Bowling time

I brought the kids bowling on Sunday. I bowed out based on my bum thumb. The good news is it’s getting better and the kids had a good time anyways.

JMan launches one down stream. By launching I mean he typically hit the floor about 1/2 down the lane! However, look at that form.

GMan on the other hand had a tad more control, but I’m not digging his form, or baggy pants.

Camera man

GMan ran a camera at his school’s football game tonight. Turns out he’s got a good eye and was ask by the commutation manager to cover the game.Apparently it was a live feed but we’re not sure where. In any event he had a good time and was asked back for more.The LA Spartan easily handled Milton. Can’t remember the final score but it was twenty something to six…..He said next time he’ll wear gloves and a winter coat!Photo credit: Mr. Bishop (Lawrence Academy). GMan is the light gray hoodie on the left at the railing.

Random Ireland photos – 8

No trip to Ireland is complete without a trip to Sean's and Murray's. We got to Sean's in the afternoon and I made Murray's tonight with my brother.

Gangs all here. Sean's bar is officially the oldest bar in the world and the first bar I (illegally) bought a pint in.

Pint of black for me and a glass of cider for my better 1/2.

One of my favorite spots in Sean's, just inside the front door on the left.

I really like this pint glass nook. My hat is off the the architect!

I didn't take any photos in Murray's, that was strictly a "have a few pints and go home" event.

Cheers all. It will be hard getting on the plane tomorrow, but we'll be back again.

Random Ireland photos – 6

It's a grand Irish summer day. Blue skies and a high of 56F. Here's a view out outlet hotel window. Yes, I stood on the furniture, reckon they own me for the lack of parking.

I call this one "Cork roofs".

Here's a shot of the massive parking lot. I stand corrected, it has 21 spots, that's for 101 rooms! Good ratio if you're a room, bad if you're a car.

Various photos of Cork City.

Yes, the coffee is exactly the same!

Oliver Plunkett Street is one on the main shopping places and it's pedestrian only.

We did a bit of shopping and headed north.

Along the way we went to the Devils Bit. Here's a link to read all about it. We were unprepared to hike so a photo will have to do.

Ireland is littered with stone towers. This one is down the road from the Devils Bit.

Here's a really odd flavored snack food. For those who don't know prawns are shrimps stateside…..and no, I did not sample them.

Back at our home away from home we made ice cream with the kids.

Random Ireland photos – 5

First Castle of the day was Birr. Since we stayed in Birr it was a short walk. I visited the grounds before but never the actual castle. I'm not sure if it was even open to the public or we were too broke to pay the extra charge.

GMan and I in front of the castle.

A fine family selfie.

Above are photos of the telescope one of the former Earls build. For many years it was the 3rd largest in the world.

Formal Gardens.

Birr Castle has the coolest tree house in Ireland!

Here's JMan peeking out the tower window.

Pedestrian entrance and exit.

Moving in we headed to The Rock of Cashel. The drive down was much faster than expected thanks to all the new motorways. However, the last time I made this trip was in the back of an NSU heading to Youghal with my entire family. Back then this was an epic journey of 104 miles. With lots of he's touching me and she's on my side remarks from the rear seat followed by "will you lot shut up" coming from the front. In fact on one occasion the NSU gave us a bit of bother coming into Cashel. Jimmy (my dad) was not impressed but thankfully a local scrap car place had the parts necessary to complete our quest. I was quite young but can distinctly remember seeing Jimmy in the scrap yard with another fellow wandering the isles of cars from our vantage point high above on the castle walls.

The castle is an impressive structure and has a commanding view of the surrounding area. I can only imagine the daunting task of building such a huge castle atop a hill. They were mighty men and women and clearly labor was very cheap.

Lots of arched opening around here. I'm certain St. Patrick's was quite the place back in its day.

JMan at the back side of the castle. It looks like no one was there but it was fairly busy. I just waited a second for the other tourists to move out of my shot.

The round tower form of St.Patricks meeting the North Transept.

The convergence between St.Patricks and Cormac's Chapel. I'm fairly certain neither one follows any kind of set back rules! I'm also very certain that no such rules existed at the time of construction. Only now are ADA type rules coming into Ireland. All new construction needs to follow strict rules but existing can remain as is. Which really means that a person with disabilities simply cannot use restrooms in any restaurant, bar and some hotels we visited this trip.

Here's JMan in the same gap.

Here's a photo that shows the connection in plan. St.Patricks in blue and Cormac's in yellow (on the right).

Gangs all here.

The boys playing on the rise around the castle and Jess below taking photos of us.

I'm a sucker for a cool Elevation. There's are hanging on the wall just inside the main pedestrian entrance/exit.

From here we headed more south to Cork City. Jess booked a hotel in route and we ended up at the Maldron. Upon arrival I found a typical Irish parking lot with a gate just big enough to squeeze through and space for 10 or so cars. However, there were already 15 wedged in sideways. Again in true Irish fashion I drop the car in the middle of the entire mess and we proceed to check in. I asked about parking and was told "theses plenty outside". Outside where I enquired, and she pointed toward the door. At this point I actually laughed out loud and indicted that the massive parking lot was full and the response was "you'll have to find a spot in the street".

