The Swell Bell’s of Peterswell (as opposed to previously mentioned Petersville which is non-existent)

This is where my pants hung for an entire week after that nasty Monday in the fields last week. Until I did laundry on Friday. This is essentially our kitchen, living room and dining room.

Also, not in County Clare which I’d previously stated as well. Seems I’ve got a listening problem.

Dunguaire Castle, Kinvara

Geez time is speeding! I CAN NOT believe it is already the end of September! It doesn’t even feel like I’ve been here for more than a week! Well this post again is a compilation of several days of intentions to post online then avoiding it so I apologize for the length and choppiness!

A leisurely weekend in the rural, yes even more rural than Ballinasloe, left me exhausted somehow! Maybe my brain is exhausted from thinking about too many complicated metaphysical theories for the last week after my meditative experience in the Aran Islands…or maybe I drank a little too much wine with a fine couple of Belgium and Irish descent…or maybe I’m stillll trying to fend off a sickness that seems to be speeding around this farm, knocking people over one after another! Last week two employees were out for several days with the flu.

In the castle, the steps in these old castles were all built with the same ascending direction in order to give the defenders the upper hand in sword fighting.

Friday night Una’s mom, Moira, made dinner for us all, complete with homemade apple sauce, YUM!!! It was seriously tastey – I can’t remember for the life of me what meat we ate with the apple sauce right now, but it was a delectable combo. I later went for a walk up to the top field, which is still their property, but also my

An incredibly sky tonight right outside the cabin. We had lots of rain, shine, rain, shine weather today.

favorite place to overlook the distant hills, it gorgeous. I sat on a small, dewey patch of grass between the two veg fields that we had earlier been weeding and harvesting (for what felt like an endless amount of hours) and closed my eyes and listened to the incredible, stillness and silence of this place. I meditated there for an hour until I came to my senses and realized just how cold it was outside and ran back to the cabin and into my now heavily blanketed bunk bed.

The Guys. Reuben is the gator and Alex is the monkey. They were modeling their Halloween costumes for me. 🙂

Saturday I woke up still unsure about what time I was going to be meeting up with my new friend Katleen. (Who I met on the train my first weekend here! 🙂 Around 10 we formed the plan to meet in Loughrea, a town that’s sort of in the middle of Peterswell and Ballinsloe, around 1 pm. So just like last weekend I was doing laundry and cleaning and taking my time eating breakfast that morning and as per usual was running late to catch the bus, which consequently is usually NEVER on time so I was sort of leaning on that. I hastily pack up my things, opting not to bring my laptop this time, for a few reasons. The obvious extra weight, but also because now that our internet got fixed I’m feeling like I shouldn’t be on it that much anyway so I’ve been avoiding the internet for days at a time, it’s been a nice change. The bus did end up being late, so I was lucky. It took about 35 minutes to get to Loughrea on the bus and when I got there, Katleen and the boys, Rueban and Alexander were waiting at the stop for me! It was so great to see a familiar face when I got off the bus for once!

I loved this view of the trees in the woods

On the drive to the Bell Residence, Katleen told me about how devastated this area of Ireland was last November when they had an endless amount of rain fall which left many and most of their main roads flooded for 10 days! Some people were marooned in their homes, some people couldn’t get back into their homes after braving the rain and going to work one day. A local meat farmer near her could not get to his cows to feed them, nor could he leave his home to sell the meat to his customers. I asked if there were any animal casualties since this place is cows and sheep everywhere you look, but she wasn’t sure. We even drove past a few homes that were still unlivable due to the flood waters devastating and expensive

I pick tomatoes almost every single day at work and I’m constantly amazed at the incredible and endless amount of bright red fruits. They seem to pop up out of nowhere!

wreckage. A lot of businesses had to shut down after this as a result of the flood and the recession combined. – We stopped at a market to pick up some goodies for the extravagant and full of delicious meats breakfast that was cooked for me the following morning and I waited in the car with the boys. I had a lovely conversation with Rueban, 6, as Alex, 4, was fast asleep in one of those adorable awkward and uncomfortable positions only 4-year-olds can pull off. Rueban is in 1st class, as they call it here, and is a self-proclaimed artist and a cook. He makes salad sandwiches, ham sandwiches and chocolate sandwiches with, “Mutella.” – He said some pretty adorable phrases which I’m blanking on now, but I do remember him saying he, “reNENders things.” Ha ha ha, how adorable!

