Arrival at Dublin airport....Aer Lingus party plane from Chicago - complete with Irish leis provided by Tracy & Liam! L - R Suzette, Lucy, YT, Karen, Gary, Chris, Kelly : )
Welcomed to Tracy's home with bagpipe music!
The same piper that played at her wedding....the neighbors all came out to see what the excitement was!
Loving attention was paid to every detail <3
1st Official Group Shot
Hung on the O'Dwyer's staircase landing, a Lenten project that Tracy did with her daughter Emma in 2007. Could also work as a signed wedding momento ; )
My favorite part of it...."Mom" is cut off in the first line : /
Pretty park near Tracy's house wearing my "CM Ireland 2011 Aer Lingus Flight 124: Chris Gary Karen Kelly Lucy Margot Suzette" T-shirt made especially for us on the Chicago party plane by Chris-50555
Dingle & Berry in da house
Day One: Glendalough, founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century.
Even the rocks are green here
Cool cemetery @ Glendalough
Many, many of the headstones are blank because most people were illiterate way back when.
Church on the grounds
Glendalough with the bell tower in the background
Labyrinth @ Glendalough
Small model of how it looked in the heyday of the monastery. It was a center of learning for centuries.
Gate to the walled Glendalough. Back in the day it had a wooden roof.
Glendalough guided tour
Roomie Jackie looking saucy at Glendalough
Random tourist & tilted headstones @ Glendalough
Yet more Glendalough
Roomie Jackie, aka "Berry"
Beef....we saw a LOT of it
Trail alongside the "lough" of Glendalough
Grass-fed beef @ Glendalough
More beef, more Glendalough
Food truck outside the monastery gate
Wright's Angler's Rest in Dublin, our first dinner in Ireland.
Our Gary playing bartenter
Beautiful fireplace. Michael Collins, the leader of the 1916 uprisings used to hold secret meetings here.
My first Guinness Stew
After dinner session
♫♪ Mush-a ring dum-a do dum-a da
Whack for my daddy-o. Whack for my daddy-o
There's whiskey in the jar ♫♪
Ruanne helping herself...LOL
Thanks Christina! : )
Our first Irish breakfast in Dublin before taking off to parts unknown (for us, anyway!)
The bathroom on the funcoach. Or as I referred to it, the cat box...lol.
Table on the funcoach where Tracy & Liam prepared our lunches every day : )
Ellen & Tracy
Green Rosary hanging from the funcoach r/v mirror
Approaching Rock of Cashel
paddywagontours. too bad they didn't have our Funcoach!
I guess they're remodeling? LOL
Sign outside Rock of Cashel. We didn't make it to the Famine Museum, but certainly did hear a lot about the famine on this trip.
Tracy's husband's moonlighting gig....lol
It gets windy up on this outcrop, once enough to take down the corner of this center structure.
View from Rock of Cashel
Oh, here's the corner of that building, still where it fell.
Hmm....I fergit what this was...lol! Anybody?
Impressive ceiling @ Rock of Cashel
Detail of wooden angel in ceiling.
Pretty medieval window
Obligatory castle tapestry
The weather there is so damp that it hastens the deterioration of buildings, and as you can see, mold is an issue.
Interesting heads @ Rock of Cashel
Inside the Rock of Cashel
Fabulous view thru a doorway, & me in my finest traveling chic.
Different sculpture of the Crucifixion
Another Crucifixion scene
Interesting carved face in the wall
Ta-da! Preparing to serve us our first lunch on the Funcoach.
These two are too cute!
View coming into Cobh, County Cork, where Irish passengers of the Titanic boarded.
It's hard to explain, but the water looked almost "layered", like there was a stream going thru the water in the bay. No idea how that happened, but it was interesting to look at.
Cobh (pronounced "Cove")
Palm trees in Ireland??!!
There were a LOT of Kelly's'!
It's a very pretty little town
Memorial to the rescuers, most who were just regular fishermen & villagers, who lost their lives after the sinking of the Lusitania, which also happened in this same area off County Cork.
Pub named after the sister ship to the Lusitania.
Pier where Titanic passengers took their last steps before boarding. It's a local controversy. Some want to demolish it as it is deteriorating. Some want to keep it as a memorial as long as possible.
The beautiful Cathedral in Cobh (pronounced "Cove")
View from the Cathedral, or as the locals say, CaTedral.
