August 8, 2000: I'm in Galway! My last week in Ireland now, and I'm over in Galway. The archaeology project finished up last weekend, and then I went off to Doolin by bus and stayed there for 3 days to see the Aran Islands, where I bought a lovely multicolored sweater. The area was very busy with tourists for the bank holiday, but I did manage to visit the pubs for two nights to hear the wonderful traditional music! It was great!

    While we finished up the arky dig, we took some time to tour around, and we hired a car to drive over to Newgrange and Knowth, which were sooo amazing! I can't believe how old these monuments are, and yet when they were built they were made to shed water naturally, so not a drop of water has come into the central chamber in 4000 years or whatever it was! Amazing! I wish we could have stayed longer, but they move the tour groups in and out of there as fast as they can...which I can understand, but it still sucked that we had to go so soon. ;-)

    We also took some time to go around Tulsk, which was a great town, and had a wonderful assortment of royal burial sites around, and even what they figure was Queen Maeve's tomb! So that was very cool.

    One gal and I even went to Hell!! This is what the locals call a tiny little limestone cave down at the end of this tiny farm road. The cave is 'guarded' by a Hound of Hell, a lovable dog who slobbered and licked you half to death as you tried to crawl in and out of the cavern. You have to crawl down on your butt (with the dog licking your ear the whole time...it takes coordination!), and then it opens up a bit to a small chamber. You crawl and shimmy your way through that, and then it gets higher so you can stand. I was very muddy, and we got just covered in muck! So you follow this crack in the earth, basically, for ages and ages, until you get to the end where someone has set up this little pagan alter thing. It was very neat! I took photos, but it was very dark even with the flashlight, so I don't know if they'll turn out. If they do I'll post them up though!

    So anyway, we turn back around, and make our way back out...with the mud so thick on the floor in some places that you can barely pull your foot out of it! So we got out, and were wiping our feet off on the wild grass about, and along comes a man with a gun!! Turns out he was really nice and just asked if we were down in the cave (as he grins watching us wipe ourselves off from all the muck!), and pointed out some other things for us to go see. It was quite the adventure!! Complete with oozing muck, dark caverns, crazed animals, guns, and even some ogham writing above the cave entrance!! I can't wait to post up the photos for you to see! :-)

    I'll sign off now...take care! I'll chat with you all when I get back after the weekend!


   August 7, 2000: Hello to everyone! Hope you are all enjoying the summer!

    Here is a quick update on Cari's progress around Ireland. For the past couple of days Cari decided to stay at Doolin, a seaside town in County Clare just off the Aran Isles. During that time she visited Dún Aengus, an ancient fort built on the cliffs of Inis Mór, and toured the local sites.

   There was much eating of seafood, which is a big deal to someone who has lived on the prairies all her life, and numerous photo opportunities, all of which she took great advantage.

   During the evenings, it was time to sample the local pubs (of course!) and experience the seaside nightlife firsthand. Today Cari is heading to Galway where she will be spending the next few days relaxing (recovering from the nightlife?)

   That is all for now, see you next time!
   Slainte! :-)
   Emily

   August 5, 2000: Cari has visited Newgrange in County Meath, an ancient structure older than the Egyptian pyramids! While much of the site is closed to the public, she was able to venture into some of the interior. Photos were not allowed, so unfortunately we can't show you what it looked like in there. :-(

   The Aran Isles are very nice. The weather continues to be just fantastic with mostly sunny skies and warm weather, and the occasional light rain. Cari is having a great time playing tourist and has already picked out a new sweater from a local shop.

   In the days to come: Galway and more shopping!

   Slainte! :-)
   Emily

   August 2, 2000: Undaunted, Cari continues her search for a reliable internet connection. Meanwhile, here is what has been happening:

   This year's work at Strokestown is nearly done and Cari is already talking about doing it all again next year! It has been a very enjoyable and productive time with lots of paintings completed. Cari enjoyed herself immensely and met and worked with some very nice people.
(Hi, Jen! :-))

   Special thanks to Charles E. Orser, Jr, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology of the Illinois State University for hosting the trip. Thanks also to everyone on the project and to the wonderful people of Strokestown for their hospitality!

   Up next, Cari is planning on travelling to the Aran Isles to see just how sheep become sweaters, all without harming the sheep!

   Slainte! :-)
   Emily

   July 27, 2000: ***A Special Note from Emily***
   Where are the updates? Well, we knew it might happen and hoped it wouldn't, but Cari could not maintain an internet connection with those of us back home. (sigh)

   It appears that her source of internet was at a library that has closed! She is currently trying to find a new connection somewhere, and rumour has it that there might be a connection at a local pub.

   Strokestown (this is where she is working) is a wee little town of 600 people, so a lot of what we take for granted in larger cities is not as easy to get there. We are hoping she will find a solution and be able to start sending us updates again.

   In the meantime, we have spoken on the phone and everything is otherwise going fine. The people are wonderful and the countryside is just gorgeous! She has completed a lot of full colour paintings that she will be bringing back home. There is a rumour that Illinois State University will be using one of her designs on a t-shirt, too! I will let you all know as soon as I know.

   A lot of you are patiently waiting for replies to questions or mailing list signups. Normally, we can reply within a couple of days, but this has proven difficult with Cari being cut off as she is. It takes me awhile to look up an answer while Cari can usually answer straight out of her head. So of course I am much slower when she isn't available! I am just starting to catch up on the emails and promise to get to yours soon. :-)

   Thanks to all of you who have emailed your best wishes to Cari. I have forwarded many of them and passed some on over the phone. Until Cari is able to send updates again, I will try to post these messages myself and get caught up on the emails. Thanks again for your patience!

