Ireland Trip – Tuesday Day 3

Update on the Day 2 post

I mentioned that after the “Welcome Drink” I had dinner in the hotel.  That was wrong.  Instead we were taken outside of Dublin where we went to dinner at the “Merry Ploughboys Pub”.  It is a huge pub that caters to tours .  They offer a great dinner/show with dinner, wine and a great desert.  The also have the Merry Ploughboys who provide some great entertainment.  They are four guys who play Irish ballads and folk music.  They also have several really good Irish dancers.  It was a blast.  Then we headed back to the hotel.

Left Dublin and headed south

Early Tuesday our tour headed south towards Cork.  We made a stop outside of Cashel to take some pics of the Rock of Cashel.  This next pic was probably a few miles away but I changed to my telephoto lenses to get it.

DSC00311

I would have loved to tour it but it was not in our itinerary.  It was just outside the small town of Cashel.

DSC_0020

On to Cork

While investigating my ancestry I found out my great great grandfather John Moran came from County Cork.  Most of the Irish immigrants during the potato famine came from this area and got on the boat at Cobh.  The Titanic also stopped here to pick up travelers.

DSC_0040

Blarney Castle to get the “Gift of Eloquence”

We then moved further south to the Blarney Castle in Blarney.  This is where you will find the Blarney Stone.  There were lots of people and it took over an hour to climb the spiral staircase to the top of Blarney Castle leading to the Blarney Stone.

DSC00322

The Blarney Stone is the section at the very top of the castle.  Once you started up the staircase there is no turning back since the staircase is so narrow.  Once at the top you have to lay on your back, grab the bars on the side and bend backward to kiss the stone.  You also have this guy holding you up.  It is the craziest thing I think I have ever done.  Once you kiss the stone you are sent forth with the “Gift of Eloquence”.  In other words you then have the “gift of gab”.  Ha! I thought I already had that.

DSC00336

Blarney Woolen Mills

Across from the Blarney Castle is the Blarney Woolen Mills.  They have really nice (and expensive) Irish made goods.  I bought a wool scarf that I can really make use of this winter.  But mostly just window shopped.

On to Killarney

Then we started getting into the mountains.  They are not real big mountains but very beautiful.

DSC_0054

We traveled through lots of farmlands.  It was so beautiful.  They don’t have fences dividing the farms, but have hedgerows and rock walls.

Beautiful Lakes

The scenery in this area is very beautiful with many farms, mountains and lakes.

DSC_0105

DSC_0127

DSC00353

Arrived in Killarney

We arrived in Killarney where we stayed at the Killarney Towers Hotel.  We ate dinner at the hotel and I enjoyed a wonderful lamb dinner.  Yummie!!

 

Advertisements

Ireland Trip – Monday Day 2

Hop-on Hop-off Tour

We were furnished with a Hop-On Hop-Off voucher we could use so I did get back on the bus and headed to City Center.  Found the headquarters for the tour company and picked up my ticket and got on the Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Bus.  These tours are great as they tell you a great deal about the city and you can get off any time and then back on again.

Trinity College

Trinity College is the biggest college in Ireland.  I got off the bus here because I wanted to see the Book of Kells.  They are manuscripts that the Monks painted many years ago.  The colors are beautiful and still very bright.  I didn’t get any pics of the manuscripts, but before you leave you enter a huge room called the Long Room.  This is where they house thousands of old books.  It is really something to see.

DSC00227

Christ Church

I got back on the bus and a couple of stops down I got off at the Christ Church.  The Christ Church Cathedral (founded c. 1028)  is one of the top attractions in Dublin.

DSC00234

DSC00235

It has beautiful stained glass windows and very beautiful.  I took some pics of the windows but they did not do it justice.

DSC00237

Guiness Storehouse

The Guiness family produced Guiness Beer which is the main beer of choice in Ireland.  It is a very modern storehouse and tells the history of Guiness beer.  It is very interesting how it is made.  The top floor is called the Gravity Bar and it has great views of Dublin.  You can see the Croke Stadium in the middle of this next pic where I saw the Camogie Finals.

DSC00252

Another view of Dublin.

DSC00253

Here I am enjoying my first pint of Guinness beer.

DSC00254

Outside of the Guiness Storehouse are some of the cabs.  HA!

DSC00259

I opted for a motorized cab instead as I only had about an hour before the tour started from my hotel.

Cork Championship Team

When I got back to the hotel I sam the Cork team that won the championship.  They were also staying in the same hotel.  Naturally I had to pose with them and they were very nice in letting a old fart like me pose with them.  HA!!!!

