside. I began to feel light-headed at the sight of the remains of 4000 human bodies decorated on the walls and ceilings in a mosiac-like pattern, chandeliers, altars, etc – all of skull and bone with a number of full preserved monk bodies there, resting. It was cold and dark inside and you can’t help but just be so shocked at such a sight. Just death. There was a security guard patrolling the chambers to stop people from taking pictures, but I managed to sneak a quick shot, just for you guys.

Fallen Capuchin Monks(Photo to the left: Fallen Capuchin Monks – sorry for bad quality, this was a stealthy quickshot.)

Now, you all must be thinking “Wow, what a jerk. You must have zero respect taking a picture like this and posting it.” Well, to tell ye the truth, I felt the same way. I wasn’t sure whether or not I was going to post this – until I exited the crypt through a Capuchin gift shop.. with Capuchin crypt memorabilia and postcards featuring close-up shots of the fallen monks – 80 cents each! … After briefly passing through that, I laughed to myself – yeah, I guess I’ll post it…

Alas, I have to go back to Ireland. I quickly made my way back to the Termini bus shuttle station and wandered around the area in a hunt for gifts for my family. I was feeling hungry afterwards, I was looking around for a decently priced pizzeria when a man jumped out in front of me while walking on the sidewalk. “HALLO! You sir, Are you hungry?!” he says with utmost enthusiasm. “Well, yes. As a matter of fact, I am.” I respond calmly. “Well great! We have a margherita pizza / bread combo with a glass of wine for only 10 euro, pasta and cappuccino for 8, and we also have gelato this afternoon for only-” — … “whoa – time out” I interrupt. “you got wifi?” … “Si! Yes friend, we do!” he answers with a smile. “Giddy up, let’s go!” I say to him with a chuckle. He swings his arm around me and smiles at his successful recruitment. My last moments in Rome took place in this restaurant with the most friendly Italians who often came by my table to chat – they were so curious in their foreigner guests and their service was great. The whole thing made for a nice farewell.

I took my shuttle back to Ciampino and flew back to Dublin with the company of my two Irish friends from the flight coming in.

Despite my undeniable anxiety being quite off the handle before the beginning of this trip, I remain unscathed. In this case, facing a fear of flying and the unknown has turned out to be one of the most rewarding adventures – I urge others to do the same. On another note, I really love how being back in Ireland feels like home after having lived here for half a year. I feel comfortable, among good people and familiar grounds.

Thanks again Massimo, your land is exceptionally beautiful with so many ancient secrets around ever corner. I loved it and would do it again in a heartbeat to see more of Italy. If there was one thing I did wrong, it’s that I didn’t stay long enough. As far as you guys go, well, it’s never too late, lads – go to Italy at least once!

“grazie”,
w j walsh

veni, vidi, vici” (“I came, I saw, I conquered“) – Julius Ceasar, 47 BC

oh hey there! I didn`t see you come in,

With the world rushing by this quickly beneath me (sometimes literally), being in the center of all this awesomeness actually gives me vertigo. Though very tired, blistered and a little uncertain of my final days of this adventure – I can say, with great confidence, this past while has been such a highlight. These truly are the days I will never forget. Let me tell you what exactly has gone on up until the events of Rome – please, grab yourself some tea, relax and enjoy.

During my last days on the farm in Wexford, John Lett kept hinting me on the idea of taking a few shots with his rifle out back. “Wouldn’t be a proper farewell without that!” I kept reminding John on how interested I was in the idea. So right before I left, I was packing a few last things when he called me outside and handed me an old antique 1922 rifle which used to belong to his father, also had a single-barreled shotgun which he was carrying. Seeing that shotty’ really tickled my jimmies and so I was getting super excited to get this done. So he, Caesar (the new workawayer from Spain taking over for me on the farm) and myself walked to the back area of the farm and loaded the guns for a little target practice – exchanging hillbilly jokes and talking in a southerner accent for laughs. John had set up about 8 cans as targets on a large pile of soilage, one of which was a Guinness can. Before you read on, don’t worry – I didn’t shoot the Guinness can. John carefully showed and instructed me how to load the rifle and told me to fire away. I got down on one knee, aimed down the scope and BAM!

rifle
(Got to take two shots with this one – hit both cans. Didn’t know I was much of a marksman!)

