Friday, September 4, 2015

Weekend Reflections


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Posting at Weekend Reflections.

February 2015 - Singapore

Lampshades decorating the ceiling of a bar at the Marina.


Saturday Snapshot- The Powder Room


West Metro Mommy Reads

Saturday Snapshots is hosted by West Metro Mommy

November 2006 - Bonnie Springs NV

I love to take pictures of washroom signs, but am usually too shy to do it.
I took this when we stopped for lunch in Bonnie Springs Nevada. Where is that you ask? We were staying in Las Vegas which is the epitome of the fast-paced, ultra-modern city - swank, glittering, and exciting; but just a short, 25 mile drive away, you can visit the past again. Bonnie Springs Old Nevada is John Wayne country. Boarded sidewalks that creak pleasantly under your feet, saloons, tumbleweeds, stagecoaches, and even a Boot Hill Cemetery.

And then each cubicle was decorated in this fashion.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Look Up Look Down

Look Up, Look Down challenge hosted by Travel With Intent.

May 2007 - Donegal Ireland

We are in  Ireland this week so I have prepared some posts as I am not sure when or where I will get time to post.

This is from our last visit to Ireland in 2007. We went to Glenveagh National Park on a gorgeous spring day.



The castle was built between 1870 and1873 and consists of a four storey rectangular keep surrounded by a garden, and has a backdrop of some 165.4 km² (40,873 acres) of mountains, lakes, glens and woods complete with a herd of red deer.




The castle was built by Captain John George Adair, a native of Co Leix, and a member of the minor gentry. Adair had made his fortune by chancy land speculation in the United States, and he returned to Ireland and bought up vast tracts of land in Donegal. Adair had married in 1869, Cornelia Wadsworth Ritchie, a daughter of James S. Wadsworth, a Union General in the American Civil War. Together they set about the creation of the Gardens and Castle. Adair's ambition was to create an estate and castle that surpassed Balmoral, Queen Victoria's Scottish retreat. John Adair is remembered with scant affection in Donegal. On the heels of the Great Irish Famine and emigration on a par with the Highland Clearances, John Adair evicted 224 tenants from their blackhouses on his land. This was not for financial gain, but merely to improve the æsthetic aspect from the castle. These tenant clearances are known as the "Derryveagh Evictions". The name of John George Adair as a Donegal landlord has passed into history and folklore, ballad and documentary. All have one thing in common - Adair was notoriously cruel. He purchased Glenveagh and Gartan in 1859 making an estate of 28,000 acres.




The gardens and castle were left to the Irish nation in 1981 by Henry Plumer McIlhenny of Philadelphia, who had purchased the estate in 1937. Hollywood stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin and Greta Garbo vacationed at the castle whilst McIlhenny owned it. The Irish Gleann Bheatha (Bheithe) translates into English as "Glen of the Birch Trees".












Monday, August 31, 2015

Song-ography




Song-ography is hosted by You'll Shoot Your Eye Out, a fantastic photographer and funny lady.



July 2015 - Toronto ON


Taken from our condo window (in July) looking north west towards Pearson International Airport.


So excited, we (us and friends) are leaving for Ireland on Tuesday September 2!

You can hear the song coming, can't you? Sung by a Canadian.

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go!

Leaving on a Jet Plane - CHANTAL KREVIAZUK 



Sunday, August 30, 2015

Monday Walk Around Our World



November 2010 - Athens Greece
Let's wander around the Agora neighbourhood, an eclectic and funky area.












walking logoOur World Tuesday Graphic

Monday Walks         Our World Tuesday





Monday Mural

I'm linking up at Monday Mural hosted by Oakland Daily Photo.


July 2015 - Toronto ON

John St. north of Queen.

I was very pleased to find this as I am a huge Frida fan.Click here for an exhibit I saw in San Diego.
And a couple of weeks ago I went to see an exhibition about her at the Textile Museum on another walk.





Our Irish Itinerary

September 2015 - Ireland


Our planned itinerary for the Irish portion of our trip with friends. I was born in Dublin and have made many trips over the years first with my parents and then with my husband. Our last trip was in 2007 so this is our longest gap. I am really excited to be travelling with friends who have never been to Ireland. We've traveled with them in the past and always have fun.

B found a private tour for us and we booked that. That means that we won't be spending time  saying "I don't know, what do you want to do?". And we (really, John, my husband) don't have to worry about driving and he gets to sit back and enjoy. It also means, not waiting around for everybody to be ready and getting on and off tour buses.



We leave Toronto on September 2 at 11:10 PM in row 4D and F and friends in 3. We should arrive in Dublin around 11AM on the 3rd.

I decided to use photos from various other trips we've taken. The hotels I have taken from various online sites.
 "Real" photos to come in daily updates.




3rd September 2015: ARRIVE DUBLIN. CEAD MILE FÁILTE. Upon arrival at Dublin airport, you will be met by one of our top class driver/guides and escorted to a luxury vehicle and privately transferred into Dublin City.

