Monday, November 9, 2015

Fall Foliage Cruise 2015

Northern California has beautiful fall colors, but, I've always wanted to see the East coast in all its glory, so we booked a fall color cruise on the Royal Caribbean's, Serenade of the Seas. Flying into Quebec showed very little color change in the trees. Their recent warm weather has prevented the normal brilliant colors to show by this time of the year, but, the upside is the beautiful weather we enjoyed. We were fortunate to miss the storm that hit two ports a few days prior to docking, causing a lot of downed trees, and heavy rains.

After taking the red eye to Quebec, going through a long line in customs, finding that our luggage was taking a later flight, taking the bus to the ship, standing in another long line to check in and get our Sea Pass cards before boarding the ship (during which their computers went down twice and they had to reboot), familiarize ourselves with everything, have lunch and take a nap, we did not get off the ship at all the first day.

I was concerned about our luggage, when it had not arrived by 8:30pm. I called the number provided to check on it's progress. Using the ships phone in our room, I ended up having to make 2 calls to track it. They assured me the luggage was on its way. Sometime between 11pm and 3am our 2 bags showed up outside our door. Charges for the 2 calls, $90.

QUEBEC CITY, Quebec (Day 1 & 2)

Our ship is docked at Vieux-Port, a part of the Old City's Lower Town, perched atop a cliff overlooking the Saint Lawrence River. You see in the distance, many old 18th and 19th century stone houses, monuments and churches etc., with cobblestone alleyways and streets. Steep stairs and a funicular connect the Lower Town to the Upper Town, which sits atop a bluff and is protected by ramparts and defensive walls.

We planned our excursions at home and chose the countryside tour for Quebec. Unfortunately, the tour did not allow us time to explore the town. Our tour started out at 8:00am. The bus took us through the foothills of the Laurentian Mountains, and rural landscapes on this scenic drive around the Lake Beauport area and Ile d'Orleans Island. We visited an authentic Sugar Shack to learn about the history of Canadian maple syrup and tasted some sweet maple taffy. From the 7 liters of liquid you drain from a tree, you only get 1 liter of actual maple after being processed.

Our next stop took us to the Montmorency Falls which is 275 feet high, 98 feet taller than that of Niagara Falls. You can admire the falls from a vista point across from the bottom of the falls, where you are able to catch a tram to the top. There are also stairs you can climb, up the side of the cliff. To get a view of the falls from above, you cross a suspension bridge where there are many more view points. Our bus let us off at the restaurant near the falls where we first had tea and a delicious apple pastry. After, we had 1/2 hour to look around before boarding the bus again. To access the bridge you continue along a boardwalk, which takes you past another viewpoint below the bridge. The falls empty into St. Lawrence River.

Throughout the morning, we passed by some beautiful farmlands, homes and barns that were well kept, with perfectly manicured lawns and minimal landscaping. The drive skirted us past most of the old town, so we really did not get to see much of city of Quebec up close.

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CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edwards Island (Day 4)

Canada's smallest province is famous for it's intensely green hills, red sandstone cliffs and miles of red-sand beaches, and white beaches in some areas. In the19th century, PEI was the fashionable destination for British nobility. Then in 1864, the capital city of Charlottetown hosted the inaugural meeting of the Canadian Confederation, where delegates first met to discuss bringing Canada together as a nation.

I'm sure most of you have heard of the classic tale and movie, Anne of Green Gables, written by L. M. Montgomery. She was so inspired by the islands beauty and rural farmsteads that she chose it as the setting for her novel, which takes place in the Victorian era. In real life, the farm was the home of her grandfather's cousins. You feel like you've taken a step back in time when you explore the house and grounds that have been restored and decorated as Montgomery described in her novel, and depict a typical Prince Edward Island farm of the late 1800's. Watching a short video, then taking a self guided tour enticed me to purchase her book, which I'm now in the process of reading. Her descriptive writing makes you wish you lived in those simpler days. Montgomery wrote over 30 books, and poems.

We drove a short distance to the coast where we saw the red sandstone cliffs, and some white beaches off in the distance. Driving back to town we passed by more beautifully maintained homes and yards. You never see fencing to close off your property for privacy, nor do you see inoperable cars or trucks, graffiti or trash laying around. After returning to the ships dock, we ate lunch at a small restaurant close by where seafood is the main part of the menu. We walked a few short blocks to the "downtown" area where they had your typical tourist shops, a museum, large conference center, many churches. Did not notice any bars, but of course there was one Starbucks, but no other fast food restaurants.