DSC00265

Our Tour Begins

The CIE tour bus picked us up in front of the hotel.  There are 31 people on the bus made up mostly of couples, one single guy (me), and about 5 single women (all but one of them married).  Our bus driver introduced us to our tour guide as we headed out to tour Dublin.

We were taken to Dublin City Centre where we got off to see a park dedicated to Oscar Wilde the famous Irish writer.  They even had a statue of him on this rock.

DSC00269

There were also many art pieces like this with all the famous quotes from his writings.

DSC00270

They also pointed out his home as we passed it on the bus.

DSC00207

St Patrick’s Cathedral

Our next stop was St Patrick’s Cathedral where we got off for a quick photo shoot.  This was built in 1191 in honor of Ireland’s patron saint.  It was raining a bit but cleared up enough to get this next pic.

DSC00280

Dublin Castle

Then it was off to Dublin castle where we were given a guided tour of many of the rooms.  It was constructed in early thirteenth century on the site of a Viking settlement.  Dublin Castle served for centuries as the headquarters of English, and later British, administration in Ireland.  In 1922, following Ireland’s independence, Dublin Castle was handed over to the new Irish government.

 

DSC00291

DSC00293

DSC00299

Welcome Drink

Then it was back to the hotel where our group all met in the bar for a welcome drink.  CIE Tours picked up the tab and it was a great time to meet all my fellow travels.  After that we all went into the dining room and had a wonderful dinner (also included in our tour).

Then it was off to bed after getting everything charged up again for a very busy day tomorrow.

 

Ireland Trip – Sunday Day 1

Why Ireland?

I have been a member of ancestry.com for several years and have been working on my family tree.  It is not an easy project but one that I am avidly pursuing.  I decided to have my DNA tested so I spent the $99 and sent away for the kit.  My results came back that I was 35% Irish and 33% English with East and West European making up the balance.  It has been a long goal of mine to travel to Ireland.  

I decided to take the plunge and started checking out travel tours.  I wanted to take a guided tour to be able to find out as much as I could about the Republic of Ireland.  I didn’t feel that driving there would work for two reasons.  One – I have never driven on the left-hand side of the road and I don’t know anything about Ireland.  I wanted to learn.

I checked many tour companies and finally decided on CIE Tours and went ahead and booked the trip.  How exciting!!!

Long Flights

I flew from Portland International to Chicago O’Hare.  That in itself is a long flight but nothing compared to Dublin.  I watched every episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” that they had.  That is a very funny show.

I arrived in Dublin about 7:30am and was able to locate the shuttle bus.  While waiting for the bus to leave I sat with some other people who were going on different Ireland tours.  I met a couple from Seattle who were in the same MG car club as my parents (GOF West).  They showed me the pics of their MG’s and I told them all about my folks MG’s.  It sure is a small world.

Can’t check in yet

We got to the hotel but couldn’t check in until 2:00pm so rather then just wait around the hotel I got directions on where I could meet the city bus.  The hotel locked up my suitcase in a room for me so I didn’t have to drag it around.

I only had to walk a few blocks to meet the bus going into Dublin city center.  I wanted to meet a Hop-On Hop-off bus and see some sites.  I noticed many people getting on the bus as we were headed downtown, in fact the bus is packed and it was a double-decker.  Then all at once everyone got off.  Not sure where they were going I thought I would find out so I too got of the bus and followed the crowd.

It turned out they were going to the Irish Camogie Championship tournament at the Croke Stadium.  Before I checked that out I asked a cop if the Hop-on Hop-off buses run on Sunday.  He told me they didn’t (which was not true) so I decided to buy a ticket and check out the Camogie games.  

Camogie is almost the same thing as men’s hurling, but only played by women.  The Croke Stadium it was played in is the 4th largest soccer stadium in Europe holding over 80,000 people.  There was not that many people watching these games though.  It was sprinkling and I left my camera back at the hotel and my cell phone needed charging so I was not able to get any pics.  I did get a program so I included a pic of that.  Dublin lost the championship in the junior women’s  round, but Cork won the middle women’s round.

fullsizeoutput_de0

Later I got back to my hotel and was able to check in.  Our tour didn’t start until 2:00pm the following day.  I ate a nice dinner in the hotel dining room and hit the sack early after getting my two cameras, iPhone, and computer charged up. 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Summer

Lake Harriet Camp Host again

This was the third year I have been the Camp Host at Lake Harriet campground in the Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon.

DSC_0062 

This was my third year hear and I am beginning to see a lot of the same people who come here year after year.  Many of them have become my friends and some of them I meet with after leaving Lake Harriet.

I love this campground as it is not real big (only 11 campsites) and is rather easy to take care of.  It is also on Lake Harriet.  The only problem I have with it is that there is no outside communication such as cell phone and Internet.  I do have a landline provided by my employer PGE for emergency use, but have to drive about 26 miles before I can connect to my cell phone.