Your driver/guide will conduct an orientation tour of the city including some of the major sights. You will see O’Connell Street and the General Post Office which was the location where the Proclamation was read for the first time on Easter Sunday 1916, you will see the Garden of Remembrance, The Custom House and get a feel for this great city. We also include entrance to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells and a self-guided tour at The Guinness Storehouse where you can sample the black stuff.



 In the evening you will check in 2 nights in 2 queen bedded double rooms at the luxurious and centrally located 5 star Shelbourne Hotel, a Renaissance Hotel, this property boasts a picture-perfect location overlooking St. Stephen's Green, just moments from some of Dublin's most famous historic landmarks, The Shelbourne Hotel successfully marries traditional splendour and contemporary convenience.




 4th September 2015: HALF DAY TOUR TO NEWGRANGE AND A WALKING TOUR OF THE CITY. After your full Irish breakfast this morning, at 9am you will meet your driver/guide for a half day tour to Newgrange. Your visit includes entrance to the visitor centre and a scheduled guided tour of the 4,500 year old portal tombs on the site. There is no better introduction to Ireland’s incredible history and during your Irish experience your driver/guide will narrate 10.000 years of history and culture bringing alive the heritage and character of our great country.



 You will return to Dublin before 1pm and there will be time for an optional lunch. At 2.30pm you will meet an expert local guide for a 3 hour walking tour. Your tour will focus on the highlights of the city centre and give an informed and fun perspective of life and history in Ireland’s capital. The walking tour will end at 5.30pm back at your hotel or elsewhere in the city centre (you can discuss with your guide if you’d like to finish up in Temple Bar or another part of the city where you can explore further on your own or have an early dinner).




5th September 2015: DUBLIN TO CORK: THE LAND OF THE SAINTS AND SCHOLARS. After breakfast you will be collected by your driver/guide in a luxury vehicle. You will travel south west, first stopping at The Rock of Cashel. The site where St Patrick chose to make the head of his church in Ireland, the Rock of Cashel is a spectacular group of medieval buildings set on an outcrop of limestone in the Golden Vale including the 12th century round tower, High Cross and Romanesque Chapel, 13th century Gothic cathedral, 15th century Castle and the restored Hall of the Vicars Choral.

After your visit you will continue to Blarney Castle where you will have the chance to kiss the famous Stone of Eloquence and time to pillage the adjacent woollen mills.




 Later you will continue to Kinsale where you will check into the stunning Perryville House for a 2 night stay in a deluxe king bedded room and a standard double room (we have waitlisted for a 2nd superior or deluxe room but currently there is only a standard available).



Situated right in the heart of beautiful Kinsale, Perryville House is an up to date take on a new style of family run Kinsale hotel - original, relaxed and sitting comfortably within its environment.... A touch of luxury combined with a homely charm. This 200 year old country house is warm, comfortable and interesting. Decorated in beautiful muted shades it has evolved rather than been interior designed. Perryville House evokes the sense of old world elegance and relaxed intimacy you cannot help but fall in love with. The Corcoran family and a small team dedicated to your wellbeing will warmly welcome you to Perryville House Kinsale with a sincere will to please and make you feel at home.

The evening is free for you to relax and explore Kinsale and try any of the fine restaurants that make Kinsale known as the Gourmet Capital of Ireland.


 6th September 2015: EXPLORING CORK: Today we include a full day with your driver/guide to explore Cork City and the English market. You will also visit the Queenstown Story in Cobh and the Midleton Distillery. At the Queenstown Story you will learn about the tragedy of the Irish Famine and the story of Irish Emigration. You will also learn through story boards about the sinking of the US ship Lusitania, and the last stop of the ill-fated Titanic at the port of Cobh.

Later you will visit the Midleton Distillery. A tour of the Jameson Experience is a journey through the story and making of Irish whiskey. Guided tours are available throughout the year and all tours commence with an audio-visual presentation, retracing the history of whiskey in Ireland. Guests are then guided through the old distillery, where they can admire the old kilns, mills, maltings, water wheel, still house, distiller’s cottage, cooperage and warehouses.

 In the late afternoon its back to Kinsale for an evening at your leisure


 7th September 2015: CORK TO KILLARNEY. THE WILD ATLANTIC WAY. After breakfast you will meet with your driver/guide and depart Kinsale. You will travel along the wild and rugged south and west coast, part of Ireland’s famous tourist route the Wild Atlantic Way. First you can make a stop to view the breath-taking scenery at the Old Head of Kinsale and travel along the coastline to Skibbereen and around Bantry Bay, One of the world’s largest natural harbours. Today is all about the very best of Irish scenery truly breath-taking panoramas that present a new vista with every mile. There will be plenty of photo stops your will also travel onto the Beara Peninsula and over the Caha Pass where you can walk from Cork to the Kingdom of Kerry enjoying some stunning views. There will be time for lunch in any of the picturesque villages and also time to stop in Kenmare for some shopping.

 In the late afternoon you will arrive in Killarney which will be your bases for 2 nights. Accommodation is included at The Aghadoe Heights Hotel in a lake side deluxe room. A superb 5 star hotel located with incredible views over Killarney and Lough Leane the largest of the lakes.



You will bid farewell to your driver/guide this evening. The hotel offers a free shuttle to town to enjoy Ireland’s most famous tourist town and all of the great pubs and restaurants.



 8th September 2015: THE RING OF KERRY: After breakfast this morning you will meet with your driver/guide for a day tour around Ireland’s most famous scenic route the Ring of Kerry. This circular drive around the Iveragh Peninsula gives offers some incredible scenery. You will travel via Killorglin, to Waterville and Sneem and inland past Ireland highest peak Carrantuohill. From here you will travel to Molls Gap along the beautiful Lakes of Killarney, through the national park and back to Killarney Town. Your driver/guide will conduct a tour of the town where you can see Ross Castle and Muckross House and much more.

There will be some free time in the town before being dropped back to Aghadoe Heights Hotel.

In the evening we include round trip transfers to Kate Kearney's Cottage for dinner followed by traditional Irish music dancing and craic.


 9th September 2015: THE DINGLE PENINSULA. After breakfast at 9am today you will meet your driver/guide and travel west onto the edge of a continent. The Dingle Peninsula is a journey that takes in the wild and rugged beauty of the Slea head Drive. The peninsula is littered with Archaeological remains and secluded sandy beaches, here you can walk on one of them and feel the splendid isolation that the Neolithic settlers must have felt in 4,000 BC when they made the area their home.

Dingle Town is one of Ireland’s quickly disappearing Gaeltacht regions where Irish is the first language and one can almost sense the difference here. Your driver/guide will teach you a “cupla focal”, a few words in Irish. You will spend the day exploring the region and in the afternoon check in for an overnight stay in 2 deluxe sea view rooms at Emlagh House.

{Emlagh House in Dingle, Ireland, via Tourism Resources}


Dingle comes alive in the evening with music and craic and the evening is free for to relax, dine at your leisure and enjoy some great traditional Irish music



 10th September 2015: IRELAND'S PRETTIEST TOWN BUNRATTY CASTLE AND FOLK PARK. After breakfast today you will meet with your new driver/guide and travel over the Connor Pass and via Tralee to the pretty town of Adare regarded as Ireland's prettiest town.

You will make a stop here to explore the town and later you will bypass Limerick City and travel to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park where we include entrance and a guided tour of the famous castle. Bunratty Castle is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland. Built in 1425 it was restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendour and now contains mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings, tapestries, and works of art which capture the mood of those times.

Adjacent to the castle is Bunratty Folk Park where you can enjoy the sights, sounds tastes, scents, of this enchanting place as you stroll from house to house or around the charming village street complete with school, post office, doctor's house, hardware shop, printers and of course McNamara’s pub!
There will be time for lunch perhaps at Durty Nellie’s beside the castle and nearby are The Woollen Mills where there is a chance to buy a wide range of Irish goods and souvenirs at great prices.

 In the mid-afternoon you will check into Dromoland Castle for 2 nights in 2 Queen Anne rooms (upgraded rooms may be possible on request). With a reputation built on its unparalleled warmth and hospitality, you will understand just what a special experience it is to stay at one of the finest 5 star hotels in Ireland.



The balance of the day and the evening are free to enjoy the wonderful facilities at Dromoland


11th September 2015: HALF DAY TOUR TO THE CLIFFS OF MOHER AND THE BURREN: After breakfast at the Castle today you will meet with your driver guide and travel northwest to The Cliffs of Moher - a sheer precipice that stretches for 5 miles along the Wild Atlantic Way. The Cliffs of Moher rise to a height of 668 feet above the Atlantic and is one of the most impressive coastlines in Ireland. In nesting season the cliffs are home to a variety of seabirds. Entrances to Cliffs of Moher Visitors Centre included.

 There will also be some time to see the Burren Region a remarkable landscape of Limestone and littered with Neolithic sites dating back 6,000 years.

 In the early afternoon you will return to Dromoland Castle for free time to enjoy the castle


 12th September 2015: GALWAY: After breakfast today we include a direct transfer to Galway, meet with your driver at 11am for the transfer. (We can adjust this if you prefer earlier). On arrival in Galway you will be dropped off at the centrally located Park House Hotel where we include one night in 2 deluxe double rooms.




The afternoon is free for you to explore this great city. Arty, bohemian Galway (Gaillimh) is renowned for its pleasures. Brightly painted pubs heave with live music, while cafes offer front-row seats for observing street performers, weekend parties run amuck, lovers entwined and more. Steeped in history, the city nonetheless has a contemporary vibe. Students make up a quarter of its population, and remnants of the medieval town walls lie between shops selling Aran sweaters, handcrafted Claddagh rings and stacks of second-hand and new books. Bridges arch over the salmon-filled River Corrib, and a long promenade leads to the seaside suburb of Salthill, on Galway Bay, the source of the area's famous oysters.


13th September 2015: TRANFER TO DUBLIN: Today we include a private transfer to Dublin, you will check in for 3 nights at the 4 star Ashling Hotel in 2 superior double rooms. The time is free for you to explore Dublin further.


14th September: Dublin on our own.

15th September: Dublin on our own.

16th September: DEPARTURE: Our services end after breakfast today you can take a taxi to the airport for your return flight home.


We are heading to Berlin and our friends are heading home to Toronto.