Southern Ireland 2016

Thursday, May 19, 2016
We returned safely to the U.S., arriving an hour and 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

We had a bus tour of the entire city of Dublin in the morning and were free to explore this wonderful city on our own in the afternoon. But not before one significant stop.

 No pictures were allowed in the museum so it must be suffice to take a picture from the outside to show "we were there" Dublin, right in Trinity College. The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. It was believed to be created c.800.

In the evening of our final day in Dublin we all attended a wonderful Irish dinner/show with Irish music and story telling. What a perfect way to end our trip to Ireland.

The Brazen Head is the oldest Pub in Dublin. In front of this historic building are James & Lucy Boucher and Camille Meyers.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

 We travel from Galway to Dublin for  the final few days of our trip. But  first, a few stops to make our trip more enjoyable.
Bill and Sara Drinane pose in front of an old castle as we visit Clonmacnoise, a beautiful former monastery founded in 544 which is located on the River Shannon.
The graveyard surrounding the site continues to be in use and religious services are held regulary on the site in a modern chapel (background). See picture below. as well.
The site has two round towers. The larger one was 7 stories high but lightning struck it destroyed the top three floors. Rather than rebuilt on the first tower, they erected a second tower. The site had 14 churches at one point, more temples for families.
Cross of the Scriptures. This 4 meter high sandstone cross (actually a replica with original in the museum since it was being eroded by the winds and rains). It was one of the most skilfuly executed of the surviving high crosses in Ireland.
One of the few times we had a little rain, but not enough to dampen spirits.
Camille and Valerie point to little holes on each side of the church door. You can whisper into the side Camille is on (left) and Valerie could hear it on the right. This Whispering Door was used for confessions for people who were sick with contagious illnesses and even used when two clans or mix of people could or would not meet so they said confession outside the church.

Pouring the perfect pinktat the Guinnes Storehouse

The symbol of Guinness is a forward facing harp. When Ireland gained its independence in 1922 and wanted to use the harp on their Harpist Flag they were not allowed to infringe on the Guinness trademark which was established in 1876. So when you see the Irish Harpist flag you will see the harp if reversed.
Nancy getting instructions for pouring the perfect pint of Guinnes
Good job Joni!
A satisfied traveler for sure. Janet Seither
May 16, 2016 - Tour of Region of Connemara
A land of lakes and rivers, bogs and mountains.
The Kylemore Abbey is the current home of the Benedictine Community.

By this day the travelers were getting a little "shy" from my camera so I will just show the beauty and glamor of the Kylemore Abbey and Gardens, if  pictures could ever capture this beautiful site. The  Abbey can be seen in the background of our group. Glorious day as well.
Camille Meyers, Valerie Graczyk, Joni Greenfield and Jeanne Nordstrom. A natural group in a fantastic setting.
Mitchell Henry and his bride Margaret arrived in Kylemore on their honeymoon in 1850. They fell in love with the area and returned in the 1860's to build their dream home. The Abbey is set on a lake shore at the heart of a 15,000 acre estate and offered a splendid walled garden. So enjoy our picture tour.

The Gothic Church, or miniature Cathedral, dedicated to Margaret Henry.

Inside the church

Inside the walled gardens

Strolling the path back to the Abbey. Janet Seither and Mary Costello-Mischo

On the Cliffs of Moher, Valerie encounters a giant puffin but doesn't seem afraid at all.

We are going back in time but at Guinness brewery Valerie,  who does not drink any alcohol and beer is not exception, shows her reaction to the dark beer....let the  record show she was the only one that felt that way.

Also, we look back at another Valerie moment!!!

Pouring the perfect Guinness by a non-beer drinker....Tasting it, not so good!

Ahh, that bitter sweet taste of a good dark beer! Show how you really feel Valerie.
May 15 - Burren and Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher, 10 kilometres or so of headlands, rack faces, scree slopes and offshore stacks, which stretch around a remote cape in  west County Clare. They are about 200 meters high in places. Because of their height and ferocity the Cliffs of Moher stand at the edge of Europe rather than the beginning of the western ocean.
Rather than try to describe these to you, we will use a pictorial display to let you decide.


