Scott and Holly's Blog

Scott and Holly welcome you…

We have had difficulty with attaching to wifi. We have blogs ready to post when we are able. Please know that the scenery is fantastic and we have had four days of blue skies and temps as high as mid seventies. No Rain!!! We are hoping for none tomorrow night when we are at the Military Tattoo!!!!

Sent from Holly’s iPhone.

First let me say that Wi-fi is a challenge so short this morning!!!

Today we leave Limerick for a two hour ride to Galway, our morning shopping stop.

We wrote limericks in honor of our visit to Limerick. Scott’s limerick won us candy to share. First I need to say that Peter (our guide) had Declan (our driver) stop the bus yesterday while in the national park so he could help “leprechauns” across the rode.

Scott’s limerick:

There once was a director named Pete
Who took us around Kerry, so sweet,
He showed us the walk,
The leprechauns talked,
Saying he looked like a monkey in heat!

Galway was beautiful. Very friendly, great shops – we all said we should have stayed there!!!

The weather yesterday was beautiful 75 degrees.

Blue skies, great clouds, great scenery, and great friends!

More later- Wifi may be in and out the next few days!!!!

Sent from Holly’s iPhone.

We start our day taking a boat ride in Killarney National Park on one of the lower lakes. It is raining but our boat is covered with lots of windows and a glass roof. We are told that the lake is high and will probably be a half meter higher by the end of the day because of the amount of rain over night.

The lake is full of small islands: Heron Island, Mouse Island, one with ruins from a building built in 500 AD which has a herd of Japanese red deer, etc. There are also swans and a fisherman with a dog.

We stop in Adare. There are a row of three adjoining houses with straw roofs. One of the houses, the middle one, is getting a new roof.

We visit a church with beautiful stained glass windows.

Then it is on to our hotel and a free afternoon as we have opted not to visit the Bunratty Castle Folk Park.

Our hotel is in Limerick City. It reminds us of a busy metropolitan city with lots of businesses and department stores.

Scott and I have lunch in a small pizza parlor. The owner is very friendly, like most people in Ireland.

It is amazing how we are in a metropolitan city. We can drive a couple of miles and be in the Irish Countryside, with cows, gardens, sheep.

Tonight we enjoyed a Medievil meal with entertainment at Bunratty Castle.

We are greeted by people dressed in 15th century costumes.

We are ushered into a Reception area which means we climb a circular staircase.

We drink Mead – which is honey based liquor – an ancient recipe from 1600s. We are offered a piece of bread which we are to dip in salt.

Next we are taken to the hall which is down the circular stairway. This is where the meal is served … at long wooden tables, which are 500 years old.

The table is set with dishes but only a sharp knife. We will be eating with our fingers, just like the people did in the 15th century.

Four courses are served:
1. A soup of potato, onion, and more garden vegetables. We drink our soup out of the bowl without utensils, just like olden times!
2. Spare ribs are next – very delicious
3. Chicken with carrots, turnips, grapes, potatoes, green beans
4. Strawberry mousse

Next is more singing. Very enjoyable evening! The voices were superb!

Sent from Holly’s iPhone.

We travel around the Ring of Kerry this morning. Our first stop is a comfort stop with Irish Coffee. As you know we are not coffee drinkers. Scott asks for a half of cup and I have Bailey’s – very tasty!!!!!

The views are the best so far. Can’t wait to see Scott’s pictures!!! The roads here are very narrow and very windy at times but we aren’t driving!!!!

Lunch is in a pub.

The afternoon is free! So I take off to explore the city center. I have a map from the hotel so when I stop to find out where I am, a woman offers directions. I must say people are very friendly, making me feel very comfortable!

Supper tonight is a “dine around” which means we are given a choice of three restaurants. We take the Italian. I have a salmon in red sauce over pasta dish which was the best so far. There are seven of us. Conversation is interesting and endless.

Tomorrow we leave Killarney. The next four nights are four different hotels!!!

Hello to all our friends in USA!!!!

Sent from Holly’s iPhone.

We start at Waterford Crystal Showroom for a tour of how Waterford Crystal is made.

Then it is on to Blarney Castle which was owned by Scott’s McCarthy Ancesters. Since it is 100 steps of uneven width and thickness, we opt not to kiss the Blarney Stone. Instead we explore the grounds – the rock close and the poison garden.

A quick lunch at the woolen mills and we head for Killarney & our hotel for the next two nights.

Our hotel is the Killarney Avenue Hotel, located in the center of Killarney.

Since it is not raining we take a ride on the jaunting cars. These are horse drawn buggies which take us through the national park. Our “Jarvie” (driver) is Mick who flirts with us the whole trip!

After a meal in the hotel, we join the crowds for their August Holiday festival. We enjoy music by Hot House Flowers, a band that Scott was familiar with from the 1980s, and juggling act – two gentleman, one in a kilt, juggled fire on very high unicycles.

