Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sights of Ireland

So tonight it's going to be 3 blogs in 1 to get caught up from the last couple of days....

On Saturday night Rick and I pulled into Limerick and checked in at The Strand Hotel.  It was pretty nice and we decided that we would stay for two nights instead of one.  It just sounded nice to stay in one place longer than one night plus we had church to get to the next day and we didn't
 feel like that would give us enough time to see the area.  We got up the next morning and attended the branch in Limerick.  It was lovely with some very nice people.  There was an older gentleman  there (that I could barely understand because of his Irish brogue) that gave me some ideas on where to search for Rick's Irish ancestry so that was nice.   After the block we changed our clothes and hopped into the car for the 1 1/2 hour drive to the Cliffs of Moher.  What a beautiful sight!!  I was so glad we made the trip over to see the 800 foot high cliffs jutting out over the North Atlantic.  
A nice little hike:)

Rick overlooking the Cliffs

The O'Brien family owned the land back in the 17 and 1800's where the cliffs are.  He had this lookout tower made for his guests that came to stay with him.  He wanted to give them a great view of the cliffs.  On any other day of the week we would have climbed to the top.  Not on Sunday:) 

After the Cliffs we took the scenic drive around the bay.  
We were able to catch the sun as it was setting.
It was quite the sight!

After getting a good night's sleep we got up and had a nice breakfast at the hotel and went for a walk around the city.  We had a beautiful view from our room overlooking the river and King John's Castle  ( a fortress more than a residence) in the distance so we thought we would check them out.

One of the doors to the castle.  I think these medieval doors are so awesome!!

A church and a graveyard we passed by.  I know people think this is weird but we actually like to go into graveyards.  Especially in the historical places that we visit.  It is so interesting to see the old graves and to think about the people that lived and were buried there.  The tombstones are super cool looking and it is fun to try to decipher the names on them.  
Usually the graveyards are a place of peace.

After Limerick we drove a few miles to the north and toured through Bun Ratty Castle.  Funny name, huh?  This is it.  It is large but small in comparison to some of the other castles we have been through.  This one is square (the same size all the way around) and there are a lot of old narrow staircases to maneuver.  There is a place in the basement entry that has a hole in the ceiling called the murder hole.  It was used to poor boiling hot water or oil on invaders trying to get into the castle.  Horrible!  It also has a dungeon that we walked down into.  Yup, a dungeon would be a pretty awful place to be.  Basically a hole in the ground surrounded by rock walls with no light.  Those poor, poor people.  Now if they were evil people that's one thing but I believe there were many people imprisoned unjustly through the ages.  It makes me grateful to live in a just society.

This was a medieval bed that was in one of the rooms.  This is a really old bed......dating back to the 16th century.  That is a tapestry piece around the top of the canopy and the wood is all hand carved. 
 Pretty darn cool!

Outside of Ban Ratty they had a makeshift village that was fun to walk through. 

Rick found some geese to make friends with:)

Rick and I on an old stone wall at Ban Ratty.

Isn't this a cute phone booth?

We had a late lunch at Durty Nelly's, an old tavern that was established in 1620.  

After Bun Ratty we drove 2 hours to the SouthEast to get to the town of Waterford.  We stayed at the Ivy House B&B and had a very spacious room.  Even though it was kind of late when we arrived we went out to eat at a nice Italian Restaurant for dinner.  After dinner, Rick and I shared a chocolate cake dessert.  It had a dark chocolate sauce that was The. Best. Ever.  It tasted like a melted hershey's dark chocolate bar melted over cake with vanilla ice cream to boot.  So Yummy!

That brings me to this morning.  I woke up to this amazing view!  So I know that my phone can NOT do justice to these landscape pictures but WOW!!  It was overcast and a little foggy over this river with the hills in the background.  If you use your imagination a little bit you can have a glimpse of what it looked like!

After being served breakfast by the innkeeper Dolores, we went over to the Waterford Crystal Factory.  I have been so excited to tour this factory.  It was really cool seeing how they make their crystal pieces.  These men are working in the molten glass area and have quite the system down.  They blow the glass into the molds to get the shapes they want.

After letting them cool down for a day they go through a sanding process and then on to the marking and cutting process.  It is of course more complicated than that but that's all I'll say on that.  

Here is a worker etching/cutting the stem of a goblet.

Before coming to Waterford I looked online to see the cost of their products.  I was floored at how much everything was.  I knew that I wanted to bring home something from there for memory's sake so I decided on some candlesticks that weren't too pricey.  After getting into the retail shop I knew that Rick would want to purchase more....and he did:)  We bought us a carafe with four tumblers and a set of eight goblets and yes, at the last minute we decided to add the candlesticks on to the bill!!  
They are being sent home and will be there in about 4 weeks!  Having said this, I must tell you that I am a girl that likes to drink out of $1 plastic tumblers from Walmart.  So this was quite the splurge for me.  There is no way, NO way that I would have purchased something like this from home.  Am I excited to have them?  Absolutely!  No buyers regret here.  I can't wait to sit and have some OJ out of my  carafe and tumblers:)

My carafe and tumbler.  
How about that Eliza Doolittle lookalike hat that I found in a handmade woolery store yesterday?

These are our goblets we chose.  They were on the "sale" shelf:)

After we finished at the Factory, we walked through an old viking museum to learn about the medieval history of the area and then had a nice lunch before hitting the road to Kilkenny.

We arrived at Kilkenny Castle and took a tour of the inside.  It has gone through a lot of restoration in the last 40 years because it was in pretty bad shape when the town of Kilkenny bought it from it's previous owners.  They purchased it for 50 Pounds but have put millions into it to restore it.  It is a work in progress and was delightful to walk through.  I love the old portraits hanging in the gallery.  It's amazing to me the history of the people who lived here!

I had to get a shot of this door coming out of the side of the castle with stairs going down to the moat.  WOW!

Tonight we are staying at a the Dublin Airport Manor.  It is a small hotel by the airport.  We are flying to Belgium tomorrow to meet up with the group again.  There will be much to see in Belgium so I'm excited!  I am getting homesick for my kids and grand babies but I am trying to not think about my homesickness too much.  Sarah and Kendra have sent us pictures and videos of the babies but I have not gotten any from Kaitlyn.  I miss that little Haivyn girl!  
Kendra started having contractions on Sunday night.  I am hoping that she holds on for at least one more week until I get home!!  She's not due for another couple of weeks so hopefully......

1 comment:

  1. Oh Janell--Your write-up is SO fabulous!! I just LIVED through your writings and pictures and LOVED seeing and hearing about all these things you're doing!! Thank you SO MUCH for all you posted. I enlarged the picture you saw out your window and got a gorgeous view of the scenic area you were in. ( I know cameras just can't grasp a portion of the REAL beauty, but.....It was nice!) I've seem the Cliffs of Moher before, so I have a very vivid view in my mind about that lovely area around there. We didn't visit the town of Limerick for very LONG--but I'm glad YOU got to! I don't think we realized those other castles were nearby, even!
    Your goblets look beautiful and I'm delighted that you got to get them!! Right where they MAKE them even!! How Nice!! (I was kinda hoping you'd tell how much their "sale" price was, but.....) :)
    You're back with the others now, and I hope you're still having a wonderful time! You evidently didn't go to the Ring of Kerry--did you?? But--no matter--you've seen ToNS!! Keep having fun! (...and keep keeping an up-date, if you can!) Lots of Love, Karen