Ross Castle hospitality

Ross Castle, in the village of Ross, co Meath, a couple hours of drive from Dublin, is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy Irish countryside and hospitality. We spent two nights in this cozy small castle and will certainly return someday.

The building consists of old tower that was originally built in 16th century and rebuilt after destruction in 19th century, and a side wing building that was built in 1960’s on the foundings of older building. One part of the buildings foundations used to be a chapel. The place is filled with antiques, stuffed animals and old books. Definitely worth driving through narrow roads and small villages.

Guestbook is filled with stories from very satisfied visitors and of course, ghost stories.

Many visitors have heard weird noises, knocking on the front door, heavy breathing, footsteps on tower staircase, toilets flushing without anyone being there, seen childrens cradle rocking, glowing orbs and a spirit of a young woman.

I didn’t see or hear anything but a Canadian couple that slept in the tower told us that they could hear lots of ghost noises during the night. This place itself can easily give the creeps to even the most sceptic people; not in a negative way but as an exciting experience in front of fireplace, telling ghost stories to each other.

Food is excellent and the coffee is probably the best in Ireland. The host couple is very nice and we truly enjoyed their hospitality.

I certainly recommend visiting Ross Castle. Spend a night or two and relax.

Audience makes the show

Sometimes when a foreign superstar comes to Finland to perform, they tell in an interview, that Finnish audience is the best in the world.

Of course they are just polite and want to make their audience feel that they really are the best.

My opinion is that Finnish audience usually is very quiet and stiff. No one sings along. Only a few wave their hands. Sometimes you can even see a moshpit. Of course there are exceptions and sometimes even Finnish ultra shy audience will blow the place up.

Today I was again reminded that it really matters how the audience takes part in the show. I saw Roger Waters performing Pink Floyd’s The Wall in the O2 Arena in Dublin, Ireland.

I was really amazed how every freaking man and woman was singing and shouting all the time from the very beginning to the end. The show itself was great enough to get on your top 3 list (it got to second place after Porcupine Tree in Ilosaarirock festival in 2007 on my list), but the audience really made it an experience you will never forget. Thank you Dublin. It was awesome.

Unhappy with Twenty Ten

I have myself been reading blogs and other interesting websites I follow with a feed reader application for many years. Currently I’m using Reeder on iPhone and Mac (beta version available). I rarely see the look and feel of websites, unless the RSS feed only has the excerpt of a post, or if I want to write a comment.

There are some blogs that always seem to have a new fresh layout when I visit them, but most people (including me) are too busy or lazy to create a new layout every month. When you find a layout that works for you, it’s easy to stick with it and never update.

I am a little bit unhappy with the looks of my blog. I’m currently using the default WordPress theme, called Twenty Ten, without any major customizations. I know most of my readers are using a feed reader application, e.g. Google Reader, so the looks really should not matter, because they never see what my blog looks like. They just see the content. But there is some traffic coming from search engines, Twitter and Facebook, and they will see the layout.

This layout is not personal. It’s not mine. I have to create a new one.

The pool of creativity and blogging

Today, I saw a presentation about blogging and gained some new insights about a blog as a tool in leveraging your business and delivering content to your readers and the online world. That presentation reminded me that I still have this blog and I really should write more actively.

When I first started blogging in 2003 (sorry, those posts are not available anymore), a little bit over eight years ago, only a few people new what a blog was and many were thinking why someone would like to present his or her own opinions publicly on the Internet. My first posts were mostly about trying to quit smoking, studying, and other stuff that belonged to the haircut category of non-interesting topics that happen in everyday life.

Since then, I’ve written about music, politics, computers, studying, latest news and many other topics, including the haircut, but my pen keyboard is really not so sharp anymore.

I’ve often wondered where does the energy go that earlier gave me the drive to write and present my thoughts. Sometimes I feel that a human being has a limited capacity of creativity. Consider it as a pool of wonderful thoughts and ideas. Every time we tweet, comment on a Facebook post, chat on IRC for hours, play online games, watch soap operas on TV, even listen to music or just hit continuously the refresh button on an imageboard or a kitten pic site like mindless zombies, this pool is being drained into the void.

When we stop and enjoy the silence, the pool starts to fill again. If you’ve ever tried to solve a complex problem in a noisy office environment, you know, that just going out for a moment, maybe to have a cigarette (I actually quit years ago) or to breath fresh air, or in any other way sealing the disturbing factors away from your mind will help you to fill the pool again and find a solution to your problem.

Blogging is creative work and your pool has to be filled with ideas that help to create the post for your readers. When your pool is drained, you cannot create anything. I’ve been draining my pool with all kinds of useless activities, but also exhausting myself with work, studies and all the hobbies I have. Sometimes you just need to rest and then light the spark again.

One of the insights of todays presentation was that you just cannot fake passion. Blogging is like sex. You have to do it for passion, otherwise it is fake and every reader will know it.

I believe I will find my passion for writing again, because I really like writing.