Chica is very used to this campground as well.  She stays in my campsite and never wanders off.  She loves just lying in the sun.

DSC_0234

No pack rats but…….

I didn’t have a pack rat problem this year.  I kept checking under my home but no evidence of any pack rats this year.  But I did have a problem with mice.  I think they were getting into the cab somehow as that is where they seemed to be coming from.  Sometimes I would wake up at night and turn on a dim light and they would scamper off.  I know Chica could smell them, but they didn’t seem to make any difference to her.  

I also noticed them when my vitamin D capsule would be gone in the morning.  I take medication at night and in the morning as well.  I would take my evening pills and leave the morning pills in a small container to remind me to take them in the morning.  I noticed that my vitamin D capsule was always missing.  At first I thought I just forgot to put it out, but then realized that something was taking it.  

I got some traps and set them up around my pill dish.  I would wake up and nothing was in the trap and the capsule was gone.  Then I had to get creative with the trap.  I put up a barrier all around the pill dish leaving only one entry/exit available for that critter.  AHA!  In the middle of the night I had a loud bang.  I got up and sure enough I got him.  Here is a pic of the creature with my vitamin D capsule in his mouth.

DSC_0001

Then I started using peanut butter on the trap.  Mice LOVE peanut butter!  I got another one the following night, reset the trap and got another one 20 minutes later.  This was getting easy.  Then I found out why I was getting them.  I found some chocolate lying around that I didn’t know was there.  I got rid of the chocolate and after killing 7 mice, I finally put a halt to them coming into my rig.

Clearing out of camp

I worked through Labor Day and then I had help the following day (Sep 5) clearing out all the signage, unsold firewood and my cleaning supplies and small shed.  I then started working on getting out of there.  It took me most of the afternoon and I didn’t leave until around 3:00.  

The last two years I have stored my RV in a gated storage facility in Estacada about 31 miles from the campground.  I was going to store it there again this year and talked to the manager about saving me a place.  He said he might have to block my rig in since he was also having another rig stored there as well.  I did not like that idea at all.

One of my campers who I got to know quite well offered to let me store my rig on his property (2 acres) for the entire winter for nothing.  He lived in Gresham which is about 20 miles further than Estacada.  What a deal!  He said I come come and go anytime I wanted, so I took him up on his offer.  I drove the rig there and we got it all settled in to it’s winter home.  I will take a pic of it the next time I am out there.  

Left early…

I was scheduled to work until 9/17 but I asked my boss if they wouldn’t mind if I left on the 5th if I got everything done at the campground.  They stopped taking reservations on Labor Day, but campers can come in every year after the campground season closes and camp for free.  There is no gate and we still get a lot of fishermen and hunters in the fall.  My boss had no problem with me leaving early so I was out of there on the 5th.  

I had to leave early because I had scheduled my next trip starting Saturday the 9th.  This trip was going to be different from past trips since I would not be traveling via RV.  Instead I would be flying.  I booked a trip to Ireland and was leaving from Portland on Saturday.  This is a trip I always wanted to take, but hadn’t even thought about it until the summer.  Between my part time job in the winter and spring and my summer camp host job, I had saved enough to cover the trip.  So I was off to Ireland.  I will cover this trip in my next blog.  

 

Alive and well

Sorry to those who are wondering what happened to my blog posts.  I have been busy working a part time job, but am now getting ready to begin my camp host position.  I am working for the 3rd year at Lake Harriet in Oregon.

I have not been traveling at all since I left Lake Harriet last September.  I parked my rig and am living in my new home in Welches, OR.  This has been a crazy winter.  Lots and lots of snow and rain.  We have not had a day in the 70’s for over 200 days.  Yesterday we had a day in the 80’s.  What a switch.

I will be posting more once I get back in my RV.

By the way, China is doing well and looking forward to our summer at Lake Harriet.

Back Home in Welches

Completed camp hosting

I finished my camp hosting job on Sept 12 and drove down to Estacada, OR where I store my rig.  All the camp hosts got together on the 11th for our going away party.  Lots of great food and gifts from my employer PGE (Portland General Electric).  This was my second year hosting for them and they are a great company to work for.  I will definitely return for a third year in 2017 if they will have me.

Great summer

I had a great summer this year.  Since it was my second summer season I knew how things worked and what to expect.  What was really nice was seeing so many people return that I met last year.  Plus I met a lot of new folks as well.

My good friends Christy and Jim stopped in for a night on their return from vacationing in Bend.  They also cooked me a great dinner.  I always have a great time with them and looking forward to seeing them soon.  They also camped the Labor Day weekend.  What fun!!

