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  • Day52

    Fancy Pancy Dinner

    November 4, 2021 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 7 °C

    Auf der Fahrt sehen wir noch ein paar coole Ecken von Cork. Und abends gönnen wir uns richtig! Wir buchen einen Tisch im Paradiso, einem super leckeren Vegetarischen/veganen Restaurant. Sie haben ein Drei-Gänge-Menü mit jeweils drei Gerichten. Der Preis ist ordentlich, aber das Essen… Man kann es gar nicht beschreiben! Wirklich lecker und mal was ganz anderes. Für unseren letzten Abend in Irli gönnen wir uns mal so etwas 😋☺️. Das Ambiente ist nicht so ganz unseres, aber wir genießen den Service und natürlich das Essen! 🍽. Wir schlendern auf dem Rückweg ins Zimmer noch umher und es ist überall was los 💃, aber wir sind kaputt nach der Wanderung. Auf den letzten Abend gab es ja schon guten Wein und leckeres Essen ☺️Read more

  • Day53

    Cork & Rock of Cashel

    November 5, 2021 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    Wir scherzen, dass wir beides können, weil wir heute draußen auf einer Parkbank frühstücken und gestern Abend noch im teuren Restaurant 😂 Wir spazieren etwas in der Stadt umher und schlendern im English Market, um ein paar leckere Kleinigkeiten zu besorgen.
    Auf dem Weg Richtung Dublin bzw. Lucan halten wir noch in Cashel, um am Rock of Cashel anzuhalten. Eine faszinierende Szenerie, die sich uns hier bietet - und wir können sie 20 Minuten genießen, bevor wir fürs Parken zahlen müssen. Wir zwei schwäbische Sparfüchse 😂 Es gibt derzeit leider eh keine Touren, wir haben aber wenigstens eine informative Broschüre.
    Die Fahrt dauert noch etwas, weshalb es auch völlig okay ist, wenn wir nicht so lange bleiben können.
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  • Day4

    Welcome April in Ballyvourney

    April 2 in Ireland ⋅ 🌧 48 °F

    Today was our day to visit with our friends the Kelly’s; Joe and his daughters Deirdre and Neasa who have become dear friends on our visits here .We call Joe our Godfather as he has been instrumental in helping me to meet my cousins in the area and the Kelly’s have shown us such hospitality on our visits here .
    We originally met Joe when our B and B operator told us she’d like for us to meet him because he knows everyone here and introduced us.
    He does know every one and was keen to help me find my cousins and he did just that !

    We decided to meet up with them at Saint Gobnait’s shrine and to visit Joe’s wife and their Mom’s grave, and say hello to her too as is done here.
    Because the newest Covid variant is quite widespread here we won’t be able to visit the Kelly’s indoors .
    While we were at the shrine we met some visitors there who share the name Kelleher with my relatives of that name from the village of Coolea next to Ballyvourney.
    Of course, we had a lovely talk about various Kelleher’s and thanked Saint Gobnait for her continuing inspirations to all of us emigres from the area!
    We had a good visit sitting with Mrs.Kelly and tried to answer a few of the many questions our friends have about WHAT in the world is going on in the USA? ❤️☘️❤️
    After our visit we went to Gadaí Dubh Books and delivered Ronnie’s latest book as a gift from Ronnie for Conor the Owner.
    Cón was delighted to receive it ! He selected a book of local poetry and gave it to us for Ronnie ❤️.
    By the way Ronnie, Con loved the cover and was delighted with your illustrations even before he had a chance to begin reading it .
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    Kathy Zavala


    Kathy Zavala

    Please say “hello” from us.

    Kathy Sweeney

    We will ! We will be with the Kelly’s tomorrow afternoon again .