This was a sign I ignored as we should have gotten back in the car and left, however, GMan and I decided to go find a spot. We drove around the block a few times then expanded our path. Mind you Cork is all hills and all one way streets. We found nearly every back road in the area but no spots. I could have dropped it in a no parking spot, which seemed to be a popular idea, but decided that getting clamped was not a way I would want to start my morning.

We again expanded our path but this time lost our bearing and had no idea where the hotel was. So let's sum this up, lost in a city that is all one ways with hills in a standard car that I'm not familiar with, a city I last drove in 20 years ago and we didn't know the name of the hotel or have cell service or a GPS!

We immediately took my phone out of airplane mode and called Jess for the name of the hotel only to get her voice mail. At this point, which was 30 minutes into "you'll have to find a spot in the street", my patience were running out. Finally we get Jess on the phone and got the hotel name. We tried getting directions but that failed and Google maps refused to work, beside finding the hotel was useless and we really needed to find a parking spot. I put on my thinking hat and decided to find a parking garage (what a novel idea) lose the rental, and cab it back to the hotel. After all we were still in the city (I think) so how much could the cab cost. Idea in hand a few minutes later we we squeezing the car into a spot and 7 euro later we were back at the hotel.

We later found out from another cab driver that the hotel was originally a hospital and in his words "sur no one had carrs back then…what would you need a big parrking lot fur". (YouTube a Cork accent and you'll understand my deliberate spelling mistakes). Never a truer word said I thought to myself.

Out and about in Cork we found this gem.

JMan doing some sort of head test on my pint of Murphy's. What's Murphy's you ask? It's a stout brewed in Cork. It's available in a few places stateside but a true Cork man would never order a Guinness and may find it hard to get Murphy's outside Cork. I don't get the difference, to me it's Guinness with a different name. Kinda how Trump should rename Obama care to Trump care and call it s day!

It was a long day with lots of clutching on hills and trying to decipher the local accent. We will all sleep good tonight.

Random Ireland photos – 3

Jimmy's fields, Clonown Road, Athlone

The bog road. If I had a dime for every time I headed up this road I'd be able to call home for a month or so.

View from our bog. For as long as I can remember this view has not changed one bit. A few new buildings in Athlone are visible but the topography is exactly as I remember it.

Bog crew.

GMan and JMan fixing up a few stucks of turf.

Saving turf is and will continue to be back breaking work…..but it smells so good when's it's burning!

Big plants.

BBQ at Seamus and Adeline house.

Top to bottom.

1. How many kids can you get into a trampoline. I suspect we tested the structural integrity of this one.

2. All the grandkids.

3. The whole gang.

Random Ireland photos – 2

Johnny Rockets….eat your heart out. Clearly someone spent some time in the states.

Athlone Castle.

North Gate Street lock.

When's the last time you played dress up.

Chess anyone?

Old library and the River Shannon.

Evening walk by Lough Ree.

The boys exploring the lake edge.

With my sister in law and kids.

Jess and I selfie.

Flowers by the lake.

GMan taking it all in.

Richie Sachs water bottle. At home anywhere!

JMans day out

JMan wanted to check out Canobie Lake Park for his b-day. So yesterday we pick up one of his friends and headed north. With lots of free parking losing the car was a breeze and a short walk later we were in.

First up was Log Flume. Mind you trill rides are not my thing and this one is about my limit. We all screamed like little girls at a Miley Cyrus concert and only get marginally splashed. I’ll admit, it was fun, the ride that is….not the Miley concert.

Here’s Jess and I. My mouth was open but thankfully my better 1/2 is clearly astonished enough for both of us.

And here’s JMan and His friend. Yup, both equally impressed with the forces of gravity.

Next up was some target practice.

Which yielded a very attractive stuffed pig.

Then a snack…with our new stuffed friend.

I asked for a small! No, I didn’t finish it, but tried for 20 minutes or so.

Then more target practice, this time with paint ball guns.

We did a puzzle room in the middle here but failed miserably! 

Then the ferris wheel….again, this is more my speed.

In the midde the kids spent a few hours in the water park while the adults sat in shade.

Later the kids took a spin in some very angry tea cups…..definitely not my cup of tea!

We all did the dodgem cars. This is an all time favorite of mine. Many years ago when we visited relatives in Youghal County Cork we’d spend all our money at the local arcade which had dodgems. I can still remember the announcement “okay, here we go now….round to the left”, and the smell, I’m instantly transported to that time.

Later, after more snacking and some real food the gang decided to take a few runs on Boston Tea Party. It was dark so no photos and yes I sat that one out!

But here’s a great way of keeping the kids focused. I suspect this method of parenting would be frowned upon, but I can see the appeal.

Overall I’m very impressed with Canobie, it’s clean, well staffed, and fun. Like most amusement parks food and souvenirs are a little pricey, however, the food was very good and we won afew souvenirs. All in all it was a great day and everyone really enjoyed the park. 

Random weekend photos 

JMan saves a turtle.

Water never looked so good.

GMan and I out for a training ride.

Parachutes floating back to down.

What could be going on here?

This is how you get an 8 grader excited about homework…..give him a match.

Anyone for a marshmallow?