Friday, October 31, 2014


One thing we made sure of when making our reservations, was to have breakfast included.
Fill up on a big breakfast, have a light lunch and a good dinner. 
 The Blarney Inn was connected to our hotel, and that is where we had breakfast every morning.
A good hearty breakfast.
The Purdys were not terribly impressed with the black pudding.......or the white pudding for that matter!  Jessica really wasn't impressed when she found out what it was made from!!!
After hiking back up the mountainous stairs to our room, we prepared to head out for the day.
I really wish I had taken a picture of the stairs, anyone reading this would think we were wimps.  But, these stairs were not for the faint of heart.  At the end of the day you would stand at the bottom, give a sigh, take a deep breath, put your head down, and up you would go.  Sam, of course, did not mind the stairs.  He would stand at the top calling down echoing words of encouragement.
"Come on Mummsy!!  You can do it!  Do it!!!  Do it!!!"

Our first adventure of the day was participating in a 
This video is not of us, but gives you an idea of the ride.
The guy that is teaching everyone to roar in the beginning, was our guide, Patrick.
Two of the most roguish looking characters I have ever seen.
 I am the only one in the bunch that wore my viking helmet for nearly the entire tour.
I only removed it in the end because it kept getting blown off.
 Sam did wear his knit Viking hat, so that counts......
 Unfortunately, we did not have any goats on hand.
Patrick was our Viking guide.
We passed by this statue on the tour, but we also walked by it several times.
Any guesses as to who she is??
"In Dublin's fair city,
Where the girls are so pretty,
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,
As she wheeled her wheel-barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!"

"Alive, alive, oh,
Alive, alive, oh,"
Crying "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh"
Georgian Row
 Street entrance to Dublin Castle
 This statue of Lady Justice at Dublin Castle is interesting because she is not blindfolded and is admiring her sword. She is also facing inwards towards the castle,  not outwards facing the people.
There seemed to be a cathedral around every corner.
They were all beautiful. 
 Swans were blocking our way into the River Liffey..
 Jessie's flaps are up.
In we go.

U2's recording studio.
Our guide, Patrick, did not seem to have a high opinion of Bono.
Why would we think this you ask????  Because of this joke and comment that he shared.
"What is the difference between God and Bono?  God does not think he is Bono."
He pointed out some extremely expensive apartments on the opposite side of the river to the recording studios.  He said that Bono lived there and could walk to work.......right across the water.
This looked like fun, but a little to chilly this time of year for me!!
Ha' Penny Bridge. 
After the Viking tour, we went for a stroll through St. Stephen's Green.  A huge park in the center of Dublin.  It was very beautiful.
We then took of walking through the streets of Dublin to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College.
Trinity College
Book of Kells exhibit
 We grabbed a light lunch at the college and then did a bit of exploring and shopping before the streets got crazy at rush hour.
Sam never gave up on his search for escalators.  There was a shortage of escalators in Ireland.  But, if they were there, Sam had a knack of spying them........even if they were waaaay at the back of the store hidden by a wall.........Sam would still find them!!
We did have one moment of complete panic.
The streets were shoulder to shoulder packed with people.  Cars were zooming by at a break neck speed.  All of a sudden Sam was nowhere to be seen.  Jim went one way down the street and I went the other.  We found him fairly quickly, but not nearly quickly enough for me!!  Sam informed me that he wasn't lost, that he knew exactly where he was.

We ate at the Blarney Inn.
I had a fantastic stew.
Jim and Jessica had Flintstone steaks - not their real name, but the Flintstone's theme should have played when they came out.
Sam had chicken strips and fries.

A early night.
Very noisy on the streets.
People making their way home after the pubs close.
Street sweepers going by.
Garbage pick-up.
Even the occasional helicopter. 
But, despite it all, we slept.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Our Bags Aren't Packed, but, We're Ready To Go!!

That is how I felt on the Monday we left for our trip to Ireland!
"Our bags aren't packed, but we're ready to go."

After months of planning we finally headed off to Ireland.
We left Monday afternoon and arrived in Dublin at 8 am Tuesday morning.
We flew 2 airlines that we have never flown before.  I am happy to report that it was a good experience on both!!
 Jet Blue and Aer Lingus had good customer service and were fairly comfortable.  Well, as comfortable as coach can get!!  On Aer Lingus we got to sit by the bulk head, so we had plenty of leg room.  
Sam did very well on both flights.  The layover in New York was looonnng.  But, we staked out a little bit of the airport and made ourselves comfortable.
Jim checking out Euros
 Sam hanging out in the play area
Jessica pacing back and forth listening to her iPod

As I said, earlier, we arrived at 8 am, forty minutes ahead of schedule. 
Customs was a breeze.
All our bags made it.
Picked up our rental car.
Let the fun begin!!!!

Check-in wasn't until 2 pm, so we decided to go and check out
Malahide Castle
 Beautiful old church on the grounds
There were many signs that we found curious.
 We were the first tour of the day and thankfully, the only ones in it!!
The next group was HUGE.
I mean in numbers, not girth......
 You can still buy this particular paint colour.  It is called, "Malahide Orange."
Our tour guide was lovely.  She had Samuel count all the lion's heads throughout the castle.  She also let Sam step over the barrier and stand by her in some of the restricted areas.
A little bit of home!!  
A gum tree in the walled garden.
 Hah!!  Finally found Samuel in the secret garden.
The coolest experience for me at Malahide Castle was that there was a strong tie linking back to Tasmania.  
"Malahide Castle and Demesne was eventually inherited by the seventh Baron Talbot and on his death in 1973, passed to his sister, Rose. In 1975, Rose sold the castle to the Irish State, partly to fund inheritance taxes. Many of the contents, notably furnishings, of the castle, had been sold in advance, leading to considerable public controversy, but private and governmental parties were able to retrieve some. Rose Talbot, one of the last surviving members of the Talbot family died at Malahide House, Tasmania in 2009. "
Malahide House, Fingal, Tasmania, Australia

We had lunch in the restaurant, looked around the wonderful gift shop and then braved the Dublin traffic.
Jim is fine driving on the left hand side, but, the traffic was crazy and the roads in the city were very, very, very, narrow.
We are staying in Dublin for 2 nights.  It was hard to pick where to stay.  Most of the time when you check out reviews for a nice looking place on Trip Adviser or other similar web sites, there are a few bad reviews sprinkled among the majority of good reviews.  In this case, it wasn't the case!!
There was about 50/50 when it came to what people thought!  Even with 4 star accommodations. 
In the end we decided to stay 2 nights at
Found the hotel with a minimum of fuss.  Thank heavens for GPS!!
In the future we will always check to see if there is an elevator.
We had to climb to the 4th floor.  It was OK first thing in the morning, but after gallivanting all over the city, tired legs made it difficult.
After check-in, we walked around the area a bit to get our bearings.
Fish and chips for dinner.
We went to
 They are supposed to be the best.
It was OK, but not the best we have had.
It did taste good to us however!  It has been a long time since we have had "proper" fish and chips.
We went to bed fairly early.
It had been a long day.
It was a good day.
Looking forward to tomorrow!!
The room was comfortable.  Mattresses as hard as rocks and you had to flush the toilet a minimum of 3 times to get it to flush.  There was also a lot of noise from the street, even though we were on the 4th floor.  That first night however, none of that mattered.......SLEEP!