I shot this picture of a young lady (not in our group) that is simply playing with  fire. Away from the National Park there are no guard rails or cement walls.


This is called O'Brien's Tower. It stands near the highest pint of the Cliffs of Moher, 213 meters high. It was built in 1855 by the landlord of the locality, Cornelius O'Brien, a descendent of the first High King of Ireland, Brian Boru and a member of the O'Brien clan.

Bonnie Lueck, Jeanne Mueller and Mary Costello-Mischo near front entrance to the cliffs.

Ed & Evon Solms and Janet Seither on top leaning against the protective wall barrier within the park confines.

Mary Costello-Mischo and Jeanne Mueller
James & Lucy Boucher and Camille Meyers

Gary & Joni Greenfield and Sara & Bill Drinane

Wayne & Valerie Graczyk travel with every group on all trips
To get to the cliffs we crossed the Shannon River on the ferry from Tarbert to Killimer. Richard Packer give the sign all is ok.
Jeanne Mueller and Bonnie Lueck really enjoyed the ferry ride.
The Burren Regions - Limestone
Valerie Graczyk, James Boucher, Camille Meyers and Lucy Boucher on the limestone with the Bay of Galway in background.
Janet Seither being very careful walking across the limestone bed. The limestone is from about 340 millions ago and covers about 60 Square kilometers

On the way to the Limestone area we of course had to eat. Great pub. Of course we didn't  find any bad one either.
Somehow Barb Howard and Nancy Nelson missed the photo shoot...but got them anyway.

Saturday, May 14 - Tralee-
Muckross House & Gardens
Traveling the Ring of Kerry

 The world renowned Muckross House is situated amidst the spectacular scenery of Killarney National Park. The park is comprised of 10,000 hectares (A hectare is about 100 acres) of mountains, woods and lake land and a host of trails.

This shot of their  roof reminded me of the movie "Mary Poppins". I could just envision Julie
Andrews and Dick van Dyke dancing on the roofs.

No pictures were allowed to be taken inside so here are some pictures of some travelers outside in the gardens and on the grounds.

Our "Hat Men", including our guide Con who didn't have a hat, were encouraged
by the lady folk to get into the picture.
John Welin, Ed Solms, Con, Alan Nordstrom and Bill Drinane.
Thanks guys for being such good sports.

The garden was beautiful and we can only imagine what it will look like
when summer comes around.

An unexpected stop on our trip around the Ring of Kerry is suggested by our guide.

Con graciously added a stop to our day at The Kerry Bog Village, an 18th-19th century"village from the past". He personally explained the harvesting of peat from the many Boglands in Ireland. His family heats not only their house but also his water throughout the year with peat moss.
He explained that peat is a soil that is made up of the partially rotted remains of dead plants which have accumulated on top of each other in waterlogged places for thousands of years.
Like fireplace wood piles in the US are formed, peat pieces are piled, sometimes as high as the roof of a house, for fuel hopefully to last the winter.

A small pile of finished peat moss. The pile for a winter might be stacked as high as the gables of their home.

Pretty rustic back in "the good old days".
Ring of Kerry -  An Ireland adventure

Group picture from the original "Ladies View" site, so named because
Queen Victoria would take her Ladies-in-waiting here to capture the view from this very spot.

Valerie Graczyk and Camille Meyers pose in front of a sign with their mother's maiden name...May MURPHY Thibaudeau of Dundee, Wisconsin..

We traveled along the
Ring of Kerry with stops for photos.

The Ring of Kerry is the vernacular tourist title for the Grand Atlantic Coast
Tour of County Kerry's central peninsula. The main roads are studded with scenic viewing
points as we soon discovered. It is 170 Km around the entire ring and is situated in the beautiful Killarney National Park. 

A photo shot with the
Atlantic Ocean in background.

Bill and Sara Drinane pose with a statue of Charlie Chapman, who lived in
Waterville, and whose house still stands and can be seen from his statue.

Bonnie Lueck takes a more personal route with Charlie....

Wayne & Charlie (who is holding who up?)

Jeanne Nordstrom has a good laugh while Alan is not sure what to do or say...
so wisely says & does nothing.

One never knows when Wayne's telephoto lens captures you just sitting and enjoying yourself as Karen Berneck and Barb Howard find out, or will when they see this blog.