    16 more comments
  • Day5

    A tour of Coolea and tea party/ picnic

    April 3 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 48 °F

    It was a perfect spring day to tour the village of Coolea , just outside of Ballyvourney and home of Gobnait and my ancestors.
    The Kellys packed a tea picnic for us all and we finished the afternoon with another picnic table gathering at the highest pub in Ireland 🇮🇪: Top of Coom which is next door to Coolea and is in County Kerry .Read more

    Kathy Sweeney

    Hauntingly beautiful landscape

    Kathy Sweeney

    A heirloom porridge pot from the days of the Great Hunger ( the potato famine ) .Said to have been used in the community porridge distribution to provide daily sustenance to the starving residents

    Kathy Sweeney

    Pretty much the same local animals we have as neighbors at home

    18 more comments
  • Day6

    A soft Monday

    April 4 in Ireland ⋅ 🌧 52 °F

    The Irish name for what we might call an overcast drizzling day is a “soft day”. On a day like this the thousand shades of green in the landscape are gorgeous.
    And, the rain is warm and the air clean .
    We returned for another visit to Gobnait’s Holy Well where the ancient trees and spring wildflowers frame the
    Pilgrims prayer ribbons and remembrances .
    We collected holy water from the Holy Well to bring home with us .
    And, we made our way down long country lanes to the tiny local cheese factory that produces 30 tons annually of Coolea cheese now shipped around the world .
    Famous for its lovely flavour and made with two ingredients; milk from cows pasture grazed locally and whey.
    The owner was happy to tell us he had just sent a large shipment to his marketer in London where it would be resent to Ukraine as his gift to the Ukrainian people.

    When we returned to the Mills we found that we had Irish Census forms waiting for us to complete because today is the day across Ireland to identify every person in the country including visitors.
    The experience was quite different than our US census because it included almost exclusively questions about our care for others and work and volunteer lives and nothing at all about our property.
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    Ronald Smith

    Yummy. 😊

    Kathy Zavala

    Fascinating. I wish….

    Kathy Zavala


    6 more comments
  • Day29


    June 3 in Ireland ⋅ ☀️ 13 °C

    Me and Lennon took a walk down the river into the village of Kinsale while Brace was working. Known for being the most beautiful, colourful, and traditionally Irish village in the country. Apparently it's so beautiful, people who visit never leave... (a lady I met backs this up, she came to visit her sister for 2 weeks over 30 years ago 🤣) So if you don't see us again you'll know where to come looking!Read more

  • Day69

    CÚIG GHRIANGHRAF-Ireland Day 4

    June 21 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    After a restful night, we packed for the next leg of our trip and we said good-bye to our wonderful hosts Markie and Eamon.

    We decided to get breakfast in the nearby town of Carlow, and we found a really great espresso spot. It wasn't just that the lattes and breakfast food was delicious, we loved the positive community building environment. On the wall was an aspirational message which in part expressed:
    "...we want to help to build a positive space where people can come together, be convivial, and bring our town back to its happy place..."

    There was a slate with post-it notes where you could purchase drinks for others and they could use the post-it note as a voucher for a drink. We opted to do that when we paid our bill. We really appreciated what this small business in the midst of a little town was trying to do to build community.

    At breakfast we talked about our route possibilities to our final destination of Kinsale, a small fishing village south of Cork. We opted for the longer route with a stop at Hook Head Lighthouse in County Wexford.

    We enjoyed walking around Hook Lighthouse. It's amazing that this structure is 850 years old. It reminded us of our times on the Maine coast.

    When we departed, we noticed the ruins of a church several hundred kilometers down the road. After reading the inscription, we learned that Saint Dubhan, came to Hook Point from Wales in 452 A.D and established a monastery on this site. Saint Dubhan is believed to have lit the first warning beacon for ships on the point shortly after his arrival. This beacon had been maintained by the monks for 700 years until the current lighthouse was built. The English word for Dubhan is hook.

    As we explored the ruins and found gravesites, some hundreds of years old and others relatively new, I reflected on the theme that this was a site where someone looked out for others. His mission and those who followed him was to keep others seafaring travelers safe, and his legacy remains.

    We left this area and headed west past the city of Waterford where Waterford Crystal is made. We enjoyed the three-hour drive and we arrived in Kinsale late afternoon.

    Kinsale reminded us both of Boothbay Harbor, Maine. It's a colorful, bustling fishing village of about 4,000 people. We've rented a flat above an art gallery. It's cheerful and open, and close to several pubs and restaurants.

    After a short nap, we took a walk along the marina and then looked for a place to get dinner. We settled on a pub that was filling up quickly. Jim had fish and chips, and I opted for beef stew with Guinness. I decided that my stew seemed to be missing something: flavor. I told Jim that his stew was significantly better. What was missing in the food was made up in the drink as we enjoyed beers, and I had an Irish coffee.