Visited friends at Columbia River

When I heard Jim, and Gayle and Jeanne were in Portland I drove up to the Columbia River to meet them.  It was good seeing some of my good RV friends again.  We all had a good talk and walked around a portion of the Columbia River.  I got this pic of Jim, Gayle and Sophie.

img_1115

All the way from Portland – on a bike!

One family had a reservation for a campsite at Lake Harriet.  The daughter Jessica, her husband Elvis and baby Kai all arrived in the usual manner by driving here.  However her mom Mary and Dad Fred had a different idea.  They rode their bicycle all the way from Portland to Lake Harriet.  The nearest town to Lake Harriet is Estacada and that is 31 miles away.  Portland is MUCH further.  Here is a great pick of them prior to them leaving and returning to Portland.

img_1117

Lots of fish

Just before Labor Day they stocked the lake with 2,000 regular and 550 trophy size rainbow trout.  This is a pic of the fishing hitting the water.

dsc_0148

Naturally this brought out a lot of people.  This is a few the day they stocked it.  Later in the week you couldn’t even find an open spot to cast out as it was so crowded.

dsc_0149

Chica staying warm

This is a pic of Chica staying nice and warm.  She loves her banky.  She had dental work down last fall and they had to remove her bottom front teeth since they were loose.  The vet told me that her tongue would stick out.  Chichuachua’s are notorious for having bad teeth.  She doesn’t seem to mind though.

dsc_0176

Fog rolled in

One day the fog rolled in for the only time this summer.  It was very scenic.  I took several pics of it.

dsc_0151

A pic out my window.  You can see the fog just starting to roll in on the river.

dsc_0186

This is a pic showing a portion of the campground.

dsc_0189

Another view towards the campground entrance.

dsc_0190

A neat shot looking toward the lake.

dsc_0204

I was able to get a pic of a Great Blue Heron on a stump from the dock.

dsc_0206

dsc_0209

Another shot from my window showing my back yard for the summer.  What a great life.

dsc_0214

I was able to get another shot of the heron.  It had a huge wing span and was really something to see when it flew.  There were actually two of them at the lake.

dsc_0225

My new window

When I moved into my new home I decided that a stained glass window would look great.  I wanted it to depict Mt Hood.  I looked online and found Chuck Franklin Glass Studio in Portland and gave them a call.  They were in business many years and did all the windows for the McCormick and Schmick’s restaurants all over the country.  I told Becky what I wanted and she came up with several designs.  Once I selected the design she came out and took the measurements and showed me the glass she would be using.  Much of the glass was vintage glass dating back to the 1980’s.

In July she and her husband Arther delivered and installed my window.  They did a terrific job and I really love it.  Unfortunately the colors don’t look as good in the pics as in person.

img_1119

img_1120

img_1121img_1125

 

Great Internet!!!

I now have a great internet connection.  I reduced my Verizon data plan to the minimum and signed up for Wave Cable Internet data plan.  It gives me 400GB for only $39.95  I was paying $100 for 12GB with Verizon.  I love this company.

I will try posting more often now that I have an Internet connection.

 

Back to Lake Harriet

Back to Lake Harriet

Well her I am back at Lake Harriet campgrounds for the summer.  It was bittersweet leaving my home after only living there for 5 weeks.  I was disappointed when I had to leave, but once I got done to my camp host site in Lake Harriet Campgrounds all that changed.

DSC_0062

I still have the same site this year overlooking the river and it didn’t take me long to set up my easy chair right on the bank of the Oak Grove Fork of the Clackamus River.  DSC_0063

Chica and I sit out here almost every night, just watching the river go by.  We also see a lot of ducks floating in every direction.

The weather was quite different this year than last.  For one thing we got a lot more rain in May and June.  That kept a lot of the campers away, but once the temperature hit 100 in Portland they came out in droves.  The rain has backed off now that we are into July so a lot more campers.  This park fills up every weekend.

Waterfalls around Lake Harriet

I decided to take some pics of the waterfalls around the lake.  They are just small waterfalls but very calming if you are near them.  It doesn’t look like we will have a repeat of the drought that we had last year.  There are lots of flowers in bloom everywhere.

 

DSC_0064DSC_0068DSC_0069DSC_0071DSC_0073DSC_0054

 

Reading Email

I have to drive 5.5 miles to the Ripplebrook Store in order to read my email.  It is a nice quiet drive through the woods.  I usually make this trip on Sundays or when I am expecting a certain email.  I always take Chica with me and she calmly sits on the bench next to me just watching the cars and people go by.  My computer always recognizes the Wi-Fi almost immediately, but it takes my phone a while.  I am not sure why that happens.

I still can’t make a phone call from there but at least I can get on line and check email, bank and credit card accounts.