Our last few days were spent in Dublin and Cork. While in Dublin we visited the Trinity College as I wanted to see the library there called The Long Room. I’ve seen lots of photos of it and didn’t want to miss it. There are several small gates entering into the campus of the college. The library was easily found by the long line of people waiting to get in.

This moving art piece was nearby.

As you can see, it really is a long room. We also saw the Book of Kells before we entered, written on calf skin vellum in the ninth century and beautifully illustrated. There was a really good exhibition about the book and its history.

A pretty staircase in the room.

You need a ladder to get up to the top. Of course, you weren’t allowed near the books, you could only look. There are 200,000 books in the room, all leather bound.

We went into a part of Dublin called Temple Bar where there are all sorts of pubs, many with traditional Irish music. It was a fun thing to do.

The day before we left we went to Cork as our airport was there. This was the view from our hotel.

I didn’t get many photos there but here is what is called the English Market selling meat, fish, veggies and fruit. One night we were in a hotel watching TV-there were only 5 channels-and saw a show about a woman who was terrified of public speaking but she was going to have to do it anyway for a store she owned. Somehow they made a show about her, some women training her in public speaking, getting her confident and ready. At the end she is in front of a bunch of people and does a really good job. The name of her stores are Vibes and Scribes We were trying to find something else while walking around Cork using our gps on our phones when I saw the name of her store. I popped in and told them-she wasn’t there-that I had seen the show and had to see the store. There are four or so in Cork and you can even buy online. They were pleased I told them. A sort of fun thing for me.

And then we were back on our way to Paris. I took a photo of the green fields sort of obscured with clouds and was surprised to see the shamrock on the engine when I looked at the photo later. We were on Air Lingus. Great trip, great to be back home.

I liked Dublin. It has a sort of industrial, working class air and it was fun to walk around and explore.It doesn’t have the sophistication and glamor of Paris but its own pleasant ambiance. We stayed at a hotel which was almost a dump, the Kildare Street Hotel-avoid it if you are ever in Dublin. I guess my standards have gone up along with my age. We still had a good time. We did the double decker bus tour which is always a good way to see a city.

I’ve never seen seven mimes before, especially totally black. They sat frozen until someone put money in a tin then they would move and smile a bit.

This was Dublin Castle. The day before there had been a huge rally and this courtyard was packed with people celebrating the passage of the Gay Marriage bill which was highly controversial but I think the young people came through and voted it through. There wasn’t a soul there the next day. We saw a lot about it all on the television.

We did a very good tour of the castle. It’s still in use for political functions and, in fact, there was to be one there that night. This was the private chapel there. Very pretty.

We passed the Guinness factory and storehouse on the bus tour but I don’t like beer and Maurice didn’t want to do the tour so we just looked at it as we passed. There was a really long line to get inside. We learned on our castle tour that the symbol of Ireland is the harp, turned to the left. The symbol for Guinness is also a harp but it is turned to the right.

I liked the bright red building.

The Ha’ Penny Bridge. There was a charge of a half penny to use it at one time.The river wasn’t very wide.

A quote by Oscar Wilde, who was thrown in jail for being homosexual and I’m sure he would be stunned and amazed at what happened in Ireland this week.

That’s what they say about the village of Adare and it certainly was pretty. We spent the night at a B&B there on our way to Dublin and enjoyed walking around.

It’s best known for a row of cottages with thatched roofs. They certainly are romantic.

One of them had a really fabulous garden, as you can see.

We saw that there was a five star hotel there in a renovated castle. It was a long drive through green fields and golf greens to get to the gate. I asked the man there, who was wearing a top hat and fancy outfit, if the hotel, called the Adair Manor, had a bar that we could get a drink at. He said, “This is Ireland. Of course the hotel has a bar.” Here is the entrance.

We parked and went inside and the doorman said he had been asked what time the bar closed and he replied, “In October”. He had to check to see if there was room in the bar as the hotel was fully booked. There wasn’t but we still got to look around.