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HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (Day 6)

Today we chose to take the Big Pink Bus around town. The double decker buses were originally from London, built in the 1960's. They are painted pink, supporting breast cancer awareness and the fight for a cure. Hop on for a narrated tour, hopping off where you find a stop that interests you.

The British officially founded the city in 1749, recognizing its potential as a military base. In the decades to follow, tens of thousands of Irish and Scottish immigrants landed in Cape Breton. It became a haven for loyalists, and later for black runaway slaves.

Our first stop was the beautiful Public Gardens, a 17 acre Victorian garden filled with trees planted by visiting royalty. At the center stands a gazebo built to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887. Concerts are held there during the summer. Nearby a fountain was also built for Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. Lawns are kept well trimmed, and there were scattered gardens throughout with flowers still in bloom, including dahlia's and some roses. They also incorporated vegetables with flowers including marigolds. While I strolled through taking photos, Don sat at the cafe enjoying an ice tea and reading his Wall Street Journal and Fortune 500 magazine he picked up at a small bookstore nearby.

Our next stop was the Citadel, built between 1828 and 1856, with it’s commanding view of the harbour. Today it is Canada's most-visited National Historic Site. The forts military routines are carried out as they were in 1869 to 1871. Students play the roles of soldiers from the 78th Highlanders and Royal Artillery, as well of Naval Brigade sailors. Though the Citadel was never attacked, as a military deterrent, it was a success.

Just below the Citadel stands the Old Town Clock, a gift from Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, head of the garrison at Halifax from 1794-1800 (the 4th son of George III and later, the father of Queen Victoria), that has stood since 1803. Ironically, given the Prince's reputation for demanding absolute punctuality, it arrived late from London, where it had been built by the royal clockmakers.

In 1917 a French steamship Mont Blanc and the Belgian relief vessel Imo collided in the Narrows of Halifax Harbour. When the two ships were separated, it created sparks which ignited the Mont Blanc that was carrying gun powder, cotton picric acid, TNT and benzol. The ship drifted toward the shore and soon after it exploded. The blast leveled the North end of Halifax and Dartmouth (across the river), killing nearly 2,000 people, blinding (from glass flying) or maiming 9,000 others. It was the deadliest explosion before the atomic bomb.

As the closest major port to where the Titanic sank, Halifax played a significant role in the recovery and burial of its victims.

The harbour is one of the largest ice-free natural harbours in the world . Virtually every Canadian soldier and sailor during the World Wars sailed out of Halifax Harbour on the way to battle, in huge convoys that stretched out on the horizon. As the last ships sailed past a certain point, rumblings could sometimes be heard in the distance as the lead ships were attacked by German U-boats waiting beyond the harbour mouth. The navy remains the city's single largest employer.

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SAINT JOHN, New Brunswick - Bay of Fundy (Day 8)

After the American Revolution, a group of Loyalists fled to the North to start a new life. The settlement of Saint John became the first incorporated Canadian City in 1785. A few decades later, thousands of Irish immigrants also seeking refuge-sailed into the Bay of Fundy and by 1859, the population of this town had skyrocketed, and is the largest city in New Brunswick.

One of the most interesting features of Saint John is the Reversing Rapids. Our first tour started on the Bay of Fundy Scenic Railway, which took us above the bay, into the countryside and stopping over the rapids on the train trestle. We witnessed the power of 100 billion tons of water, and learned how the world's highest tides battle with the flowing Saint John River to cause the rapids to switch direction and flow upstream twice a day.

The rapids are part of the UNESCO Stonehammer Geopark (North America’s first Global Geopark), a site of exceptional geological heritage. With a landscape created by the collision of continents, the closing and opening of oceans, volcanoes, earthquakes, ice ages and climate change, the SG includes geological stories from the late Precambrian, a billion years ago, to the most recent Ice Age, and almost everything in between - a geological playground has been created in Southern New Brunswick!

