Excerpts from Europe: “A Limerick in Limerick, Ireland”

Which came first – the town of Limerick in Ireland, or the five-line poem? According to history it seems that the town was established about 1,000 years before the origin of the naming of the poem was. And it seems that the origin of the naming of the poem is related to the mentioning of the town of Limerick in a song.

But nonetheless, when one visits Limerick, does one actually expect that they write a limerick while they’re there? I would suppose not, but that is what happened to me. No kidding.

During my travels to Limerick, I actually wrote a poem. Although it is technically not the true five-line limerick, it is close enough. Here is my journal entry about my couple of hours in Limerick, and the poem I wrote, which is a summary my travels of my first two months in Europe, and how I even got to Europe in the first place.

Sunday July 4, 2004 (Oh, it’s the Fourth of July today…)
I got up about 7:30 this morning after another good night’s sleep in the hostel in Wicklow. I must have been tired from my Wicklow walk yesterday. After getting ready, I hopped on a bus, my Irish mode of transportation, which was to take me to my next destination of Killarney, on the southwest part of Ireland.

Tallest Spire in Ireland at St. John's Cathedral Limerick
The Tallest Church Spire in Ireland

At about noon, the bus pulled into the town of Limerick, where I had originally planned to change buses right away. But as we were approaching this bus station, I noticed a church with a very tall spire. I just had to go see it! So instead of taking the 12:30 bus to Killarney, I chose to take a 14:30 bus, giving me two hours in Limerick.

Stained Glass St. John's Cathedral Limerick Ireland
Stained Glass in St. John’s Cathedral

I went to this church, St. John’s Cathedral, and inside it was beautiful – lots of stained glass. Oh, how I have become so enthralled with stained glass in churches! I sat quietly for a few minutes, contemplating. I found out that this church has the tallest spire in Ireland. No wonder I noticed it from the bus.

I then did some other sight-seeing. I walked around the graveyard of another church, St. Mary’s Cathedral. I looked at some pretty old gravestones which had the Celtic cross, as I had seen previously in Ireland. You know, the cross with the circle ring intersecting.

Celtic Cross Limerick Ireland Black & White Photo
Celtic cross in Black & White

I walked around King John’s Castle next, which was along a river. Here I was intrigued more by actually watching three people fishing. I always like to witness every-day life.

St. Mary's Cathedral & Graveyard Limerick Ireland
St. Mary’s Cathedral and Graveyard

But the funniest thing about my time today in Limerick was that on the bus just before I got to the town, I just happened to start to write a “limerick.” No kidding. And as I was walking around the town doing my sight-seeing, I continued to write my poem, even when I was contemplating in St. John’s Cathedral. No kidding.

I call it, “Living A Life Long Dream”.

There once was a girl from Seattle
Who needed to go and rattle
Her cage, so she could go travel
And see the world, and to her friends tattle.

So she quit her job, gave up her apt,
And put her car away.
She packed a bag, got on a plane,
And went on her merry way.

Off to London first, then on to Greece
To see the ancient sights.
And to hop around the islands,
With all of her might.

Then five days in Turkey;
A lifetime friend she made.
Who gave her a necklace,
The memory will never fade.

Off to Slovenia and Croatia,
With parks of waterfalls.
Experiencing, learning, growing,
And having a ball.

Italy was beautiful, with vineyards
In the rolling hills.
Exploring, wandering, playing,
Going wherever she wills.

Now she’s in Ireland, the town of Limerick,
Writing as she walks.
Looking at more churches and cathedrals,
Leaving her breathless, she can barely talk.

Who knows where she will travel to next.
That is left to be seen.
All she knows is that all this travel
Is living a life long dream.

Sweet (and poetic) Travels!

Doolin, Ireland: Till the Cows Come Home

Cows are quite the unhurried animal. Kind of like the tortoise, as opposed to the hare. They take their own sweet long time making their way home. Thus the notorious phrase.

Did you know that the saying quite possibly originates from farmers because they are actually familiar with the time that cows really do come home to their barns? Apparently cows come home especially early in the morning because they want to be milked.

And because of this early morning timeframe, many people use the phrase to imply how late they might stay up at night in bars or nightclubs…or I suppose in pubs, too…

cows 1 (450 x 235)

And I can attest to all this, having really experienced the cows coming home…and I am not a farmer. It was actually during my travels…

I was on a payphone using an international calling card (yes, not a cell phone) to talk to my mother from Doolin, Ireland. It was 7:00 am on July 9, 2004. It was a brisk and clear morning. The previous night, I had been at one of the three pubs in all of Doolin, listening to some great traditional Irish music, and talking with some local fisherman. (And probably having a Guinness.)

That morning, I was actually hoping to get on a fishing boat to experience fishing off the coast of Ireland. Ah, but no such luck (pun intended). It was not meant to be a day for being on the seas. But before I began the rest of my day (which turned out to be a wonderful bicycle ride), I called my mother instead to update her on my travels.

This payphone happened to be located on a quiet country Doolin road, literally just across the street from one of those three pubs. Surrounding this pub and me were green grassy fields and the blue ocean beyond.

When all of a sudden, I heard cowbells and mooing not too far off in the distance. I turned around and saw a farmer herding his cows down a nearby street. At first, I thought nothing of it. But then, slowly but surely, the sounds became louder, and the cows headed towards the road that I was on. The next thing I knew, they were strolling leisurely right in front of me, right between me on the phone and Gus O’Connor’s pub across the way.

cows 2 (450 x 206)

I said to my mom, as we both heard more mooing, “Well, Mom, the cows are actually coming home….” I explained to her what was happening, and we both got a good laugh.

And I now that I know more about the origins of the phrase “till the cows come home,” it has been proven to me that the cows really do come home quite early in the morning. At 7:00 am, to be exact, in Doolin, Ireland. And, yes, at a snail’s pace, too.

And what is more appropriate is that not only do the cows come home early, they even pass by the pubs on their way…

And not only do they pass by pubs, they meander next to O’Brien’s crafts store as well.

Sweet Travels!

History of the phrase compliments of urbandictionary.com and phrases.org.uk.