Thursday, 22 April 2010

2010:365:112 Another de Courcy castle

The worm popped up in Carrickfergus today!  For an animal with no eyes he managed to focus quite well on the daisy at his nose, but it took a while to get the big animal a little sharper.  No worries with Eliot - he's not particularly interested in worms once he's had a quick sniff.  You'd think he had no eyes with the way he depends on his nose!
Eliot was much more interested in the possibility that a dog might be about to make an appearance up the castle slope.
It was a beautiful day to have a wander around this twelfth century structure.  John de Courcy had it built in 1177 and made it his headquarters until he was deposed by Hugh de Lacy in 1204.  It is Norman style and has many beautifully restored features, including the banqueting hall.  
Looking at it across the harbour from the hyacinth box makes it "picture postcard" perfect.  There weren't enough small boats to create the typical harbour shot with reflections.  But that didn't stop me from trying!
It was an excellent choice for an easily defended fortress.  (I have just this minute realised: my accountant is from Carrickfergus and calls his business "Fortress"!!  How dumb am I?)
Anyhow, the castle is surrounded on three sides by water and rises majestically from the shore.
You begin to understand a little more of what the writers of the Psalms was talking about when he described God as a refuge, a fortress, a stronghold...  You'd be safe in this building whatever the storms and regardless of who might be attacking.  From the high vantage point it is easier to ward off the enemy and shoot arrows from the narrow windows - or pour boiling oil on their heads!  
     God is our fortress and our rock,
     our mighty help in danger;
     who shields us from the battles's shock
     and thwarts the devil's anger:
     for still the prince of night
     prolongs his evil fight;
     he uses every skill
     to work his wicked will - 
     no earthly foe is like him.
(By Michael Perry after Martin Luther)

You can't get onto much of the beach around the castle but we did manage a little bit of a wander on what there is.  
The sea water at this part of the coast isn't too clear, and has a bit of a smell, so there was no happy splashing for the dog who loves to swim!  There is a limit to the aroma that I want in the car.
Today he had to be content to look from afar.
So we made our weary way back to the car - with a bowl of water to refresh - Eliot had the bowl - I drank from the bottle! 
Now, Eliot's on his own tonight when I go to the Grand Opera House to see "The Marriage of Figaro".  That will be an enjoyable treat at the end of a relaxing and sunny day.

Visit, we beseech thee, O Lord, this place, and drive away all the snares of the enemy; Let thy holy angels dwell herein to preserve us in peace; and may thy blessing be upon us evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.  

We will lay us down in peace and take our rest.
For it is thou, Lord, only, that makest us dwell in safety.

Book of Common Prayer


berlois said...

Hello Elizabeth,
I like your study of the daisy with Eliot in the background. The daisy has such clarity and the way you captured Eliot with his tongue out in the next one is lovely, he looks like he has his eye on something.
I am getting a good idea of your surrounding area from your photos - it looks very picturesque.
Do hope you enjoy Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro" at the Grand Opera house tonight.
I look forward to hearing all about it. Do hope you snuck your camera in :D

Rev Elizabeth said...

Ah no, Lois...
law-abiding citizen that I am, I did not have camera to the Opera House. But the performance was magnificent. Really, really enjoyed it and, for the first time for me, the opera was in English so we picked up much more of the humour than you do in the Italian. It was a good night and the place well filled.
Yes, Ireland is beautiful....and those who go onto the blog see more of it than the normal 365ers!
Lovely to hear from you when I woke up the computer this morning.

berlois said...

You know Elizabeth,
I really enjoy your daily "life" in you own words and pictures. And I especially your prayers and readings.
I'm off to bed 'nite :)