End of the Journey

I am currently home!

On Wednesday, I visited St. Nicholas Cathedral with Pam, which was closed. I was totally sad because it has wooden sculptures of the Stations of the Cross I wanted to see, and it has a mosaic of JFK. There is a bridge called the Simon Weir Bridge that “connects” the church to the courthouse. I say connects because there used to be a prison where the church now stands. It was sort of the Dublin Bridge of Sighs as it was the last glimpse of the city prisoners saw from the courthouse to the prison. Rick referred to Galway as the Venice of Ireland because of this and the canal/bridges.

One thing I liked about Dublin (and Rome, Paris, and London) is the series of bridges that coast the rivers through there. I think I mentioned the Liffey River was flowing extra hard because of all the rain. Also, water was standing everyone: roads, fields, and streets.

We took a bus from Galway to Dublin, checked in, and hit Dublin for one last hurrah. We ended up hanging out at Temple Bar, I know, I know ultra-touristy, and listening to live music. Whenever I hear Galway Girl, it will remind me of Ireland because I heard the song several times while I was there and was able to sing along. 😉 That evening we went back to Kozie’s but our guy Michael was not there. Sad.

I had so much fun with Candy and Pam. We are all pretty laid back and there weren’t any issues with moods, attitudes, etc. Just two wonderful women I was able to take a fabulous journey with.

The journey home was okay. I was up for 24 hours, which helped me sleep through last night.

Now, I am back to Seattle and the rain. It feels nice to be home.

The good news is that I am way under budget so I get transfer the money back into savings and let it be a springboard into my next trip. The question is where to next?!

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Galway Day Two

Galway has a really cool laid back feel to it.

Today, we took a tour of the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher. Our guide, Desmond Rory Murray, was very excellent. He had us rolling the entire trip. If I had only one word to describe him, it would be “fresh”.

Speaking of fresh, we went to the Internet cafe yesterday and a very handsome (older) man (John) worked there. It turns our he is staying at our B&B as well. He just moved back to Ireland from South Africa and Spain.

Oh, I forgot to mention we saw a family we had met in Dingle while we were enroute to Galway. We have met so many Americans I am wondering who is watching the country!

The Burren is quite impressive. It’s 320 square kilometers and is home to 70% of native flora. It’s quite poetic how the wild flowers, ferns, etc. grow amongst the barren rock. I think I heard the Burren described as forgettable but nothing could be further from the truth. I could write poems for days on what the area symbolizes in the human condition and spirit. Then there are areas that overlook the water…get out of here. I could spend days there.

We saw the Cliffs of Moher which I consider to be the climax of my trip. They were so beautiful. Romantically beautiful yet tragically dangerous. Again, I could write poems for days, which I should tell you guys I haven’t been inspired for poetry in quite a long time.

I saw the Kilferno Cathedral and Crosses. It is a sixth century monastery. There were also some weird tombstones.

Speaking of tombstones, saw the Poulnabrone Dolmen which are 5800 years old and older than the pyramids. They were constructed by Neolithic farmers. It’s a portal tomb that looks like a stone table. Very interesting and was known as the druids altar. We also saw the Gleninsheen Wedge Tomb which dates back to 2500 BC.

We caught glimpse of this abbey and saw the Dunguaire Castle from the outside.

We saw an interesting fort called the Ballyalban Fairy Fort. It’s prehistoric and was once surrounded by water which tells how much the landscape has changed over time.

So tomorrow we head back to Dublin and Friday I’m on my way, I’m on my way, home sweet home. Ready or not. I haven’t quite gotten my head around coming back to reality. I’ll try to be Zen about it.

Galway

So, we got an early start to travel to Galway. We bussed from Dingle to Tralee; Tralee to Limerick; and finally Limerick to Galway. There was almost an international incident in that this family acted like they wanted to throw down with us. You know I love peace, but if it’s going down, I’ll rise up. Luckily no punches were thrown.

I totally love Galway. It has a real laid back feeling. We checked in and walked down to Eyre Square. There is a bust of JFK who visited Ireland a few months before he was assassinated. There is also a door that dates back to 1627. It is a door from a fortified townhouse.

We saw Lynch’s Castle, which is now a bank. The building dates back to the 15th century. There were 14 tribes that were in Galway and the Lynch’s were the most powerful. There were over 80 Lynch mayors in the 16th and 17th century. This is the only one of their castles to survive.

We also saw Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas. It was built in 1320 and Christopher Columbus worshiped here in 1477, which I find hell of cool. Nicholas is the patron saint for sailors. There is also a statue that was a gift from Genoa which celebrates Columbus’s visit.

We also saw the Spanish Arch, which marks the spot Spanish vessels would unload their cargo, mainly wine. The Arches are circa 1584. Galway was once an important port city. We also saw the Corrib River. The river was racing and people were kayaking. I chatted with one of the gentlemen kayaking and was like are you crazy. Again, it normally does not rain so much, but they are getting all kinds of rainfall. The ground can’t contain the water.

