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Never mind the bullocks  Morgan Davie
 Oct 11, 2004 08:48 PDT 

So we spent our first night in Ireland in a small village called Clonard, a
short drive west of Dublin. I was quite pleased to arrive intact, finding
that Ireland's reputation for rather chaotic driver behaviour was
well-earned, and in fact contributing to that reputation myself on several
occasions.

Clonard is small but, of course, it has a long history and before driving
off in the morning we thought we'd take a look at some of the historical
sights. One of these was St Finnian's Monastic Church, or somesuch, which
we followed a heritage trail map to find along a B-road. We didn't actually
find the church - we found a signpost and a long grassy trail behind a gate,
curving out of sight into a large grove of trees. Being eager for
adventure, we crossed the gate and stomped our way through long grass down
this trail, past hedges on either side, until we reached the lonely,
isolated church. It was eerie, abandoned, with crows cawing and circling
overhead. Then we heard a mighty snort to our left. And, turning, we saw
the bull.

Bulls are big. They are also intimidating. Especially when they're glaring
and snorting at you from abotu ten yards distance. Even more so when the
fence between you and them looks, shall we say, rather less a fortification
than a formality.

We clambered over the wall of the churchgrounds and stood out of sight of
the beast for a while. It snorted now and then. There seemed no other way
we could get back than right past it, since the other fields (on
investigation) also seemed to have their own masculine bovine residents.

Cal then pointed out that my jacket might not be helping things.

I have an orange jacket. I love my orange jacket. It is bright, bright
orange and very warm. Some of you will remember it fondly, no doubt,
because it is always hard to lose track of a 6'4" Kiwi wearing a glowing
orange jacket.

Well, the bull didn't seem fond of the jacket. In a feat of MacGyverish
inspiration and turned the jacket inside out and wore it that way, and we
summoned our courage, hopped back out of the churchgrounds and walked past
the bull.

It stared, but didn't snort. It didn't snort or paw or nudge or anything
once the orange was hidden. We made it back to the car intact. Is there a
lesson there? Perhaps.

----

Yesterday we crossed the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, a tourist attraction on
the northern coast (New Zealand perspective: it isn't a proper cliffside
attraction if there isn't some way of hurling yourself over the edge). We
arrived first thing on opening, on the last day of the open season, and were
told we counted go just yet. "There's a bull on the path."

It followed us.

A few minutes later the attendant's walkie-talkie sounded off: "The
beastie's back in his field."

I wore my orange jacket the whole way, and survived.

----

Currently in a lovely backpackers in Derry. Spent yesterday afternoon with
grandmother's-cousin Hugh McGeown, who told many interesting stories and
showed the medal his father was awarded for serving in the IRA from the
Easter Rising to partition. The political situation in Derry is
fascinating, and today we walked through the scene of the Bloody Sunday
violence. Lots to think about.

----

Basically, having a wonderful time.

Cheers all!

~`morgue

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