Sent from Holly’s iPhone.

When coming into Waterford, we take the back way to the hotel in order to align the bus in the proper location so that it could be unloaded safetly.

Unfortunately when we went to the back of the hotel, the street was blocked due to a festival.

Spraoi is a professional festival going on in Waterford City, with lots of street entertainment from music to puppet shows to plays to juggling.

The first weekend of August is referred as the August Bank Holiday. Each town finds a reason to celebrate. In Waterford, it is the festival of light – black and white, good and evil.

Declan (driver) had to back up the bus at least two blocks, down a very narrow street and at the same time a mime, from the festival, was given us Sorry eyes and encouragement! We all laughed and got a kick out of it and eventually we got the bus turned around and sent into another direction in order for us to offload the bus properly.

Yeah! Super Declan! You are the best! We are in good hands!

After unloading the bus and getting checked into the hotel we had a couple hours to kill before we had dinner.

Our hotel is the Dooley’s Hotel, a family run hotel.

Scott and a couple of cronies went into the pub, that’s adjoining to the hotel, and he had a few pints of Guinness.

Holly and one of her friends, Sandy, walked up into the festival and around through the town and did some shopping and sightseeing.

They walked as far as Reginald’s Tower which is 1000-year-old tower on the corner down.

There were bands, jugglers, and various skits on each corner or side street.

We all hooked up and had dinner in the hotel and it was enjoyable time.

Sent from Holly’s iPhone.

After leaving the stud farm, we head to Kilkenny.

It is the site of a 13th century castle which was built for William Marshal, the fourth Earl of Pembroke. It later became the home of the Butler family.

In the 1930s, the castle was sold to the government because it cost too much to maintain. It is now open to the public. It is surrounded by beautiful grounds.

There is a rose garden which reminded us of the French gardens we saw in France. On the opposite side of the castle is a large expanse of grass, walking trails, a play ground, and more.

The town caters to tourists with lots of pubs, stores, and cafe. We have lunch in a cafeteria. Scott had cottage pie, which is the beef version of Shepard pie. It meant with Scott’s approval. Basically it was beef and mashed potatoes. I opted for cold chicken with two side salads- green and a potatoe salad of small cold potatoes and ham which needed mayo or oil or something.

One of the important historical facts of Ireland that you need to know is that a lot of the Irish Catholic Churches were destroyed when Cromwell invaded from England in 1650. Many of them are ruins today and are treated as sacred places. The Catholic churches were destroyed because Henry III was promoting his own Protestant religion. The people of Ireland look at Cromwell as a villain and the English look at him as a hero. The result is most Catholic Churches are built outside of villages while Protestant churches are located in the middle of the village.

Sent from Holly’s iPhone.

Amazingly, the rover has landed. Gotta love JPL!!!!

Sent from Scott’s iPhone.

Our first stop is at Irish National Stud Farm. It is home of several studs. We tour the padlocks and stables. Did you know that the owners of studs are paid for fathering colts and the amount they receive depends on how many winning colts they have fathered?

We are shown two studs. The first is named “Big Bad Bob”. He is clausiphobic. He only spends about an hour each day in the stable where he is fed. If he spends more he circles the pen instead of resting. Like most horse he spends most of his day in his padlock.

Next we are introduced to “Invisible Spirit”. This stud has fathered lots of winning colts. Thus the Stud Farm is paid greatly each time he fathers.

There are a few mares with their colts also. Did you know that horses breed from February 14 to July 15? This is because Mares carry their colts for 11 months. The age of colts are counted on January 1.

The Japanese Gardens and Saint Fiachra’s Garden are located on the Site. The gardens were superb! Lots of pictures were taken!

On the way out of the farm, we notice herds of sheep marked with vibrant colors on their backs. We are told that the markings denote ownership plus there is no money in the fur so ewes are marked for fertility – the more lambs they produce, the more valuable they are!

Sent from Holly’s iPhone.

Dublin City – the city has rows of block houses, much like brown stones in New York City. When they were built, all were alike with black doors.

Today doors are a variety of colors. The story that is told is that the wives redecorated. Their husbands would go out at night. Returning home at night they would claim to be confused as they would end up in the wrong house…

The cabaret tonight was very entertaining. Food was good. Scott chose the vegetable soup As his appetizer. It was a puréed soup. He enjoyed it. Plus we had a choice of beef, chicken, or salmon for the entree and all had a apple cookie bar for dessert.

The entertainment consisted of Irish dancers (3 men and 3 woman), a couple of singers who sang Irish ballads, the usual instruments (guitar, piano, flutes, Irish bagpipes).

Did you know that Scottish bagpipes are blown while Irish bagpipes are pumped?

The highlight of the show was the comedian. We sat near the front so guess who was the recipient of his jokes … Mrs. This. … Mrs. That .. Let’s say it was an enjoyable evening!

Sent from Holly’s iPhone.