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Archive for the ‘Ireland’ Category

We were invited by SF fans James and Fionna to come visit Dublin and Drogheda. It was so lovely to be invited and they looked after us so well.

I bought some plum and vanilla flavour gin liqueur to go with the handmade boomerang and Australian made Womat. On arrival we went with James to a giant Tescos! OMG! There I snaffled a bottle of aromatic gin, which tasted quite good. Beans bought some French red wine. It was a bit of a treat seeing the local produce and prices. I find supermarkets are really cultural that way. Maybe it’s the economics and accounting background.

Then we picked up some Indian takeaway for a late dinner. It was so yummy and be bought too much but that was fine because left overs. Fionna had found a recipe for vegan bread. It was delicious and had chopped hazelnuts in it. Tea and toast is an excellent breakfast for me! We used the last of our vegemite there.

We also met the best fannish dog, Leia, as in General Leia Organa. There was also Lego! Lego daleks!

 

On our first full day we went into Dublin for the day. It was sunny and lovely and mild. A fantastic day. We visited the Glass…cemetery which had a museum attached. Visiting Dublin you can’t help to discover the political history and the 1916 uprising. In the cemetery a number of the 1916 martyrs were buried. The museum also contained illustrations of different religions approaches to death and burial.

We had lunch at the Brazen Head pub for lunch. The photos above were from the Brazen Head. It was meant to be the oldest pub in Dublin. It was pretty touristy but we had no trouble getting a table and fed. OMG! I tried boiled bacon and cabbage. So good.

We also visited the Leprechaun museum. That was more about curiosity and it was fun but again a bit touristy. Here are some silly shots from the Leprechaun Museum.

Here is a few shots from walking around Dublin.

We ended up at the British…pub and that was a lovely place. Classy and quiet. SF fans who were coming pulled out but we had a nice drink. Then we headed back to Drogheda, a bit tired after a long day.

Sunday was going to be a our big sightseeing day, but Fionna had this cool idea to break it up as we were leaving late on Monday. She had booked us into the Kilmeianhan Gaol for a tour there at 4 pm on the Sunday. This is also linked to the 2016 uprisings as the guys that surrendered were executed in the days after for treason. It was really sad and moving. Before that she invited for a walk in the Wicklow Ranges, up the Sugarloaf Mountain to be exact. Unlike Saturday the weather turned typically Irish, light misty rain, grey clouds and not too cold.

The walk.

I did not complain! Well I don’t think anyone heard me. I did berate myself for not bringing a change of clothes. The first part involved walking through waist high ferns, which were wet from the overnight rain. The drizzle wasn’t bad at all. There were blackberries everywhere so I kept snacking. From the beginning of the walk I had no idea where we were walking. Beans said she was worried about me because I’m not a walker. I did buy hiking boots in Bergen so I can now say they have had two serious outings.

It was so beautiful there. The ferns and the mist and the view. We walked and walked. Leia came with us and the dog had so much fun, really so much fun. We did have a few worries finding the right path. I seriously earned whatever bad food I was going to eat that night. I saw the way to the summit and thought I wasn’t going to make it. After a few hours my feet were protesting. I sat down as a cloud rolled in and the others went up. I’m glad I sat the last bit out because it involved a bit of climbing. Not bad on the way up but a bit scary coming down. I took a great panoramic shot of the view when we got off the track. It shows Fionna and James and Leia while they checked the map.

The Kilmainham gaol photos. This was a very moving place where people who surrendered after the 1916 rising were executed. Here us a link to the gaol’s website. http://www.heritageireland.ie/en/dublin/kilmainhamgaol/

 

Monday

Monday was for Knowth and Newgrange, these chamber tombs. I’ve been in a chamber tomb before in Okney, but I really didn’t understand it. The guides here gave some good insights and I felt that I understood more. I think doing both together is a nice fit because there are different aspects to them. One you can look in the central chamber. We had lunch in the museum café and then it was time to collect our bags for the trip to the airport. Fionna took us up in her little, zippy Skoda and it was time to stay goodbye to Ireland.

Man these places were awesome!

Some thoughts

I will definitely come back to Ireland. I’m mostly Irish so it was good to go there for that reason. I’m glad James and Fionna invited us because it showed me how convenient it is to go there. For some reason it always seemed too hard.

