Make A Wish

From my adventures on the mainland this week…

At the Galway Atlantaquaria, they have a ‘touch tank’ of starfish. Visitors are encouraged to pick them up and my daughters and niece wanted to, so we did.  A couple of the ones I approached jerked away from me.  I left them alone.  Most didn’t seem to mind, but it’s hard not to wonder if they are happy in captivity.  They ranged in size from tiny to double my hand.  They can live up to 35 years and weigh up to 5 kilos.  I’m only familiar with touching them in my childhood, washed up ashore and dried out. These had soft and spongy bellies, but their top surface was as rough as it looks– a great choice for this week’s photo challenge word ‘texture’ from Jamie at Blue Daisy Creates.

 20150408_103946 (2)

vying to be left

alone, in their home from home

they beg to be reached


Ronovan’s words for this week’s Haiku challenge are ‘vie & reach’.  If you are unsure about how Haiku works, here is Ronovan’s tutorial which explains it very well.

 sand dog 2

sand and grass fleas vie

to reach mankind’s best friend first,

both must beat the wind

Like many other busy city shopping streets, Galway has its share of unique buskers.  Musicians, balloon artists, caricaturists, illusionists, and some whose talents I’m completely uncertain of.  But I wanted to find the sand artist…I have seen him many times before and I went looking for him.  Some days I would pass him and his sculpture was not yet complete. Sometimes the dog is stretched out, sometimes there are two dogs.  Always a dog though.  I think his work speaks for itself, but it’s even more impressive in person.  This day he sadly wasn’t to be seen.  I might have been there too late in the day. The above is photographed by Martie Swart.  So often photos are copyrighted, but she gives permission to use.  I took it as a sign to include this in my post, as I really wanted to share the artist’s talent with you.  A google search of ‘sand dog Galway’ will show more of his sculptures.

I went a little silly this week with my above Haiku, but as I write and think about the many buskers competing for the pocket change of passers-by, hopeful to be discovered, I am inspired to one more.

street artists vying

for talents to be noticed

must reach the heart first

Click on Ronovan’s and Jamie’s links above to get info about joining in the fun and to see the other participants versions of these two challenges.


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  2. Looks like you had a great time. I know what you mean about fish, or any animal in captivity. I used to love keeping fish in fish tanks until I saw shoals or them swimming freely in tropical seas. I haven’t been able to keep them since.
    Your post is Haiku-tastic this week! Love them all, but the last one has a poignant feel to me. Street art fascinates me too, thanks for sharing this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really had the sand artist in mind for the photo challenge, the starfish was an afterthought when I couldn’t get my own photo. Though lacking any real detail, it was nice to get in two bits of Galway in the one post. I do try not to make this Haiku/photo post too long.


  3. Hi Melissa,
    Interesting about your thoughts on starfish in the holding tank. Years( and years) ago I worked at an aquarium where there was also a ‘touch tank’. I remember thinking the same thing….what animal feels comfortable being handled over and over again? Mostly, however it was the Beluga whales I most worried about. Though this particular aquarium was very committed to teaching the public about marine creatures with hopes of increasing the public’s awareness of ocean life, the animals were still kept in a much different ( confined) atmosphere than their wild one. Years later I taught a marine ecology program on Islesboro and did feel much better about exploring ( and often handling) tide pool creatures in their natural environment. I remember how enthralled the kids were to discover that all the barnacles they often thought were dried up and not alive, actually were, and if they looked closely when the barnacles were submerged in the tidal pools, would open up, spread out their feathery legs ( called cirri) to collect food. Often if you looked closely, as many barnacles opened at the same time, and their cirri fluttered in the moving water , it looked a bit like an under water symphony. I did find that the kids handling sea creatures ( carefully and continuing to dip them back into the water) helped them to better understand the animals functions . Didn’t mean to go on and on….your post reminded me of all these things. Mostly, glad to hear you had a nice time out and about! Back here in Maine….another 5 inches on Thursday and still about 1ft. of snow on ground. Can you believe it!
    Hope your garden is flourishing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • We can hope it serves to pique their curiosity and maybe the children will be moved to explore further in their natural habitat someday. I found it a bit ironic that we were in an aquarium when literally across the street lies the Atlantic Ocean.
      The ecology program you taught sounds like a great experience, more as it should be. What a great bit of knowledge to have about you! Thank you for sharing that side of yourself with me 🙂 I’m not sure the same impression can be made when the creatures are contained in a tank. I loved the Maine Aquarium in Saco, but still, I feel the same unease with it. It does seem less appropriate for the larger ones that would travel miles and miles in the open seas…Ah well, enough of that. I will look for the cirri when we next explore the shore and I will borrow your words ‘underwater symphony’ to describe them to my children, beautiful!
      Such a bummer to hear that you are still covered in snow. My parents are quite fed up with it! They are in Arundel. It did snow in the mountains here last night. My view out kitchen window is lovely, snow capped gloriousness, but so happy I am in my wellies about to get in garden. I feel your pain though, you will probably have much better weather than us in a couple weeks, fingers crossed for you, funny like that isn’t it? Talk soon. Xx

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Donna and happy Sunday! When I was a child, finding them on the beach was better than finding money, as you say ‘little sea treasures’. They weren’t a rare find, but uncommon enough to really be appreciated and coveted. Melissa

      Liked by 1 person

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  5. Ronovan says:

    As always, one of my favorite posts to visit each week. Actually one of my favorite sites. Although at times I need google to understand some of the words, you Irish woman you. But that’s part of what I like about your blog, I learn. I love learning about other places and cultures. I admire you and am jealous of you and the adventure you are on.
    Much Love to You.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ronovan,
      I’m flattered to be considered Irish, it is not so easy to fit into another culture and country sometimes (I too am often googling to understand 😉 ). And I hope my posts do it justice, as my goal is as you see it, to show off the beautiful land, so new to me, but definitely my home, where my heart is.
      From the whole of my heart, thank you for encouraging, supporting, and inspiring my writing.
      Ó Éireann le grá, Melissa


  6. Pingback: RonovanWrites Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt Challenge 39 Review | ronovanwrites

    • Some varieties live only up to ten years, thirty five years being the longest. There are so many interesting facts; they are not actually fish but echinoderms (I think they were called ‘sea stars’ by those who knew best), there are over 1,000 different species, they can regenerate arms, and not all of them have just five (sun stars have as many as 40!). There’s more about their predators and defense mechanisms, but I can’t really remember so well–let’s just say I never would’ve dared hold one had I read this info before handling. 😀


  7. Sarah says:

    I love Galway. ❤ We lived there for a year while we got our house in Mayo bought and renovated. I also did a Masters at NUIG a few years ago and lived in Salthill (not far from the aquarium) for the academic year. I've seen plenty of buskers but never the sand artist. Thanks for sharing the photo. I will look out for him next time I'm in town.
    Your starfish photos and haiku are adorable. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • We had many of our wedding photos at the NUIG, gorgeous campus. Galway is very fun, full of life every time I visit. I hope you find the sand artist on your next visit. You know the main shopping strip, Shop St and Quay St? He is in always in that area.


      • Sarah says:

        I bet your photos look fantastic. 🙂 You got married in Galway then? What a wonderful place to tie the knot. I hope the sun shined for you.
        Thanks for the tip, I was wondering where to look. I will certainly keep my eyes peeled.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, we were wed at St. Mary’s church on the Claddagh. Funny you should mention it, but our wedding was the first rainy day I had experienced here in Ireland of all my many visits. Still, it was always just glorious and only overcast and light drizzling at that. I hope you find the sand artist, he is easy enough to spot if he’s about.



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