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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Day 8: Dunfanaghy [20050823|23:35]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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The bell tower on Toraigh</td>
As we leave the hostel the next morning, thinking we'll have a leisurely day to spend exploring Toraigh, the proprietress comes steaming up to us to warn us that the sound is so choppy there will only be one ferry crossing that day and possibly none tomorrow. Since we're on a tight schedule, we can't risk not leaving until Friday, so we take a quick turn about the western end of An Baile Thiar, pack our bags and hop on the boat, feeling disappointed. We all spend the ferry ride sitting down, as the sea tosses us around mercilessly. Huge waves break over the eastern end of Toraigh and Inis Bó Finne.

The image to the left shows the only remaining structure on Toraigh from the monastery founded by St. Colmcille in the sixth century AD. The rest was destroyed a thousand years later by English troops, trying to suppress the local chieftains. An Cloigtheach (The Bell Tower), made of local granite stones and mortared with sea-shell lime has survived the centuries remarkably well. Two of its three levels are actually underground.

Móirsheisear (Church of the Seven), an early Christian oratory, is below. In addition to the altar, its tomb contains the bodies of six men and a woman who drowned when their boat capsized off the northwest coast of Toraigh. Local superstition holds that clay from the woman's grave keeps Toraigh free from rats.
Church of the Seven on Toraigh</td>
We have a cup of tea and some delicious cake and swiss roll at the café on Magheraroarty pier before the short drive to Dunfanaghy (dun-FAN-ah-hee). The skies are grey and heavy, and the rain seems deceptively light because of the high winds. I forego the Workhouse Heritage center and its famine display in favor of a saunter through the Dunfanaghy and part of Killyhoey beach.

I go to a café called the Muck and Muffin for soup and tea. The entire café watches me eat my meal. I smile at people. The adults don't smile back. The children do, some even sliding out of their chairs to pretend to wander around so they can get closer and peep at me over the edge of my table. The last people of any skin color other than white that we saw were in Donegal Town. I have rarely felt so exotic in my life, or so self-conscious and uncomfortable.

Becca and Kegan join me after their visit to the heritage center. The addition of more exotic strangers relaxes me and also, peculiarly, seems to lessen the fascination of the onlookers. Still, I find myself longing for London and the cover of anonymity that a giant, bustling, cosmopolitan city provides.
Bridge to Corrán Binne (Horn Head)</td>
We take a short walk out to nearby Horn Head, which used to be an island before the inhabitants of it and Dunfanaghy cut down too much of the grass that held the surrounding sand dunes in place and the bay silted up, rendering the bridge from the mainland to Horn Head useless. We note that the teenagers of Dunfanaghy must be very, very bored (see below).

We have a quiet evening at the hostel, as we're all inexplicably worn out. We need to retire early anyway so we can get an early start on our drive up the Inishowen peninsula to Malin Head.
Sheep Shaggers of Horny Head</td>

From: capitalflash
2005-09-07 17:50 (UTC)
eeee! snail!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-09-08 08:33 (UTC)
Isn't he great? He totally looked like he was poking his head around the stalk just to check us out.
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[User Picture]From: scanner_darkly
2005-09-07 17:54 (UTC)
Mmmph. I need to hustle a certain someone to get a passport. This is becoming more and more obvious. I wonder what I can do to motivate her? Hmmm...
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-09-08 08:39 (UTC)
Well, you could start with mentioning the Guinness. Also, NW Ireland can be cheap if you stay in hostels, cook your own meals, and arrange your car rental from the US. Also, there's really good Guinness. Also, she'll have trouble putting her camera down for three seconds while you're walking around. Also, an incredible number of historically significant structures remain quite accessible and largely untouched.

Did I mention that the Guinness is really good?
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[User Picture]From: seismic
2005-09-08 10:59 (UTC)
I swear, between the two of you... *points at icon*

Not that I mind. :P

I have more. Either later or perhaps on paper.
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[User Picture]From: taische
2005-09-07 20:01 (UTC)
I'm really, really enjoying these posts- sneaky treats tossed into busy days. Thanks!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-09-08 08:40 (UTC)
You're welcome. (Now if only I could figure out how to get good enough to get paid for doing stuff like this.)
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[User Picture]From: taische
2005-09-08 19:25 (UTC)

an entrepreneurial thought

There's little doubt in my mind that you're good enough. The tricky part, I suspect, can be rising enough above the din in a competitive marketplace to get published* and then have the royalties pay enough to make the enterprise worthwhile to you. Beyond product quality, understanding market price points, and a product's being well-targeted at its intended audience, marketing is critical (though for self-published work the scale of investment- many guerilla marketing efforts can demand more time than hard currency- and measure of marketing success may be very different). Maybe lateral approaches exist that could help you create opportunities where they're harder to come by otherwise

* The economics of self-publishing (I'm not talking about rip-off vanity presses, of course) have changed significantly over the last few years in terms of the availability of low-cost short-run options, the ease with which one can obtain an ISBN number for a publication, and how easy it is to get a title set up on, say, Amazon. I think this makes titles targeted at niche markets, as well as low-cost test marketing on the part of a self-publisher, a more economically viable option all else being equal- especially when you get to keep all the margins. Speaking of which, if going the self-publishing route, there's always the option of trying to rope in an editor on a contingency basis- say by offering a cut of gross margins (preferably after recouping defined initial expenses).

Just a thought...
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