Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
When you think Ireland, think small
The best way to know the country is to spend time in its tiny towns and villages, far from the typical tourist destinations.
By MICHAEL WAUGH
Published July 24, 2005
[Photo: Ulrike Schwier]
Slowed by arthritis, retired ship pilot John Joe Herity now passes the days at his cottage near Raghley with his dog, Rex. Visitors are treated to John Joe’s family poems about life at sea.
MAUGHEROW, Ireland - "If you were ever going to be a tourist in Ireland, don't be tourist at all - not at all." That's the sort of advice that Margaret Hassett, my fiery, red-haired grandmother from the wild west of Ireland, probably would have offered anyone headed over for a visit. After unexpectedly spending a part of my life in one village there, I would agree.
It's better to become an emigrant to Ireland, even for a couple of weeks, and discover a village as stunning as tiny Maugherow, than to go over merely planning to see the notable sites.
Actually, I went for what was supposed to be two weeks, but I was assimilated - blissfully - for four glorious years. I did have the distinct advantage of having on-site Irish cousins, though I had never met them. They were willing, as the locals say, to "sort me out" or set me straight.
So before you fly there, it's worth your time to do some genealogical work, looking for a distant relative.
Once my plane touched down, I headed straight to Maugherow, a gem tucked away in County Sligo, on the Irish Republic's northwestern coast. I quickly found Trinaderry, the sprawling farm on which my grandmother, Margaret, was born, one of 14 children.
Welcoming me there was Brendan Hassett, the family patriarch. He soon began a mental dig around our family tree, then suddenly looked up, smiled and said, "Ah, yes, Margaret."
I asked if he had any pictures of her on the farm. He leaned up against the cottage wall, lit his pipe and slowly replied, "The only picture I have of Margaret" - he paused a while - "is in me head."
That's typical of Irish folks' ability to turn a plain sentence or phrase into poetry, song or satire. They can catch you off guard with that wit. For instance, once after having tea, I complimented Brendan on having so much beautiful land.
He winked, took a puff of his pipe and said, "We have an old saying here in Ireland: Marry the fortune and invite the bride to the wedding."
A natural wonder
I found my good fortune was to live in a 300-year-old cottage in Ballyconnell, close to Maugherow. This cottage was once occupied by local legend Old Jimmy Foley.
I could throw a stone to the ocean from my door, except that might upset the friendly sea lion who would wail to me in the morning as I sipped coffee on the shore. The free-roaming cattle provided additional welcome company.
I watched beautiful red-throated divers and the wintering barnacle geese transit the abandoned Isle of Innismurray, a few miles offshore. I saw fisherman Jimmy Ewing in his boat. When I asked, he would give me a ride out to Innismurray, where monks once lived in isolation.
These luxuries - views of the sea, fishing, the precious land to walk - were free to me and had been to Old Jimmy Foley, as they can be to any visitor.
Of course, villagers recalled that poor Jimmy, never married, would lament, "I have the cage, but I still don't have the bird."
My next-door neighbor was writer Dermot Healy, who provides Maugherow's best tourist attraction: his border collie, Tiny. Tiny lives for people to visit Fossil Beach, which surrounds Dermot's home. She will gladly accompany you around the gorgeous, if somewhat dangerous, rocky shoreline. All Tiny asks in return is that you throw a stone in the water every so often, so she can dive to find it and bring it back.
A friend in everyone you meet
My fellow villagers told me their routine is to get up early and listen to the daily death announcements on the radio. If you don't hear your name, you are free to take a lovely drive, walk or bike ride around the area.
While you're out, listen for running water and look for its source. They say here that if, in the sound of the water, you hear voices saying, "Se do bheatha, a mhuire" (a prayer, in Gaelic), then you have come across a hidden Holy Well.
On the road, be sure to stop to chat with the men there who often are dressed in suits and are walking, rather than riding, their bicycles.
One such "auld fella" - he introduced himself only as Paddy - told me his doctor had warned him about riding his bike too much at his advanced age.
Paddy said that later his best mate, Seamie, had reassured him, saying, "Never mind that doctor, Paddy. Your auld heart will last ye for as long as ye live."
While out, you, too, can "take the mickey" (be tricked) into assisting a farmer in getting his smelly, burly cattle on a truck, all in exchange for his giving you simple directions. No matter the smell, you'll enjoy the experience with these generous, helpful people.
Wander the eastern coniferous forest of Ballyconnell, toward the westernmost farms and seashore. Do a little fishing; Tiny will keep you company.
Night brings the opportunity to join a "table quiz" at McLean's Pub, over in Ballyscannell, or "entertainment night" at Jordan's, where you will find children and seniors and everyone in between performing traditional Irish dances, songs and skits.
