Castles in the air

I would like to live in a castle, maybe one in Ireland because I’m fairly certain Canadian castles are in short supply.
The selection of castles in Europe is extensive, I’ve read. Windsor Castle holds some sort of record for having been continuously lived in for the longest period of time–all the way back a 1,000 years to when William the Conqueror built it.
Windsor Castle is home to the royals and despite its size, it would feel crowded and a bit stuffy; the Queen telling me not to run in the halls or slide down the banisters, that sort of thing I would guess (though I’m not sure castles have banisters come to think of it).
So I’ll not live in Windsor Castle, even if they invite me. I’ll choose some other castle.
Wales boasts the most castles in Europe in terms of castles per square mile, with more than 600 of these amazing structures. Surely I could find a castle that suits my needs.
I suppose I could live in Wales, with a field of Welsh ponies that I would survey from the “keep of the castle” (that’s castle lingo, referring to the highest point and the centre of defence). A castle-dweller, after all, should know such things and use the correct terminology.
But I’m leaning to Ireland as a home base for my castle. Ireland with its perpetual green-ness, at least in my mind, with rainbows everywhere and leprechauns scampering about hiding their pots of gold and stone walls as far as the eye can see.
Ireland seems the best plan for me. I’ve never been to Ireland so it would be a real adventure.
When I was little and had a nightmare or any frightening experience, I would imagine running to my castle for safety. My castle came with a very deep moat around it–filled to the brim with nasty creatures to gobble up my enemies and the scary things that terrorized my dreams.
The draw bridge was heavy and mighty, the chain cranking loudly and slowly; so slowly that, at times, I wasn’t sure the draw bridge would make it to the upright position before the monsters got to it, but thankfully it always did.
I kept a big pot of boiling oil at the ready should someone with evil intentions try to scale my castle wall.
On a more positive note, my castle had a central courtyard with lush green grass, a huge swing with someone obligated to push me higher and higher, and a big fire pit on which to roast marshmallows, from my perpetual inventory of marshmallows.
That’s what we do as children. We create sanctuary in our mind; that safe place to go when life gets confusing and wrought with danger at every turn.
I think of the children growing up in this unsteady world, one in which the adults always are waging war with one another, usually with the innocent falling. These children have no sanctuary and I’m willing to bet their life is so wrought with danger, they have a hard time imagining a castle that will keep them safe.
So I feel great pride that I am Canadian and though we don’t have castles here, we certainly have safety–and I hope we never lose sight of that rare gift.
wendistewart@live.ca

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