Dublin Delight

Dublin Delight

by Bretta Pool

A long weekend in Dublin was my perfect getaway when I lived back home in the UK.

With great fares with Ryannair and Aer Lingus it was so easy to pop across the Irish Sea

to this fun, lively and musical city.

Staying in the vibrant Temple Bar area you fully experience the hip, traditional pubs and

music scene, before long you find yourself singing and dancing along with your new found friends.

 

Listening to the locals storytelling and you’ll be engrossed while sipping your pint of Guiness!

 

There are also some amazing day trips you can take from Dublin, but one I would definitely

recommend is to visit the awe-inspiring World Heritage site of up to 40ft stone columns of

the Giant Causeway set on the magnificent seascape of Northern Ireland, and on route dare to cross the Carric-a-Rede rope bridge and look down 30ft into the chasm below.

If you listen to the legendary story that the Causeway was formed by an Irish Giant named Finn McCool who ripped the earth from the ground after being outwitted by Benandonner, a rival giant, you truly believe it!

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50 Shades of GREEN

cathys cliffs

50 Shades of Green

by Cathy Blanchette

 

So many Irish left Ireland due to the famines, lack of work, and over 300 years of tiriany.  The British took away their livelihood, their lands, their religion and their language.  BUT the relations between Northern Ireland and the Republic are improving.  

 

 I’m Irish on my mothers side – I’ve visited Ireland twice and will go again and again. I’ve been to Dublin and what a city – from the pubs to St Patrick’s Cathedral.  Dublin is so rich in history – you could spend a month there.  I headed towards the west coast of Ireland.  I was amazed at the colors.  It’s fifty shades of GREEN !!!  You’ve got to see it to believe it.  You are really expecting to see John Wayne dragging Maureen O’Hara across the fields (The Quiet Man is one of my most favorite movies ever).  The Cliffs of Moher were stunning in their raw beauty – Just breathtaking.  We saw castles and churches galore.  We toured the beautiful formal flower gardens of Kylemore Abbey and visited the rustic sheep farm called Rathburn Farms – they showed us how the dogs herd the sheep, the farmer even sheared one while we were there.  My mother also got to feed one of the lambs.  

maureen
The farm has a thatched roof and served us the tastiest scones I ever had.  I also totally found a “boy friend” for my golden retriever Bitsy – the neighbors have a “cream” golden retriever named Thor (yes there are diffences between the retrievers) who likes to come over to the farm and meet with the tourists – he strolls right into the cottage and wants a snack (just like mine does).  When I found out my friend Kathy (who went to Ireland after me) was going to be touring the farm – I told her to look for Thor!!!
thor
I went to Blarney Castle for the second time and did go to the top, however I did not kiss the Blarney Stone (I’ve been told I already have the gift of gab).  I toured Waterford and saw how the crystal is worked.  I also got to do a cruise on the River Shannon (again those fifty shades of green) and had a lovely lunch and TEA.  We  stayed in the towns of Killarney and also Kilkenny and I cannot remember which one of them won Irelands “Tidiest Town Award” both were such cute towns.  I found the people of Ireland friendly always ready for a chat – it is truly the land of a 1000 Welcomes.  I just fell in love with this wonderful country – I felt like I was home – so why not go home?  
waterford
 

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

Accessible Ireland

Accessible Ireland

By Kathy Pauszek

 

Every year my bestie, Barb, and I take a girls trip together. The trip usually consists of a Caribbean cruise, casino, Roseborough bus trips, or some sort of road trip we can fit into our vacation dates. For years while our families were young, (boy were they young!) we would hop in a minivan and travel everywhere together. (This is one of my favorite pictures of my youngest, Jess and Barb’s son Ryan – they did everything together)

 

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Since then, our kids have grown up, gone off to college, since graduated and moved onto their own lives. Our “adult families” still travel together as a group, but it’s usually a trip every other year or so. That simply wasn’t often enough for Barb & I, so we started to plan a girls trip to catch up on our lives lived 1200 miles apart.

 

 

 

 

This past October was one of those trips. Ireland’s was not on either of our “Live it List” but I am telling you It should be. We joined Trafalgar tours for a 7 day tour of the Southern Region of Ireland. I really didn’t know what to expect from the trip. What I found was pure delight.

castle

This trip to Ireland was Barbs first hop across “the pond” and came with a little apprehension. It was only my second European adventure so that “little apprehension” may have been a slight understatement… We may or may not have called Cathy ,Tiffany and Bretta at Roseborough a minimum of 20 times. (I think some of us have control issues….. She will say I do… I will say she does….. Lol that is why we get along!)