The parish priest from St. Patrick's Church likely will be on hand, as will any local politicians - especially around election time, when they can buy pints in hopes of getting votes.
Come the weekend, it's a good idea to board the Saturday morning bus to Sligo Town, if just to meet the charming seniors on board, like Mary Mannion, who will gently point out for you places and people she knows.
This typically comes with a comment such as, "Ah, the wee McGowan sisters, lovely that one has the dark head and the other is red, God love them."
You will never hear an unkind word spoken on that bus.
Pull up a chair and have a jar
You'll have no lack of conversation - here it is called "craic," which is pronounced crack - in most any pub. For me that most often was Ellen's, with its "shower of characters." Built in 1609, Ellen's has a thatched roof and sits at the top of Ballyconnell, overlooking Sligo Bay and the centuries-old Knocklane Promontory Fort.
"Have a jar" - a pint of beer - and introduce yourself to Maugherow's weatherman, farmer Jack Donlon. Jack can predict if the weather is going to be "desperate, lashing, close or a soft (misty) day."
The pub is a place to discuss the day's news, big and little: removing an unwanted spirit from Molly McCluskey's old house, repairing a stone wall, or Ireland's fortunes in World Cup soccer.
Michael and Mary McLaughlin will be busy keeping the old fireplace going because "if it doesn't draw smoke, it will surely draw tears." Have "a drop" too many? Mary will dispatch one of her sons to drive you home.
Tommy Moffitt will eventually coax Mary into fetching the accordion off the top shelf. Poets, writers, farmers, fishermen, teachers and, as they say here, "every other sinner who darkens the door" may belt out a song or maybe give a recitation.
Best to have a "party piece" prepared because you will be called upon.
I once locked myself out of my cottage, so I went up to Ellen's and, quite embarrassed, I asked for suggestions. After a group meeting, out popped the skinniest person in the pub, Sean, recruited to climb through a ventilation window and let me in.
"Thank you," says I.
"Ah, no worries," says he, declining reimbursement and describing many an Irishman's philosophy.
To meet one of the last of a rare breed, you need to head to Raghley and seek out retired ship pilot John Joe Herity. Arthritis has anchored him to his cottage, where he lives with his dog, Rex. John Joe, like his father and grandfather, sailed the waters off Ireland most of his life.
His blue eyes light up when he is asked for one of his family's recitations.
"Often on a cold, wet winter's night,
as I watched the luminous phosphate light,
and listened to the sea lions wail . . . "
John Joe will tell you that when he finally departs for "Fiddlers Green" - the final resting place for old sailors - so will these recitations. They were written by his ancestors, who lived the events they describe.
Maybe it's because I spent years in the Coast Guard that I consider my time with the captain, sipping a cup of tea by the fire, my finest moments in Ireland.
Now I'm back in Florida, but my heart strays to Maugherow every so often. Pity, I never got around to taking even one photograph. The only picture I have of my years there is forever stored "in me head."
Freelance writer Michael Waugh attended high school in Hudson and, as a career Coast Guardsman, was based in the Tampa Bay area several years. He is about to begin work as an employment specialist for the Coast Guard, in Washington, D.C.
Photographer Ulrike Schwier, originally from Germany, has lived in Ireland since 1987 and now lives on a small farm in Maugherow, at the edge of the Atlantic. She also has a self-catering bungalow that accommodates two adults and two children. E-mail her at email@example.com or call, in Ireland, 00353-71-916-3630.
If you go
ADD A VOWEL, OR NOT: Be aware that the spelling of city names in Ireland can be a fluid thing. Often the letter "e" is dropped or added depending on the source.
GETTING THERE: Connecting flights are available from Tampa Bay to Shannon Airport, on Ireland's west coast. Rental cars are available there; be prepared to pay a stiff fee for insurance, because U.S. company policies are not accepted. From Shannon, drive north to Sligo Town. Take the N15 north to Drumcliff. Follow the sign and turn left for the village of Carney. In this village, turn left for Lissadell and continue on to Maugherow.
STAYING THERE: Seaview Farmhouse is located a few yards from Yellow Strand beach and is an easy walk to Raghley Harbor. Owner Mary Herity is the picture of Ireland herself. E-mail to Seaviewhouse@oceanfree.net call 011-35371-916-3640.
Dunfore Farmhouse offers what host Ita Leyden calls a "magical" view of Maugherow, from the conservatory. She provides poetry readings this is Yeats country any time that suits you. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org call 011-35371-916-3137.
Castlegrange Farm near Maugherow is a fine example of an old Irish cottage; go to www.goireland.com for more information and booking.