Saturday, May 07, 2011

Touristy things and a wrap up

Being tourists, we did some touristy things in Ireland.  We really only had five days to play with, since Tuesday was spent getting out of the airport and picking up the rental car and figuring out how to get to the hotel.  It would've been easier and less time consuming if we hadn't been roaming around lost and disconcerted about driving on the wrong side of the road and freaking out every time we came to a roundabout.

We had many colorful conversations in the car that day, but I'll leave those up to your imagination.  And it was all worth it, which you'll understand when I show you the hotel photos.

Anyways, we were totally self-guided on this trip, which had its positives and negatives.  The "wandering around lost" part?  Kinda negative.  The doing what we wanted, when we wanted?  That was pretty good.  And we saw some things that may not have been on a typical tour. 

Like the Irish Museum of Modern Art, which had a former life as a military hospital.

Inside the IMMA in some kind of chapel room.  Not exactly modern art, but you know how I'm drawn to anything with stained glass.  Like a moth to a flame...

And there were tours that we thought we had to take, but in retrospect, we could have passed on them. For instance, the Guinness factory tour.  Total rip-off.  The come-on is this:  At the end of your very self-guided experience through what was a media show rather than a factory tour, you go up to The Gravity Bar and get a "free" pint of Guinness.  So basically you've just paid 12 Euros to walk through a slide show, see some memorabilia, visit the gift shop, and have a Guinness.  Pubs are far more entertaining and now I know we should have just gone to a pub and bought our own beers.

But I did get a cute picture of this fellow.

Guinness is good for you.  I didn't need any lunch after this pint...

We really enjoyed our tour of Dublin Castle.  It was one of the few guided tours and our guide was very, very good.

Dublin Castle
Excavation under Dublin Castle.  While renovating part of the building for office use, they found evidence of an early Viking fortress.  Really fascinating.

We visited some monastic ruins in Glendalough.  It was quite an adventure getting there.  We traveled up over the mountains, encountering narrow roads, rain, tour buses and very brave bikers.  But it was so beautiful.

And soon we arrived at the monastery, and learned about Celtic monastic life and how important it was to the health and welfare and growth of the region. Monks fascinate me.

Cathedral at Glendalough

Bell tower and graves with Celtic High Crosses
There's that cute man again.

And the next day, although the town of Kilkenny was our real destination, we visited some churches and Kilkenny Castle.  Although I don't have a good photo of the Kilkenny Castle grounds (dark and rainy day), they were also very beautiful.

Inside St. Mary's Church

The Black Abbey.  Sadly, it was closed by the time we arrived.

Kilkenny Castle

We stayed at the Ritz Carlton Powerscourt hotel, which was right next to the Powerscourt Gardens and...oh, is this just a coincidence?...right across from one of the nicest golf courses in Ireland.  So one day, Dave went off to play golf.  And he didn't even have to beg all that much.  Just a little.  And it all worked out, because this is where he left me:

In the garden behind the hotel, in the sun, with my book.  If you could enlarge the photo, you'd see a huge smile on my face.
When reading became too strenuous for me, I went inside to take a nap here, in the world's best bed.  Seriously.  It was the best bed I've ever, ever slept in.  A king-sized feather bed with snowy white sheets and blankets that were so soft and silky, I thought I was floating.  I loved getting into this bed at night and I didn't want to get out if it in the morning. 

And look here!  If nature called, I could go into the bathroom and watch TV.  On a TV that was somehow, some way built into the mirror.  Don't laugh.  One night I took a bath and watched TV at the same time.  Pretty amazing stuff.

And one last thing about the hotel, and I know that many of you will appreciate this. The valet kit in the dressing room had the usual stuff. Laundry bag, shoe sponge, etc. And a sewing kit. But  - pre-threaded needles!  You know I took that home with me!

So that was it - our trip in a nutshell.  Or more like three nutshells.  Except to tell you that for those 5 days, everyone I encountered called me "madame".  "Yes, madame?"  "Thank you madame."  "What will madame be having tonight?"  So we arrived in Pittsburgh and we were walking through the exits where a security guard was sitting.  I walked right by him, and looked at him and smiled, to which he responded, "Hey babe.  Have a nice night."

"Madame" on Monday morning.  "Babe" on Monday night.  My life is good.


  1. I've enjoyed your trip to Ireland - even though it's a hop and a skip from where we are (Scotland) - I've never been.

  2. I've really enjoyed reading about your trip. Great way to live vicariously. Love those threaded needles! How cool is that!

  3. Love it. Babe... I would have thought I was in NYC.


  4. Ireland looks lovely, glad you had a good time.
    Had to laugh at the driving on the wrong side of the road bit, now we all know that it's us that drive on the right side of the road, lol.
    Know what you mean though, OH went the wrong way around a roundabout in france once (oops)!!

  5. Thanks for sharing your trip with us! Looks like it was a great trip!

  6. You brought the sewing kit home and left the bed??? Couldn't you get a big enough suitcase?

    Looks like it was a wonderful time - glad you were able to take the trip - but where were the kids?

  7. It was so much fun to read about your trip to Ireland and to see all the great pictures. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I can see that you've had a wonderful trip Lee. So glad that you'd such a good time, we've had some lovely weather here lately so you picked the perfect time to visit.

  9. lol Hey Babe!
    When I had my daughter (in London) I was assigned a midwife that came to check on me daily for the first 10 days after I got home. One thing she recommended for me to do because I'd had a transfusion and had low iron, was to drink half a pint of Guinness a day. Natasha slept a lot.

    I love seeing your pictures! You got some terrific shots of the stained glass.

  10. What a beautiful trip. Thank you for sharing - now we can all dream...

  11. Looks like you had an awesome trip. Great pics!

  12. Well, since I'm in Ireland, should I call you madame?! ;) I am soo behind on blog reading as always, so was totally surprised to see that you've been to Ireland! I loved seeing your photos! I'm glad you had a good time, too. I loved Enniskerry--we stayed there once years ago. It's such a pretty little town. I'm late in telling you this, obviously, but there is a shop in Dublin that sells just trims. It's right off of Grafton Street. As for other stitching fare, that would be a big fat nada, zilcho, nope, nothing. The two shops in town that sold DMC have closed down. Thank God for the innernets! ;)

  13. Looks like you had a great trip! The pics were lovely!!

  14. Thanks a lot for all your stories about Ireland. This is my dream :) I'm not perfect in English yet, but I was really delighted while reading.
    Bless you God!
    Kate (Odessa, Ukraine)

  15. Thanks for sharing your holiday with us, love the photos. That bed looks wonderful. My BIL once drove the wrong way on a freeway in France OOOPPPSS!!!!
    Love the Madame to Babe story.