Next to the Reversing Rapids is J.D.Irving Pulp and Paper Ltd. Mill, manufacturing plant. Trucks haul in the wood chips used in the pulp production, where it’s unloaded by the driver placing the truck on a lift that tilts the truck at an angle, to slide the chips out. Started in 1882 the Scottish immigrant founded J.D.Irving Ltd. a privately owned conglomerate company headquartered in Saint John. It’s activities include many industries: forestry, paper products, agriculture, food processing, transportation, shipbuilding. The company forms with Irving Oil, Brunswick News, the bulk of the Irving Group of Companies which regroups the interest of the Irving Family.

In the historic west side community of Carleton, a Martello tower (a small circular fort first built for defense purposes in the south of England during the Napoleonic War) was built for the war of 1812, to fight off the Americans.

After the Scenic Railway ride, we returned to the dock where we caught the pink Hop On Hop Off bus for a ride around the Uptown area, driving past museums, churches, a beautiful lake with a 1 mile walk around it located in Rockwood Park, Canada’s largest municipal park with 50 km of hiking trails, 13 manmade lakes, encompassing 2,200 acres.

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BAR HARBOR, Maine (Day 9)

On this day, our ship docked in Frenchman's Bay where they used tender boats to carry us to the port, a 10 minute ride. Tender boats are used when the port infrastructure cannot accommodate a cruise ship the size of ours. First, we had to go through immigration prior to getting off the ship. I thought it would be smart to have breakfast in the Dining Room, where we often have our evening meals. We could have a delicious breakfast then just walk up the stairs to the second level of the Dining Room, pass through immigration then move on to the tender boats. Much to our surprise, we were directed to follow a line that snaked from one end of the ship to the other, down to the stage of the theater and halfway back up the other side of the theater. We thought it would take an hour to get through, but it only turned out to be 30 minutes. They just looked at our passport and sent us on our way.

Bar Harbor is nestled on the Northeast tip of Mount Desert Island, approximately 170 nautical miles north of Boston. Settled in 1763 and originally incorporated as the town of Eden, Bar Harbor has been home to lobstermen, shipbuilders, artists, outdoor enthusiasts and wealthy "summer people". In the late 1800’s the wealthy -- Astors, Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Carnegies and Morgans -- began to arrive, building extravagant homes called "cottages". They might have up to 100 or more rooms with servants' quarters, stables, and guest houses. In 1947 though, a fire started in a cranberry bog burning for 10 days, covering more than 17,000 acres in Bar Harbor, including 8,000 in Acadia National Park. Few of the grand houses were rebuilt, and many of the summer people did not return.

The rugged, mountainous terrain surrounds 3 sides of Bar Harbor and hugs the coastline and offers gorgeous, elevated views of the sparkling Atlantic. In 1901, Harvard President C.W.Eliot and G.B.Dorr created a public land trust dedicated to preserving Maine's natural beauty for future generations. They petitioned President Wilson to establish a national park, which he did in 1916. In years to follow, philanthropist J.D.Rockefeller,Jr. donated 11,000 acres on which he designed and built 45 miles of carriage roads, using local workers that quarried granite from the island. Acadia National Park now covers more than 49,000 acres, encompassing nearly half of Mount Desert Island, a scattering of smaller islands and the Schoodic Peninsula. It's the only National Park in the Northeast.

On this day, we chose the ANP scenic drive on a bus covering a 27-mile Park Loop Road, which gave us views of the coast, mountain and forest scenery. We drove 3.5 miles to the 1,530-foot summit of Cadillac Mountain made of lichen colored, pink granite. From there, we had views of a few of Maine's 3,166 islands. Mount Desert is the third largest island on the US eastern seaboard. Only Long Island, New York is bigger; Martha's Vineyard, off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, comes in second. Another interesting fact is it's the highest peak on the Atlantic Ocean north of Rio de Janeiro. Those atop the mountain at dawn can lay claim to being the first people in the US to see a new day.

Our next stop was the Wild Gardens of Acadia in Sieur de Monts. It is maintained by volunteers, and reflects typical habitats as found on Mount Desert Island. On display was a replica of a water tight birch bark wigwam made by the Native American Wabanaki tribe.

Driving down Park Loop Road, we passed "High Seas" Estate, a beautiful red brick mansion, one of the last remaining summer cottages, looking out over Frenchman Bay. It's now owned by Jackson Laboritories, which does biological and cancer research and is surrounded by National Park land.