 Nancy Nelson, Barb Howard, John Welin and
Karen Berneck embracing the beauty and fun of the
numerous Ring's views.

Group picture from the "Ladies View" posted along the Ring of Kerry, so named because Queen
Elizabeth would take her Ladies in Waiting to this very spot to capture this breathtaking view.

Ed & Evon Solms and Janet Seither at Ladies View.
Great memories!

 Life doesn't get much better than this.
 Just ask John Welin and Karen Berneck.

 Elaine Dishaw - World traveler enjoying this moment and scenery.

We arrive back in Tralee and have a wonderful and fulfilling meal to end the day.

Jeanne & Alan Nordstrom

Janet Seither, Evon & Ed Solms.
Traveling together and enjoying every moment of it.

Bill Drinane, Gary Greenfield, Sara Drinane
& Joni Greenfield.

Elaine Dishaw, Jeanne Mueller, Mary Costello Mischo, Richard Packer and Camille Meyers.

Bonnie Lueck, Camille Meyers, Valerie and Wayne.

 Bonnie Lueck and Valerie Graczyk

 Valerie & Wayne Graczyk simply enjoying the fantastic group of people who
have come together and no longer are "just a group". Wow!!!

 Heading back to the hotel...after a fantastic meal and great evening.
Alan & Jeanne Nordstrom, Sara Drinane & Wayne Graczyk

As so often happens on Someday Travel trips, and as we returned to the hotel...someone said "let's have a fun photo". It was decided that we needed a "tree" shot. Why?  Because the tree was there. 
We were there. It was  a unique situation. We were out of that expression of togetherness, people having fun, we concluded our day with this snapshot forever frozen in time.

Friday the 13th...May 13 2016-Tralee
Jameson Distillery - Midleton City
Blarney Castle & the Blarney Stone

Stopped at an overlook to view the inlet to the Irish Sea.

James and Lucy Bucher, Evon Solms & Camille Meyers on a bus break, which we do often on longer trips, on the way to the Jameson Distillery in Midleton City.

Sara Drinane & Jeanne Mueller on this stop on our way to the Jameson Distillery

Nancy Nelson, Barb Howard, Karen Berneck & John Welin

 Are we having fun or what? John Welin, Karen Berneck, Nancy Nelson &
Barb Howard having fun with the camera, Wayne

Our illustrious leader, tour escort, Con, short for "Cornelious" and
Valerie Graczyk, with John Welin lurking in the background. Illustrious is a very appropriate for a person with so much knowledge and personal charm as he kept us in touch with Ireland's history, culture and present day environment.


Nancy Nelson and Bonnie Lueck really relaxing. Don't they look relaxed, and happy too?

Valerie & Wayne Graczyk, always camera ready.

John  Welin and Karen Berneck with whiskey kiln in background. They seem to be our "poster couple" for the trip or so it seems.

Mary Costello Mischo, Bonnie Lueck and Janet Seither entering Jameson Irish whiskey distillery.

Here is where we tasted and enjoyed the Jamison whiskey experience. We walked thru the living history  of the Old Jameson Distillery. We got a glimpse of their past and the traditions that they have lived by for over two centuries. We even got to conclude our tour with a comparative tasting for 8 of our group.

Here Elaine Dishaw demonstrates the ringing of the bell inside one of the distillery buildings. It was so noisy inside with all the machinery that they used the bell to send messages and even warnings if needed.  Obviously the lunch bell was the most popular.

Group picture in front of Jameson.

What a perfect symbol for Jameson!. Let's light up the world together.

The 8 individuals who "tasted" Jameson Whiskey comparison test.
Elaine Dishaw, Mary Costello-Mischo, Ed Solms, Wayne Graczyk, Nancy Nelson, Bill Drinane.

Mary Mischo Costello, with her sample of Jameson Irish
whiskey (actually Jameson with I think Ginger ale, which our group loved. She is holding a special stick signifying she was a "taster" to determine the quality of the Jameson Irish Whiskey. Umm, that smile says it all, doesn't it?

Another qualified taster, Elaine Dishaw.

