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 – 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 

Pond at Westford Sportman’s Club.


Starbucks fix.


The other Green Monster(s).


Ice cream fix at Richardson’s in Jordan’s Furniture……after a shopping trip to REI.


Still looking for that far far away galaxy!


JMan on high.


While mom watches on….nervously.


Fifty shades of workout accessories. 

Panos of Boston 

In the city for an event. Here’s a navy ship getting a paint job across the street from our office.


Here’s the view out of the hotel.

Other Black Friday photos

JMan and I spend part of the day walking the beach and checking out an old WW2 outpost. 


We practically had the beach to ourselves which was nice on one hand and kinda sad on the other.


Wish we could have gotten in and around this place, but lots of “Extremely Hazardous” signs and fences said otherwise. I guess photos from over the fence will have to do. 

If you ever get down the NJ shore put Sandy Hook in your GPS and drive to the end! Here’s a link with more info.

Fall tradition

We made it up to Russell Orchards in Ipswich this year for the first time in a while. Years ago I’d be up and around there all the time and Jess and I visited quit often.


Fall pickings.


Pumpkins of all sizes.


No comment on this one, but I’ll admit it was my idea!


The other animals.

Saying this pig is big is an understatement. Anyone for some bacon?

Uniturkey.


Heehaw.

These lads will be getting nervous in a month or so.

The boys feeding a duck.


Apply anyone?

No trip to a farm is not complete without the silly “sit on the old tractor photos”.


Green Acres indeed….moving on. 


It a busy place on the weekend but worth a visit.

Castle Hill

Castle Hill is one of my most favorite place on the north shore. I spend years coming up to Cranes Beach, visiting the house or taking some event. Just walking down the garden to the beach is worth the visit. Since we were just down the road we decided to once again check out the grand old estate.


The downstairs of the house was open so we did a quick tour. The grand stair case is quite grand. They (or should I say we) don’t build them like they used to.


The garden leading to the beach is worth the walk for exercise and the views.

JMan hoping for a magical ride.


The boys take in a game of chess.


The house on the hill….yes, that blue dot is Jess.


And she caught up to me.


And a little further down……


And finally the end!


If you are ever up this way and like cool old houses you’ll have to visit Castle Hill.