Group shot in Cobh...in front of the CaTedral
Red lemonade. Non-alcoholic & tastes pretty much like 7-up if you ask me
Lucy, Margot & Chris having a refresher in Cobh
Don't make me bring out the big gun!
We stopped here in Macroom, County Cork on day 3 for poor Christie in our group (who's luggage still hadn't arrived) to do some shopping.
More "layered" water
On the way to our next adventure!
In case you're wondering, taken for the bottom middle picture
Life Pregnancy Care Service
Young Ladies Bedroom
George climbing the spiral staircase @ Blarney Castle
The grounds @ Blarney are gorgeous
George kissing the stone. You have to hang backwards over open air three stories up....no thank you...LOL!
View from castle window
Suzette coming up (down?) the staircase
The "murder hole"
My L.A. homie Ruanne
I kissed the whole castle
Rhubarb is poison? Who knew!?
Yet more Blarney
And still more Blarney!
The dungeon @ Blarney
Random guys hunting for coins in the stream at.....Blarney!
Walking the short walk to the town square for dinner.
Day 2 dinner L-R Driver Con, Ron, Ithro, Hilda, George, Ruanne, Margot, Jackie
1st time I've ever seen a roasted potato on top of mashed potato....those Irish love their potatoes!
Ithro & Con
L-R Mark, Ruanne, George, Anna, Ron
Pile 'o peat.....bricks, I guess you'd call them?
For my childhood friend Ron Mulvihill
House @ the bog village
Loved this pub!
My first real Irish Coffee
He was a foxy fox
Pretty stop on the way to Killarney
Lucy, Jackie, me & more pretty views.
Mile after mile of spectacular views
Yet another spectacular view
Sightseeing stop. I think that's a golf course in the distance.
Picnic lunch stop on the way to Killarney. Not sure what town this is....maybe Sneem?
Yet another beautiful vista from the Funcoach
Mack, Lucy & Ellen
Gary & Lucy
Photo stop - Ruanne & Jackie
Berry & Dingle...the early days
I wanted to hold the little pig (bottom right of photo) but the beggar said he's not so friendly : /
Looking out the Funcoach window. I can't tell you how many times it felt like we were going to either collide head-on or crush another car on those skinny winding roads!
I'm sure there was a reason I took this picture....LOL.
Another hair-raising moment....glad I wasn't driving
Our welcome at the Gleann Fia Country House. CM'ers had the entire place to ourselves!
CM'ers are in da house!
CM invasion 2011
Me bonding with the B&B kitteh @ Gleann Fia
Very cool chess set of golfers
guesthouse kitty : ) Notice the clover
Stream on the grounds
Margot & Liam, Tracy's wonderful husband wearing the T-shirt I got him
Ron in our breakfast (and dinner) room for 2 nights.
Glynne doesn't go anywhere without her hot sauce!
"It was about this tall"
Pub in Killarney
CM'ers in da house again. L-R George, Anna, Jackie, Teresa, Chris, Gloria & Gary
That Bulmers' really grows on ya!
Ruanne & new friends
Gary and his "cousins". J/K Gary....we love you!
Was tempted to buy the pink guitar, but it didn't have a very good sound.
Funny picture in Killarney
Guy in pink is a total stranger. Ladies are Teresa & Chris ("Pinkie 5")
Random peeps just showed up to be in our picture....LOL
Girls room @ Gleann Fia Country House, "our" B & B
Our free day in Killarney National Park. A group of us went to hike the Gap of Dunloe. They have these pony jaunt thingies for those that don't want to make the 3-hour trek on foot.
Rock climbers....thought of you Aaron & Robin
♫♪ I love to go a-wandering,
Along the mountain track,
And as I go, I love to sing,
My knapsack on my back.
My knapsack on my back ♫♪
L - R Lynne, Suzette, Jackie, Margot, Ruanne, Teresa, Ron, Mark, Lucy & Susie
Margot & Susie & pretty water.
The sheep are marked w/ red or blue to denote ownership, or Republican or Democrat
The breathtaking Gap of Dunloe, taken by a CM'er with an obviously vastly superior camera to mine....LOL!
We hiked over this bridge in the Gap of Dunloe
On the bridge : )
Gap of Dunloe, on our way to the glacial lakes @ the other end.
♪♫ I love to wander by the stream
That dances in the sun,
So joyously it calls to me,
"Come! Join my happy song!"
My knapsack on my back. ♫♪
ISO an outhouse
with Ron in the Gap of Dunloe
Finally reached the other side of the trail for the boat ride across a crystal clear glacial lake. Lucy, Jackie & Ruanne.