Caesar also got a go with the rifle before John pulled out the bad boy – the shotty! I was a little nervous holding this thing. If you don’t already know, shotguns are intense and often fire with a large peppered blast that’ll knock you back – that’s essentially what happened. Before pulling the trigger, I was sure to hold the gun tight against my shoulder. I aimed at a large barrel – upon firing, my whole torso recoiled from the force and the blast was so loud, my ears were ringing like never before – I slowly turned to John and Caesar with my jaw dropped, they started laughing and then I followed. I looked back at the target, the barrel was completely annihilated! A “bang” to end the Lett chapter of the adventure..

With John Lett
(“The boys” — with John)

About 20 minutes later, I left the farm and headed to Dublin city for the night. The following day, I headed to the airport to surprise Leah (as she thought we were meeting in Galway later that day). After a long wait at the airport, she emerged from the crowd coming through the arrival door, walking to the side to plan out her next move; little did she know, I was there to show her the way😉 . The poor girl looked so tired from her long journey. She didn’t see me right away so I started giggling as I sneakily ran around out of sight and then casually walked up to her saying “so how was your trip?” – her eyes brightened and I greeted her a big hug, “Welcome to Ireland!”.

Leah and I then set off to Galway where our little trip was to begin (itinerary mentioned in the previous blog). We planned this out quite well in order to see as many amazing sights as we could fit in during her short stay. I was familiar with most of the places, so it helped while getting around. Leah was ill during the second day, luckily the bug passed and we were able to carry on smoothly. It was awesome to see her first reactions to this country, especially when we were in Dingle (but that’s no surprise). If any of ye who are reading this and are planning to visit this county – Dingle is a must see, make sure you do the Dingle Peninsula tour; it is probably the most beautiful spot in the country (I’ve already been there three times and would go back in a blink). We had our tour done by John O’Connor, the same chap who gave Jack and I the tour back in December. He did a great job with the trip once again – very informative. He overheard Leah and I talking about heading down to Cork via Tralee, he then insisted on driving us to the bus station in Tralee to get the Cork bus – a huge favor.

Dingle
(Dingle, see for yourself)

Before Leah left to go back home, we got into the habit of doing something dreadful called “photobombing”. Now, for those of ye who don’t know what that means, it’s when you drop into the background of where people are taking a picture, whether it’s of a group of people or something else and do something to ruin their picture (ie. make a ridiculous face).

Photobomb
(Like so! — taken at Guinness brewery after pouring our own pint.)

Leah had me so pumped on doing some in Italy. Though, I was considering doing it on many occasions, it’s just not as fun without having someone with you for the laugh – plus I always die laughing right after I do it, so I’d look like I’m insane or something – laughing by myself. One of the nights in Dublin, Leah walked into our dorm from downstairs and I was on my bunk in tears laughing so hard at some of the photobombs on google images.. God, now I’m laughing again.. Anyways. Leah left on the 4th, the same day I left for Italy. She left the hostel super early after I helped her downstairs with her luggage and saw her off (until next month, Leah!). I went back to bed and barely slept a wink. I was wide awake and a bit nervous of the long day I was about to face. It was probably the thought of flying and being in yet another foreign country, the whole unknown thing. My mind races whenever there is an unknown – damn. So I stayed up a while and played email tag with my friend Miss Azar from Missouri, a fellow traveler who is apparently my new pen pal – very convenient that her time zone is always hours behind and that whenever I’m in night owl mode, I can write to a friend.