I planted these bad boys a couple of weeks ago! As evident by my “young school boy-like” handwriting on the tag.

After dropping my bags off and meeting David, we went to see Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara. It was built in the 1500’s and still lived in by someone who I can’t remember the name of and had never heard of, though the girl working at the castle acted as though we really should have known the person – but didn’t give us any explanation as to why or who she was. Anyway, the cool/interesting part about that is that the mysterious famous lady lived there until the 1970’s! Now they hold banquets there, complete with medieval costumed workers and entertainment. Katleen has had several company dinners there, how cool is that? I’m sure this would be a really cool event, however, because of the staging and props used in the castle, it somehow loses it’s effect of being ancient for me. But the view from outside is incredible and quite beautiful and so well worth the visit.

Picking french beans is another fun task, though I rarely get delegated this task as the trees are quite tall, and well…

Their house is so warm and homey it’s ridiculous! It didn’t take me long to feel right at home there, which is actually quite rare for me. 🙂 David prepared a delicious meal of mashed potatoes, pork and vegetables. Katleen, David and I polished off several bottles of wine after the kids went to sleep and talked for

Another of my favorite signs, this one was from the Aran Islands

hours and hours. They are such interesting people, well-traveled and smart and fun and down to earth! Katleen, who had once traveled in America and Europe, alone as well, told me that an American couple took her in for a weekend when she was traveling and she wanted to give back that good karma, so she invited me! David, who is in fact an artist and a cook, teaches at an alternative school for kids with learning disabilities and such. He is so upbeat, smiley and patient, I can picture him perfectly in the classroom being one of the students favorites, I’m sure. David is from the Belfast area and has big place in his heart for “Van the Man” as he called him so of course we got along swimmingly. Not only have they traveled separately but together they told me of their incredible traveling experiences in Egypt (their honeymoon, HOW COOL?!?!) and Morrocco and many, many other far away places. And, I promised, that I will one day pass this same good karma along and take in a lowly traveler as well.

Le Courgette Plant, these have very prickly leaves that can get quite angry and violently physical if you rub them the wrong way.

Sunday we took a nice walk in the forest, visited the autograph tree, which my pictures didn’t turn out very well, but has about 15 famous people from history’s signatures carved into it. Somehow, I was thoroughly exhausted by the time Sunday afternoon came around, so I ate a few lovely bowls of David’s homemade (and from scratch!) free-range chicken soup, which clearly was amazing, and hit the road. I told them that if they one day find themselves in Philadelphia, that I can surely put them up! 🙂

As a side note, Katleen is multi-lingual! I find this so amazing and I really hope to someday learn a new language, just for the mere fact that I’d like to say, “Yes, I’m bilingual,” to someone! In Belgium it is standard to know the two main languages, Flemish (Dutch) and French, but she also is fluent in German and English. And, another side note, Katleen runs a business from her home called Eco Treasures, formerly Belgium Treasures, but she has now expanded to other countries products. As I mentioned in an earlier post, she sells organically made, fair-trade products and I got to preview a few things, she has really cool stuff! I also earlier mentioned the pregnancy chimes. They are big in Mexico and a really cool idea. Anyway, check out her website! www.belgiumtreasures.ie

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Sunday night was weird for me. I don’t know what exhausted me so much

I will drive this tractor before I leave.

this weekend but I was seriously out of sorts. Monday too. But, something happened between Monday and Tuesday. I was reading late into the night, which I’ve been loving so much lately, and then went to sleep to have the most incredible, odd and a bit scary dream. When I woke up Tuesday morning I was so completely out of it that I thought I had just fallen asleep. It was still quite dark, but that’s normal most mornings in Ireland, when I looked at my phone though it was 6:28 – 2 minutes before my alarm. Now normally I’d lay in bed and doze back to sleep for several “snooze buttons” but this time I got right up and got to writing. I wrote down my entire dream, what I could remember of it and then I tried to decode it as well. This, seemingly small thing, made my entire day. I felt like I’d cracked the code of myself. I felt like I’d finally figured out several things that had been bothering me over the last several years! I felt like, even though I’ve probably known these answers before, that now I actually knew them – if that makes any sense at all. I’d love to explain the dream to you all, but for one it would take up wayyy too much space since I wouldn’t be able to leave any detail out, and two….kind of personal.

