Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ireland: Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore is home to a community of nuns of the Benedictine Order who came here in 1920 after their abbey in Ypres, Belgium was destroyed in World War I. Settling at Kylemore, the Benedictine Community opened a world renowned boarding school for girls and began restoring the Abbey, Gothic Church and Victorian Walled Garden to their former glory. (Source HERE.)

The Connemara Region is vast and there's just so many things to see and experience. We thought a day should be suffice to explore the area, but we had to constantly readjust our schedule and itinerary. It is doable in a day, but I'd suggest two days at least.

Our first stop for the day was the picturesque Kylemore Abbey.

Who wouldn't fall-in-love with this view? I did.

Kylemore Abbey between a mountain and Pollacapall Lough.

Gothic Church

Victorian Walled Garden

Azaleas in full bloom.

Does anyone know the name of this flower?

The weather was clear when we arrived at Kylemore Abbey, but by the time we were leaving, raindrops poured and the clouds came down to kiss the mountain.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ireland: Galway

We spent our first few days in Dublin, but today I will feature Galway. I still need to sort out the photos I took in Dublin. Procrastination is my enemy these days.

Off note, I've been feeling lazy since we got back from vacation. I'm in a weird phase. I'm not sure if it's the stifling summer heat or something else. The DC Metro area feels like an oven at this time of year.

Otherwise, I'm in need of some motivation. Perhaps another vacation? Oh how I wish!

Our first day in Galway was subtle and laid back. Right after we checked-in at our bed and breakfast, we parked our rental car and walked to town. The weather was also beautiful but little did we know the next day will be windy and rainy.

I'm not sure what game they were playing, but it looked like basketball on water with canoes. We watched them for a long time trying to figure out what game this was. Does anyone know this game?

The River Corrib - photo taken from the Wolfe Tone Bridge.

This is where the River Corrib meets the Atlantic Sea. This is one of my favorite photos because it captures Galway's beginnings as a small fishing village. Today, you can still watch salmon fishermen haul their catch for the day at sundown.

The sea and the weather are crucial in defining the land and people of this area of Ireland.

For Skywatch

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Ireland: Ballinskelligs Bay And Carrick Island

It's been a week since we came back from Ireland. Sadly, I got sick during the last two days of our vacation, so I've been nursing a cold since we got home. Thus explains my absence in the blogging world.

Kepi and I really enjoyed Ireland. The scenery is incredibly beautiful, but the Irish weather can be pleasantly sunny at this hour and unpredictably rainy in the next. If you do find yourself on Irish soil, it is wise to keep an umbrella or a raincoat handy at all times.

Our 11-day vacation in Ireland took us to Dublin, Galway, Killarney, Cork and the Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland. On this trip, we tried not to pack so much on our itinerary so we were able to leisurely explore the west coast of "The Emerald Isle".  Dublin is just a six-hour plane ride from Maryland, so we know we're going back to explore the rest.  

The 16th century McCarthy Stronghold or Ballinskelligs Castle watches over the beautiful Ballinskelligs bay.  The Castle is named after the McCarthys who where known chieftains of Cork and Kerry.  The place was so quiet when we got there, and if time allowed, I would have preferred to camp and spend the night there.

This photo was taken at the small rocky island of Carrick near Ballintoy in County Antrim. To get here, you have to cross the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge which spans 20 meters and is 30 meters above water and rocks.  It was so windy when we crossed the bridge. I saw a lady who needed to be escorted because she started panicking in the midst of crossing, and there were a few who turned back. The rewards of crossing this bridge are views of the unending sea, the beautiful and strong Irish Sea Pinks and other flowers that grow on the cliffs, Rathlin Island and a glimpse of Scotland.

Taken with iPhone
Ireland Trip May-June 2015

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Ireland: Clonmacnoise

We visited Clonmacnoise on our way to Galway.

Clonmacnoise is in County Offaly on the River Shannon south of Athlone.  It was founded in 544 by St. Ciarán.

Taken on May 26, 2015

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Hello From Dublin!

Good morning from Dublin, Ireland!

It's our third day and we're enjoying it so far.

Yesterday, I met Odette, she's one of my Iggy sisters.  We really enjoyed her company and we're so grateful she took the time to show us Trinity College and the General Post Office. I finally got to see the Book of Kells; my theology professor would be proud of me.


The main chamber of the Old Library is the Long Room, and at nearly 65 metres in length, it is filled with 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books. When built (between 1712 and 1732) it had a flat plaster ceiling and shelving for books was on the lower level only, with an open gallery. By the 1850s these shelves had become completely full; largely as since 1801 the Library had been given the right to claim a free copy of every book published in Britain and Ireland. In 1860 the roof was raised to allow construction of the present barrel-vaulted ceiling and upper gallery bookcases.
(Source HERE)

Today, we're driving to Galway with a stop at Clonmacnoise.  I can't wait!