Happy New Year! 

  Harold wishes everyone around the world a happy 2016! 

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Merry Christmas from Harold

Harold wishes you a very Merry Christmas… he’s spending it at home this year… (with his pal, Patches) …but home is a lovely place to be at Christmas… all the crooners say so. So Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year… (stay tuned for a very full year of travel!)

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This past weekend… in a galaxy just down the street…

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Harold spent his weekend at the Salinas Valley Comic Con… which, was held,  literally right down the street from my office. It felt like another galaxy as there were Stormtroopers and a lot of interesting characters who walked by my table…

But the fur stood up on the back of his everywhere when the 501st Legion showed up…. with VADER!

IMG_0361.JPGBut Harold loves to help at the conventions… he helped me keep track of button sales, and he made sure that all who wanted hugs, got them! Harold has developed quite a following. In fact, it was requested that he be subject-mattered in a few art commissions! He was so flattered!

Harold and I want to thank everyone who dropped by the booth… (including Vader who was nice enough to pose for a photo) and to those who helped make my con a Merry One! Cheers!

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Castles Here & There

Limerick has a castle… King John commissioned it in 1210. He never set foot in it because he died in 1216. It was built anyhow.

   
   
Harold & I spent today strolling through the castle which takes you through the long 800 year plus history of the castle, the Limerick area and Ireland. Through video, maps, text and visual display, we see what transpired. Creation, the building of a wealthy merchant trade, The Plague, wars and sieges… That sort of thing. Harold was very excited by the hands on history, model recreations, and the excellent views from the top of the castle’s turrets. However, we missed the “Ghost Tours” the previous evening and this made Harold a bit sad. 

   
 Yesterday, we toured a different castle…Bunratty Castle outside of Limerick. It was less steeped in political history and certainly not as large, but quite interesting.

   
   
Apparently it was purchased some years ago, refurbished to its period appropriate glory and opened to the public along with a folk village… Historic cottages and structures from elsewhere saved from demolition and relocated to the grounds. It is a tourist attraction with shops and things but quite pleasant. There’s sheeps and cows and animals and things. There was a Halloween fair there whist Harold & I were visiting… Even with the rain. 

  Here is Harold and a wonderful fella we met … Who had the gift of tongue… An Irish storyteller and singer of Irish songs. I believe his name was Tom. Harold enjoyed listening to him even though he had trouble understanding much of what he heard. 

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Macnas

The Macnas traveling theatrical and performance group was our finale in Galway… Part of the reason for coming to Galway was to see this event spectacle. Every Halloweentime, this traveling Irish theater group performs a fantastical parade in Galway… The narrow cobbled streets were lined with folks that came from all over to see it. The Parade itself was entirely amazing with giant puppetry, roaming costumed musicians and street performers.  I only wish it were a longer parade. As an artist person, I appreciated the art direction; the costumes were well made and the creatures brought to life were incredible.  

    
   
  
  

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Galway

  … On the Bay… Spotty Rain… Rainbow… Tight streets, narrow sidewalks… Very touristy. 

The Irish don’t drink cream in their coffee. It is milk… They look at you funny when you request cream and ask “you mean whipped cream?” The Cafe Noir in Limerick seemed to be the only coffee establishment that didn’t look at me suspiciously . 

  

But the butter here is off the charts good. As is the soda bread. (Harold shown here at Cafe Noir).

The comedy circus is in town. 

  
Galway has a lovely cathedral which was built in 1965. Prior to being a cathedral, the site was a prison. 

   
 

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Limerick… City of Culture 

I’ve been in Limerick now for about four days. I’ve walked about the Medieval Quarter along with St. Mary’s Cathedral , visited the art museums and have found it to be a lovely city. People here have talked about the grittyness and gang problems of its past… But the city is reinventing itself with a vibrant arts community and a try for a European city city of culture distinction. I see it Working .

Last night we took in a trio of short plays at The Locke Bar presented by the Torch players and Octopus Soup theatre group. I enjoyed the local theatre and enjo hearing the Irish accent in any situation.

As I write, I am in the Hunt Museum… A private collection of art from antiquity to today. And there’s some sketches fromGauguin  and Picasso, too. 

Here’s a few pictures of Harold’s adventures in Limerick.

   
    
    
   

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