Thunder Hole is a small inlet, naturally carved out of rocks, where waves roll into. At the end of the inlet, down low, is a small cavern where, when the rush of the waves arrive, air and water is forced out, causing a booming sound like a clap of distant thunder. Water may spout as high as 40 feet. If you look north you can see Sand Beach in the distance. It's actually made of millions of sea shells ground up over the years. From Sand Beach, you can follow Ocean Path, a walking trail which stretches 3 miles, past Thunder Hole.

After our tour, we walked across the street to the restaurant where we originally bought our ANP tickets, and had lunch. Lobster rolls are extremely popular, so I ended up ordering one. It's small pieces of lobster on a buttered grilled hot dog bun. Yummy. Dons choice, a hamburger. Maine lobster is a well-known icon around the world. Last year, 100 million pounds of lobster were harvested in Maine. Reading another piece of visitors info, it stated the annual yield is 40 million, nearly 90% of the nation's supply, so I don't know what's correct. It's a felony to rob someone else's lobster pot.

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ROCKLAND, Maine (Day 10)

In the 19th Century, Rockland prospered as a center for shipbuilding, granite quarrying, lime processing and commercial fishing.

Another port where we were transported by a tender from the ship. Rockland, midcoast Maine, has a working wharf bustling with activity, a harbor full of schooners, and several lighthouses along its rocky shoreline. The world's largest lobster feed takes place here, over 20,000 pounds. People come from all over just to taste this succulent lobster at the Annual Maine Seafood Festival.

​Our bus tour took us along the picturesque coast to ​Camden, a beautiful seaside village featuring unique shops and cafes. Hollywood put Camden in the national spotlight in 1956, when the movie Peyton Place was filmed there, as well as several other movies. On the way to Camden we passed Rockport, one of Maine's most beautiful harbors. When we first arrived, Don and I stopped at a local cafe where we enjoyed  coffee and fresh berry muffins. I left him there to read while I wandered the shops, and enjoyed browsing their Harbor Arts and Book Fair by the local library next to the harbor. Then we traveled to Mt. Battie​ summit​ in Camden Hills State Park​,​ where we viewed Penobscot Bay and much of Maine's ​mid-​coast, including its many islands. We could see our ship off in the distance. We also were able to see off in the distance Mt. Cadillac, that we visited the day before.

Back in the town of Rockland, Don decided to head back to the ship, while I found a place where they served soup, sandwiches, pizza and ice cream. Since we had coffee and a delicious blueberry muffin in Camden, I wasn't very hungry, so chose their carrot and roasted leek soup with a piece of wheat bread. It tied me over while I browsed through their local museum, Farnsworth Art Museum and Wyeth Center where you view a collection that spans more than 200 years of American art, and highlights works by all three Wyeth's. It currently contained an exhibit of some of Andrew Wyeth's best known works of Maine and the Sea. The Wyeth's are the "first family" of American art. Family patriarch N.C. Wyeth called Cushing home, a farming community nearby, where his son Andrew painted between 1939-1968. His most famous works were of the Olson House, where Christina's home and saltwater farm is portrayed in "Christina's World" painted in 1948 and now in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

I couldn't pass up going back to the cafe where I had lunch, and buying a scoop of their handmade ice cream. I wandered down to the next block to Project Puffin Visitor Center. In 1900 there were only a few puffins left in Maine. Audubon and its partners reintroduced them to their historic nesting islands in the Gulf of Maine. I watched a video of a puffin colony on an island 20 miles away. It showed the chicks being raised and scientists at work.

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PORTLAND, Maine (Day 11)

Our last stop on our trip. Maine was part of Massachusetts - first colony and then the state - until 1820, when its residents voted to secede. From its 17th century beginnings as a fishing and trading village, Portland grew to become New England's largest and busiest port. Portland served as the original state capital for the first 12 years, when state government was moved to Augusta, a more central location.

Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, famous for "Paul Revere's Ride" and Song of Hiawatha," was born in Portland in 1807. He nicknamed his hometown, "Jewel by the Sea". Colorful boats line the shores of Casco Bay, and freshly cooked seafood abounds in this picturesque seaside town, located on a peninsula in Southern Maine. The town was completely destroyed on a few occasions. Indian attacks, war and fire kept Portland on its toes for the past 200 years. The 1800's brought about sounder times, with a bustling trade industry. It has more than 65,000 inhabitants making it the largest city in Maine.