Teresa, Margot & Susie
Teresa, Margot & Susie.....boat from the Gap of Dunloe to Ross Castle
it got cold
Teresa & "Dunc"
Our driver was straight out of Disney central casting, with a wicked Irish wit & a glass eye. He raised his left hand & told us everything he said was the Gospel troot, starting with that lever on his right was a Guiness tap....lol.
The boatman told us if we spit under this bridge you'll be married within a year. Do you think any of us did it? Nooooooo....lol
360 degrees of beauty
our destination on the other side of the lake, Ross Castle
taking an important call
What??!! It got cold!
Servant's entrance @ Ross Castle?
St. Mary's Cathedral in Killarney. We attended Mass here.
It's kinda hard to tell from this pic but the edges of all the stonework were unsmooth & unpolished. I found that interesting.
Dang if I know what this is
Back 'home' at Gleann Fia singing Happy Birthday to our first Funcoach driver, Con
Jaunting car ride around the grounds @ Muckross estate
On our way back to the waterfall
The jaunting car drops you off & then there is a short hike back to the waterfall.
Jackie taking a picture of Connor in a moss-covered tree
green rocks in a 'dry' riverbed
Me with Connor & Jacke @ Muckross Estate
Listening to our intrepid leader before boarding the Funcoach for another adventure
...and still more beauty out of the bus window
My Little Pony!
Susie & the Shetland Ponies
Nature : )
Tall horse (or short me!)
Air knitting with Mack @ the working sheep farm house
Lucy & Jackie!
Nothing like a farmhouse lunch : )
George & a hungry baby lamb
Lucy & lamb
BEFORE - (the brown one)
The sheep are amazingly docile.....like sheep actually!
AFTER - Ahh....feels so good after a haircut!
raw wool....it feels surprisingly oily to the touch before it's cleaned
Thatched cottages in Adare
More pretty thatched-ness in Adare
Ridiculously pretty Irish houses
I'm in good hands
I was so happy to discover this at the Cathedral right across from our hotel in Ennis. I had much to thank Jesus for : )
I LOVED this painting of the Annunciation in the Cathedral at Ennis. The expression on Mary's face says it all.
The selection on the breakfast menu said Goat Cheese with Portobello Mushroom, but there was hardly any mushroom, just that little flat part at the bottom, and the rest was loaded with cheese. Yummy but way too rich to eat it all. The cheese was great spread on the Irish brown bread!
Photo stop on the way to Ennis
Funneh boat name on the way to Inis Mor, the largest of the Aran Islands
Ron, Glynne & Courtnie
Hot & holy
Before we discovered that these outdoor benches were covered with wet, oily soot : (
Sleep-deprived revelers catching a few winks on the boat
Scenery on Inis Mor. I learned thatched roofs (or is it rooves?) need to be changed about every 7 years. This one looks like it's overdue.
Nobody is allowed to purchase property here unless they can speak Gaelic, and nobody is allowed to build unless they have family ancestry on the island.
The entire island is criss-crossed with these ancient stone walls, which were built simply to clear the land. Over the centuries they have been used to demark property ownership, but I was surprised that many of them don't even appear to have openings.
View of the stone walls
Hiking up to Dun Aengus, one of the most spectacular and dramatic prehistoric stone forts in Europe. That's Jackie taking a pic & Courtnie in the foreground.
Close-up of a wall. Look Ma...no mortar!
Approaching the fort
Jackie the Conqueror
I stole this spectacular shot from another CM'ers album. NO WAY IN HELL was I going to get this close!!!!!
Another shot I was too chicken to get
Inside the fort
L-R Christie, Mark, Yours Truly, Jackie & Ron
Dun Aengus Fort - Crazy a** tourists!!
Stranger, Ruanne, Tracy & Mary @ Dun Aengus....stay away from that edge!
Inside the fort. I was a-skeered to get too close to the edge. They don't know if it was built in a semi-circle or a circle originally, and the cliff fell away.
I'm pretty sure this is Inis Mor, a different part of the island....stole this shot from Christie. Thanks, Christie!
Waitin' for the boat back to the mainland. Lucy, Ron & Ruanne. I always think it says "droolin' only" for a second when I look at this pic...lol.
Jackie looking cute with her hat and me with my fetching Ireland apres-boat hair....LOL
a safe view of the Cliffs of Moher
Moher Cliffs of Moher
Susie & Gary are NUTS!