After email tag, I snoozed maybe for an hour and a bit – so needless to say, I was a wreck waking up from little sleep and shaken from being nervous of the flight. Not in good shape at all – but I rolled myself out of bed and pushed on to the airport to catch my flight to Italy via Ryanair. I reckon Ryanair is probably one of the most hated airlines. Although they are a cheap service, there are lots of conditions and rules to follow. As long as you play their game properly, you have a decent cheap airline that will get your around europe (ideal for backpackers), I found it to be alright – no complaints. For those of ye who are interested in flying with them without getting f**ked, here is the **Ryanair Survival Guide**. Before leaving, Massimo was nice enough to watch my luggage for the duration of my stay in Rome (many thanks!) – so I was traveling light as a feather. A great feeling to have when boarding a flight for a quick trip to Rome…

Ryanair
(Italia bound)

Writing about Rome in this blog would make this very long. So with that, stay tuned until the next segment…

You stay classy,
w j walsh

Comin’ at ya from across the high seas…

I can’t even, I don’t know how I can fit all this craziness into one read – first things first though… I do no longer fear Miss Rosie the pig! Just so you know, her and I are actually soul mates now; the scent, groggy oinks and deafening squeals as I’m shouting at her to “back off!” while filling her trough with meal, so lovely. I’ll even adore her a little more when she’s inside my belly! Bahahah!! Hahah… haha.. ahh.. ugh.. Okay no, that’s pretty sick – I’m just kidding.. “Wow, way to lose your vegetarian followers, Will!”.

It’s been almost a month at the Lett’s farm in Wexford, my time is almost up here and I’m starting to get my things ready for my next venture. All my clothes smell like farm, so I’m trying to take care of that as best I can for Leah’s arrival (sorry Leah, if I smell like a cow). The time has flown by so quickly, it’s unbelievable. Thanks to this lovely family, I’ve learned and grown so much here. There’s a certain tranquility this place radiates and I know I’m not alone with that statement; not only is it the farm, but the people of this family as well. A charm comes from a living simple life. If you’re from a city, you have to experience it for yourself to understand. The best way to describe it is having the feeling of minimal stress, nothing is rushed – you know? So with that, I’ve been sleeping like I’ve never slept. The closest I get to being this content would be when I’m visiting my grandparents at my cottage on Balm Beach in Tiny, Ontario (Yes, definitely going there to see Gam & Pops for a week when I return home).

Since my last writing, many calves have been birthed, about seven total. A few of which I was there to witness. The experience was bittersweet – during, I’m keeled over doing my best not to faint (due to overwhelming stress and shock), but at the same time, I am really appreciating nature and how beautiful it is to see new life. After the mother calves, she turns to her baby, who is found wet, shivering cold and can barely stand; she keeps it warm, she’ll start licking it and watching over it constantly – it’s nice to just watch. Again, it’s just something you have to see for yourself. John named one of the calves Billy after yours truly, I was honored!

Calf birth
(A new life, good job doc!😉 )

Unfortunately, a calf was born premature last week. I was there helping John pull it out this time. John had pulled out the two front hooves and part of the leg before he tied a rope around them and instructed me to help pull with him. “Doesn’t look good, Will” John said to me as we were tugging the calf outward. The calf finally fell out onto the straw looking very frail, but it was alive breathing shallow breaths – I could clearly see the heart as it was beating through its chest. “Poor boy..” John said to it as it was laying there fighting to breathe. I couldn’t take my eyes off it, I watched as the heart was slowly stopping – the mother still comforting it as she normally would. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t put me in a sad place that night. The whole thing really made me think of how fortunate healthy premature babies are in general.

Cheddar Man?
(This is actually what made me feel happy again. Waving cheddar man says “Don’t be cheesed, Billy – things will get better!” …)

Thanks cheddar man – on a good note..

I’ve lost about 7 pounds here, and am definitely more fit! It’s insane because John Lett and I eat like crazy in between working. I suppose this result is a combination of the physically active hard work and (delicious) home-made cooking with freshest foods, some of which are grown right outside of this house.. Each member of the Lett family happen to be amazing cooks.

