Thursday, April 5, 2018

Can I still do this?

This is just a test to see if I still know how to write on my blog.  We are leaving on a trip to celebrate our up-coming 50th wedding anniversary and I want to document it for my family.  We are taking a Transatlantic cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Southampton England, then renting a car and touring England and Scotland.  I am sure we will have many, many photos and I will need a place to post them.  Stay tuned.  The Royal Princess will be our home for 15 days as we sail across the Atlantic Ocean.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Slieve League and more

The cliffs of Slieve League are the highest sea cliffs in Europe, roughly 2000 feet from the Atlantic Ocean to the top of highest cliff.   Higher than the cliffs of Moher, but not nearly as well known, Slieve League is located in a remote part of Donegal County.  The scenery was spectacular.

 We parked the car in the parking area and walked up the trail to get the best views.

 Ken and Johnny didn't make it to the highest point, but they were pretty high.  Hannah and I stayed at a lower level.

It was chilly on the cliffs and it looked like rain so headed back to Donegal to have an early dinner and take in some of the celebration when the Donegal football team returned to town.  Before dinner we toured Donegal Castle, which is located right in the center of town.

 Donegal Castle was in ruins for over two centuries before being almost fully restored in the late 1990's.  It was built by the wealthy O'Donnell clan in 1474.  In 1611 it became the property of an English Captain whose family retained ownership of the castle until the 1800's when it fell into ruin.

 The toilet. 

 The Blueberry Tea Room where we had a wonderful "late lunch or early dinner" of quiche and salad.
 We ran into the owner of the B&B in town with his 5 children.  They were waiting for the team to return to join in the celebration.

 Even Ken got into the spirit of things.
 Back at the B&B we warmed up with a peat fire and our nightly wine and cheese.
 Our final breakfast at Rossmore Manor before leaving for Dublin and our last few days in Ireland.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


There has been too much going on the past few weeks to post the rest of our trip.  I am going to try to get it done before it gets too hectic before Christmas.

Clifden was such a fun place to visit and we knew our trip was winding down, but we still had the area around Donegal to explore before we headed back to Dublin and the end of this fantastic trip.

There were several sites along the way that we wanted to explore before we arrive at the Rossmore Manor in Donegal.

Carrowmore is one of four major passage tombs in Ireland.  The burial area is within the stone circle.  These megalithic tombs are among the country's oldest, with monuments ranging from five and a half thousand to six and a half thousand years old.
The grave of  Irish poet W.B. Yeats and his wife George is located in the cemetery at Drumcliffe Monastery.   Benbulben, the massive table mountain located nearby was the subject of one of Yeat's last poems.  The last three lines of the poem Under Ben Bulben are inscribed on his grave.

This high cross dates back to the 9th century.
This is all that remains of the round tower after it was struck by lightning in 1936.
Benbulben, the massive table mountain which was one of Yeat's favorite places and the subject of his last poem. 

The ocean at Mullaghmore is one of the best high wave surfing areas in the world.  Somehow I have never associated Ireland with surfing, but in March of 2012 the world's best surfers gathered here and rode the waves, some as high as 50 feet.  Mullaghmore is also known for the 1979 bombing which killed Lord Mountbatten and several others by the IRA. 

 Mullaghmore has a big fishing industry with most of what they catch exported to France.
We stayed in some very nice B&B's in Ireland, but the Rossmore Manor in Donegal was a favorite of ours.  Located a few miles from town and close to Donegal Bay, we were quite impressed as we drove up the drive to this home built like a modern day castle.   
 The owners were a young couple with 5 children and they like gargoyles.    We were excited to spend the next two nights in this beautiful home.
Our room was in a wing separate from the main structure and was quite large.
 This sitting area gave us great views of the bay.

Johnny and Hannah stayed in the castle room and it was huge with high ceilings and even a fireplace where we enjoyed a peat fire one evening.

This was the view we had from our sitting area.  We drove into Donegal that evening and enjoyed a good dinner.  The Donegal football (soccer) team had just won the national championship and there were a lot of people, young and old, in town celebrating.  We called it a night early and went back to the B&B to rest up for our next day of exploring.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Day 9 and the Dubliners

We were in Clifden during their annual Arts Festival Week.  The Dubliners were the headline act for the week and we were excited to get tickets to see them.  The concert was Friday evening and we still had the day to see more of the sights around Clifden. 

I forgot to add these in the proper order so we are starting at the end.  I wouldn't tell you that but I know Johnny and Hannah are reading this blog!

 We stopped at Coral Strand Beach where the sand is made of crushed coral.  We couldn't tell at first, just that it was very coarse.  When we picked it up and looked at it closely you could definitely tell it was coral.   This is a magnified look at the sand.

I like to hunt for seashells while I walk on the beach.  It wasn't much of a hunt here, the challenge here was to not crush them as you  walked.  We smuggled a few of the unusual ones home to put in my collection.

 This is where we started our day.  A drive along Bog Road on our way to the town of Roundstone.

 We made a stop at the Malachy Kearn's Bodhran's shop and gallery.  Doesn't every little boy of being a drummer some day?  I think these two must have had that dream.
 We also paid a visit to a pottery shop where I bought a necklace and a pair of earring.
 Roundstone is a pretty little village along a beautiful bay.
We spotted these men working along the bay and stopped to see what they were doing.  They were pulling in sea weed to be used for feed for cattle.  Sea weed has many uses that I didn't know about.  It is used in cosmetics, skin care, clothing and food (for humans and animals).


As we were making the loop from Roundstone to Clifden we spotted a sign saying there was a ring fort in the area.  We were fascinated with ring forts so we decided to hike up a very steep path to find it.  We hiked for quite a ways and never did come upon it, but we did enjoy some beautiful country and views of the bay and coastline.

Our hike down the trail was much easier than the one up.
We arrived back in Clifden in time for an early dinner.  The concert was scheduled for 8:00 p.m. and we wanted to get there early to get a good seat.  Ken and Johnny  are a lot alike and decided we should probably get there around 6 o'clock.  We were plenty early, in fact we arrived at the same time as some of the Dubliners.  It worked to our advantage though, we had front row, center seats and were lucky enough to meet three members of the group.  The Irish aren't known for their promptness and the concert didn't actually begin until 8:30 or as they say in Ireland "half eight".

 John Sheahan has been with the group the longest, joing them in 1964. 
 The Dubliners group was formed in 1962 and has been performing for 50 years.  There are no remaining original members of the group still performing.  They performed for over 2 hours, putting on a concert that was well worth more than the 25 euros we paid for each ticket.  The only thing bad about their music is that after you hear it, it stays in your head for a long time.  When I went to bed the songs ran through my head for hours. 
 Sean Cannon joined the group in 1982 replacing lead singer Luke Kelly who died at a young age. 
 Emmon Campbell has been with the Dubliners since 1987 and has produced all of their albums along with producing albums of many other Irish bands and performers.
 Patsy Watchorn is the newest member of the Dubliners.  He joined the group in 2005, but belonged to several other groups over the years. 

 In April 2012, the last remaining member of the original group, Barney McKenna passed away unexpectantly.  Rather than cancel their 50th anniversary tour they asked Gerry O'Conner to join them to play their remaining tour dates.  What a great time we head listening to one of Ireland's legendary top music groups- in the community center gymnasium of a small Irish town.