Thursday, July 31, 2008

Still not a food blogger

OK, nobody complained. So here's the next light dinner, perfect for these hot days (we have around 30° C here in Heidelberg, which is about 86 ° for my American friends). It consisted of small new potatoes, cooked and roasted, and a Zucchini patty, made just of a grated zucchini, an egg per person and some oat flakes to make it less fluid. Of course you can add lots of your favourite spices. Round it up with a cucumber salad with sour cream dressing and dill, the dressing serving as a nice cool sauce.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I'm not a cooking blog

Seriously, I don't have the intention of turning into a cooking blog. But posting my dinner is better than not posting anything, right?

Today we had Coconut Curry with Thai rice. Broccoli, carrots, scallions, and red bell pepper stewed in a pan, then just add half a glass of Madras curry paste from Sanchon and a can of coconutmilk. On top is fried tofu, flavoured with shoyu.

For starter we had a mixed salad with wonderful fresh and organic bread:

Pop goes the dinner

Lately I read such a lot of vegetarian food blogs that I thought, hey let's take a photo of my dinner. For today a mobile cam had to suffice since I was too lazy to get my big one, it's not archaeology after all. so here it is, my vegetarian dinner:

Organic pasta, fennel, carrots, and red bell pepper. The base for the sauce was purée from red bell pepper (Paprikamark) which made an incredibly tasty background for the pasta. You can add cheese if want to stock up your proteins.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Last Days in Dublin

Yesterday I didn't do a lot. It was raining, and I mean real rain, not the usual Irish rain. So I went to the City Hall to see their exhibition about the origins of Dublin, however, most of it was later Medieval and not so much Viking. Anyways, it was dry and there were some videos running, so not too bad. I then looked for Isolde's Tower, yes the one from Tristan and Isolde, but there were only some walls from the old tower visible from the distance, fenced off and behind glass. But there are some remains frome the town wall, dating to 1240.

On the way I found a cool 'Viking' boat, ehhm...ship.

The rest of the day I spent on the shopping streets, but I had a wonderful lunch at the all-vegetarian little restaurant, the Cornucopia Wicklow Street. After all the overcooked vegetables during our excursion, it was a real wellcome change (I was the only vegetarian in our group).

Now that I have bought more than 10 kg of books I thought no more books anymore and therefore today I went to Trinity college, to see the book of Kells, a manuscript from around AD 800. A hefty price of 7 Euros for students for a small exhibition of a couple of medieval manuscripts but a beautifully made exhibtion, that I have to admit.

And this is all for Dublin because now I am sitting at the airport and thanks to free i-net (thanks to eircom) I wirte my last post of my trip to Ireland. From now on it will be all boring stuff again :)

And a last tribute to my favourite cider:

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Dublin on my own

WAC-6 is officially over now and this morning I left the UCD halls for good

I moved to a tourist hotel, a nice former townhouse, all wooden floors and nice old furniture. My room is named 'The Broken' although it is not yet true. However, one never knows, Dublin is indeed quite expensive ;)

I spent the rest of the morning and the early afternoon in the National Museum of Dublin. Unfortunately you can't take photographs. Which is a sad thing, since it hosts wonderful artefacts. Here are just some appetizers:

the macehead from the passagetomb of Knowth:

the Tara brooch:

Arnold 1977

The shield from Lough Gur:

and many other splendid things, gold lunulae, decorated stones, high crosses, Egyptian artefacts, Cypriotic vases, and, and, and...

After a short break at the museum's café and nut-and-lentil roast I was energized enough to have a look at the Chhrist Church Cathedral; It was originally begun to be built in 1038 by King Sithric Silkenbeard, the Danish Viking King of Dublinthis. Howeer it was intensively remodelled and renovated, especially from the 16th century onwards and so hardly any original details remained. This is a view of the bell tower:

The stained windows in the Cathedral (Patrick is wearing pink :)) )

The beautiful floor tiles:

And the 'Enterprise' in the crypt:

I finished the day with 'The Weir' at the Gate Theatre:

From their webpage (

The Weir, by acclaimed playwright Conor McPherson, premiered at the Gate in 1998 to critical and successful acclaim. This atmospheric tour de force, set in present day rural Ireland, finds Valerie, on arriving at a small country bar, spellbound by an evening of ghostly stories from the local bachelors. Their tales, both funny and chilling, are a mesmerising mixture of rumour and local legend. However, much to their surprise, she has her own story to tell…

Monday, July 07, 2008


Roscrea is a small town in the Southern midlands. We were welcomed by the Roscrea Heritage Council and got a tour through the old gate tower of Roscrea castle, a 13th century royal castle which was later used by the British army in the 17th century.

The round tower is part of the complex of St. Cronin's church and was built around the 12th century:
The high cross that belonged to the church is now situated in the former mill:

This is a portrait from the 1720s Damer House which was built in the castle courtyard:

We then had a short drive to see the Monaincha monastery which was built on a small island. The lake was drained in the last century, so we could easily walk there. It became a famous pilgrimage site and it is still called the'holy island'. In the 10th century publication The Annals of the Four Masters it was described as the 31st Wonder of The World, though unfortunately it didn't say what the other wonders were.

