Archive for the ‘Spain Ireland 2013’ Category

Book of Kells

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Imagine a set of the Gospels, hand written in the 700’s a.d. and treasured and trashed in the subsequent years to finally arrive at Trinity College, Dublin for me to see!  The artistic and dedicated monks beautifully illustrated each gospel: Matthew as a writer, Mark as the lion, Luke as the calf, and John as the eagle. In the meticulous transcription sometimes a mistake would be made on the vellum at which time the chagrined monk drew a picture on top of it.  The colors are vivid and the painting is intense and meaningful. Just like viewing the Declaration of Independence, you know what you’ll see but it’s worth standing in line to be able to say you saw the real thing!  (sorry, no photos were allowed, but do google it!)

One in Every Barrel

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

thegroupThere’s always that tour group member who is rather obnoxious, loud, attention grabbing, and needs more than their share of the  spotlight. You can try  to ignore them but it’s better to try to befriend them ( you don’t want to get on their bad side!) I found if I made up a name for them that suited them, it would help me take them with a grain of salt. This trip we got to know “Cheezy” (because she was so ‘grating’) I asked our tour director, Sheila, how she handled this type, alluding to the person in  question.  She said she usually said the ‘Serenity Prayer” and with this person…4 or 5 times!

Waterford Crystal

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

waterfordWaterford, Royal Dalton, and Wedgewood are all names that have a century or more of heritage…and all going bankrupt before an investment group purchased and resuscitated them and gave them new life. Those are the times we live in.

At Waterford in Ireland, hundreds lost their jobs when they closed their doors in ’09; devastating the region by the same name. But they ‘reorganized, sent much of their work to Eastern Europe, and reopened as a slimmed down plant in Ireland. This is where they do the specialty items such as the Peoples’ Choice Awards, trophies, chandeliers and the Times Square Ball.  It’s a 7-10 year apprenticeship to become a crystal cutter and this fall they have 7 new apprentices hired; the first new employees in 5 years. And the crystal is so beautiful and alive with light!

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)