    We decided to wait to hear the performers, and I'm glad that we did. Two older Irish men played guitar and and English and American songs with several opportunities for audience sing-a-longs.
    We made room for a couple who were standing near our table. They were very grateful that we made room for them. As it turns out they were educators from California. We told them that we were from Portland. They laughed because they assumed that we were locals because of our white beards.

    We had a fun evening talking with them, making song requests and listening to the banter of the performers. It was fun to share the table with them.

    It was totally on my romanticized bucket list to sit in a pub and sing Irish songs. I was envious of the performers, and I thought back to a time when I organized a Pete Seeger tribute concert in Maine. I loved the opportunity to be a song leader and to gather community to create something together. It makes me want to try that again. Who knows, maybe there will be space on this trip.

    As I reflect on the experience of the day, my take away is summarized by another piece on that coffee house wall in Carlow:

    "One of the basic cravings of humanity is to connect with each other. " Yes.
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  • Day70

    CÚIG GHRIANGHRAF-Ireland Day 5

    June 22 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    We had a very decent night's sleep in our apartment, but we did wake up to what I was assuming was trash collection day given the loud sounds of grinding metal and broken glass.

    We later discovered that this was the delivery of many kegs of beer to the neighborhood. We really are staying in "Pub Central". When I was researching the top 10 pubs in Kinsale, most on the list are meters away from our flat.

    Jim C graciously ran to the store and picked up some groceries and cappuccinos for breakfast in our space. I'm reminded that the thing I will cherish most upon our return are meals at home. As nice as it has been to have some incredible meals out, the thought of preparing are own meals again feels like a different sort of luxury.

    We decided to go to the Blarney Castle today which is located just outside of the city of Cork in the town of Blarney. The visit was to see the famous Blarney stone where purported if you kiss the stone, you are given the gift of eloquence and flattery.

    Growing up with all the Irish relatives on my mother's side of the family, I would always think of the term blarney as being a "bullshitter" or someone who jabbers unending nonsense. In a more positive light, I see the gift of blarney in someone who can strike up a conversation with anyone.

    Dating back to my elementary school days, my report cards were often riddled with derogatory teachers' comments like "socializes too often with others" or "spends too much time talking with others". Upon reflection, it's interesting to see that behaviors that were seen as deficits in my youth, served me well as an adult. Perhaps the refinement over time was learning to listen more than just talk, but the ability to strike up a conversation with strangers has been poweful for my career, and it helped me meet my husband. 💚 Ironically, I attribute my "gift of gab" to my French-Canadian father.

    Ok, enough of my blarney birdwalk...

    We arrived at the grounds of the castle. The grounds are absolutely spectacular. I should note that I knew that in order to kiss the Blarney Stone, that one has to maneuver in a prone position with your head upside down to kiss the specific stone. I was missing one very important detail: The stone is positioned 85 feet above the ground with a gap near the parapet where you can see below to the ground. I watched with horror from the ground as we approached the castle walls, and we could see people being "assisted" to kiss the stone. The line marker that announced that we had a 60-minute wait to arrive at the stone, and I felt the same nervous anticipation that I've experienced in lengthy amusement park rides with dizzying heights as a component of the experience.

    The procession to the castle was lined with many informational placards. I learned that the castle was owned by the MacCarthy family who loved to entertain. I recognized, with a sense of pride, the coat of arms from my own family; my maternal grandmother was a McCarthy and they have roots in Cork County.

    As we made our way through the castle ruins, we could see various placards naming the rooms and activities in the castle. We then began the very narrow, claustrophobic climb up the "Tower of Terror". I was determined to go up despite a marked fear of heights and a pretty strong dislike of cramped spaces. We navigated the hundred steps to the top.

    I have always loved the view and despised the process to achieve it. This was no exception. As we approached the stone, I confirmed that there was no way that I was dangling my head upside down with the ground visible below despite iron bars making it impossible to fall through. The last few informational panels described numerous legends surrounding the stone including business dealings, grateful witches and Faerie magic. I couldn't locate the Satan legend, but I'm sure it was there somewhere.

    You might think this is irrational, but I'm the guy who pauses stepping over the minute gap between the floor and an elevator convinced that my ample frame will somehow manage to fall through the crack. (Note: Before the safeguards were installed, the kiss was performed with real risk to life and limb, as participants were grasped by the ankles and dangled bodily from the height.)