Throughout my time here on weekends, I’ve had the chance to explore this area and the surrounding towns. These towns; more like villages or corner stops, are surrounded by beautiful rolling hills and the vibrant emerald countryside – they very simple, small and quiet – very lovely! The locals of this small community of Killenagh (pronounced “kill-ee-nuh” not “kill-in-aw” – thanks to Sarah for laughing and then correcting me) all seem to know each other well – often, neighbors and fellow farmers stop on by the house to say hello to the family, updating them with the latest news/gossip – some of which are real characters. I’ve been frequenting a pub up the road from here called “O’Brien’s”, I enjoyed meeting locals there and having a nice chat. There was a man I met up there, cock-eyed and toothless – a big ol’ pint of stout in his hand, “ah, Dimmie Marfeh” is what he mumbled after I introduced myself as Billy Walsh – so uh, Jimmy Murphy? Pleased to make your acquaintance. Poor old Jimmy was talking his head off before he started to notice I was really struggling to understand a word he was muttering, before things got a little embarrassing, I managed to make a narrow escape out of that conversation! Ah, fair play to ya, Jimmy…

Another man I spoke to at the pub, Frank, also from Killenagh, was very interested in what I was doing at the Lett’s farm. He’s a friend of the family and so I told him I was working with them on the farm in exchange for accommodation/experience, done via workaway/wwoof – he loved the idea so much, he and his wife stopped by the Lett farm later that week, John Lett and I sat around the dinner table with them, discussed the program and how to get them signed up to become a host to take on travelers! Guess I have some decent salesman skills! Glad to have made an impression here.

I also took one of my free days to walk all the way from the farm to the coast to see the beach. I was probably gone for about 4.5 hours (and I have a speedy stride!) – my feet were hating me by the end of that hike, I need proper hiking shoes if I’m going to climb Carrauntoohil (Ireland’s highest mountain – an 8 hour hike, to the peak and back to the bottom), which I may plan on doing sometime next month. I digress, the walk to the coast that Saturday was awesome, sunny all along, the perfect day overall. The beach was pretty much deserted with an exception of a mother walking with her children – so peaceful. I sat down on a hill which peered over the beach and did some thinking. Upon making my way on the long trek back to the farm, I was getting pretty hungry. I don’t know about yourself, but I’m one of those guys who gets really irritable when I have no Miss Rosie, er, food in my belly – so I stopped in a small bar in Ballygarrett for some hearty Beef & Guinness stew on special, served with home-baked brown bread, which is now a favorite of mine, mmm! This bar was more like a big living room in an old home, carpeted, big fireplace in the corner, with the local boys gathered to watch the rugby match on the telly. I finished every bite of my supper, thanked the bartender and headed back to the farm with the utmost strength to finish the long hike. The John & Ann were so surprised to hear I actually walked there. “Oh, why don’t ye take the bike?!” John said before I left.

(Pictures below are from said hike)

Cahore Point
(Said beach, Cahore Point)

Chapel in Ballygarrett
(The old Chapel in Balleygarrett)

Killenagh Tree
(Love this tree — in Killenagh)

horse
(Horse in Ballygarrett)

Anyways,

Got kicked at by a bull while preparing his bedding a couple of weeks back. Wasn’t the best experience at all. Hopping into the pen with that beast was terrifying enough, I’d say. I was spreading the straw around in the pen when I noticed he was slowly approaching me. I sped up the bedding process a little, but didn’t panic. As I finished, he started bobbing his head and coming towards me closer. At this particular moment, I made the decision that I wanted to remain alive, so I proceeded to slowly crawl up the gate and try to hop over it – that’s when he cocked his leg and kicked the gate I was climbing, I fell off to the other side and sprinted gracefully the fu** out of there. John can prep the bedding for the bull next time😉 .

So again, after a great experience, this chapter of my Ireland story comes to an end. I leave this place with great satisfaction and pride in myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and doing something completely different and working damn hard – definitely a new respect for farmers for what they do. I feel like I fit in well as a local here. I’ve repeatedly told the Lett’s I’d love to come back again, they’ve mutually welcomed me back in the future – which was a very nice feeling. With that, I’d like to publicly thank this family for having me at their home and teaching me their ways of living and farming. Thank you; John for the big laughs and deep talks (“I do declare, sir!”), Sarah for putting up with me and teaching me everything around the farm, Ann for your contagious laugh and comfort meals, Rebecca/James for taking me out to New Ross for a great time at the Dunbrody, and last but not least, Rachel for your charming humor and amazing cooking (that duck was to die for).