Tomorrow we head to the Cliffs of Moher and will see part of the Burren. I am so excited to see the cliffs.

I am very sad because the trip is winding down. I fly out Friday morning and will be home Friday evening.

I bought myself a Claddagh ring. The ring has two hands holding a heart that wears a crown. The heart represents love, the crown represent loyalty, and the hands are friendship. If the tip of the heart points toward the fingertip is means the wearer is available.

Oh, we chatted with the woman (Violetta) who works at the B&B in Dingle. She is from Lithuania but works in Dingle Easter to August. She returns home tomorrow. She can make three times what she makes at home in Dingle. She talked about seeking what is shouting out to you. I know what is shouting to me so it is time to start moving in that directly.

Again, tons of sage advice heard on this trip. Life is short and must be lived and lived fully.

All my love.

Dingle

I forgot to mention that in Dublin, we took a taxi ride with John F. Kennedy. Make that John Francis Kennedy. Oh, and Derek is from Dublin in Cobn for a fishing trip. Actually, we met quite a lot of people from Dublin in Cobn either on holiday themselves or visiting families.

So, Saturday we really took it easy. We walked around and visited St. Colman’s Cathedral. I have been to many churches (St. Peter’s, St. Mark’s, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s, Notre Dame, etc.) and I tell you that this was the most beautiful church I have ever seen. It was so ornate, elegant, and peaceful.

Along the walk, we came across this dog who started digging in the ground like he was going to make a running start and start charging us. He was a strange mixture, and we decided to retreat and go the other way. Well, we were walking down the next street and Kujo came trotting around the corner wagging his tail. He trotted around this other corner, and we were rolling because he was letting us know we were on his turf. Did I mention his owners had him muzzled. I think there is a reason for that!

Saturday night Pam and I headed out looking for me new friend, who I didn’t see. BUT we did meet Kevin (aka Stacy), Eamon, Paul (I met my Dublin cop), Hugh and a host of other friendly, nice Irish men. The key is sitting at the bar and everyone becomes your friend. It was very nice and fun.

Yesterday we got up and headed to Dingle. It was pouring rain by the time we checked in. We had a scary moment where our B&B looked like the Bate’s Motel but luckily that wasn’t it. Candy and Pam were looking at me like they wanted to hurt me since I booked Dingle and Galway accommodations. I believe Candy said this does not look like a place Rick (Steves) would select.

We went for a short walk and Candy and Pam went home, and I stayed out to get soaked for another 45 minutes or so.

Then this morning we woke up to decent weather. We went on this tour of the Dingle Peninsula led by Tim Collins who is a retired police officer. It was so very interesting. We saw this 7th or 8th century early Christian Church called Gallarus Oratory along with some Celtic/Christian monuments. The peninsula itself is very pretty. Cliffs and crashing waves and green pastures. They have plants like wild iris, bamboo, palm trees, and fuchsia from Africa, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, Asia and a host of other places. When rich people traveled, they would bring back plants and introduce them to the region. The fuchsia here is referred to Tears of God. It also happens to be the most western part of Europe. The next parish over is Boston, or so the locals says. Factual the next place over is Newfoundland. We also saw a tribute to the Spanish Armada ships that crashed there in 1558.

We then strolled along the harbor and got a picture of the statue of Fungie.

Did I mention I liked Ireland quite a bit! It is quite lovely and you know people for the most part are open and friendly. They have had a very wet August, wetter than normal.

Pam and I went to visit this windows designed by Henry Clark. They go over key moments of Jesus’ ministry such as The Visit of the Magi, The Baptism of Jesus, Let the little children come to me, The Sermon on the Mount, The Agony in the Garden, and Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene. There was also a bat in the window. When we visited St. Mary’s we also saw two other bats. We think they are between the windows panes. They are very small.

One of the roads we rode along is called The Long Road. I knew there was something special awaiting me in Ireland. It’s almost like an awakening and now I am in the position to accept it. Something inside of me has been laying dormant for so long and now it’s like I feel myself yawningly stretching out.

It’s all very good. I’m just so sad that it’s winding down. Tomorrow we head to Galway. I come home on Friday, ready or not.

Take It Easy.

Cobn

On Thursday, we went to Trinity College and did a walking tour with a student named Rory who reminded me of a vampire. He did a great job. Of course, we also went and saw the Book of Kells. There were a lot of people pushing and shoving to get good looks of the works. Two of the four books were on display. Trinity College was built during the reign of my favorite English monarch, Elizabeth I. It was built to promote the Protestant faith in Catholic Ireland. For a while, it was (rich) Protestant males but eventually Catholics and then finally women were allowed in.

We then began walking and hit Grafton Street and St. Stephens Park. After that we went in search of Kilmainham Gaol (Jail). We happened upon Little Jerusalem and went to and Irish Jewish Museum. Some of the Jewish people came when they were expelled from Portugal and Spain during the times of Isabella of Castille and Ferdinand of Aragon (the Inquisition). Others came during the Napoleon Wars.

We finally just took a cab to the Kilmainham Jail and did a tour. Another Rory gave us a tour. He reminded me of a short version of my current favorite actor Gerard Butler. The Jail has a painful history. The youngest male inmate was a 5-year-old boy who was put in jail for a month for not paying his bus fare. The youngest female was a 7-year-old girl put in jail for five months for stealing a cloak. Of course, a lot of leaders of the Irish independence movement were put in jail and executed here. The majority of people consider the leaders to be trouble starters but after their executions they become martyrs and the movement caught on fire. A sad part of the history is that during the potato famine people were desperate for food and would steal and be placed in jail. A jail built to house over a hundred people had ten times that amount and the jail was overcrowded but inmates were guaranteed one meal a day.

Yesterday, we headed off to Cobn, where we are now. I met a new friend last night who has displaced Michael in my affections. His name is Derek. We had made eye contact during the evening and he finally came over and chatted with us. I have a picture of us together. He is a cutie and could be a good import candidate. LOL. During our eye contacts, he began singing this song that goes I have a woman across town and I started cheezing. You’ll know how I do!

Today we are probably just going to take it easy before heading off to Dingle tomorrow.

I’ve enjoyed talking with Candy and Pam and am getting great insights from them. They are two wonderful women who I am glad to get to know better.

Dublin

I LOVE Dublin!

Yesterday morning, I got up early to catch a 7:30 bus to Dublin. As I mentioned before, the train tracks are having issues. I decided on 7:30 because it would give me a chance to meet to Candy and Pam at the Patton Flyer bus to Dun Laoghaire (pronounced Dun Leery).

So I got there a little after ten and had to wait for the 11 o clock bus, which is the bus Candy and Pam should have made as their flight got in a little after ten. So about a quarter to eleven I look up and I saw Pam then I saw Candy. This is actually my first time meeting Pam, but I recognized her from a picture. I was so happy because that is how I wanted us to start our trip.

So we caught the bus to DL. Of course Candy and Pam were dead tired but we did head to Dublin. We accidently did one of the walks Rick Steves recommends in his guidebook along O’Connell Street. We also walked around the Temple Bar area. Then Pam and Candy headed back to the B&B because they were tired. I stayed and did some wandering. By the time, night began to fall, I did not want to leave but leave I must.

So I just started to walk. I hit the Dublin Castle. I did not go in because I have been in plenty of Castles but I did want to get a picture of statue of justice that is in the courtyard. The Dublin Castle was were the English ruled Ireland for 700 years. It was here that in 1922 that the British handed power back over to the Irish.

I also wandered over to Christ Church Cathedral and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Both are impressive buildings and Church of Ireland which is intereting in Catholic Ireland.

I then wandered around Grafton Street which is Dublin’s pedestrian shopping mall. I managed to get a picture of the tart with the cart for the record books. I quite accidently ran into this beatiful park called St. Stephen’s Green Park. I sat in there for awhile because it was so beatiful and peaceful. It’s 22 acres.

I then headed to walk along the Liffey River. I love to be near water. So I met this guy named Michael. He is Nigerian and has been in Scotland for eight years. He says he wants to marry me, but I think it’s a little too soon. LOL. I know he wants to come to America but jeez!

He did encourage me to pray to God for whatever I wanted and told me to pray to God to go before me where ever I go. He said that God hears and answers our prayers. I totally accept the sage advice on prayer. I do, and I will. LOL.

I headed back to the B&B, and we went to dinner. We went to this very cool Irish Bar and another Michael took great care of us. We wanted to get a picture with him so he took us around the bar an there is a picture of us pouring some Guinness. It’s on Candy’s camera, but I am sure it will become a favorite picture of mine.

So today, we are going to Trinity College and to see the Book of Kells and we will also go to to Kilmainham Gaol. Then we will see whatever else we get into. There are some pretty cool walking tours so perhaps we will do one of those.

There were some other stuff on interest like the National Museum and Number 29 Georgian House but both are similiar to things I did in Wales and Scotland. We will see what the ladies say.

Tomorrow we head off to Cobn. It should be a great time to get some R&R.

P.S.

So I am doing laundry, and I hear these drumbeats. The marchers I saw on the way back here ended their parade around the corner. The interesting thing is they were playing My Country Tis of Thee, which I thought was an American anthem.

They say a watched pot doesn’t boil. Well a watched dryers never ends. I am ready to go to bed as I have to get up early to be on my way to meet Candy and Pam at the B and B. I’m just wasting time to make it go!

I guess I’ll checkout Facebook. LOL.

Rick Steves says that it is never the country you are in that’s the problem, it’s you. He says you have to find the right lens to view the country in, which is probably very true. Since I am constantly seeking and looking for comfort, it would make sense that a war zone would make me uneasy. So, my rose color lens just prays for healing here and that people are able to find common ground and move on for the good.

I totally dug the Antrim Coast though. Totally beautiful and peaceful!