We chose an excursion taking us through the narrow streets of Old Port, past original brick warehouses transformed into restaurants, bars, cafes and art and fashion boutiques. The district features a working waterfront, where fisherman haul in the daily catch. We traveled along the rugged Maine coastline to visit the state's oldest lighthouse named Portland Head Light, in Fort Allen Park. It's the most photographed lighthouse in the US. PHL was built in 1791, commissioned by George Washington. Next, we drove past elegant Federal and Victorian-style mansions to visit quaint Kennebunkport, where we had 2 hours to have lunch, then explore the shops, boutiques, and galleries in the town square. Our bus as well as 10 others, came in about the same time, so it was quite crowded. A few more weeks, and the town would be "deserted". Many of the shops closing up for the winter, and the restaurants that cater to the tourists where they serve food outside.

Kennebunkport is a longtime summer retreat for prominent East Coast families, including the former U.S. President George H.W. Bush. He and Barbara spend much of their summer here in their large home on "Walker's Point". They have been visited by presidents, foreign heads of states and celebrities alike. Jeb Bush just built a home next to his mom and dad, and it has been a haven for generations of Bush family members. Our guide said the two can be seen quite regularly at the local restaurants, and Barbara takes a daily walk along the waterfront along with her dogs and of course the secret service following her.

Maine is not only known for their lobster, which they catch in abundance, but their wild blueberries. Before departing Maine, I had to have a slice of Blueberry pie. Our guide suggested Two Fat Cats Bakery, just a few blocks from where our ship was docked. They've been featured this year on PBS "A Few Good Pie Places,” as well as "Best Mail Order Pies" in Bon Appetit Magazine 2014; Top 10 Best Pies and Chocolate Chip Cookies in America on 2013; The Best Thing I Ever Ate - Cake Walk - Food Network 2010; Featured in People Magazine and as a question on Jeopardy. It was 4pm, so I thought I would have a slice of pie with a cup of coffee. They didn't have coffee, and the only place to eat was outside where they had a few tables set up. OK, I'll take a slice back to the ship, and enjoy it with ice cream and coffee later. While I'm at it, I bought a couple of their day old chocolate cookies, and a chocolate Whoopie Pie (2 cookies filled with a cream filling). Don said, “you won't be able to take those on board,” but I thought that was only back in one port going from Canada to the US, where you couldn't bring it on board. I didn't bother putting them in my backpack, just carried them through the checkpoint on dock before boarding the ship. After it went through the Xray machine, I was told I would have to eat it there or throw it away, because it was not sealed, like you would buy in a store. Well, I wasn't about to throw it all away, so I ate the pie right there, and gave the other food to some of the employees. Don't know if the on board Xray machine would pick it up if I had stuffed it in my back pack. The pie was delicious, but I would have enjoyed it more with coffee and ice cream.

CAPE LIBERTY, (Bayonne) New Jersey (Day 13)

We cruised into Cape Liberty Cruise Terminal at 7am. From our dock, we could see the Statue of Liberty, and downtown New York across the bay.

The night before we packed our bags, except for the next days wear and our essentials. They are placed in the hallway just outside our door by 11pm, and sometime during the night they are hauled down to the holding area where they are to be unloaded in the terminal which is also US Customs and Protection. We have breakfast, then disembark using our Sea Pass for the last time. Once in the terminal, we look for our number assigned to us the night before, and search for our bags. Next we board the bus that will take us to the Newark airport. Our flight for Atlanta, GA was leaving at 1pm, so we did not have the opportunity to take a tour of New York. We spent a week there 4 years prior (along with cousin Terri), through our Marriott time share where we stayed a few blocks from Times Square, otherwise we would have stayed in the city for a few days.

Our flights home on Delta were smooth, arriving on time, 7pm. Enjoyed some beautiful views from the plane on our flight from Atlanta to SFO. After picking up our bags at baggage claim, we caught the airbus to BART. A train was right there waiting us, and after a 1 1/2 hour ride we arrived in Bay Point where William, Rachael, JJ & Sidney were waiting to pick us up. A quick goodbye with the kids, and after making a stop at In & Out, we arrived at home safe and sound. A most enjoyable and relaxing trip, interesting sights, lucky on the weather, just missed the glorious fall colors of the East coast.

