Dead Fox

Fox (Photo by John Robinson)A crisp, bright winter morning,
I saw a fox

Sharp teeth glistening white
Glossy, soft auburn fur
Magnificent bushy tail

A second look…

Glassy eyes
Tongue blue and lolling
Deep angry slit across the belly
The hint of intestines
A brutal scene

I cried for her
I couldn’t look away

Goodbye, dear Munchy…

Darling Munchy is no longer with us. She had a serious decline in her health and last Saturday morning, we made the decision to let her go. We are heartbroken and will miss her greatly, but it was the right time.

My brother and I have had Munchy in our lives for nearly seventeen years. From a tiny puppy to an elderly old lady, Munchy spent her life being loved by us.

Puppy Munchy - 1996

Munchy - 2007

Munchy - April 2012

Munchy - Hallowe'en 2012

Happy Hallowe’en (Wordless Wednesday – 31 October 2012)

Happy Halloween

Fluffy Tufts is participating in the Blog Paws blog hop. Come and join the fun!

A Tourist in My Own City – The Mummies of St Michan’s Church

St Michan's Church by ValbyDKSt Michan’s Church was founded in 1095 by Dutch colonists.  For 500 years, it was the only parish in Dublin that was north of the River Liffey. The present building dates from around 1685 and was designed by Sir William Robinson (Ireland’s Surveyor General 1670-1700).

Inside the church is a magnificent organ dating from 1724.  It is one of the oldest working organs in Ireland.  It is also believed to have been the organ that Handel used whilst he was composing his ‘Messiah’.

The most interesting feature of St Michan’s Church lies beneath the ground in the crypt.  The vaults are accessed by narrow stone stairway.  These stairways are steep and there are no handrails, so unfortunately the tour is not suitable for people with limited mobility. The vault tunnels are lined with limestone and mortar. There are large rooms off the tunnels that contain the coffins of many of Ireland’s historical figures.  These coffins are stacked on top of each other, and over time a number of the coffins have burst open to reveal that the bodies inside have been naturally mummified!

The Crypt at St Michan's by Chris Halton

Experts are unsure as to what exactly caused the bodies in these particular vaults to mummify.  Our tour guide explained that it was likely to be a combination of a number of factors:

  • high concentration of lime
  • dry atmosphere
  • high methane levels
  • the vaults lie low and are near to the bed of the River Liffey

There are a number of mummies on display including a 400 year-old nun, a reformed thief and ‘The Crusader’ – a giant of a man whose legs had to be broken in order to fit him in to the coffin.  Legend has it, that “shaking the hand of The Crusader” will bring you good fortune and luck. I have done this tour a number of times and only recently finally plucked up the courage to shake his hand.  It was a very macabre experience as The Crusader’s spine and internal organs are partially visible. The hand itself felt wooden and was dry and dusty. I can’t say that I noticed any change in my fortunes, but I am glad that I had the courage to do it!

Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me, so these photos are not my own.

View the rest of the “A Tourist in my Own City” series:

Everybody Needs a Doggy for a Pillow!

I just wanted to apologise for the lack of posts over the last week or two.  We had a lot of things going on here, including a doggy emergency and the sad passing of a feline friend, Spooky.  I will update you about those in future posts.

We have agility training for a few hours now, but I hope to spend the evening getting back on track with my posts!

In the meantime, here’s a cute photo of Casper using Jimmy as a pillow!

The Funeral Cat

The Funeral Cat

Rita always had a way with animals and they loved her as much as she loved them.  When my brother and I were planning the funeral ceremony, we joked that the only thing missing were the animals.

When we arrived at the church, what did we see skulking around the car park, only this beautiful black cat.  It got braver and made it’s way to the church porch where it rubbed people’s ankles as they arrived.

During the funeral, Jonathan and I saw a movement in the aisle and looked down to see the cat confidently striding up the aisle towards the coffin. It stared at the coffin for a moment, and then looked towards us with gentle eyes. It stayed near us for the rest of the ceremony and we felt very comforted by it’s presence.

After the funeral, people discussed the cat at length.  People had many different ideas and beliefs as to why a cat was at the funeral.  Some believed that the cat represented all animals and was coming to the funeral to pay it’s respects.  Others thought the cat was Rita in disguise coming to see who was attending her funeral!  Then there were some who believed that Rita had sent the cat to give us all a sign that all was well for her.  And of course, there were those who believed it to be nothing but a well-timed coincidence.