Uh Uh...A non-whiskey person in the taster class?
We'll see if Wayne can do it.

Not to worry. Ed Solms, a truly qualified whiskey taster, is supervising Wayne in the art of tasting whiskey....or is he just wondering how Wayne got into this group of tasters?

Joni Greenfield and Sara Drinane partaking in this Jameson experience.

Bill Drinane, Jeanne Mueller and Jeanne Nordstrom enjoying the day..and of course the comraderie of the day, as well as the Jameson? Jeanne and Jeanne sure seem to like it so far.

Barb Howard, Nancy Nelson and Richard Packer, just "taking it easy"  

Blarney Castle and the infamous Blarney Stone

We were welcomed to the Blarney Castle by bright sunshine, something new to our adventures so far. It felt so wonderful that sprits were high and energy was  even higher.

We were able to partake of the beautiful views of the 60+ acres of sprawling parklands if you climbed to the top of the castle tower. /the view included views of the gardens, avenues, arboretums and waterways which changes with the seasons.

Elaine Dishaw and Camille Meyer with Blarney Castle in background.
Camille Meyers, Elaine Dishaw, Jeanne & Alan Nordstrom walking up to the castle in the sunshine!

Camille Meyers and Valerie Graczyk on top of the castle, after viewing "others" kissing the Blarney Stone.
Kissing of the Blarney Stone

A bit of history. `The Blarney Stone. For over 200 years world statesmen, literary giants and legends of the silver screen have joined  millions of pilgrims, climbing the steps to kiss the
Blarney Stone and gain the gift of eloquence. It is thought to have been brought to Ireland by Jeremiah and became the stone used as an orator from of Irish Kings--a kind  of Harry Potter-like "sorting hat" for kings.

If you think we are spinning a yarn, look at the pictures below to wonder if maybe some of our group thinks this might be true...and hope so for the effort put forth.

Now there is a direct hit for kissing the Blarney Stone by Elaine Dishaw.
Keep in mind this is over an empty space over 150 feet high with only this gentleman holding us up.'?Way to go Elaine.

And Mary Costello Mischo did it with a smile,
Wayne Graczyk did it too but back issues, aka surgery, prevented him from actually kissing the
  stone, instead having to kiss his fingers and touched the stone which counts, doesn't it?

To give you an idea of where the heads of those kissing the Blarney Stone, look up above their heads of our travelers. The top window is where those kissing the Blarney Stone would be bending down, backwards. Yes it is that high, maybe 150'.

Yup, there is us seen though a telephoto lens.

See how happy Bonnie Lueck, Jeanne Mueller, Joni & Gary Greenfield are?  I don't think they made the adventurous trip to the top of the tower to kiss the Blarney Stone.
We finished the day with everyone given the opportunity to be on their own with 11 of us going out for a late evening dinner and some real Irish music in a local pub.

May 12, 2016 - Walking tour of Waterford

Waterford's Clock Tower built in 1863 which sits on the banks of the River Suir.

Waterford is the only city in Europe whose Roman Catholic and Protestant Cathedrals were designed by the same man (John Roberts).
Waterford was the first Irish city to be besieged by artillery.
Waterford was the only city besieged by Cromwell which he failed to capture.
Their Roman Catholic Cathedral is the oldest in Ireland.
Waterford is the oldest city in Ireland (founded in 1166)

Our group in front of the Roman Catholic Cathedral, the only Catholic Cathedral in Ireland.

Valerie & Wayne with part of the wall that used to surround the entire city.

 Karen Berneck running to catch the group after take the neatest picture on the wall to right which I failed to record...opps!. But at least I caught the running part.

Ed and Evon Solms enjoying a break after the walking tour but before the museum.. 
Richard Packer and Nancy Nelson playing the roles of Richard 'Strongbow' de Clare and Aoife. Our guide, Jack, recently was awarded the prestigious award of the best guide in Waterford.
Everyone got into the act with their version of a "royalty" wave...or not!

Camille Meyers and Elaine Dishaw

Alan & Jeanne Nordstrom. Alan didn't believe that male royalty waved to his admirers.

Gary & Joni Greenfield. I guess neither believes in waving to the crowds.