The below photo album link shows photos for days 11 thru 13

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Monday, June 1, 2015

Shades Of Green

Dublin, Ireland
Home of Two World Renown Authors
Dublin Part One

Founded as a Viking settlement, the Kingdom of Dublin became Ireland's principal city following the Norman invasion. The city expanded rapidly from the 17th century and was briefly the second largest city in the British Empire before the Act of Union in 1800. Following the partition of Ireland in 1922, Dublin became the capital of the Irish Free State, later renamed Ireland.

Touring the city today, with even a little of Ireland's historical knowledge, demonstrates progress within their independence. They have incorporated history into modern day architecture. Holding dearly to traditions, while at the same time molding modern day progress into their lives.

What is impressive is their religious grasp that not only Ireland, but the entire United Kingdom have upon their faith. Their religious conviction matches those of the Jewish religion.

Pope John's sermon attendance was over a million. One elderly gentleman died while in attendance and one new born entered the world during the Pope's sermon. The baby was a boy, and he was named "John."

The hill that Pope John gave his sermon from

Cultural Divide

A north-south division did traditionally exist, with the River Liffey as the divider. The Northside was generally seen as working class, while the Southside was seen as middle to upper-middle class. The divide was punctuated by examples of Dublin "sub-culture" stereotypes, with upper-middle class constituents seen as tending towards an accent and demeanour synonymous with the Southside, and working-class Dubliners seen as tending towards characteristics associated with Northside and inner-city areas. This has changed in recent times and both Northside and Southside Dublin have become indistinguishable from each other. Dublin's economic divide was also previously an east-west as well as a north-south. There were also social divisions evident between the coastal suburbs in the east of the city, including those on the Northside, and the newer developments further to the west.

Colored Doors - Its Tradition

Black door of a residence
The Irish love for a good time is well known throughout the world, as is their love for drink. The women of Dublin, went to their parish priest informing them of an on-going problem. The men, after work, would meet at the local pub. While socializing, they drank a little too much. The men would stumble home, and because all the doors were painted black, the men would enter a residence, climb into bed with their wives. In the morning, both husband a wife would awaken to discover that it was not their husband, nor their wife. The men had no problem with this error, it was the wives.

The priest finally tired of this sinful act, purchased different colored paint, and went throughout the neighborhood paint the doors different colors. Made note of the colors and the occupants of that home, then informed all the husbands of their colors.

This wife wanted to make sure

Well Known People of Dublin, Ireland

Molly Malone

"Molly Malone" (also known as "Cockles and Mussels" or "In Dublin's Fair City") is a popular song, set in Dublin, Ireland, which has become the unofficial anthem of Dublin City.

The Molly Malone statue in Grafton Street was unveiled by then Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alderman Ben Briscoe during the 1988 Dublin Millennium celebrations, declaring 13 June as Molly Malone Day. The statue was presented to the city by Jury's Hotel Group to mark the Millennium.

Since 18 July 2014, it has been relocated to Suffolk Street, in front of the Tourist Information Office, in order to make way for Luas track-laying work to be completed at the old location.

Lyrics of Molly Malone - 1790

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".
She was a fishmonger,
But sure 'twas no wonder,
For so were her father and mother before,
And they wheeled their barrows,
Through the streets broad and narrow,
Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!"
She died of a fever,
And no one could save her,
And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone.
But her ghost wheels her barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!"

Even Royalty takes their religion serious

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish author, playwright and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, his plays, as well as the circumstances of his imprisonment and early death.

Bram Stoker

Abraham "Bram" Stoker (8 November 1847 – 20 April 1912) was an Irish author known today for his 1897 Gothic novel, Dracula. During his lifetime, he was better known as personal assistant of actor Henry Irving and business manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London, which Irving owned.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Shades Of Green

Discrimination Is A Shade That Should Be Eliminated
Dublin Part Two

My grandmother was born and raised just outside of Dublin, Ireland. She was one of four girls and a brother. The girls shared beds as well as in the labor of the farm; early to rise, late to bed.

Not having a firm grasp of my great grandfather's reason for moving to the United States and my great grandmother remaining in Ireland, I can only speculate from history told to me from this tour? Though the short version was "he sought better opportunity and escape religious persecution." As history unfolds during our tour, it was revealed that men moved out of Ireland seeking opportunity with employers or armies to support their families. Catholic men sought these opportunities due to discrimination that was inflicted upon them because of their faith. These men would return home as did my great grandfather.
City Of Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland

It's exciting to discover the awakening of family traditions. Ancestral practices that become a requirement that we may or may not fully understand the why of practice or meaning. Trying to understand why the men would adjourn into a separate room from the ladies and children after dining. The male participants smoking cigars, drinking brandy and discussing the fate of the country or political views. These practices are self event, but religious practices, discussed below, and discrimination are not as evident. How I desired to join in listening with the men. I wanted that respect that seemed to fill the room as each gentleman spoke or injected an opinion.

