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Ireland Wedding

THE WATERFALL              




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Celebrating A Wedding on Ireland's Coast

A few years ago some dear friends determined to marry, and although they live in the Pacific Northwest, they decided to have the ceremony in Ireland.  After some searching however, they were unable to find someone appropriate who could legally perform the ceremony.  It seems they didn't have the right religious affiliations.

 

Scott and Chanin thought the solution would be to have a legal ceremony performed by a Justice of the Peace in a park in their own city just before they continued to the airport to fly to Ireland. Then they could have someone they chose serve as celebrant of the ceremony in Ireland.  That person wouldn't need to be able to marry them legally.  But they wanted someone who could convey the feeling that they wanted on this special day, with whom they would feel comfortable, and who could carry the service and convey the message that was right for them.  Yours' truly, the Big Splash at Friends of Water was the person they asked.  Of course I was delighted to do it.

 

The wedding was to be on the Cliffs of Moher in the Burren in County Clare on the west coast of Ireland.

 

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I flew to Dublin, where I was picked up by Dieter, our mutual friend and Chanin's business partner.  Dieter had been working in Germany (they own a language translation firm) and flew over to pick me and drive across the country. The first time we stopped was to get a meal at a crossroads in the west, I think at Loughrea.  It was a Sunday.  Most of the people in the bustling pub were watching a game on television.  There were all sorts there, including entire families.  People were very sweet and welcoming.  I told them we had just flown from the west coast of America to have dinner there.  Hey, my heritage is Irish: I'm entitled to a little blarney.  (See Poppy Swam From Ireland on that topic.)

 

At the coast we took a short visit to Dunguaire Castle at Kinvarra, built in the 1500s on the site of an earlier stronghold going back to the 600's.  It was reportedly the strongly of Guaire, the king of Connaught.  We didn't have time to stay for one of the medieval banquets they hold there regularly.

 

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We continued down the coast and had a lovely stop at the little harbor town Ballyvaughan. We strolled around the park along the inner harbor and chatted with locals and travelers. 

 

In time we found our party having drinks in the Pub at the place where we were all staying, and where the wedding reception would be.  Over a Guinness we met friends and family who had come from England and the US to help Scott and Chanin celebrate.

 

The next day we all took a ferry out to the largest of the Aran Islands, Inish Mor.  Some rented bikes or went in a horse cart to tour the island.  There are remains of ancient forts on the island.  Others strolled, enjoying the few shops and the sparce and beautiful land and sea scapes in the village of Kilronan.  We bought a few things.  My favorite purchase was a lovely soft red shawl for Corinne - The Wave as she is known at Friends of Water.  We all gathered for a meal that was great fun.  Getting to know the group of families and friends, with time to just sit and talk, was a delight.

 

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The morning of the wedding itself Scott and I drove to the Cliffs of Moher to select the exact spot for the ceremony.  When we were there the walkway off the the south was closed off.  We walked up the hills above the cliffs to the right, toward the North.  Eventually we got to the high spot where there is an old stone O'Brien's tower.  We decided the right spot was on a grassy knoll at the top of the cliffs outside the walled-in walkway, just near the tower.  That put us about 230 meters, or some 755 feet above the ocean, with views out to sea, and along the cliffs, which run for 5 miles, or 8 kilometers.

 

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Walking up to this spot took us about 10 minutes.  We knew that would make it a difficult walk for Chanin's grandmother, but with help and plenty of time, it should work out fine. 

 

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When the wedding party arrived, it caused quite a stir.  The Cliffs of Moher are a very popular tourist spot, and it was the middle of summer.  There were people there from all over the world.  Everyone loves a wedding.  Everyone lives a bride.  Chanin was a particularly lovely bride so she had pictures taken of her by people from all over.  There is no doubt those photos were shared and enjoyed all around the world!

 

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One group of people from Italy were talking with me as we set up and waited for Chanin's Grandmother to arrive.  They asked if we were from the region.  When I told them that no, we were from the west coast of America and we'd come just to have the wedding there, they thought that was the most romantic thing they had ever heard of.  They simply couldn't believe it.  And so they stayed for the ceremony.  As did perhaps another 50 people, representing many countries.  They were all very respectful, and stayed on the other side of the wall to watch, listen and wish the new couple well.

 

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There was a three-piece traditional Irish music group with us, who played lovely melodies before, during and after the ceremony.  The fog that enclosed the cliffs that morning had burned away and it was a clear day.  I had my back to the ocean, so that the bride, groom and all the guests were looking out toward the sea.

 

The talk was based on traditional Irish wisdom, largely gleaned from a book called Aram Cara by John O'Donohue.  The ancient Irish did not separate the visible from the invisible, or time from eternity.  They did not accept dualism the way most of us do.  We won't intrude on the words we said that day, but I'm sure that Chanin and Scott won't mind if I lift just this one sentences to remind us all:

 

                                          In loving, you become free.

 

  

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                  Celebrate Water, Filter Water, Save Water


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No Water for Migratory Birds

In the area of Bharatpur India at the Keoladeo National Park there are normally many tens of thousand of migratory birds that stop by.  There are almost none this year because there is no water. Each September, thousands of migratory water-fowl from Afghanistan, Central Asia, Tibet, China and Siberia visit.  About 70,000 migratory birds came last year. This year the numbers are negligible. The flamingos, pintails, painted stork and pelicans which normally come in flocks are all missing.

To support the birds, two bore-wells have been dug and five pumps have been installed. and a project is pending for bringing water from another area. If this is successful, the park could be revived.

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Rivers Drying Up

At least three rivers in the Seacoast New Hampshire area are losing water to development.  Water withdrawals from the Isinglass River exceeded state standards all through 2003 and 2004, the latest years for which figures are available. As a result, water levels were lower than they should have been along the entire length of the river.  Excessive water withdrawals also affected the Lamprey and Exeter rivers at times during the same period. Fish habitats are in danger. The Ipswich River in Massachusetts is a prime example of this problem. Water withdrawals have been so heavy that the river dried up at times during the summer, making it very hard for any aquatic life to survive. Even when rivers don't dry up, lower flows mean warmer water temperatures, endangering species that need colder water.

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Against Privitization

The Victorian Government in Australia says that water should remain in public hands and not be privitized.  Privatizing the nation's water could lead to a tax on rain water tanks and discourage conservation. The State Government now offers a rebate for those who purchase rain water tanks. "We don't want to see private companies coming in with the privatization of water and potentially taking away people's water or supporting some sort of tax on water tanks." said Victoria's Water Minister John Thwaites.

Chlorine & Cancer

A new study published in the current issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology has established a link between exposure to chlorinated water and an increased risk of bladder cancer. According to researchers, ingestion of, and bathing, showering, and swimming in chlorinated water can all lead to increased incidence of cancer.

The study of the Municipal Institute of Medical Research in Barcelona, Spain, found that “long-term THM exposure was associated with a twofold bladder cancer risk” in households with high levels (50 or more micrograms per liter) of THM. (THMs, or trihalomethanes, are chemical by-products of chlorination.) Researchers discovered that these chemicals invade the human body through ingestion of water, by inhalation and dermal absorption. They also believe that THM that is absorbed or inhaled into the body does not go through a detoxification process in the liver, which may make the chemical much more dangerous in those situations.

The results showed that drinking highly chlorinated water raised the cancer risk by 35 percent and that swimming in chlorinated pools raised the risk by 57 percent. Those who took longer showers and baths in THM-contaminated water saw their risk of bladder cancer increase 83 percent.

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Filter chlorine from bath water.

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