Heading Back North

Heading back North:

I’ve decided to end my time in sunny Florida. There are a lot of reasons mixed in here; I’ll go into some of them in a bit. But the bottom line is this: I sold my condo and I’m loading a Pod. The closing date is fast approaching.

Heading Back North

Unfortunately there is no perfect place on earth. Get used to it. No matter how wonderful spots may look from a distance, they all have pros and cons. Florida has its winter warmth, year-round diverse fishery, beautiful beaches, Tiki bars, and a laid back, Jimmy Buffett, what-me -worry lifestyle. And it’s dirt cheap to live here too. Really.

On the other hand the summers are an inferno,  a combination of relentless high temperature, record humidity, intense daily thunderstorms, loads of lightning and torrential rains. Did I mention hurricane and flesh-eating bacteria? And there is a more recent issue that is very troubling, widespread red tide and blue-green algae along the Gulf coast. How long will it take to fix that freaking mess? God only knows.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Connecticut has its pros and cons too, right? Right you are; they should call it Connect-a-tax instead.  Still I’m done with Florida.

 

 

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More on Ireland’s Church of St. Kilcatherine – Part Two

In the previous post, I told you about my wet journey to the Church of St. Kilcatherine. In an earlier post, I also offered you pictures of the many cross designs there are to be found here. Visit this post when time allows, I think you’ll find these crosses of great interest. Lastly allow me to mention something else that is tremendously fascinating and perhaps a bit eerie. This ancient graveyard has an underground entrance. You heard me right – an underground passage. Yes, I did descend into this small hole to investigate. My discoveries are detailed in a four post series found here.

This time around, we look a little closer at the church’s features and see a few more crosses including ones from this century. They show a quite different approach to honoring the deceased. Also be aware that my original pictures were done on a rainy day. A second visit occurred on a sunny day and hence the difference in the images.

Large church Window

As to be expected during a thousand year of rain and wind the church roof is gone. I think it was once built of wood, as Ireland in those years had expansive forests of large oak and elm. Yes, expansive forests. Granted that is very hard to imagine today, as Ireland only has 10 percent of its forest remaining.

The church’s stone walls show a good deal of skill. Look at how tightly the stones are fitted around this large window. I bet there was an altar at its base, and in my mind I can see a priest standing there backlit by the morning light,tending his congregation. If only we could see that moment!

Pagan Gargoyle?

This doorway to the church interior is another example of the workmanship shown by these builders. Its height indicates to me that early churchgoers were short in stature, perhaps around five feet tall. Now look up at the gargoyle over the doorway. It has been speculated this is a pagan sculpture, likely of a Cat Goddess. It is also speculated that christians appropriated this goddess, renaming her Cat- herine. Clever.

More old crosses.

The final picture show grave markers from this century. They are elaborate and ornate compared to the ancient markers, and found mainly in the front graveyard, by the gate.

Modern Grave Markers

 

 

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More on Ireland’s Church of St. Kilcatherine

More on Ireland’s Church of St. Kilcatherine

Part One: Back when this blog began, I did a series of posts about Ireland’s Church of St. Kilcatherine on the Beara peninsula. Since then a fair number of people have viewed these early posts, and that continuing level of interest has spurred me to once again tell you more about the church and how I came across it.

The Road out of Ardgroom

Ten years ago, I was in Ireland visiting my friends Jim and Jane, who live seaside in a wonderful home on the Beara. Knowing the surrounding coast held stunning beauty, I brought along a backpack. My plan was to spent three weeks doing daily hikes. All told I ended up trekking about 70 miles, of what is now called Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. It was a terrific adventure.

On the day I came across across the Church of St. Kilcatherine, I had sent out to walk from Ardgroom to Eyeries. It was a gloomy morning, mixed with periodic rain, drizzle, and fog. Despite the weather, I continued on hoping conditions would improve. The route I had chosen was along a series of ridgelines. This route not only promised high views of the coast, but was the shortest way to reach Eyeries. Unfortunately it proved to be impossible.

The coastal road to Eyeries

The heavy rains of the night before had turned the steep hillsides into sheets of running water, making any ascent extremely difficult. After falling several times, I had no choice but to descend and take the coastal road instead. After all, I was alone in a remote location and if I twisted an ankle it might take days to be found.

The entrance to St. Kilcatherine

The coastal road came at a cost, however, doubling my distance to Eyeries to about 17 miles. That is long hike, my friends, in the rain. Still it proved to be an enjoyable journey.

Late that afternoon, tired and soaked to the skin, I came to a sign for the Church of St. Kilcatherine. The gated entrance to the church yard was small. After stepping through, I dropped my pack and explore the ruin. Ireland is filled with ancient history,  and this  is a wonderful example. Religious ceremonies, both pagan and christian, have gone on here for well over a thousand years.

The graveyard is home to an amazing collection of crosses, whose varied designs speak to passage of time and culture. To learn more about these crosses visit this earlier post.

Now on to part two of this post!

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White River Wonders

White River Wonders

The White River has a well-earned reputation for some of the best trout fishing in America. It is a 700 mile long, complex watershed running through both Arkansas and Missouri. Some of the finest trout fishing the White has to offer, however, is found below the dam on Bull Shoals Lake in the Ozark Mountains.

White River rainbows

Recently my friends Peter and Linda Gillen caught a legal limit of rainbows on the White River while camping at Bull Shoal-White River State Park, Lakeview, AR. Not they weren’t fly-fishing, but the photo shows how abundant rainbows are on this river.  Pete and Linda were fishing with excellent guide Marty Moore on his custom drift boat. Marty is affiliated with Papa Bill’s Guide Service. Peter and his wife Linda have fished with Marty over the past few years and recommend him highly.

While the rainbow fishing is obviously very good, the White River is most famous for having some of the biggest brown on the planet. Earlier this year one of Marty’s clients caught a 26”, 28” and 31” Brown. A total of 26 Browns were caught that day. Marty Moore can be reached at 903-701-0454.

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Striper Trip in Long Island Sound

Striper Trip in Long Island Sound:

Made it back north for the summer! Ahh, that lovely cool air and low humidity. Perfect for some  schoolie striper action in Long Island Sound.

Excellent Schoolie Striper Bite

Schoolie Striper

Yesterday my friend Phil Farnsworth and his buddy Mike invited me to take a boat ride with them. We left Niantic around mid-morning with some fog and wind to contend with. Fortunately the fog lifted roughly an hour into our trip and the wind never proved to be much of a problem, except for leftie like me. LOL

YOY Sea Herring

Soon we were seeing clouds of terns circling overhead. And the bass were underneath them chewing on YOY sea herring. No these bass weren’t huge by any stretch of the imagination. Most likely they were members of the recent stronger year classes in -2015 and 2016.  But despite their size they proved capable of bending an 8wt fly rod in the butt section.

These Bass Fought Hard

Plenty of Stripers on the Screen

As the screen above reports, there were loads of bass, hanging deep. But as the current slowed, these bad boys came to the surface and gobbled flies right off the top. Exciting fishing. We caught plenty on an orange Farnsworth slider. Great day on the water…

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