Auric Goldfinger, the villain in one of my favourite James Bond movies—Goldfinger—is obsessed with gold. When he murders Jill Masterson he does so by covering every inch of her body with gold paint. James Bond, always knowledgeable on every subject, explains what had transpired—the pores of the skin, the largest organ in the body, had suffocated.
In every country that you visit you will see someone making a spectacle of him or herself in order to earn a few dollars. I was shopping along the streets of the lovely town of Galway in the western part of Ireland when I came upon an interesting character. Immediately, the picture of Jill Masterson in Goldfinger, sprawled across her hotel bed—dead—flashed across my mind.
On the sidewalk, a man sat in a large make-shift chair like a king sitting on a throne. His face, hands, clothes, and the chair were covered every inch in grey paint. He sat there motionless like a statue, and moved like a robot only when money was placed in his opened container at his feet. I prayed instantly that he had not covered his entire body with paint, but had left a space at the top of his spine for his skin to breathe—according to James Bond, this was the way to avoid skin suffocation.
I have always known the Irish for their quality wool. Irish woollen sweaters, hats, and scarves have been known to last for a long time. In fact, I recall someone once stating that you only need one Irish sweater—it lasts forever. I was therefore expecting to see a few sheep in the countryside as I explored ‘The Emerald Isle’ a few years ago. I certainly did not expect the vast population that I witnessed.
After spotting herds and herds of sheep grazing in green grassy meadows everywhere we travelled, I asked our comical guide (an Irish friend from Toronto) the million dollar question, “How many sheep are here in Ireland?” After he cracked up laughing, and coughed a few times, he said, “Ireland has 4.3 million people, and it has 4.3 million sheep—one sheep for each person!” Then laughter erupted again.
There are many breeds of sheep in Ireland, and I saw a few as we traversed the country, heading for County Sligo. We arrived at St Columba’s Church of Ireland, in Drumcliffe. William Butler Yeats’s grandfather was once its pastor, and the cemetery there is the final resting place for Yeats. (I will cover this in a subsequent article).
The church property was separated from the neighbour’s by a low stone wall, and just beyond the wall a herd of sheep grazed contentedly. I had never seen this breed of sheep before. Little black faces peered out from under bodies covered with long, stringy wool; they hardly seemed real! They are known as Scottish Blackfaces, and are the most common breed of domestic sheep in the United Kingdom. They are known to be hardy and adaptable, and their long coarse wool shields them from moisture and harsh winds.
In my introductory blog, http://www.blackwoodyvonne.com/2016/07/27/for-all-the-tea-in-china/ posted July 2016, I mentioned that I had traveled to many countries all over the world in a quest to visit every continent (except Antarctica). In the earlier years of my travels digital cameras were not in vogue therefore, photographs taken were stored in print form, or remained languishing in films. Fortunately, for more than a decade all photos have been taken by a digital camera and are therefore easy to share.
Having accumulated thousands of photos, I have decided to incorporate a Theme Day into my blogging. One day each week in between my regular blog posts, I will submit a photograph categorized under themes such as: landscapes; architecture; flowers/trees; people; churches/mosques/temples; animals; waterfalls, and quaint/interesting/unusual objects. On occasions I may even challenge readers to guess the country in which a picture was taken. A novel idea, I believe!
My first Theme Day picture—Architecture/landscape:
Kylemore Abbey and property: located in county Galway, Ireland, has been the monastic home of the Benedictine Nuns since 1920. The property was opened for public tours in the 1970s; it is simply breathtaking.