Cool anniversary gifts

Jess gave me a cool book; Living the Airstreams Life by Karen Fleet.

She also gave me a Cabela’s gift card…ya.

Cousin Richie sent up his water bottle, sock and Twizzler collection…very cool.

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Random weekend photos

Looking up

Looking down

Just chilling

JMan and I went to a toy train show. Brought back memories of my own set from years ago.

The details are simply incredible. If this what the road show sets look like I bet the permanent home sets are truly wonderful.

Overpass 1.

Overpass 2.

Just for fun. Koda got himself a winter suit.

Random photos

Top left: Flag day at JMans school and I happened to park in front of this one.

Top right: Jess found this beauty and its complete with horns.

Bottom left: Your tour guides at the self check out lane in Lowe’s.

Center right: The great fence of Groton. In an effort to contain our new ball of hair GMan and I did a little fencing. You can thank Jimmy for this one. All those years above on Clonown Road mending gaps finally paid off 😛.

Bottom right: The reason my hair will finally fall out..as it can’t get that much grayer.

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 – 4

We got off to a proper Irish start and hit the road around half past twelve. We were going to The Giants Causeway but decided to head south instead, that's the completely opposite direction for those of you who are not up on your Irish geography. Our destination was Charleville Castle in Tullamore. According to the above link, out tour guide and 7 years of architectural school I can safely say it's a fine specimen of Gothic Revival archetype.

Construction started in 1798 and was completed in 1814. The architect was Francis Johnston who was best know for the General Post Office (GPO) on O'Connell Street in Dublin.

Symmetry is the name of the game in the castle with many faux doorways to give the illusion of real symmetry. Most of the woodwork is oak and was imported from American as at the time of construction it was illegal to cut down oak trees in Ireland.

Another interesting fact was all workers were payed with "The Lords Shillings". Theses coins had the stamp of the castle owner and could be used by the workers to pay rent and buy necessities in Tullamore. Then the landlords and store owners would travel to the castle where the Lord would exchange the coins for real money. This was a very clever way of making sure your staff stayed put as the coins were no good outside town. So, the workers were not exactly slaves or encouraged to leave, but they were definitely not free men.

Viewing the Chaple from the dining room.

JMan an Jess.

On the way out we spotted this.

Here's a 750 year old oak tree that was struck by lightning a week before Lord Bury died. The branch that was struck fell off the tree but over time it started to grow back into the tree. This is where the legend of the Lords ghost comes from, it's said that because the branch started growing again he can't pass through to the other side. This and many other ghost stories are associated with Charleville Castles.

The tree is so big I could not fit it in a pano.

The boys reclining on the oak.

Leaving Tullamore we headed to Birr. Our destination was Birr Castle. Along the way we got side tracked by the following.

Interesting name for a pub wouldn't you say.

Also, we spotted a few tractors parked in odd positions. Now where did I leave them keys again.

Birr Country Offaly Ireland. This is what you'd call a smallish town in the middle of nowhere. Without Birr Castle I'm not sure what else it could/would offer. Staying in a local hotel is a first for me. Over the years I went through the place many time and visited the castle on a few occasions, but I never set down temporary roots.

JMans climbing the walls at 8:55pm. It's light out until almost 10:30pm this time of year.

Back wall of Birr Castle.

Anyone remember this guy!

Making tracks….

Doorway in the main square.