Ron with his CM t-shirt
The Burren. The stone ground there is so cool from erosion over the millenia. You have to hop over the gaps.
The Dolman. I was surprised at how small it was when it came into view from the Funcoach, I had pictured something like Stonehenge. Maybe they wrote the wrong measurements on a cocktail napkin.
Fred Flintstone was here
Christina & George
Group photo time!
En route to our next adventure......
Photo op along the way
Green as far as the eye can see
Passing by a castle
Next stop, the magnificent Kylemore Abbey
View from in front of the Abbey
Yet another huge building built by a man for the woman he loved. This was over the door, to signify it was going to be their nest.
The only time in my life I have seen formal portraits of nuns!
Real-life current resident of the Abbey....hey, I just noticed she kinda looks like the nun in that previous portrait!
Madonna's daughter Lourdes attended boarding school here until they closed the school. It's still an active Abbey.
Doorway into the walled garden
The gardener's quarters
It's impossible to capture the whole thing with a camera. This garden supplied / supplies all of the produce & flowers for the Manor
Cute donated bench on the Abbey grounds
After bearing 9 children, the wife died an untimely death on a holiday trip to Egypt. Contracted dysentary @ the age of 43. He was so devastated he embalmed her in a clear glass case & placed the case in a chapel on the grounds. It's said he would bring her out once a year to the Christmas table.
On our way to Croagh Patrick thru still more magnificent scenery.
That peak is Crough Patrick, where St. Patrick climbed and prayed & fasted for 40 days for the conversion of Ireland.
Another view of Crough Patrick
A memorial across the street from Crough Patrick to the famine victims that left Ireland. Those are skeletons clinging to the masts.
Back on the Funcoach. This is a book someone purchased showing a time lapse photo of the setting sun at C.P. Because of the rotation of the earth, it looks like the setting sun is "rolling" down the mountain instead of going straight down.
En route to Westport via the spectacular Connemara Region.
Arrival, Westport County Lodge. Complete with a bouncy castle!
Arrival @ our hotel in Westport....look, a jumpie castle!
Waiting for my prince
My first Baby Guiness. Mama, baby & Daddy.
The squirming slug that dropped out of Gary's salad. Mmm....fresh!
Ate dinner here in Westport
Matt Malloy's in Westport....owned by the flute player from the Chieftans. Excuse the crappy picture quality.
Jackie & Margot with their babies & Gary with his daddy.
Gary & random blond
They had a box of free books at this pub!
I could listen to this music every night....o wait, I did!
I liked this headstone because it reminds whoever is reading it to pray for the occupant below. Robin, take note!
Cong, famous as the setting for "The Quiet Man".
I think this is still Cong. Many of the ancient cemeteries in Ireland are still in use.
Pretty scene in Cong
Glynne, Host Liam, Yours Truly, Hostess Tracy
Actual part of the wall where the apparition appeared
The Stations of the Cross in the Church were beautiful
Giant Rosary @ Knock Shrine
"..on life's journey, there are no strangers only fellow pilgrims." Perfect quote for this trip!
The shops outside the shrine all have saints' names
Susie & Jackie after I was evicted from sitting next to Jackie. Tracy had to split us up : Þ
The Wedding Topper on the cake of our trip.....Kilronan Castle!
Roman pool @ the Castle. I couldn't bring a camera into the thermal baths....it was just too wet down there.
Note the crown on Jackie's head...LOL
Dingle & Berry, Inc.....all dolled up.
Our sumptious castle dinner : )
Crappy photo, but there were dual harpists playing in the hotel sitting area. I dashed out there during dinner to see them.
Melt-in-your-mouth Irish grass-fed beef. We were told on the farm that hormones or giving anything artificial to the cows is worse than murder here.
Lemon Rosemary Creme Brulee & Limoncello Sherbet
The wait staff
Ithro & Jackie
Full text of our lovely young Christie's thank you speech in comment section below. She spoke what was in all of our hearts. I still can't read it without getting choked up.
Tracy was very moved with emotion....we all were!
Card signed by everyone presented with the Ikea gift card that we all contributed to.
My knight in shining armor (original, huh?)
Connor in his luxury suite @ the castle
After-hours card game in the dungeon
The Great Dalmuti
Mack w/ his little 'puter @ breakfast
Ron, Teresa & George
♫♪ Val-der-ri, Val-der-ra.....♫♪
Hiking around the lake @ the castle
George, Teresa, Ron & Courtnie. I touched a nettle for the first time ever in this forest....YOWZA that hurt!!