What ever the reason, the actions of this little black cat provided a church full of people with comfort and hope during a very sad time.

I Miss my Nana Rita

Pogo and his Nana RitaIt is two years today since my human granny, Nana Rita,  died. My mammy and I are really missing her and we’re feeling very sad.  Casper and Jimmy never met her, so they don’t really understand.

Nana Rita was a really cool granny.  I first met her on the day mammy came to get me.  It was a long drive home, so Nana Rita drove and I curled up on mammy’s lap.  Nana Rita showed mammy how to make cool toys for me and she played with me and Shelli.

The first Christmas, mammy had to go away and myself and Shelli stayed at Nana Rita’s house.  It was snowing so she bought me a little jacket to keep me warm and dry.  I still have it!  It is yellow with blue edges.  It had a hood but I didn’t like that so Nana Rita cut the hood off for me.

Mammy was back in time for Santa and we all stayed at Nana Rita’s and had a yummy dinner and presents and everything.  Lots of visitors came and Nana Rita said ” This is my lovely little grandpup”.  Everyone said I was the hit of Christmas!  I don’t think any pup could have felt happier in the whole world.

Once I went for a very special day out with mammy and Nana Rita.  Nana munchy (my dog granny) was there too.  It was great fun.  There were lots of stalls selling things for dogs.  We had lunch and I sat on Nana Rita’s lap and had a rest and a cuddle.  (That is us in the photo).

Later, there was a fun dog show.  Nana Rita was so proud of me when I won ‘dog the judge would most like to take home’.  Munchy won ‘best groomed’ so we were all delighted.  Our prizes were big bags of dog food, but we decided to donate the food to a dog rescue so we could help some dogs that were not as lucky as us.  It was a lovely happy day!

Tonight, mammy and I will sit on the couch together and remember the happy times we spent with Nana Rita.

A Tourist in my own City – Part One: Glasnevin Cemetery

Yesterday, myself and Mr. Fluffy Tufts decided to play at being tourists in our own city! Unfortunately, Dublin is not very dog-friendly so that meant the four-legged creatures had to stay at home.  They enjoyed a morning walk and by the time we left, The Lads were snoozing on the couch in the living room.  Shelli likes to potter around the rest of the house, and can usually be found curled up at the end of our bed.

Glasnevin Cemetery

It seemed a bit morbid to think of a cemetery as a tourist attraction, but I had heard that there’s a very interesting visitor’s centre, so we thought we’d check it out.  On arrival, we chose the option of a walking tour and entrance to the Glasnevin Museum for 10 euro.  There is a walking tour with a real-life guide once daily at 2.30pm or alternatively, you can take a self-guided mp3 tour.

Glasnevin Cemetery was opened in 1832 and is the final resting place for 1.5 million people.  Sadly, we learned that over 700,000 of these were buried in unmarked pauper’s graves.

Watchtower built in 1842 to prevent body-snatching from Glasnevin CemeteryWe set off with our mp3 guide.  The tour was interesting and informative, however, the map wasn’t very clear, so at times we found ourselves searching in vain for the graves being described!

Highlights of the tour for us was seeing the very first grave at the cemetery and hearing about the grave-robbers who attempted to steal freshly buried corpses for anatomical use at medical schools.

At one time, grave-robbing was so prolific at the cemetery that a watchtower was built.

Watchtower at Glasnevin CemeteryArmed guards were instructed to shoot any potential ressurectionists!  Ironically, the bodies of those shot were more than likely sold to the very medical research facilities that they had been stealing corpses for in the first place!

Many of the older graves have sunk and their headstones have become damaged and displaced.  There is an extensive project taking place with the view to restoring these to their original state.

Whilst we were suitably impressed with the walking tour, we found the museum itself to be quite disappointing.  It was laid out well but almost all the information had already been given to us on the walking tour.

We did enjoy reading about the different customs and beliefs surrounding death and the after-life.  There was also a display of artefacts belonging to some of the people buried at the cemetery.

The museum only took about fifteen minutes to work through and we would have been very disappointed had we not also chosen to take the walking tour.

I do think that Glasnevin Cemetery is worth a visit (we certainly enjoyed our few hours there), though I would probably advise that visitors just take the walking tour.  More information can be found here: Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum

Check back tomorrow for Part Two of this post which will be about the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland.