Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ireland Pictures [At Last]

Herein we present some pictures of our Ireland trip last month.  We selected these 36 from 224.

First up is a picture of Jenna and I, along with our traveling companions - Jenna's brother Walt and his friend Olivia.  Enjoying our first of many pints of Guinness beer during the trip.  [BTW Walt and Olivia - these descriptions may not match your recollections of the tour.  Which should be no surprise.]
We visited the National Stud Farm in Kildare.  The Irish are famous for their race horses.  The guide regaled us with tales of horses famous to those who know.  Which we don't.  But the horses were pretty.

The National Stud Farm also contained a Japanese Garden, for some reason or other.  Didn't see horses in kimonas, so I don't know where they got this idea.

We stopped at the famous Waterford Crystal Factory.  Pretty things.  Don't touch.

We spent much of our time along the Irish coast.  Here is a view from the Dingle Peninsula.  Famous for Dingles I think.  Notice the rock walls separating the fields.
The countryside is filled with structures and other artifacts back to the time of Christ.  Here is the Gallarus Oratory, dating back to the sixth century.  An oratory is "a small chapel, esp. for private worship."  This one fits the bill.  Too small to swing an incense burner.  Or a broadsword.
A picture of the famous Cliffs of Moher, as well as O'Brien's tower overlooking the cliffs.  O'Brien built the tower in 1835 for visitors to the Cliffs.


Next we have Bunratty Castle.  You sees stone castles everywhere in the countryside.  Just like here, only we serve hamburgers in them.  I guess they could only build so many walls.
And the Poulnabrone Dolmen, a Neolithic burial place from 4,000 BC.  It's worth your ankles walking around there, as the ground is littered with rocks of different sizes and angles. 
Why couldn't those Poulnabrones build their dolmen in town?  Location, location, location.
We stopped briefly at the visitor center for Kylemore Abbey.  But we didn't really see the Abbey.  I snapped this picture as we were hurrying back to the bus from the gift shop.

Donegal Castle, in the town of Donegal.  Built in 1474 to house Donegalans who often fought against marauding non-Donegalans.  The castle contained a "trip stair," built with steps of different sizes to unnerve invaders.  And the spiral staircase was designed so the person descending could swing his sword to slash the uninvited.
Those must have been fun times.  "Mother, you've been here for a week now.  Time to go.  Don't make me use the trip stairs."
Pictures of Belfast in northern Ireland.  First the wall surrounding the city.  Built some hundreds of years ago, marauding invaders, etc. 
To hear the locals tell it, Ireland served as the cage fighting capital of western Europe and rest of the uncivilized world.  If those kings and popes possessed nuclear weapons, I wouldn't be writing this today.

Belfast's St. Columb's Cathedral, erected in 1628.  Lots of churches throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic too.
Our guide said you can find a pub and a church on every block in Dublin.

A sign that all is not forgiven yet.
The Giant's Causeway National Park along the western coast.

Cool stone walls line the shores.
Apparently the giants had nothing else to do than stack rocks.  Maybe they didn't know how to make horizontal walls.  Likely they were not allowed to fight in the local battles, due to their unfair weight advantage.

This is Cabra Castle, one of the last hotels we stayed in.  Magnificent, with rooms of very fancy furniture and chandeliers. 

This Irish Wolfhound living at the Castle and assuming the position known to dogs throughout the world.
At the end of the tour, we returned to Dubin and stayed at the Bewley Hotel, yet another old something or other.  No sword fighting facilities tho.
We toured Trinity College, which claims several famous Irish poets and other such talent, including Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett (Nobel Laureate in Literature), Ernest Walton (Nobel Laureate in Physics), and Mairead Maguire (Nobel Laureate in Peace). It was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I.  We saw the Book of Kells there, which I mentioned in a prior post.
This sculpture symbolizes the modern world bursting through, or consuming, the natural world.  Or maybe invaders overcoming the city of Dublin.

Every commercial street in every Republic town contained at least one Guinness sign.  Here are just a few.


Very nice gardens at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.

As well as the equally nice sisters in said gardens.
A few pictures of Dublin along the Liffey River.

It reminded me of the canals of Amsterdam.
And a self portrait in a Guinness souvenir shop with my new best friend.
Finally winging our way back home.

If you really have nothing else to do, you can look at the entire set from this link.  I wouldn't.
Full set of Ireland pictures


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Vote Early and Vote Often

We always said, "We will never dress Clancy in people clothing."

We also said, "We'll always have Paris."  Then McDonalds opened there.

But who can resist a dog with a hat?  Apparently we can't, because we bought two.  And we each have our favorite.

And so, dear reader, you decide.  In this election season, we give you a reason to vote.  Exercise your Dog given right.

Hat #1

Hat #2

Here is Clancy's vote.

The fate of the nation rests on you.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Ticket to Ride

OK, so I did promise to put up some pictures of Ireland.  After all, we have been back one week now.  And I have winnowed down the number to 234.

Well, I have a reasonable excuse.  Reasonable to me, since it's my excuse.

I purchased a motorcycle today.
Let's see now.  Edit pictures of Ireland or ride my new motorcycle?  Hahaha! [Snicker.]