Don't ask....I never found out
It was cool how this tree was grafted onto the wall
Bellman @ the Castle
He had quite a grip!
Packing up the Funcoach to leave <sadface>
They had put up an American flag just for us!
I didn't take any shots of us arriving, but I'll never forget the sounds. As soon as Kilronan came into view the entire bus gasped, followed by a rising crescendo all together of "aaaaaaahhhhhh". One magical moment among many, many magical moments on this trip.
Arrival in Dublin - Phoenix Park, where JPII celebrated Mass for over a million people on 9/29/79. Liam was an altar server there!
Setting up the group shot....rear view
The Spire of Dublin, aka the "Stiffy by the Liffey", in front of our hotel.
The Shining Hotel....LOL
The Gresham, our home in the city for two nights.
For you, Carol!
Jackie & I met up with British Michael in front of ChristChurch Cathedral
Another view of ChristChurch
Bossy little place!
Our "Hop On Hop Off" bus
Hop On Hop Off Bus in Dublin
The IRISH Polish School of English
Margot & Jackie having a cider before the farewell dinner @ the Brazen Head, Dublin
Oldest pub in Ireland, home of our CM farewell dinner. Named for when during some conflict, a woman stuck her head out the window and it was promptly lopped off by a sword.
Many of the pubs in Ireland have police badges on the wall to commemorate how many of them became policemen after the arrived in America.
Farewell dinner : (
Our storyteller @ The Brazen Head
Our charming Funcoach driver Mick.
Music @ the Brazen Head
Tracy's farewell speech @ The Brazen Head, Dublin <sniff>
In the ladies' room
Michael & Ron
The Stag's Head pub in Dublin
Temple Bar district. I couldn't get away from here fast enough....too young & too loud!!
Kilmainan Gaol Museum, before going into the actual Gaol (pronounced "jail").
Shot thru the peephole of one of the cells
A better shot thru the peephole. Thanks, Michael!
Surprisingly pretty chapel at such a horrid place.
Women and children as well as men were imprisoned here for such "crimes" as stealing bread during the famine. Times were so desperate that the prison diet was luxurious compared to what was available on the outside.
Jackie, Michael, Ron & Margot in our own personal cell
Parts of "The Italian Job" were shot here. Another fillum (Irish pronuciation) I'll need to watch.
Painting of Our Lady by Grace Gifford, wife to one of the 1916 revolutionaries Joseph Plunkett. I believe they were both executed at Kilmainham. This cell was used for prayer services.
I was bummed the dungeon was closed for viewing because "it hadn't been restored". Huh? How and why would you restore a dungeon? I wanted to see how a prison could be even worse than the parts we saw.
James Connoly & others involved in the 1916 were executed @ this spot. He had been wounded & was already dying from gangrene, had to be tied to a chair to be supported before being shot.
VERY helpful Dubliner giving us detailed directions to the Guinness Storehouse
Our "free" 14 Euro Guinness @ the top of the Storehouse
Ron, Margot, Jackie & Michael
Jackie with a new friend made @ Guinness
Random silly tourists @ the Guinness Storehouse.
Residence of the President of Ireland in Phoenix Park, Dublin. There is always a light burning in the top window to the left of the centre. This is to welcome home all those Irish of the diaspora. (Thanks, Michael!)
Trinity College, home of the Book of Kells & the library which I swear looks like it was used in the Harry Potter movies. Unfortunately no pix allowed in library : (
Michael (background), Jackie & me @ Trinity College, Dublin
Yes Puppet Master
Never got there
Trendiest pub in Dublin, "The Church"
Yes, it's an actual former church (Church of Ireland, not Catholic)
The restaurant is in the choir loft
1st part of the 10 Commandments
Us & the rest of the 10 Commandments
Mack after a drink....said he had wanted to touch the back of Jackie's hair all during the trip(!)
Quiet Mack really came out of his shell @ the end...lol
"This Do In Remembrance of Me". 'Twas a little weird.
There was just one hallway between the ladies' & gents' rooms, with too much visibility. Here's Michael washing his hands. TMI: Ireland
Tomb inside the church / pub
Final morning....saying goodbye and Mack enjoying Jackie's hair again.
Jersey John met up with me during my layover @ JFK and he already had framed a picture of CM Ireland!
Suzette from our group did this wonderful map of our travels, beginning in Dublin. Each day is a different color, and the towns we stopped in for at least 20 minutes are circled : )