Dunbrody Ship
(This is a partial shot of the Dunbrody ship in New Ross – an exact replica built to commemorate a real famine ship that sailed many Irish to America for a better life during the Great Famine 1845 – 1852. It was fascinating to visit this ship because I myself have relatives who came to Canada from Ireland due to that famine.)

Where to next?

Leah arrives for her visit this Saturday, I couldn’t be more excited – So nice to be roaming again with a friendly face! We’re meeting in Galway Saturday night and the itinerary is as follows…

***
Feb 23 (Leah arrives :D) – Check into Galway hostel, head to Taaffes for traditional Irish music night!
Feb 24 – Explore Galway
Feb 25 – Connemara tour or Cliffs of Moher tour (Leah, Where to?)
Feb 26 – Sign out of Kinlay, Travel to Limerick, transfer to Tralee bus and to Dingle for one night at the Hideout Hostel.
Feb 27 – Tour of Dingle for the day and head to Cork
Feb 28 – Explore Cork
March 1 – Blarney/Cobh tour via Paddywagon
March 2 – Travel from Cork to Dublin
March 3 – Explore Dublin (Howth, Guinness Storehouse, Gallery, Museums)
March 4 – Leah leaves😦
***

March 4th.. Something else is happening March 4th. Oh, I think I remember! (Picture below related).

Italia
(A promise kept, Massimo – I only wish you could join me! I am bound for Italiaaa – a place I know right well.)

Sorry for the rant – I’ve you’ve made it this far, I am eternally thankful,
w j walsh

P.S. Still can’t stop listening to this

Loyal readers,

I write to you from the Lett family farm in a small village called Killenagh, county Wexford in Ireland. This family has made one chipper farmer out of me, and seriously, one week has never blown by so fast! I’ve learned so much here and I look forward to the rest of my stay on the farm. I’ll just dive into what comes to mind when I think of my day-to-day life here..

First of all, there are five members of the Lett family, three daughters (all of which are of or about my age) and their parents. Two of the daughters have moved out but visit home often and one of them, Sarah, works on the farm with her parents (this is the one that’s been teaching me the tricks of the trade, putting up with my rookie antics). Our day starts off at 7:30AM with a hearty breakfast, Mr. Lett (the father) usually stirs up some nice, thick oatmeal in the morning with a side of toast and tea – best enjoyed over a conversation with some nasty jokes! I’ve shared a good bunch of laughs with Mr. Lett, holy smokes.. After breaky, we head out for the “morning milking”. We milk the cows twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening before the end of the day. I’ve pretty much got the routine down pat, usually Mr. Lett and Sarah are milking the cows while I run around the farm, feeding all of the animals. On the farm here there are about twenty-eight adult cows, five calves, six heffers, two bulls, a MASSIVE pig (Ms. Rosie), and a group of hens. Almost all of the animals eat a mixture of rolled barley and soya… looks a lot like what we eat for breakfast – which is delicious!

Heffer
(A heffer – junior cow. This guy is a schmuck, actually. headbutts and breaks the rules way too much)

The most exciting part of the day is always when I’m dealing with big ol’ Miss Rosie, the giant pig. She’s locked in a small stone outhouse. Approaching her quarters, her feeding bucket in my hand, you see nothing but the metal door shaking, being pounded by the beast behind it; a haunting squeal and roar every few seconds (like a horror film) it’s not very pleasant – especially the first few times. Since Ms. Rosie the pig and one of the bulls share the same feeding bucket, I’m forced to get it back from Ms. Rosie (as she’s only fed once a day) and sometimes she likes to kick it to the very back of her shed with her – this presents many significant problems, see cause I get a little shakey before running in there. In fact, It even takes me a minute to gather up the courage to run in, by all means though, most of the worry is that I don’t want to accidentally let her loose… not that I’m afraid of a giant pig or anything.. The first time I had to actually run in the shed with her, I was terrified. I stood there by the door as she was roaring behind it, I grabbed a shovel and had the stick end of it out in front of me, I opened the door and jumped in as if I were jumpin’ out of the trenches into no man’s land – I point the stick out toward the Rosie, poking and shouting “BACK! BACK! GIT’ GOIN’” . I snatched the bucket and ran for the hills. Upon shutting her door behind me, right before locking it, my massive sweetheart slams the door almost knocking me down. Managed to lock it though. By the way, Sarah does this whole thing so easily and makes me feel like a wuss – I only hope she doesn’t see me doing it one day!

