Midland blues

I spent the weekend in the midlands, doing some walking with my Mum and her walking group. Sunday was a real scorcher and we had a long walk by the river Barrow. More a trudge really., with only the odd river cruiser negotiating the locks for company. Like all walks, it turned out to be at least an hour longer than planned. What I mainly took out of it is that there is a big difference between walking up a mountain and walking along a river – one stretch along a river is much like another and you think it’s never going to end.

Another thing that ocurred to me as we trudged along is that there are land people and sea people. On a hot day, I’d far rather be on the sea, and get quite frustrated inland. Somehow those small, dusty towns are worse in the sun. To me, it doesn’t really matter if you’re sailing, windsurfing, surfing or whatever. If you like the sea, that’s where you need to be. Luckily, I live in a village by the sea!

Which reminds me, I must buy a dinghy this summer. I keep putting it off, as I travel a lot in summer. Last year, I had a nice windsurfer I got great use out of, until someone stole the board out of my garden. Now it looks like I’ll need a whole new rig. Thanks, pal.

After the long walk, there was a deafening country n western band playing in the hotel. Yippe I-ay etc, at full decibels. This seems to be a permanent feature of hotels in the midlands, I wonder why. Something to do with farmers and cowboys? Strange.


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4 responses to “Midland blues

  1. Hi Cormac,

    The name “River Barrow” sounded familiar, so I did some checking – sure enough, I was in the area about a year ago with my Dad. See here:


    The ruined keep depicted here is about a mile from the river, somewhere between Mountmellick and Portarlington. It is where my MacDonnell ancestors used to hang out between approx 1460 & 1640 – making ultimately successful attempts to suppress your ancestors. Sadly, though, like so many Anglo-Saxons sent to “civilise” Ireland, they “went native”, James MacDonnell picking the wrong side in the rebellion of 1641 and the castle and lands were forfeit. All seems not to have been entirely lost, though, as a descendant of James is Richard MacDonnell, who was Provost of Trinity around 1850 and is my 4-great grandfather. I was thinking of purchasing the castle and doing it up as a holiday home, but with those huge cracks in the walls it would probably not be worth the trouble and expense.

  2. Sorry – I meant “ultimately UNsuccessful”, not “ultimately successful”, as I am sure should be clear to all.

  3. cormac

    “I was thinking of purchasing the castle and doing it up as a holiday home”
    That’s a great idea, chris. I wouldn’t let a few cracks put me off, all part of the autheticity. You could put some guests in add-on accomodation on the site…

  4. There is a long article about the castle in the 1854 edition of the Ulster Journal of Archaeology. It has a dungeon, too, so if someone *really* pisses me off …