Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"Dear Lord, I've done my best. Please try to forget the rest." - Medieval tour guide at Dalkey Castle

Wow! Just three days at pre-school and Tommy is already reading! OK, I am just kidding. We read their books so much, they just memorize them. But they both seem to be loving school. When I pick them up, they get right into the little cars and bikes that they have outside and I have to drag them away. I am happy that they are happy. For you parents out there who are starting pre-school next week, be prepared for some tired children. They are so wiped out, I can hardly get them into bed fast enough for a nap.

Since I am still taking the boys to school on the train, I am on foot for the time that they are in school. I have taken this opportunity to get to know the roads before I drive on them. Today I planned to walk up to a gym that I am thinking of joining, and then maybe down into town for a coffee. By the time I finished my coffee, it was only 10:15. I had over two more hours to kill. Believe me, I know that once we are in the house, and I resume the errands and responsibilities of that life, the time will fly by. But today, I took a tour of Dalkey Castle.

Dalkey Castle is a 14th Century Castle that still stands and operates as a small museum and heritage centre. The tour guides are actors who welcome the guests in character. There was an American couple from Florida on the tour with me, and we were all diagnosed with terrible afflictions by the Barber Surgeon's wife. Before "extracting" a tooth from the Florida Man, she asked him to repeat the prayer in the headline above. We all had a giggle. When it was my turn, the Barber Surgeon decided that my humors were imbalanced, and I needed a blood letting. And a leg amputation. After the "blood letting" the Barber's wife explained that she would then bandage my wrists to stop the bleeding. When she was finished, she would then coil the bloody bandage around a pole and put it out to dry. Hence, the red and white coiled poles to signify barbers. I LOVE learning the origins of sayings and customs!

Even though the tour was fun, I was really able to imagine what it might have been like to live in Fourteenth Century. The Barber's wife had the real instruments that were used then, and she sort of realistically demonstrated how she might have sawed off my leg. Horrifying. We also went to the top of the castle (yes Tom, I went all the way up!). The archer explained that there would always be someone on guard to warn of attacks from enemies. He told us that the spiral stairs curve to the right to make it more difficult for right-handed attackers to use their weapons. The residents and guards of the Castle would have the upper hand- literally. It must have been pretty scary to live then. I appreciate the 21st Century. Oh, and speaking of hands, I need to make a nail appointment.


  1. So cute! I'm so impressed that you're ALL enjoying the preschool experience. What a wonderful gift. I love the fact that you can tour medieval castles while waiting to pick up the wee ones. Does Target count as something cultural?

  2. I literally began tearing up when I heard Tommy reading! So happy for my brilliant Godson!