Miss Rosie
(With a smiling Miss Rosie, a true menace)

Letting the hens out from the coop is awesome because I love the way they run when they’re free. I’m also to check the coop for eggs!

Dropping the feeding bucket for the bull is exciting as well, he’s also a massive guy. Just the other day, Sarah told me to make sure not to look it in the eye, otherwise they feel threatened. And so, just a few hours ago when I was feeding the junior cows in the pen next to the bull, I turned and glanced at him not realizing he was just behind the gate from me – he was right there and I looked right at him, he roared a roar that almost made me do a number two right then and there. I turned back around fast to get my attention off him. Nothing like being 5 feet away from an angry beast. You have to respect an animal like that.

Anyways, after the morning milking and feeding the animals, we usually have a side project or general maintenance of the farm where we’ll be busy doing our own thing through until lunch and afterwards until the evening milking, which is a repeat process of the morning duties. By the way, they have two dogs here, Lass and Robin – they love to follow me around the farm while I’m doing my routine and it’s such a charm – it helps me remember my dogs at home who I miss so much.

Lass
(Lass and shitty boots)

Milking the cows are now done mechanically, which I didn’t know (yes, I didn’t know this). The whole process is actually quite simple, but nothing about it is glamorous. There have been many occasions while Sarah and I were in the milking parlor when we were so close to being shat or pissed on while milking away in the pit.

I get weekends off, which is lovely, this past weekend was my first chance to explore Killenagh, so I did. I ended up walking across town and into Ballycanew, another village nearby. Not much to see really, but the countryside is wonderful. I stopped into Ballycanew for a small snack and a few pictures and made my way back home. Later that night, I stopped by a pub that happens to be about a 5 minute walk up the road from the farm, which is super dangerous because of how dark it is at night. I had to wear a flourescent vest and carry a flashlight. I headed up to O’Briens. A local pub in Killenagh where all of the townspeople come to socialize over a fire and cozy atmosphere. I met a few locals and had a nice chat with the bartender who was about my age, Eddie was a good chap. There was another man sitting next to me, “Jimmy Murphy” who seemed to be missing about 75% of his teeth, could barely understand a word he was saying, but he seemed nice. He was telling me about a guy in town who was kicked by a horse or something? I felt bad, I think he was starting to get irritated at me for being somewhat clueless of everything he was trying to say. But I’m sure it happens to him a lot – poor man. I returned home around midnight that night and rested all of Sunday to prepare for the week.

Old Bridge in Ballycanew
(an old bridge on the way into Balleycanew)

Killenagh
(This is Killenagh)

But anyways,

The family, as a whole, are very warm and welcoming; always laughing and joking around. It’s also easy to stay strong working on the farm with the meals they prepare, they’re always so delicious and hearty. They’ve been fantastic hosts to me overall – they seem to really love people. I only intend to stay a month before I travel again, they’ve invited me to stay longer which is very tempting – one thing is for sure, I will be back sometime.

For now, I plan to visit Italia in mid March as per the promise I’ve made to Massimo, my Italian buddy who I met back in Galway. I’m currently trying to convince him to come along for the adventure. An Austrian girl I met earlier invited me to visit her at her home in Austria as well. Seeing as Italy and Austria are attached, might as well pay her the visit while I’m in the neighborhood – holy smokes, this is exciting. Sounds like a pricey venture, but as we know, Ryan air is super cheap; I’m able to fly from Dublin to Milan for 70 euro return flight – not so bad after all!

Updates soon – shit, sorry for the rant.

That’s all folks!

w j walsh

This is where things get a little interesting. Where do I begin?

After fleeing Cork in hopes of finding a change – I’ve definitely found it. These past couple of weeks have been a rollercoaster and I’ve never been through so much uncertainty in such a short period of time, but I was looking at it as though I had to choose a path. I’m glad to say, I’ve finally settled down somewhere and with a plan of where I want to be in the near future. Relax, grab a tea and let me tell you whats going on..