Also, Ireland got me thinking about how British Australia is and how my perspective is shaped by that. We have “Give Way” signs where Ireland (and the USA) have “Yield” and in Ireland the postal boxes are green and so are the postal vans and ours a red like the UK. It got me thinking about how the victor writes the history books. While I have very Irish ancestors, their nationalism didn’t get passed on to me, the Catholicism did, although I am so lapsed, I consider myself not any religion. So Ireland got me thinking that I need to learn more about it and also come again and learn about the history, the myths and the politics.

Also, our hosts were so cute. They made me homesick for Matthew. They are as Dweebie as we are but I consider they had more books and we don’t have Lego so maybe they have way more geek cred than we do. I heart Fionna and James!

For the next few days I’m taking a break. We are staying in the Manchester region in a cute little cottage. Tomorrow we head to York for the day. I’ve been there about four times but it will be Beans’ first. Thursday I’m heading to London for the monthly SF fan meet up, the Ton. I’ll probably blog again soon. Today was meant to be a rest day, but Bean’s got restless so we decided to walk to a nearby town. On the way, besides being distracted by all the ripe blackberries, we saw a sign for a public access walkway and decided to try it. It was hilarious. We didn’t know where to go. Nothing was marked. We started fighting over which way to go and whether to reverse our steps. So our trip to Sandbach took twice as long as it should have. This is not a tourist town. They do have Heritage listed buildings and Saxon crosses and a good bar/pub for lunch.

 

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Sadly our stay in Scotland was rather short. I feel you need more time in Scotland to explore it, visit the highlands. We are only here for three days really. We did one full day in Glasgow and one day in Edinburgh, the rest was getting here and leaving.

I’ve been to Scotland before but Beans has not. She wants to do all the things but this was just a preview. She’s going to have to come back.

We did attempt a hop on hop off tour in Glasgow but sadly we couldn’t get on the bus. They required us to physically print out our vouchers. I mean we are travelling. We don’t have a printer.  The bus driver said go up to the Uni Library and use their internet café. Well the library said they had no public facilities so we gave up.

We have limited time so spending a couple of hours and money looking for somewhere to print out a voucher and walking back to the pick up place was ridiculous. I mean really what was the driver thinking? He says don’t worry there’s a bus every ten minutes. All right for him. We’ve requested a refund on the tickets but the company hasn’t responded.

We had a nice lunch, actually breakfast, and then went for a walk to the Botanical Gardens. We were meeting a friend in the evening. We walked through West End to get there and then had a fab dinner at the Banana Leaf, a kind of up market Malaysian place. Glasgow really is a vegan food heaven. Thanks Tash!

A few snaps from around West End Glasgow, complete with Tardis.

Thursday 31st we took the train to Edinburgh. It was really easy to get to the station via the metro. Funny little things the metro trains. They are so small. Beans felt claustrophobic. At Buchanan Street you walk through the tunnel to Queen Street Station. It is weird but the on line instructions said to catch a bus. We could have done but the metro was easier and more predictable.

First up we met up with Laura, who met us at the train station. Laura is a romance scholar and we started a walking tour around Edinburgh. I went to places I had never been before, Calton Hill, behind Hollyrood Castle and to the Georgian part of town. We had lunch in Hendersen’s,a  vegetarian restaurant and later we made for the National Museum of Scotland. I had a fan meet up planned with Alistair but he had to call it off due to illness in the family. Lillian Edwards met us at 4.0opm. Originally I was meeting her in Glasgow but she lives in Edinburgh so it worked out really well. We had failed to meet up at Worldcon. It just happens that way sometimes.

Lillian is a whirlwind. She had a new car, a wonderful bright green Skoda and she took us up in the car and around Arthur’s Seat to the village of Duddingston, which has the oldest pub in Glasgow, the Sheep’s Heid. We had a lovely drink, then we stumbled across some ancient skittles and played with those. Then we headed to an Indian Restaurant, Mother India on Infirmary Street. We said goodbye to Laura who had come along with us and had an excellent meal. Lillian was a great host and very informative. My daughter is interested in Lillian’s area of academic  expertise-Internet privacy.

I was so happy we went and we got to meet two new people who I had only every corresponded with on the internet.

Here are a few pics from Edinburgh and one of Lilian and me taken at the loch.

 

here is that pic of the skittles which we think are quite ancient.

This shot is a wide view of the view over Newtown and the firth from Claton Hill.

Today we head to Dublin to stay with James and Fionna for the weekend.

 

We realise that we are on the last three weeks of the trip. Next post will lots of photos. I’ve never been to Ireland before.

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