It might be good if I digress a bit. While I travel as MUCH as possible my traveling requires some extra planning. I have had major walking difficulties since my 20’s and when traveling am in need of special arrangement for wheelchair accessibility. In Europe this can be a big issue.

 

For those who know me, know I have NEVER let it stop me!!! Never ever ever ever. I may have to go “differently but I will go. I may not see it the same way but I will see it! So yes, extensive planning always goes into every trip that I go on.

 

Expert Care & Concern: That is what is so wonderful, having the expertise of a travel agent that can arrange all those intricate details. It certainly helps relieve all the stress. The team at Roseborough found out in advance wheelchair access, arranged wheelchair service on my flights, and coordinated special needs services with the tour company for me.

mom in chair

 

Back to Ireland … We decided to go 2 days early fly into Dublin so we could relax and not be overwhelmed. In our planning, we asked what there was to do in or around Dublin. Barb and I saw this day trip from Dublin via railroad to Northern Ireland that looked awesome! Belfast, Giant Causeways a UNESCO listed site, and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge . Bretta was able to give me peace of mind that I could do this whole trip. She assured me Barb could do all the active parts and I would have a safe place to see scenic views while Barb takes on the more aggressive ones. Bretta’s knowledge of the area was exceptional.

 

cliffs

OH the VIEWS….

were the most stunning thing you could ever see. From the carrick-a-rede you can see famous Mull of Kintyre island which was very special to me since I am a McIntyre from birth. Very cool if your interested in lineage or the BEATLES … Paul McCartney wrote a song called Mull of Kintyre about the area he so loved.

rope bridge

And that was all in the first 2 pre-nights…It’s hard to believe the trip before the trip was so awesome- what would the vacation itself be??

 

Trafalgar definitely did not disappoint! Killarney National Park was certainly a highlight. We spent two days there- two days are not enough – a week probably wouldn’t be from the winding road to the breathtaking cliffs, Killarney is stunning from turn to turn.

 

Barb was able to take a walk through the park and she raved about the experience! Unfortunately, due to rain we missed out on the famous jaunty car ride. L

giants causway

While in Galway we stayed right on Galway Bay for two days. Each night the pub life was so much fun. You know, people don’t watch TV!! You visit, talk, and really enjoy each others company at the local pub! This was very much the nightly ritual. It’s funny, one day while “living like a local” and hanging out in a Pub we noticed there was a single TV on…we all had to laugh. The television was not playing sports. It wasn’t showing the News. It wasn’t even showing a talk show. Rather, it was playing Thomas the Tank …. Yes, CARTOONS were on… Really! No one was watching it. People were actually talking to each other! Everyone of us AMERICANS really noticed that. We realized and noticed how much everyone really enjoyed talking, conversing, and relating to each other over being glued to the TV.

 

When taking a Trafalgar tour there are a few things that come “standard” as a part of their program criteria. One of these standards you can come to expect is an opportunity to enjoy a cultural immersion of sorts. While on your trip they try to give you a more authentic experience than the normal “touristy” version.

thatch2

Rathbaum farms is one such experience.

thatch

I didn’t really know what to expect from it. It’s a Farm… I’m not a farm kinda girl…. Need I say more… What I found there was pure charm. The farm was a delightful thatch cottage and a working sheep herding farm. They showed us a simple demonstration on how a single dog will bring in all the sheep.

 

We were taught about different types of sheep and wool. Then were served a lovely tea and scones with clotted cream- which were to die for! Honestly, I didn’t even know what clotted cream was and didn’t even want to TRY something with the name “clotted” in it. Basically it’s the best whipped butted you will ever have!!!!! Along with that we enjoyed some song and Irish humor. I will tell you the Irish people are very friendly. So very accommodating, you really feel you are a special guest.

roads

It’s funny, the only thing on my “list” was the Cliffs of Moher. I certainly don’t want to diminish their stunning beauty and their majesty. But somehow I came home from my jaunt to Ireland thinking “Why oh why aren’t these other thing just as well known?”.

 

Since this trip was with Barb and we both felt like we only TOUCHED on Ireland’s splendor. Ireland didn’t get crossed off my live it list. Basically, Ireland just got added on to “the list” to do it all over again (& MORE).

beauty