During my time in Galway, I met and got to know heaps of people in the Kinlay hostel, coming and going from all over the world. People of all breeds; students, travelers, homeless, tourists, mutants and the ever famous stinky garlic guy (the vampire hunter). Yes, I finally met the garlic guy – twice. I first met him in the elevator heading up to the reception/lounge. I held the door open for him as he was rushing into the elevator. Awkward silence and a profound realization followed with that familiar stench. B.O… and garlic? Oh yes, that’s definitely garlic.. No. God help us, the stories were true! He’s BACK! It’s the fu**ing garlic gu– “Ye American?” he asks me with a smug smirk.
Nope, Canadian.” I replied.
Same ‘ting though, really..” (really?)
The elevator door opens
Heh – no, not really” I reply.
He walks off into reception.
I was heading up another floor but I decided to take the steps on the account of the strong odour he insisted on shedding in the small elevator with me. Much obliged, Mr. Garlic Guy, I’ll be happy to take the stairs – guess you think your sh*t don’t stink.. literally.

Now, mind you, I wouldn’t be so nasty towards this guy if it weren’t for this incident I’m about to tell ye.. The next morning after the elevator scene, I’m going to get some breakfast in the early hours of the morning before my search for work. Picture the scene; I’m in the kitchen, it’s just me and sweaty, grungy Garlic Man (living up to his name that morning). I’m rinsing an apple, minding my own business when suddenly he asks, AGAIN …ye from America then?
Not wasting my breath this time, “Canadian” I reply, ready to walk away from funk master.
Same thing though, right?” with that smirk again.
Not really..” I said, one-lining him to the max.
Why do Canadians get so mad when they’re mistaken for Americans? They’re the same, like!” he asked ignorantly. Like he didn’t even care about the conversation; he, just aiming to piss someone off.
At this point, it was time for a counter attack. “I’m not mad. You’re Irish though, right?”
Yeah” He confirms, quick.
Then I suppose I don’t need to school you on how I can point out a few million Irish people who’d be enraged to be mistaken for Brits?” I said, anxious to hear his response.
An eavesdropper turned to us chuckling “Right you are, Canadian. good point there!
Garlic stood there, pondered – and replied “I guess that’s up for argument.”
Same thing, right?”

Fair play to ya, Garlic guy – aufedersein. Ask me if I’m American again and I’ll throw ya in a shower – God knows you’ll dread that.

But, I digress – now my heart rate is up!

The good people I’ve met.. I met many a passerby who I’d like to call new friends; I became really tight with a Canadian girl, Christine from Vancouver and the Italian guy from last week, Massimo, who was still there looking for work but managed to find a job in Dublin a few days ago. Upon our outing to celebrate his employment, I proposed an idea he really liked the thought of. I suggested for him to establish his own Italian food place in Ireland. He’s the kind of guy you could see owning a business like that, he’s passionate about his home cuisine and is very much a people person – what a great combo of qualities for something like that. He smiled big when I suggested it and even mentioned it later on in the week! Maybe one day “Massimo’s cuisine” will be packed with business; I’ll be a regular, you can count on that!

Another friend of which, Michael the Australian, was in Ireland working on an animal farm up North in Mayo – working for free food/accommodation with a family, a “workawayer”. Workaway is a website that connects you to families who need a caretaker, an extra hand on their farm, garden, etc – and in return they offer free accommodation/living. Being a little low on cash, out of work and interested in farming, I immediately was gravitated to the idea of workaway and asked Micheal how to go about it. He showed me around the site and I registered very next day (@ http://www.workaway.info), creating my own profile and searching through the ads. I came across a few ads and opportunities of interest, one of which would become my next destination of living – the Lett family dairy farm in county Wexford, South of the Wicklow Mountains. I had chosen a direction, a path that would lead to many new stories, faces and experiences.