Group picture outside the remains of an 1240 A.D. church in Waterford that was given to a religious order with the condition that they pray for him daily, which they did.
Jack Burtchaell, guide, and James and Lucy Brochure from France.

Barb Howard & Nancy Nelson as Strongbow & Aoife

Camille Meyers and Elaine Dishaw got into the act as well.

OIur guide Jack in front of a replica of a Viking ship...Jeanne Nordstrom and Sara Drinane
Evon Solms in front of the Viking replica
Joni Greenfield, Richard Packer, Nancy Nelson, Barb Howard, Sara Drinane and Bonnie Lueck enjoy the lighthearted presentation by Jack our guide.

Quaint way of keeping gum off the sidewalks and off shoes as well.

Barb Howard and Nancy Nelson taking a break between the walking  tour and museum visit.
Getting into our enjoyable breaks are Jeanne Mueller and Bonnie Lueck.

 Elaine & Camille were caught talking during the guide's presentation.
Our guide with a crossbow, which could be considered a "Weapon Of Mass Destruction" in those days since it simplified the bow/arrow technique, was more powerful and any age, male of female, could use it with little of no training. Wish it could still be so.... 

The wine cellar still in tact under the new museum. Ironically the museum of 4 years of age is built right over the remains of a 700+ year old castle.


 Going for a boat ride on the River Suir.
Gary & Joni Greenfield, Camille Meyers, Valerie Graczyk, captain, Elaine Dishaw, Richard Packer, Lucy &James Boucher.

Tight but fun...or CRAIC (pronounced crack) as they say in Ireland when one is having lots of fun. We were really having Craic...

Lots of CRAIC for Joni Greenfield as she enjoys the sun, yes sun, in Ireland where it is noted for its rainfall annually..
Valerie Graczyk, Elaine Dishaw, Camille Meyers and Lucy Boucher.

May 11, 2016
Arrive in Dublin and were off to Waterford

Kilkenny, Ireland - St. Canice's Cathedral & Round Tower,
The site upon which the current Cathedral Church of St. Canice stands, has been a place of Christian worship since the 6th century.

John Welin and Karen Berneck enjoying their visit

St. Canice's Cathedral  with Round Tower

Valerie Graczyk & Camille Meyers inside the Cathedral

Sara Drinane, an accomplished organist herself, admiring the organ in St. Canice's Cathedral. She was so impressed with the organ she even considered accepting the opening for their organist (joke).

Gary & Joni Greenfield, Bonnie Lueck, Bill &
Sara Drinane, Mary Costello Mischo inside the Cathedral

Jeanne Mueller and Valerie Graczyk in the cemetery

Valerie having a fun time taking pictures in the St. Canice's cemetery outside of the Cathedral
Ed & Evon Solms, Richard Packer, Janet Seither, Mary Mischo, Jeanne Mueller,
Elaine Dishaw, Sara Drinane, Bonnie Lueck

Evon & Ed Solms, Janet Seither

Bill Drinane & Alan Nordstrom looking up at the Round Tower, only one of two
Round towers that are open to the public (in Ireland)

The St. Canice Round Tower
Barb Howard climbing to open entrance to the Tower. Note how high the "doorway" is. When attacked, the people would have steps leading to the door which could be pulled up leaving no ground entrance to the tower.
Nancy Nelson followed Barb up and to the top. They along with John Welin and Karen Berneck and   Elaine Dishaw were the brave souls to climb the tower. The angle you see on these steps were duplicated inside..,maybe a 70 degree angle?
Wayne Graczyk merely "contemplated" climbing.

Is this Halloween in a cemetery?
Sara Drnane, Valerie Graczyk, Jeanne Nordstrom & Gary Greenfield

Lunch in Kilkenny befiore visiting the beautiful Kilkenny Castle.
Sara Drinane, Jeanne & Alan Nordstrom and Gary & Joni Greenfield

Ed & Evon Solms with Jane Seither

Kilkenny Castle was built during the first decade of the 13th century. It later became the principal Irish residence of the powerful Butler family for almost 600 years, 1360 through 1967.

The Dining Room

The beautiful library

We finished our long but truly enlightening day with a group dinner in our hotel, the
Fitzwilton, before calling it a day.


1 comment:

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