Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lots of interesting things happening and tons of pictures but we are finding it hard to find internet access. Either it is an arm and a leg for cost or like the present (Library) has a ton of restrictions on it.  We found one the other day that was less then 6 € an hour and the place smelled of beer and cigarettes. Many are up huge sets of stairs to the second floor then back down another set to a back area. 

We are having a great time. Knock was interesting 5 churches in a town of about 500 people is always interesting. Souvenirs were rather junkie.  The B & B was on the way into town and the bus driver let us off at the driveway.  The only Bar in Knock was right beside the B & B and I think they owned it as they had the same last name.  The Bartender was their son Ierla (Jerald) who is heading to Dublin to University this year.

Galway was great we spent the first day (arrived at 11:00 am) seeing the city and as we were in the center of town that was rather easy. Next day going to the Cliffs of Moher was beautiful and we met a lady who lives 1/2 a mile away from Peggy's sister-in-law in Newfoundland. The Bus Driver Desmond Morris stopped at a ton of places and told jokes and entertained us the whole way.

Next day we took the bus to Killarney and met a young Italian lady on the bus who came to Ireland to practice and learn English but has a hard time understanding Irish people.

We arrived in Killarney to find the B & B a little out of the downtown but not too far.  Eileen makes up for it though.  She runs a well respected B & B - the tour buses stop automatically to see if anyone is coming.  Her breakfasts are delicious and she volunteers to throw a load of laundry in for you too.

We walked out to Ross castle that day and back through Killarney Park.  Saw Hind which is a form of deer in the park.

The Ring of Kerry yesterday.  The Driver wasn't as good as Des.  Told you what had gone past. The ring is a ring of Mountains. spectacular views. A bit of Sensory overload.  Stopped at Bog Museum, Dog and Sheep demonstration, Very high very very windy hill that overlooked the valley of the hidden treasure Coom A Ceistre, and Lady View - overlooks the Killarney lakes and was Queen Victoria's favorite spot.

On the last day in Killarney I lost my wallet. I didn't realise it for a couple of hours.  We walked back to the last shop I bought anything in and while we stood there the sales clerk realized that it had slipped down between the showcases.  Everything was intact. Thank you St. Anthony and Sheila from Christy's Store.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Donegal and on to Knock

Donegal is not very big. You can circle the town in half an hour and I believe we did several times. The first evening we went on the waterbus and the guide pointed out all the historical and funny points of interest. They use the islands to raise cows on because the grass is available the islands have pure spring water and when they want to go to market they walk the cattle off the islands at low tide.  Low tide here is like the bay of Fundy - the water goes out and leaves a huge mud flat area. The guide sang when he couldn't think of anything to say which luckily wasn't often as he wasn't Dennis Day. We walked around the shops and I looked into the window of McGinty's and Mr. McGinty came out and practically dragged us in so he could show us all the beautiful knits he had, we snuck out when another customer came in. Afterward we walked uptown and had a Sunday evening special at the Hotel (on Monday) I had Salmon and Peggy had roast Beef.  Both very good. We picked up a bottle of wine at the off-license and went back to the B & B by Taxi.

The next day we went and toured Donegal Castle. We also visited every shop in Donegal. The best one was Magees. We had seen a weavers exhibit out the back and when we asked the young man said he would demonstrate if we came back at half four.  We had lunch in a little cafeteria upstairs and went off to visit all the churches (there are four of them) - the Library was closed and we found the Napoleonic Anchor (it was in the middle of the sidewalk and we had past it several times already but didn't see it). We found Morna's Patch (quilting materials and patterns) and the Famine Graveyard.  It poured rain the moment we headed down hill to the graveyard - but as usual it stopped 5 minutes later. During the afternoon we also roamed through the Abbey ruins and the churchyard/graveyard.

At 4:30 we found Stephen from Magees and he took us out to the weavers exhibition. He told us the history of Magees weaving and showed us how the loom worked. They still wash the tweed in the river to soften it. Then he let me weave some cloth.  Peggy took a video which we will post later. He gave us a piece of Peat each to take home. We discovered that we could use the bakery computers if we bought coffee.  We went back to the B & B to get ready for the next day.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Last Day in Dublin

Sunday Morning we got up bright and early to go see the Book of Kells.  We got off at the wrong bus stop and an old lady told us it was only a short walk back to Trinity College.  A short block in Ireland is about a mile, a long block is two miles. We crossed the road and caught the Hop-on Hop-off and let him take us to Trinity College.  Just through the Archway into the square was a small stand and a sign saying tour including the Book of Kells was 10€ and two students were standing there.  Since the Book of Kells was 9€ we decided it was worth the tour.  Steven was our guide. This is his third year at Trinity and he was very knowledgeable about all the funny history of the school. Who got shot through his bedroom window etc. Interesting note Trinity had no heat and no running water until 1980. Brrrrrr. We went down to Temple Bar for lunch. Irish bacon is like peameal so a BLT is a little different. While we were walking back up to Dame street we ended up watching a gay rights Parade - equal rights Gay marriage etc. then we went to Dublin Castle and there was an eight hundred year anniversary of the date that King John gave freedom or Liberties to the city.  We got to watch the parade and the speeches.  We were going to tour Dublin Castle and City Hall but the Castle tours were backed up more then an hour and the City Hall was closed because of the reenactment.  Then we got lost and took the bus the wrong way and missed the last Liffey River Cruise.  We went off and found an ecobike to take us to the craft shops and had a good little wander about and then opted for a couple of pints to ease out upset at what we had missed that day.  There we were on Duke street - I knew a short cut. 