When I contacted the Lett’s, they responded quick and with polite messages. Reading into their offering, I found out they run a dairy farm just outside of Gorey, in county Wexford. The farm operates from 8AM until 7PM, lunch and tea break in between. Sounds good to me! I cancelled the rest of my stay at Kinlay (got refunded too!) and early next morning I rose to travel across the county to Wexford to meet the family. I took a bus trip from Galway to Dublin, then after about 2 hours in the big smoke of Dublin, caught a train heading Southward to Gorey where one of the daughters of the family met me and was kind enough to give me a lift to the farm. Oh yeah, the train from Dublin to Gorey was beautiful, amazing views all around! With the vast Irish ocean on one side and frosty Wicklow Mountains on the other. By the way, back in Dublin (where it was SNOWING, by the way), I bumped into a bar with my name on it – love at first sight, managed to get a picture too! I wanted to go in for lunch, but they weren’t open. Picture found below..

J. Walsh & Co.
(Walsh’s in Dublin)

I arrived at the farm a bit tired from lugging my things across the country in a matter of a few hours. Upon my arrival, they were very friendly off the bat and fed me some delicious quiche with a tea to be strong for the evening milking. I was thrown into the fire that night, I had no idea what to expect. I knew it wouldn’t be anything glamorous, overall I was really just amazed the entire time having never been on a farm before. I was so thankful they provided me with some boots and some overalls, if it weren’t for those, I’d have my clothes completely coated in cow shit/slurry. So far, the work has been very physically demanding, but even after a couple of days, I’ve learned so much. But still a lot is to be learned. Information overload!

I gotta call an end to this one, it’s getting late, folks. The next chapter will hold more detail of the farm itself. I’ll get on it – I’ll get on it! I’m just so tired I feel like I can’t keep up with myself. I feel like I’m dreaming. You ever feel that way? I don’t know..

ee ei ee ei oh – I’m out,
w j walsh

p.s. Just so you know; my good friend Leah, from home, is visiting in one month – we’re planning some trips as I write this! Dingle escapade #3? Dingle escapade #3.

In hardships; survive, carry on and know that soon everything will be alright. These are what make us feel alive and give us the stories we tell.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Resistance was futile! I fled Cork to Galway to stir my adventure in Ireland into a complete different direction, if you don’t mind. After a great weekend there, it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. I’d say this decision was just as abrupt as when I decided to visit Galway last weekend.. I literally up and moved, shedding some of my things behind in order to travel lighter and move swiftly, like a wild ninja😉 . Seriously though, I’m not 100% comfortable when I’m traveling with all my things, kills me..

Anyways,

I, of course, returned to Kinlay in Galway and booked myself two weeks (8 bed dorm) to give me a little time to decide my next move. Upon my arrival at Kinlay, the place was so quiet that they bumped me into a 6 bed ensuite, which I’ve had completely to myself these last 3 nights – it seems as though the jimmies remain unrustled for good old Mr. Walsh at this point. Ohhh yes, I couldn’t be happier. Along the way finding my room, I saw a good few familiar faces from last weekend and so far, I’ve made yet another handful of buddies. My Italian friend, who is still here, was telling me how I “just missed the ‘garlic guy’.”. Apparently, there was a guy who was here throughout last week; he carried around a bottle of mixed juices.. and cloves of garlic mixed into it. He stunk up the entire place. My friends weren’t even sure if he was still here or not, when I told them my room number, they laughed at me saying “shit, that’s his room!”. I got lucky though, he’s gone! The maids did a swell job on cleaning the place, smells fresh! No trace of the “Garlic Guy”.

Aside from that, we’re all having a movie night tonight, main event, “Django Unchained”, should be a gas.

Looking back, I do have mixed feelings about leaving Cork; having had the city so familiar to me, the locals, frequenting Callanan’s bar and having a good bunch of friends – that said, I will be back for a visit as soon as I find employment.

Keeping it short today though folks, I’m off on the job hunt this morning. Hope everyone is doing well. Be advised, I think after a long, bumpy road, I can finally say that there is nowhere to go from here but upwards.

I leave you with a few pictures I took last night as I was on a long walk just before sunset…

Galway Bay image[1] image[2]
(Galway Bay)

See you in the funny papers!”
w j walsh

p.s. No hard feelings..