    I was afforded the opportunity to witness the vicarious thrill (terror) of my husband being pulled to the vicinity of the stone for a photo op. His first words to me were "Yeah, you would have hated that."

    We made it back down the set of stairs to the ground and we walked to the next seemingly safer exhibit of the "Poisonous Plants Garden". Cannabis was one of the plants displayed. As the saying goes, "you pick your poison". I could have used a visit to the garden prior to the heart palpitation adventure.

    I loved our walk through the garden. The flowers and forest grounds were really beautiful and peaceful. Much of the time, we felt like we had the park to ourselves.

    We left the park, and stopped Cork for a beer. While I'm not a big beer fan, I have enjoyed the Irish Red ales.

    We returned to the apartment for a nap and we enjoyed a leisurely dinner at "The Black Pig" a local wine bar. Our server was delightful, and we hit it off after we complimented her on her skillful dispatch of obnoxiously entitled neighboring guests who were furious that they couldnt seat nine guests at a table barely designed for six. They left in a huff, and it made our dinner that much more enjoyable. I really do feel for staff in the hospitality business. I know most establishments are very understaffed, and we appreciate their hard work. Despite the absence of tipping culture in Europe, we've tried to show our appreciation.

    Signing off with gratitude for another wonderful day. ☘️ 💞
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    Joseph Kimsey

    I’ve visited That castle too. It’s really nice to see your pictures of places I went too

  • Day71

    CÚIG GHRIANGHRAF-Ireland Day 6

    June 23 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    We decided to take a drive along a small fraction of the 2500 km Wild Atlantic Way today. This is a tourism trail along the southern, western and northern coasts of Ireland. Kinsale is near the southern terminal point so we began there this morning. We made no commitment how far we were going to travel today. We have learned that travel on many of Ireland's winding, narrow rural roads force you to slow down. It's a good opportunity to enjoy the vistas.

    The first destination was to travel to Old Head, a lighthouse point in Cork County. We didn't realize that we weren't able to actually make it to the lighthouse as the land is now privately owned by a golf course. We did stop just outside the golf course entrance at a memory point for the Lusitania, an Irish passenger ship that was sunk by a German torpedo during WWI about 10 miles off the coast of our observation point.

    Ireland's tourism industry has detailed many points of interest along the way. We knew that we'd have several other opportunities so we picked a few tentative destination points.

    Along the way we stopped for a game of miniature golf that was located in an adventure park. It was hard to picture youth navigating the ropes course without injury as it looked rather daunting; however, that part wasn't open.

    We stopped in a roadside fish and chips stand in the village of Rosscarbery. The portions were massive and the fish was very fresh and delicious.

    We then made our way next to Baltimore Beacon a very unusual shaped structure dating from 1850 to alert sailors about the rocky shore. It's known locally as “Lot’s Wife”, a Biblical story reference about a woman getting turned into a pillar of salt.

    Before we arrived we took time to sit by a peaceful cove as we listened to the water slap against a small moored sailboat.

    On site at the Beacon, we noted that the nearby cliffs were really dramatic without any protective barrier beyond a line of barbed wire. We loved the view to sea although I was a bit nervous to get too close to the edge.

    We then made our way back to our flat, having been on the road for several hours. We both noted how unusual it is to see verdant pastures and hills along the coast. If you look in one direction, you'd think you were in farmland in Pennsylvania and across the road the rugged Maine coast. It's an interesting collage of geographical features.

    After we returned, we took naps, and when we woke up we decided to just stay in for our first "Netflix and Chill" night since we first departed for Europe. We joked that we were preparing for life back home in the States, but I think it was also a bit of recognition that we're a bit homesick for those times despite the really wonderful trip abroad.

    I think that we've done a great job deciding what we want and slowing down to just take the experience in when we need to do that. I'm grateful that we've been able to experience this together.

    Sweet dreams from Kinsale.
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    Nancy Carroll


    Nancy Carroll


  • Day13

    Day 13 - Titanic Over Reaction

    August 13, 2019 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    I was awoken just after 6.00am by a load of bullocks............mooing outside our cottage. I got up & finished the blog. We were all up & ready & increadibly out of the door by 10am sharp & heading to Cork.

    We took a convoluted country route, which was all to later become apparent. We paid a €1.90 toll charge & joined the M8 southbound towards Cork. Just north of Cork, I could sense Chris getting gradually more excitable. He kept fiddling with his knobs!