For Dinner we ate at the rooftop restaurant at Marks and Spence.  I took pictures of the pigeons bothering the patrons outside.  It was very funny.

Went back to Ariel House to pack and I think all the contents grew as there didn't seem to be enough room for anything. Finally got packed. We were reading things and discovered that Irish water only has a three day life.  That's what the bottles say - Please discard three days after opening.

Yesterday we took the train and the bus from Donegal to Sligo.  The Train in Dublin - DART has a terrible gap and I kept having trouble getting on and off.  The ride to Sligo was very nice but the bus to Donegal was hilarious.  Two old grannies who had been shopping and wanted to make sure they were on the right bus and couldn't make the arm rest work. etc.

The B & B is way out of town.   We went on the Waterbus. More later - bye for now.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

2nd day in Ireland

We got up a little late for us and enjoyed a full Irish Breakfast. The coffee is too strong but the eggs were great. I forgot that Irish bacon is a cross between ham and Peameal bacon. I t was great. Headed back down town and took the full circle of the hop-on hop-off bus. e found the Temple Bar Market and bought Cheese and buns and strawberries for lunch along with some great icy cold water. We saw St. Stephens Green park - someone as having wedding photo's there and we wandered through and took some pictures. I read the map and took us as Peggy says through a lot of back alleys until we found St. Patrick's Park and Cathedral. Just a half a block up the street we found a TIM HORTON'S. It was an outlet with a machine but Tim's is Tim's. and I was happy to see they had some in Ireland.

We couldn't find a bus so we walked up to Christ Church Cathedral and Dublinia Exhibit.  It was just closing but they let us use the john which is always important.  Across the road there was a Viking Fest going on. That was the highlight of the day.  I got a picture of a 3 year old Viking with an axe in his belt shooting a bow and arrow.

We walked from there over to Duke Street and had some Smithfields Irish Ale at the Davy Byrne Tavern. Hopped on the number 7 bus and had Fish and Chip Dinner at the local Pub and some more Irish Ale. Back at the hotel we had a late snack of Strawberries, cheese, crackers and Australian wine.

I feel like all I talk about is food - but the sights are great as well.  Tomorrow I will write about the Book of Kells and the great tour we had there.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

My Birthday in Ireland

Top of the morning top ya!
This is the first internet cafe we have found so everyone can forgive the delay.

We arrived yesterday morning. and just as we waited for the bus the sky opened and it rained. Arrived at the hotel a little wet and fell up the stairs.  No harm done.  The guest house served us warm scones smothered in butter and strawberry jam as a welcome.  You can tell I didn't book this place though, the stairs to the front door were bad enough but we are on the 1st floor with no elevator.  Luckily we had a young man to bring the luggage up.  Irish locks are backward and Peggy couldn't get the door open, but luckily the young man knew how.  The rain stopped in the afternoon. The room is very nice and we are in the G.B. Shaw wing.
We took an nap in the afternoon and later went down town on the Dart (Light rail like a subway but overhead). The gap is big between the train and the platform and my vertigo kicked in but I managed.  We did some sightseeing and joined the Dublin Pub Crawl Literary Tour and lo and behold I won the quiz t-shirt.  I decided it was my early birthday present.

Had a full irish breakfast this morning. Haven't had the nerve yet to try the white and black pudding. We drank Heinekin draft and Bulmers cider last night. We may share a 1/2 of Guiness today. I think that is an acquired taste.

 We are doing the hop-on hop-off bus today and visiting some of the sites. The driver is quite the wit. We may do the river cruise this afternoon. Can't add pictures today as the card slot doesn't appear to work.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Three more sleeps and we are off to Ireland

As you can see the Rooster bag is packed for the plane trip. It has the meds, the camera, the book, the MP3 player in it. The eyemask, the pen and pencil and the notepad are hiding in there too.  I'm doing one last pack tonight and trying to see what I am missing as I am sure I will forget something of value. Except for the brough, Ireland is at least a country that is speaking the same language as I am.  Hopefully we will understand them and if we need help we can make ourselves understood.

Nicky Farnell offered us hospitality today while we are in the British Isles but I explained that we were staying in Ireland. I told her that if we got waylaid by the volcano we might pop over and see her. Next year we will have to make time to see her when we are in England. I really enjoyed meeting her and her family last time I was in England.

