Seeing as I can't stand drunken rowdies and all the noise, stench, broken glass, and damage to public property they leave in their wake, I make a point of getting far away from city pubs on St. Paddy's Day. This year, my friend Seanan was kind enough to invite me and several other friends down to Tipperary for the holiday weekend, and we had a couple of nice long walks in the Silvermines and around Lough Derg (on the Clare side, just north of Killaloe). Seanan also cooked the most amazing dinner ever and we were all very jolly:
I didn't bring a camera on this recent Silvermines walk, but here are a couple of photos from the first walk back in October:
Looks utterly peaceful, right? Well...our walk this past weekend was downright creepy. Seanan's mom dropped the four of us (Seanan, me, Charlene, and Clare) off and would meet us back in the parking lot in two hours. Maybe 45 minutes into our walk, we came upon an SUV on the road (which was barricaded at the entrance--these roads were meant to be vehicle-free, for the most part). Two young men emerged from the brush with an empty wheelbarrow, and while we were still a good bit off they put the wheelbarrow into the back and drove off. We were unnerved by this--what could they have dumped out here?--and after poking around in the brush and finding no corpses or broken-down washing machines we decided to turn around so we wouldn't run into those shady dudes again (and we had to turn around eventually anyway). We were joking that they might come back and kill us all for being witnesses...and then we heard the SUV approaching again! It was so quiet we could hear it coming from a ways off, and I decided to jump into the brush and hide behind a tree. I got made fun of afterwards, of course, and it was pointed out that if they had been intending to gun us down surely they'd have noticed there were only three out of four on the road.
But that wasn't even the creepy part. On our way down the hill to meet Seanan's mom, we leaned over a stone bridge perched maybe twenty feet over a little stream, and what do you suppose we saw? A dead dog. It was huge and black and its fur was slick with rainwater. We couldn't see its head or rear because they were covered by one of those industrial-strength garbage bags. Why in God's name didn't its owner give it a proper burial? It led us to wonder if the poor black dog had met its end by unnatural means. I wanted to call someone--at home you'd call the public works people and someone would come by in a yellow truck to pick it up--but Seanan said it was unlikely anyone would do anything about it. The whole situation was odd, and vaguely sinister. I've seen plenty of dead animals before--sheep carcasses on the beach, having fallen off the cliff above; and all the bodies of birds, seals, and lizards forever proving Darwin right on the Galapagos—but in those cases there wasn't anything more troubling than 'survival of the fittest' at work. Somebody put that dead dog in the stream. It was premeditated. It freaked me out.
Other than that—hey! We had a lovely weekend.