    We continued at a roundabout, joining the N40 & almost immediately entered the Jack Lynch Tunnel which went under the River Lee into Cork. This was the source of Chris’ excitement. The Jack Lynch Tunnel is an immersed tube tunnel, 610 metres long, costing 70 million Irish pounds in 1999 & was modelled on the Medway Tunnel in Kent. The Medway Tunnel was built by Chris’ company & was the 1st of it’s kind in the UK. Some might say he is an anorak.

    We arrived at our destination, Convent Avenue in Cork, but there was no trace of Cork Gaol, or Cork Goal as Jackie referred to it. We were about 6 miles away from the ‘other’ Convent Avenue. It then took us about 30 minutes to negotiate through the hideous traffic to get to Cork Gaol, crossing the River Lee only several times!

    Having parked up, we paid our €12 each admission fee for a guided audio tour of Cork Gaol. The tour took us through the procedure for prisoners when they first arrived at the Gaol. It told us stories of various inmates & the conditions they had to endure.

    Cork Gaol was built in 1818, but was closed due to it’s deteriorated conditions in 1923. The Gaol housed mainly female prisoners, but male prisoners were incarcerated there during certain periods in that time. During the Great Famine, many people committed crimes so that they could be sent to prison, where they would be fed & have a roof over their heads, hence a better quality of life.

    It was a captivating experience. After, we handed our headsets in & visited the Radio Museum in the upper floors of the Gaol. There was an audio visual display of a mock of trial projected on to the walls, which was excellent. We all thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, believing that they got the amount of information relayed to us about right.

    We returned to the car & headed south to Cobh, pronounced as ‘Cove’ (the Cove of Cork), but was also named Queenstown in 1849. It was another half hour drive from Cork to Cobh & we parked up outside the Cobh Heritage Centre. Cobh is renowned for being the last port of call for the Titanic in 1912 before it sank.

    As a result, both the Cobh Heritage Center & the Titanic Experience Memorial had exhibits relating to the Titanic. Both exhibitions seemed rather on the small side, but still wanted a €10 entrance fee. We decided that we wouldn’t go in to either, particularly as Chris & Angela already knew the Titanic story, in fact so much so that they didn’t watch the film of that name!

    The only other maritime thing of worthy of mention was a statue of Annie Moore & her two brothers on the dockside. Annie Moore embarked from Cobh on the SS Nevada & was the first person to be admitted to the United States of America 🇺🇸 through their new Immigration Center at Ellis Island, New York on 1st January 1892. A statue to celebrate this event has been erected on both sides of the Atlantic. Interestingly, there was a photo of Mary in her later years & she clearly had ingratiated herself into the American fast food culture. She was huge.

    Talking of food, we looked around for somewhere to eat, even in the imposing St. Coleman’s Cathedral that was celebrating it’s centenary. Jackie lit 2 candles, one for her Mum & the other for Paul Drakett. However she should have then gone straight to confession, because she lit the candles from other already lit candles, which was strictly forbidden!

    We failed in our mission to find a suitable eating establishment, so we returned to the car & got out of Cobh, quicker than it’s most famous daughter, International Athlete Sonia O’Sullivan. Our views on Cobh were that it was a bit underwhelming & relied too heavily on it’s connection to the Titanic, but it clearly appealed to the American tourists.

    Leaving Cobh, we drove past Belvelly Castle, which is a 14th/15th Century Stone tower house that has been wonderfully restored & is now a private residence. We continued to the town of Midleton, famous for it’s Jameson Distillery. We parked up & walked up & down the High Street.

    After several enquires & studying of menus, we settled on Finin’s Restaurant & Bar. The girls ordered fish & chips, Chris ordered leg of lamb & I, the Irish Stew...........when in Rome! Half an hour later, there were 4 empty plates & 4 empty glasses.

    We returned to the Cottage & after a cup of tea, Chris & I went fishing again to catch another haul of trout. After an hour of toil, we had failed. Maybe it had just been beginners luck yesterday!

    We returned to the cottage & all nattered in the comfy chairs with wine & beer until late in to the evening. We did however have a pre-bed game of Logo, where I have discovered I am now be targeted & picked on, probably because I win every game we play. Just for the record, I won the Logo game!

    Song of the Day - Titanic (My Over) Reaction by 999
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You might also know this place by the following names:

County Cork, Cork, Corcaigh

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