Archive for September, 2013

Ring of Kerry

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

You can’t guarantee the the weather in Ireland. On what was to be the most picturesque day on the tour of the whole trip… widowsviewaround the Kerry peninsula, we were fogged in but for a few minutes when I took this photo. Just before, we had driven through a rainbow but my camera wasn’t at the ready. Didn’t catch that leprechaun either.

Gone with the Wind

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

The Cliffs of Moher are on the west coast of Ireland and are the result of retreating glaciers shearing off the rock as the ice age mohrreceeded. They are pretty dramatic and every tour bus in the world was visiting the cliffs when we were. It was incredibly windy; we saw several people blown to their knees. We actually needed each other for balast. Gratefully, the new and improved visitor center has put in railings, stairs and other protective measures so tourists won’t do something stupid.fallingrock


Monday, September 23rd, 2013
watch out Michael Flatley

watch out Michael Flatley

Grand Circle Tours does a good job of getting you to interact with the locals. Today we had lunch in a private home in groups of 8 and a few nights ago we had a lively Irish evening with singing, clapping, jokes and fun-filled banter. Some talented dancers did some folk dancing and got a volunteer from the audience. His feet never touched the ground…because he was never on the right foot!

A Box Of Q-Tips

Friday, September 20th, 2013

I know I’m a little behind on posts and photos, they’ve kept us moving.

But something to make you grin.

We went on a Grand Circle cruise last summer and had a great time. Though the passengers were retirees and we were on the younger side, we had plenty of free time to take off and spread our wings. When we decided to get an overview of Ireland via a land tour, we went with Grand Circle again. Well a bus tour draws a much more senior crowd. All you have to do is get off the bus, get your room key, breakfast together and look out the window as we roll along (simplified).  Well if you are at the back of the boxy bus and look down at all the folk sitting there, you see a LOT of white, fuzzy- haired folk and a few bald men. Someone said we looked like a box of Q-tips.

I’m sporting my hair dark red to shake up the mix.

And The Winning Ticket Number Is

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

I (Steve) remember when growing up my father would talk about having “The Winning Ticket” to the Irish Sweepstakes (but he never did).  The Irish Sweepstakes was the world’s largest lottery done once a year to raise monies for a local hospital in Dublin. Since the hospital was a catholic hospital, priests were asked to smuggle tickets out of Ireland to the United States because NO one would check a priest going thru customs for smuggled goods.  The tickets were then sold in the States, and you bragged if you had a ticket. Every year my grandmother would have one for my father, but alas never a winner.  

Now for the story to come full circle; the hotel we stayed in while in Dublin was directly across the street from the buildings that use to house that old hospital.  

And now you know the rest of my story.

St. Patrick

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Are you sitting down?

Saint Patrick was not Irish.

Yep he was a Roman citizen living in Scotland where he was kidnapped by the Irish and made a slave. A pig herder to be exact. He escaped and fled to France where he accepted Christ and went to seminary and became a monk. He was reunited with his family and had a good life when a dream told him to go back to Ireland and convert those who had enslaved him. He had a message for the common man because he had traveled all walks of life. It was his way of explaining the trinity by using a shamrock — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Three in one. And that became the symbol of Ireland.          

Now you know the rest of the story!

Shaun the Sheep

Friday, September 13th, 2013

sheep doThis one is for Abby and Daniel.  We watch a British cartoon before nap time called Shaun the Sheep,and it’s a hoot!  

When Shaun is out grazing with the other sheep, we notice all these black little balls in the pasture.

Well this is the reality of sheep poop, and it’s in abundance in the rolling green hills of Ireland. Kinda cute?

(check it out on netflix and Timmy Time also)


Friday, September 13th, 2013

newgrangeThis one you might have to google to believe.

We booked a field trip about and hour out of town to see an ancient mound on top of a verdant hill that is older than Stonehenge and the pyramids. It lines up with the rising sun on Dec 22 (winter soltice) and allows the breaking dawn to illuminate an inner chamber. Bone fragments have been found but it seems to be more like a nod to the beginning of a new year and mans’ need to acknowledge something greater than himself.

All of these stones, tons and tons, were brought in before machines and horse power, dragged by men using ropes and logs as rollers. This whole edifice of rock is covered with sod and is beyond description as we did get to go inside .

No photos as it was a technology-free zone in homage to the spirit of it all.

The Bewleys

Friday, September 13th, 2013

bewsley hotelLooks like an old manor house, but it’s our hotel while in Dublin. We are in a neighborhood across the street from the Four Seasons. We’re 2 1/2 Seasons but far enough out of the craziest city I have ever been in. There are just so many people out and about; you would think it was Christmas shopping time.

We have mastered the buses that run out in front, we understand the language, and we’re still using Euros. It’s expensive here so we purchased some groceries to tide us over for a meal or two and we are doing our laundry in the sink.

Works for us!

El Diada

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

It’s a national holiday in Barcelona today. Actually all of the state of Catalonia. Back in 1714, this area of Spain lost the right to govern themselves (War of Spanish Succession). And they are fiercely independent folk.catalunya protest

Next year, in fact, they are voting to secede from Spain and be their own country. The Basque area is also hot for independence. Spain is a country that has 7 different dialects and lots of deep traditions and flags and customs. They just aren’t unified. Sometimes our differences can make us stronger but not here. It just makes them critical.

So nothing is open on our last day in Barcelona and there is to be demonstrations and a large human chain throughout all of Catalonia. It’s suppose to be peaceful, but we’ll see.   (it was, and very impressive/ a human chain of millions stretching across the entire state.)