I intently listened to the music playing for dancing, the young were taught to dance traditional steps. I was always partnered with my grandmother. My feet and legs moved in many different directions with soles striking loudly upon the wooden floors of the flat, they called home.

Irish House Party

The tour included an Irish house party that seduced all those childhood memories back. Though this party omitted the heated opinions and injected jokes, jigs, music and stories into their show. We laughed, clapped, stomped our feet and listened to stories. Yes, Guinness was a part of this gathering. It is traditional and a must see to gain the feeling of Irish history.

Founded 1759

O'Connell's restaurant where the proprietor visits each farm that the meats and vegetables are purchased from. This ensures quality control, the experience was quality.

The truth about Guinness

Guinness in America, does not taste the same as in the United Kingdom. Its about climate control that maintains its rich creamy taste.  
Like All Beers - "Its the water"

Arthur Guinness started brewing ales in the year 1759 at the St. James's Gate Brewery, Dublin. On 31 December 1759 he signed a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum for the unused brewery.[6][7][8] Ten years later, on 19 May 1769, Guinness first exported his ale: he shipped six-and-a-half barrels to Great Britain.

There have been claims that Arthur Price, a Welshman, took the original recipe with him to Ireland where he hired a servant, Richard Guinness, whose son later opened the brewery.[9][10]

"Stout" originally referred to a beer's strength, but eventually shifted meaning toward body and colour.[11]

Carved Mug with Guinness Foam created by Irish Linen

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Shades Of Green

Tour Of Killarney Trek To  Dublin - Part One

Bog Village - a seventeenth century working village that resembled those that Oliver Cromwell captured to enlarge his kingdom. Capture a village, charge tax to the villagers, and share in the profits from the products that the villagers produced. Though not all villages were captured.
Puck saved the village from Cromwells Army

Puck the Crowned Goat saved the village from the English troops marching toward them to kill those who resisted.

"The fair itself is purported to be ancient but can only officially be traced back as far back as 1603 when King James I issued a charter granting legal status to the existing fair in Killorglin. Despite this fact, its roots are still unknown, however there are several legends of its origins.

One of the legends of the fair is that the event pays tribute to a goat that broke away from its herd who warned the town's inhabitants of the advancing army of Oliver Cromwell during his conquest of Ireland in the 17th century, the goat's arrival alerted the inhabitants of danger, and they immediately set out to protect the town or simply hid until the forces left."
Irish Wolf Hounds used to work the farms

Bog logs used for fire in the fireplaces

Lambs love even the big guys

"Scholars speculate that the fair's origins stems from Pre-Christian Ireland, from the Celtic festival of Lughnasa which symbolised the beginning of the harvest season, and that the goat is a pagan fertility symbol.[6]"

"In 1931, Margaret Murray tied the Puck Fair into her version of the witch-cult hypothesis, asserting that it was a pre-Christian festival in honour of the Horned God.[7] However, historian Jeffrey B. Russell and Brooks Alexander have asserted that "Today, scholars are agreed that Murray was more than just wrong – she was completely and embarrassingly wrong on nearly all of her basic premises."[8]"" Wikipedia -

A Jaunty Cart ride around Killarney exploring the National Park Lands of Ireland.



-tier, -tiest
sprightly, self-confident, and cheerful; brisk   ⇒ a jaunty step
smart; trim   ⇒ a jaunty hat

Collins Dictionary -



Ring of Kerry

Ring of Kerry

Killarney very much part of the "Ring Of Kerry," and hub of tourism.

Even before the famous visit of Queen Victoria, Killarney had earned its stripes as a tourist hub.

Evening Entertainment

Irish House Party - traditional re-enactement of a Irish House Party or gathering of friends and family. It is traditional for families and friends to gather at the home of an elder for food, celebration, dance, story telling, and jokes.

Each culture has their own version of a House Party. Here in Dublin Ireland experience the Irish cultures house party;