Deep in the heart of Texas lived a little girl, who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead. She ran barefoot in the fields, day after day, until the bottoms of her feet were black!  She spun round and round til she fell to the ground, and face turned upward staring at the clouds she dreamt outrageous dreams.  When she grew up she fell in love…and decided to move to Ireland!


The Tithe War (Irish: Cogadh na nDeachúna) was a campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience, punctuated by sporadic violent episodes, in Ireland between 1830 and 1836 in reaction to the enforcement of tithes on subsistence farmers and others for the upkeep of the established state church – the Church of Ireland. Tithes were payable in cash or kind and payment was compulsory, irrespective of an individual’s religious adherence.

On 18 December 1834, the conflict came to a head at Rathcormac, County Cork, when armed Constabulary reinforced by the regular British Army killed twelve and wounded forty-two during several hours of fighting when trying to enforce a tithe order reputedly to the value of 40 shillings.[7][8]


In memory of the Tithe Massacre at the nearby farmyard of the widow Johanna Ryan, Ballinakilla, Gortroe (now Bartlemy) on the 18th December 1834.  In this final battle of the Tithe War nine people were killed instantly and forty-five wounded in consequence of which three died later.  Erected as a testament to an heroic stand by an unarmed people and as a memorial to these fallen twelve:

Michael Barry; Michael Collins; Michael Lane; William Ambrose

William Cashman; Patrick Curtin; Richard Ryan; John Cotter

John Collins: John Daly; William Twomey; Willian Ivis


The distraining party was met at Bartlemy, a crossroads hamlet, by a military escort. This comprised 12 mounted troops of the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards under Major Waller; two companies (100 men) of the 29th (Worcestershire) Regiment of Foot under Lieutenant Tait; and “a very small party” of the Irish Constabulary under Captain Pepper. A crowd of 250 locals began pelting the party with stones before retreating to the plot of Widow Ryan where a barricade had been built. Ryan owed 40 shillings in arrears and the party advanced to collect either the money or produce of equal value. The Riot Act was read and the soldiers advanced, but were beaten back by “spades sticks and stones” and sustained injuries for 45 minutes. Waller ordered them to open fire. Nine were killed at the scene and 45 injured. None of the distraining party or escort were killed, though many were injured by rocks, cudgels and pikes. The crowd dispersed and Ryan paid her tithe.


Summer came to Ireland.  Sadly, I think it left already, but by golly it was here.  At least 3 – THREE – glorious weeks of SUN!  There were shorts, there were bathing suits, there was swimming.  People smiled, they joked, they were in fantastic form.  Ireland with a bit of sun is a country you want to live in!  No matter that it’s raining and chilly now…. there were THREE weeks of SUN!

And since we got our sun at home, no need to hop abroad for the rays.  Instead, we are visiting London for a week.  We leave Friday, and boy am I looking forward to exploring the city. I’ve never been to London proper.  In the past, I’ve only used its airport as a springboard to other destinations.  But now I get five days to sample what the famous city has to offer!


The Globe

Big Ben

House of Parliament

Hyde Park

Markets, food, drinks, music…….





“You who roots in the Sun;
You who lights up, in shining serenity, within a wheel
that earthly excellence fails to comprehend.

You are enfolded
in the weaving of divine mysteries.

You redden like the dawn
and You burn: flame of the Sun.”

– Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), Viriditas


There is an enchantment, which words can’t convey, that drapes herself across the land – in an Irish summer gloaming. 

A melodic song wafts in, through a gladly opened door, carried on a mild evening wind – in an Irish summer gloaming. 

Barely ten when the light truly fades and the grasses dance in the fields – in an Irish summer gloaming. 


You know those quaint stone cottages we all fall in love with, the ones that dot the Irish countryside (or used to), fueling our vision of romantic country living?  Well, I live in one of those.  It’s been sensitively modernized, but the interior retains the rough stone walls, now sealed with a coat of white…something.  I’m not sure what the ‘white something’ is: it could be whitewash (maybe), it could be paint, it could be a substance I have no inkling of.

The sitting room has a wood stove.  Wood stoves are a god send during the winter – or any time of year here in Ireland!  Once those stones heat up, they radiate out delightful warmth for many hours.  There is a down side though.  If you know anything about wood stoves, you know they occasionally belch smoke.  Smoke and the ‘white something’ do no play well together. In fact, if they spend significant amounts of time together, the stone walls eventually look like this: photo 4 (3)

Not sure how visible the soot is, but trust me -these stones look pathetic!

Having never lived in a stone house, or in a climate where treating ‘damp’ is a yearly occurrence (more on that later), I had no idea what to do.  Should we paint the walls?  Is there a special cleaner?  Do we pray?  Since I was not prepared to invest the considerable time and effort to paint these nook-and-cranny surfaces, I opted for cleaning.  I got myself a sturdy, deep bristle brush and a sudsy bucket of water; moved all the furniture to the centre of the room; put down several towels under my work area, and then let the elbow grease flow.

After 2 hours, I had this:

can you see the 'clean' line?

can you see the ‘clean’ line?

And after 4 hours, most of the walls looked like this:

photo 2 (6)

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