 I managed to get everything in the small suitcase. I hate bringing a big suitcase as I don't like to drag it around. The small one will still weigh about 25 pounds by the time I am done. I still have to fit shoes in to it (Outside pocket). The Rooster bag will be my purse on the plane but my day bag when we are out sightseeing.  I never carry anything of value in the bag - umbrella sweater or rain jacket, water bottle or snack.  I pity the poor thief who steals it as there just won't be anything of value in it.

I am eating my way through the fridge.  There are only a couple of eggs, half a loaf of bread, cheese, some raspberries, condiments, beer, and water left. I am not getting rid of the frozen food but any opened packages will get tossed Wednesday night or Thursday morning. I'm doing fine so far.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

8 days until we leave for Ireland

Got my car back. Seems to be running fine. Turned in the Yaris - I will hear back from them about the damage. Hopefully not too much.

Got my marks from school - Final mark for the Course was 77. I am so happy with that mark. Only two courses to go before I am done. Going to have someone pick up the mail while I'm away in case the course material comes.

Have to check and make sure the bills are all paid this weekend - most are automatic but just in case.... I better check before I leave.

Going to see Dangerous Liaisons with Fran at Stratford tonight at the Festval Theatre. This may be our last treat of the season as any play we haven't seen appears to be sold out or down to the last ticket or two - mostly singles - so there probably won't be any deals coming up.

Only 8 days until we leave for Ireland. It is coming very quickly and I keep thinking of more things I should pack or check on or something. I feel like I am going a little crazy. Take a deep breath Lynda ... you can do it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

10 days and I can hardly wait!

On Saturday I took my car in to London and had it breakdown on the way. Had to call a tow truck, and I had to leave it to be repaired. They didn't have a loaner so I had to rent a car. I rented a Yaris.

Sunday Shirley and I went to Toronto for the Rogers Cup Tennis and stood waiting for the rain to stop for 2 hours and finally went home. Of course it stopped raining right after we left.

I went to return Glenna's shop vac today and the construction vehicles were all over her street - they are putting in sewers etc. I tried to park behind the other cars on the side of the road. Little did I know that there was a hole on the side of the road where the culvert comes out. The pictures tell the tale. I had to climb out the driver's window. Luckily it didn't flip. I wasn't hurt just shaken up. More Pictures on Facebook.

Still haven't found out my marks from Religion and Science, but it takes awhile for the mail to get back to Sudbury from London and then they have to get marked so I just need to be patient.

I did my practice pack and then I looked at the weather in Ireland. I still don't know what I am taking. I just want to go soon, before anything else goes wrong.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

16 days and counting

I finished the stain glass and it is awesome. I put it and some other stained glass on my facebook page and Emma Skillen likes my first piece best. I always liked all the blues and greens in that piece. I still haven't finished the frame for the big piece but I'll get there.

Wrote the final exam in Religion and Science. I think I covered all the bases. Hopefully I should get around 75 on the course. I was lucky - two of the questions were really the same question asked from the opposite point of view. I believe I got good marks for answering both of them.

I took the boys, Carter and Lincoln to see Peter Pan. Carter was a hoot,before the curtain went up, he kept asking me to read portions of the program - telling him who made the sets and who played the parts and which picture of the actors/actresses was which character in the play. He loved the play and he enjoyed himself very much. Now Lincoln is three and he was funny. The moment we got there he noticed the doghouse. As soon as the dog came on stage that was it. He loved it. The only problem was the dog left the stage and Linc kept asking "Where did the dog go?" After the intermission Mom decided that it would be better for Lincoln and her to watch from the lobby. He still enjoyed the play very much.

Rogers Cup Tennis is on for this weekend. Shirley and I will go to qualifying on Sunday. It is the men this year and I am hoping that we get to see some of the big names practicing. It is always nice to see the up and coming players. In another year or so I will recognize them when I see them at other tournaments. I saw Gilles Simon at the Rogers years before he became a well-known name.

Next play is in the works, Sept. 11, 2010 Dangerous Liaisons. This play was banned in the early 1900's. Fran and I are back in the Festival Theater front row of the balcony. It should be good.

Only sixteen days (to the hour) until I am getting on a plane to Ireland. There are clothes and stuff all over the second bedroom. I feel like I am going crazy, but I'm sure it will all work out in the end. I still haven't absolutely decided on a suitcase. The small ones all seem too full but I hate to take the big one. I bought a new charger for the European phone and within hours I had found the old one. The new one is non-refundable of course.

By the time I get back from Ireland, Matt from EllisDon, who I have worked with for almost two years will have left for nine months in New Zealand with his church group. I am going to miss him, we have worked together for my whole time on this project. We are going out to lunch on my last day before vacation.

I signed up for two more courses: Women, Religion and Spirituality and Women in the Ancient World. If I can manage these two I will Graduate with a B.A. in June of 2011.
That will be an accomplishment - The thought makes me smile.

I will try to get another entry next week maybe after the play. Then it will be blog around Ireland, hopefully everyday.