We then went to the Cistercian Abbey Mount St. Joseph Abbey, which was founded in 1878. We had lunch there in the guest house and then a tour through the monastery and it's library:

This was the end of our WAC-6 post-congress tour and we returned safely to Dublin. So this is my last night on the UCD campus.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Burren

The Burren on the West coast of Ireland is a unique limestone landscape. The thin soil was probably already lost in prehistoric or early historic times and left the lime stone pavement with its cracks exposed

However, it has a rich and varied flora, and since it is early summer it is flowering everywhere; here you can see a wild orchid:

Due to the constant wind the trees are adopting strange forms like this one:

But of course we didn't go into the Burren to admire nature, instead we went to see Killinaboy Church with its famous Sheela na gig, a grotesque symbol of fertility that are mostly found on romanesque churches. Killinaboy was constructed in the 16th or 17th century, however, it was built on the remains of a 12th century church.


We then went on to Kilfenora, where the principle church of the diocese of Kilfenora was established (in the 12th century). It is famous for its high crosses from this time period:

Corconreo abbey is a Cestercian abbey founded in the late 12th century. It has beautiful architecture, although it sometimes appeared that the masons or architects just wanted to try everything, carved, incised, floral designs, humans, animals, everything is present, including different kind of arches and corbelled structures, some suddenly stopped midway.

We had lunch at the wonderful and recently opened 'An Fulacht Fia' which is the name of a prehistoric cooking place. If you ever happen to be in this area don't miss the oppotunity to have lunch or dinner at this stylish restaurant...their homebaked bread is heavenly and the view (the Atlantic) is fantastic, too.
After lunch we went to a spectacular stone-built 8th century cashel or hillfort, the site of Cahercommaun. This is what it looked like

and that is what is left of its splendid stone-wall enclosures.

And the best for last, a Portal Dolmen with 20 burials from 3800 to 3200 BC, called Poulnabrone.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

WAC-6 6th Day

After a very interesting last conference day on Friday we went on the post-conference tour to county Limerick. Our first stop was the Grange Stone Circle, the largest stone circle in Ireland and dates to about 2500 BC, it is a very different stone circle than you have on the British Isles:

Next stop was the partially drained Lough Gur, a horseshoe-shaped lake with loads of archaeology around it. No wonder it is such a pretty area, I would have settled there, too. Although some people probably would complain because of all the wetland insects.

This is a Crannog, an Iron Age artificial island, where the rich and beautiful of that time lived.

This is Bouchiers castle, a five storey tower built by the Anglo-Norman in the 14th century:

The spectacles, an unfortified Early Christian period settlement on the slope of Drumleagh Hill on the East shore of Lugh Gur. What you see is the actual roundhouse and in the background a drystone wall from the adjoining field systems.

We then went on to a Megalithic tomb, a so-called Wedge tomb of the Early Beaker Period (Early Bronze Age):
Our last stop was the old church of Hospital, an old Abbey church founded by the monastic order of the Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem, dating from 1215. The ruined abbey church has effigies of knights on tombs, one said to be that of founder, Geoffrey de Marisco you can see here:

It was a long but very rewarding day and we finished it off with a wonderful dinner at the Kilmurry Lodge Hotel:


Thursday, July 03, 2008

WAC-6 4th Day

Not a lot of photos today, since it was a normal indoor day with loads of presentations. The first session was about Neolithic houses, from the bricks they use in Çatalhöyük, Turkey via anthropomorphic house models in Macedonia to the halls of Neolithic Scotland. During tea break we can look at the numerous poster presentations in the entry hall. Here is an interesting one from Japan about the microscopic analysis of starch grain from grinders of the Palaeolithic and Incipient Jômon Period in Kyushu:

The second session was about seasonality and rock art and a number of presentations were really interesting, especially one from South Central Africa that linked the depicted signs to initiation rites through ethnographical examples. There were also wacky ones that tried to link the megalithic art of Irish passage tombs to the spawning of salmon. According to Robert Hensey the motif on the lower left are fish scales of salmon. Well, it didn't convince me at the least.

During lunch break there was a plenary session about Tara and the new M3 motorway with many supporters (the minister, a local, and the excavation contract company) but also some archaeologist and students that accused them of falsifying data, bullying people and so on. Hopefully a landscape that is so important for the history of Ireland can be saved. But since money rules the world I fear we will lose this archaeologically and historically rich landscape around the hill of Tara.

Got to or for more information. And listen to what Prof. George Eogan has to say about Tara and the M3:

The last session was about rock art again and this one was really crazy. A lady tried to associate Palaeolithic cave art with mentally ill people, and a Professor from Toronto tried, with the help of a numerologist, to make an alphabet out of Palaeolithic abstract signs. The best part was how a museum in Portugal tried to bring rock art and people together and the contribution from George Nash who re-studied megalithic art and found a lot of up to now not detected motifs, from simple cupmarks to wonderfully pecked feet.

In the evening was the WAC party with -not only Guiness- but also a bronze caster

and a group of musicians:

You see, it was a long day again.