July 20, 2012

Eel Weir, taken from Town Bridge in Athlone, County Westmeath

I’m a little afraid of eels and am at a loss why I should find this photograph of an eel weir at Athlone, Westmeath, Ireland (circa 1900) evocative in an appealing way.

If you do not know what an eel weir is, you can read an article about one in the Catskills on the East Branch of the Delaware River.


  1. Sepideh Miller on July 21st, 2012 at 7:35 am

    I am more frightened of eels now that I know that they have their own cloaks of invisibility.

  2. Casey Cichowicz on July 21st, 2012 at 10:08 am


  3. Sheila Ryan on July 21st, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Finding an entrance where they can.

  4. SC on July 21st, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    … eels that are migrating to the sea to spawn, hundreds of miles east of Bermuda in the Sargasso Sea…

    Eels are catadromous? Is there a mass eel migration?

    Hmmmm, I’m not sure I want to know more. I think the first time I got sick from reading was the during the eel and horse head scene in Tin Drum:

    “… Oskar’s group stayed to watch. The man climbed down the rocks and heaved a severed horse’s head, attached to the clothesline, onto the breakwater. Clinging to the black horse’s head were green eels, which the man pulled off the horse and put in his bag, which Matzerath held. The man pulled open the horse’s mouth and pulled out two large eels from the horse’s throat, causing Agnes to throw up her breakfast. Circling seagulls swooped down and ate what Agnes had disgorged. The man pulled an eel out of the horse’s ear, spilling the horse’s brains out of its head…”

  5. Sheila Ryan on July 21st, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Damn it, SC. I have not thought about those Tin Drum eels in ages.

    I wish eels had never been invented.

  6. SC on July 21st, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    …I wish eels had never…
    Well, they are apparently dying out.

    I’ve puzzled over this book for years. It never occurred to me that the Delaware was eel central:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pelton-Eel-Rack-Delaware-Signed-Limited-First-Ed-1930-/190441837244#ht_985wt_1398 (Nice dedication page!)

  7. Sheila Ryan on July 21st, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Well, now I am beginning to feel unhappy about eels dying out.

  8. Sheila Ryan on July 21st, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Oh, but now I am thinking about Graham Swift’s Waterland. Eels in knickers! That’s nasty.

  9. SC on July 21st, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Video of Mr Turner:

    (That video does include the phrase “giant orgy in the middle of the ocean”. You have been warned.)

  10. Sheila Ryan on July 21st, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    I already done seen some of a nasty eel video I wish I could forget, so I’m hesitant, but I will be brave andngive it a look.

  11. SC on July 24th, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    …That’s nasty…

    Doesn’t Mary like the eel in her knickers in Waterland? In fact, she asks for, ahem, more eel, no?

  12. Sheila Ryan on July 24th, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    ‘Tis true, SC, so far as I recall.

    I speak only to my own squeamishness in the matter of eels.

  13. SC on July 24th, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Today is Eel Day in Japan!

  14. Sheila Ryan on July 24th, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    I found the Eel Day article most edifying on the distinctions between the Kanto and Kansai styles of unagi.

  15. SC on July 25th, 2012 at 1:28 am

    Truly, you talk with your stomach open!

    (Kyoto food in general looks lively. This sardine head on a holly stick, aka Hiiragi Iwashi, how to looks useful.)

  16. Sheila Ryan on July 25th, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    I checked, and sardine head on-a-holly-stick is not among this year’s stick-food offerings at the Iowa State Fair.

  17. SC on July 25th, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    It’s not really a stick food, it’s a stinky stick talisman with defensive features. (Hmmm, I might need to rethink stick food in general…)

    Note that the rotten sardine needs to be protected from… weasels. “You would be surprised at the number of weasel and mink you see scurrying around the quiet streets of Kyoto at night…”

  18. Sheila Ryan on July 25th, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Indeed. Weasel PLUS quiet street PLUS Kyoto DOES NOT EQUAL any picture I’ve formed in my mind.