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Dirty faced after work one day a few weeks ago, this is basically what I look like every day – minus the braids as I’m usually wayyy too lazy to braid my hair in the morning

Tuesday I spent 6 hours harvesting onions, potatoes and carrots. I had my iPod on the entire time and worked diligently with the two Brazilian guys, Charlie (whose name, I found out is actually Charlis, but everyone thought he said Charlie, so it stuck; and who also has a tattoo on the inside of his right bicep of “Helena” which is not his girlfriends name like I thought, rather, “the name of my mother”) and Leo who speaks even less English than Charlie. It was a really nice day though. Not too cold, not too hot, not too sunny and no rain! So it was easy to be out there all day. Padraig also told me that if I wanted more time to travel, I could leave early cause they’re having more wwoofers come towards the middle of October. So, I’m taking him up on that and planning to leave Beechlawn on October 15th. From there I haven’t planned anything yet, but I’m super excited! (Plus, when the guys get here I may have to switch beds and I’m not super comfortable to sleep up in the loft as I’ve seen several massive-sized spiders up there.)

I’m sorry that my posts have been soooo long! In combination with trying to limit my internet usage and being tired, busy, lazy AND picky at what I’m writing, it’s just easier for me to get it all out over a few days then edit it down before I upload. So I hope you don’t mind! I also hope you are all doing well and want you to know that you all pop into my head at random times and I’m sending love across the ocean at various times of my days so I hope you can feel it!

Fun Facts:

  • Today is Arthur Day, the anniversary of the founding of Guinness. Arthur Guinness. 🙂
  • Tomorrow is Culture Day in all of Ireland with lots of fun, artsy events going on in the city’s.
  • I drank my first Guinness in Ireland last night, after a few ciders to warm me up of course…and all these Irish people around me watching my facial expression. They added black current juice to it after my unimpressed reaction so I could get it down. Gage said he’d finish it for me so it didn’t go to waste, but I refused to let this happen. haha
  • There are no water bills here! Running water is free in Ireland.
  • Digital clocks use the 24 hour standard and this confuses every time I look at a bus or train schedule. Also, “half 4” is the most common way of saying 16:30. 🙂 hahaha
  • I feel very funny using local slang, though people wouldn’t look at me weird if instead of saying I was just kidding I said, “I’m just havin’ a piss.” But I can’t bring myself to say that seriously.
  • Sometimes when I’m very tired (or drunk) I find myself thinking in an Irish accent, complete with the Irish phrases that I don’t/won’t/can’t say out loud for some reason.
  • Roisin tells me that I sound like a hillbilly when I talk.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Caitlin says:

    Hi Shannon,
    Thanks for your most recent post. So glad to hear that another WWOOFer is having a great experience! I love that you’re thinking in Irish slang – that means you’re really learning the language! When I was in Paris and started dreaming in French, I was elated. Kind of different, kind of the same. Anyway, happy trails 🙂

    Like

  2. Katleen says:

    lol, it took me the rest of the week to recover, I blame the wine! Oh, and the website is http://www.ecotreasures.ie We’d love to have you again, so drop us a line if you want to call over again. Hope you are not getting ill!! XXX Katleen

    Like

  3. eileen webb says:

    Shannon – so much fun reading your emails. Very glad to hear that there are nice people in the world you would take you in, feed you and those boys are simple adorable.

    Wow – it took you almost three weeks to have a Guiness. What???!!!

    Keep them coming,
    xxoo
    Mrs. Webb

    Like

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