Lots of pretty arches and doorways.

And this was the Manor from the back. Not too shabby.

Driving on the left side of the road-not as easy as you might think. When Maurice would drive in Ireland I became horribly anxious, stressed out, and tense. I found myself leaning to the right side of the car as if I could get the car over by my body movement and I spent the whole time saying, “Get over, get over!”. As as result, I did most of the driving. Would you believe that on the first day I hit the curb with the front tire twice? You have to be especially alert at all times to make sure you aren’t going to hit a curb or a car. It’s really nerve racking. One day we were tired of all of the driving we had been doing and decided to visit a little village, Ardvert, near our exchange home. As I pulled into an easy parallel parking spot trying not to get close to the curb, I hit it anyway. When we got out and looked at the tire we saw a bubble or hernia on the side and went to a convientally located car repair shop to buy a new tire. I told the man who looked at our tire that I bet he had a lot of Americans come in with ruined tires and he said it was good for his business. He sent us to a nearby restaurant for coffee which turned out to be a very cool place that we never would have found on our own. Later in our trip Maurice was driving and he said, “You know, I lived in England for a year so I do know how to drive on the left side of the road. And I never ruined a tire either”. Do English and Irish drivers have the same problem in the States?
One day we had to take a detour and by mistake ended up on a very narrow road with high bushes on either side and had to take turns backing up when a car was met coming from the opposite direction. One time a doctor with a light on top of his car which said “doctor” on it came and Maurice didn’t want to back up as it was our second time in the same section but the doctor pointed to his light and said he had priority. I had to back up a very long way which I didn’t do well. We followed the doctor back to the original detour and went way out of our way to finally reach our destination. I have to say that driving in Provence when we lived there did get me used to narrow roads, just not roads of one lane.

The inside of the restaurant called Kate Browne’s. It was decorated really well.

The wall above our table.

I’m always impressed when restaurants have fresh flowers on the tables.

This was outside the door of the church there. I just thought it was funny to see holy water in a rubber garbage can. Guess they must have used a lot of holy water!

Part of the ruined abbey in Ardvert.

The next day we went to the very lovely Beara Peninsula. I have to say I liked it much better than the Ring of Kerry or the Cliffs of Moher. There were hardly any people on the road and the scenery was fabulous.

We crossed a little bridge to get to a restaurant called Josey’s advertised in signs on the main road and saw this pretty stream.

There was this lovely little fireplace going at Josey’s, the owner who was there waiting on tables.

We found a magical ring of stones in a field. A lady came out of a nearby house and asked us if we wanted to do a walking tour with her to a deserted village. We didn’t do it but I wish we had now.

Look at this view! We went over a rocky, craggy mountain and saw many great views.

Lots of sheep too.

Ireland is known for its hiking. We stopped in a place with a fire going and two hikers were drying and warming their feet after a wet day.

On to the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s most visited natural wonders. But first a stop for lunch.

I had to have Irish Stew since it’s so famous. It was very good but not the best ever.

Maurice had some good lamb and there was a very pretty salad with it. At the end of our meal Maurice noticed a very lively snail moving across his plate. Even though his people eat snails-with butter and garlic- it made him sort of sick. The restaurant just said, “sorry about that”.

The Cliffs of Moher were beautiful but I wasn’t that impressed. They just seemed to far away or something. I found other cliffs I found more spectacular.

Another view.

Near the beginning of the Ring of Kerry we saw some beautiful things.

This was the Ross Castle. You can only see the interior on a tour which we did. I think it must have been very hard to be a servant then.

Followed by Muckross House. Muckross comes from an old Irish word which means Pig Woods. I’ve seen larger and better decorated castles in England but enjoyed the tour except for three little girls who should have been left outside. I’m getting more and more cranky with misbehaved children.

There were enormous rhododendron bushes on the beautiful grounds.

This was the view from the house. Not too shabby. Queen Victoria once visited here. The lady leading the tour said that during her reign there were 14 assasination attempts on her life. Who knew?

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