   Slainte! :-)
   Emily

   July 22, 2000: Well, I'm in Strokestown now, and have been working on the dig for the past week. I got to do some sketching on Friday, and did some sketches of the little holy well and some wild flowers near the dig site. Everyone at the dig seems very nice, and the people in Strokestown are just like everyone else in Ireland...pleasant and friendly!

   I caught a ride with some other folks on the dig to Tulsk last night, and saw some huge ring fort monuments...one of which was in a field with all these bulls...we were ready to run every step we took! But fortunately the bulls weren't that interested in us. I also saw some sheep as we were walking around...I know sheep aren't that exciting, but when you're from Alberta and all you see are cows, let me tell you that a sheep is pretty cool!

   We even saw these sheep with their tails whole...not bobbed off. I never knew they bobbed sheeps tails! So we see this sheep running around, and it's wagging it's tail, and we're like, "What the heck is that? A dog?! That's a sheep!" Such a funny looking fella! Imagine a dog trotting along, but he's all fuzzy and wooly...that's what he looked like. Too cute!

   Not too much else to write...or nothing short anyways...I'm in a B&B just outside of town and get to move to one in town this Sunday, which will be nice. I also had my first pint of Guinness on Thursday night...blech! ;-) I don't drink beer at all normally, but figured that I should at least try this stuff, since I am in Ireland after all, but it wasn't to my taste. I gave the last half of my glass to another fella at our table.

   Anyway, I have to run, but hope you all are having a great summer! Chat with you soon!

   July 15th, 2000: I'm in Ireland! The plane trip over was really nice, because I left so late at night, the sun was just beginning to set when the plane took off. Because of the direction of the flight there was a sunrise/sunset the whole way over...and a beautiful one too! All orange and red...the sun at one point was so red it was the color of a christmas tree light! Not peach, not gold, but bright Day-Glo red! Gorgeous! And it followed us all the way over, for the whole 7.5 hour flight. It seemed like a magical sort of way to start my trip to Ireland!

   I actually took a flight to Manchester because of the better price offered, and there I took a flight with Aer Lingus over to Dublin. I arrived at about 5 o'clock at night, and took a bus from the airport into town. The bus dropped me off in city center, and from there I trucked my little bag on wheels behind me all the way through there, across the river, and then over to the hostel that I had booked. Because I never slept across on the plane, I was bag tired, so I called my hubby to let him know I lived and then crashed into my bunk bed, jeans and all!

   I stayed that first night in a room with 5 other women, and then discovered that Oops! I have no towel! So I'm hoofing around today trying to find one...not as easy as I thought! I've found a cafe and a jewelry store about every block, but not any bath shops yet. Right now I'm at the cyber cafe somewhere behind the Temple Bar area, I think...I was just sort of walking so I'm not entirely too sure where the heck I am yet. ;-) But it's nice enough, and feels good to be connected!

   I went on a couple of short trips to the Trinity College, to see my beloved Book of Kells, and also the the National Museum, where I saw some great artifacts! I also did a couple of sketches to show you guys when I get back...one really neat one of a club head with spirals carved into the side of it, from about 3300 BC! It's lovely! They wouldn't let me take pictures of course, but I'll try to do another sketch or two of the more unusual things that they never put into the info books, so you folks can 'see' them too. :-) I'll post up whatever I have when I return...

   I'll have to go now, I've got to finish a little note to my hubby yet and then pay the cafe for the connection. I still have to find my towel too yet today, so I can do crazy things like shower...wash and dry my face in the morning...you know, silly stuff. ;-)

   Talk to you later!

   June 21, 2000: I went out shopping yesterday and not only got some more t-shirts to take along with me, but also finally got my passport photo taken! All I'm going to say is : I'm glad you don't have to be photogenic to get into another country. ;-) Yeah...it's just that bad! I look kind of like I'm stoned or something...staring off into space..."What's Cari looking at? Nobody knows..."

   Next I'll take my passport application down to the local office, which they say will take about 5 days to process, so I should be good so far as time goes. I've got tons of things set aside for the trip so far, all stacked up neatly in a jumbled heap on the side of my studio, and I'm trying to get the last of my commissions done in time to go. I've never had the social calendar like I've got this summer! I go to my husband family reunion the weekend before I leave, then the week that I go there's also the Calgary Stampede (which I have to go to...obviously! What would my life be without those little donuts to tide me over every year?!). After I get back...the very same day!...I have a 3 day science fiction and fantasy convention to do. I figure I'll grab a car from the airport when I touchdown from my trip, drive home, drop my stuff off and grab my pre packed boxes for the convention, and drive them up to the convention, and then set up my show. It should be funny...who said life was ever dull?! Maybe when the convention's over I'll take a vacation and do nothing but eat popcorn and potato chips and watch movies for like a week. Oh yeah...that sounds *real* good! ;-)

   June 5, 2000: I hope to be able to keep an on-line record of my trip in Ireland...at this point I'm still checking into connectivity over there, so I'm not sure yet what sort of immediate access I'll have (or what I'll be paying in long distance charges!), but any news regarding the project and my trip will be posted on this page. Check here for current postings and journal entries! If you've never been to Ireland before either...you can experience it along with me, through the website! :-) I will be updating this page every so often with news and happenings as I prepare for my trip, so come back to see maps, links, history and info about "our" trip! :-)




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