Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Burren

Checked the weather for Tuesday.......looked promising. Those weathermen are worthless. Sunny and 40 translated into 30 and snowy. We headed west over to the Cliffs of Moher with Ruth hoping maybe the weatherman had been right and drove through the Burren. In Irish it basically translates to The Rocky Place. Appropriately named I might add since everywhere you look it's nothing but slabs of limestone. As fierce as it was you can't help but think of how people actually lived out here. Poulnabrone is one of 70 megalithic tombs in the Burren. It was excavated in 1968 and the remains of people were found inside dating between 3800-3200 BC. The men must have been incredibly manly to move such slabs of rock. Amazing.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Well, we finally made it to Dublin. We walked down Grafton St., O'Connell St. and Temple Bar. We play Irish Monopoly here and I think the highlight of our day was seeing that there really is a Krumlin Place. It would be the equivalent to Baltic St. on American monopoly. I don't think Krumlin Place is on any tour. Think government housing. Who wants to tour that, right? The architecture was outstanding downtown. I prefer the small towns. You can take the girls out of the country but you can't take the country out of the girls-Lucy and Sofie were fascinated by all the pigeons. I think they miss playing with the chickens because they were desperately wanting to catch a pigeon and hold it.

Ruth and Lucy

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rock of Cashel

We all piled into the car this morning and drove to Cashel. The only thing to see in Cashel is the Rock. The Rock of Cashel was the seat of the ancient kings of Munster, 300-1100 A.D. It was eventually handed over to the Church in 1101. Ruth had the pleasure of Irish weather today-it started out incredibly foggy, then cloudy, next the sun came out for about 2 hours, another cloudy episode, then it started to snow! Yes, snow. That turned to rain and it was cloudy the rest of the day. Unstable weather makes for such dramatic skies. Wicklow Mountains

The Rock of Cashel.

Built between 1101-1200, the 92 ft. round tower was a mainly used as a bell tower and lookout post. The wooden door is 12 ft. above the ground. Having the doorway lower would have weakened the structure. Tim was impressed with the stability of the tower since it's built on a very shallow foundation. He looks at things no one else would think to look at-hinges, joints, etc.

Ruth, Tim and Lucy all admiring what's left of the cathedral.

Hore Abbey was built in the thirteenth century.

That's Lucy and Sofie running over the Plain of Tipperary. Even though the weather isn't the greatest, it really cuts down on the crowds. They're non-existent! The girls crawled all over the ruins of the abbey.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Riding Lesson V

Riding lessons were even more exciting today than usual. After three years of lessons, Ruth has finally gotten to watch the girls ride. She's seen pictures but has never seen them on a real, live horse. She was thrilled. It was even better because Sofie finally got the hang of her posting trot. She no longer sits two beats. I don't know what happened, but it all just clicked. She looks amazing. Sofie cantering on J.R.

Lucy on Pele.

Trains, Planes and Automobiles

After two flights, a bus ride, a train ride and then a cab ride Ruth (Tim's mom) finally made it! Thursday morning was a bit like "Where's Ruth?" because I didn't know what train she's be coming into Athlone on. The girls and I did a drive-by of the train station around Ruth. So we went home and thought we'd do another drive by at 1:00 since that's the second train in from Dublin. Tim calls and is wondering if I'd heard from her. Nope. Tim calls me back. She's at PPD! She met the cab driver who shuttles all the PPD employees and he instantly knew who she was. So he gave her a ride to PPD. You have to love the perks of a small town. So I went and picked her up and brought her home! She keeps getting in on my side of the car. It's ok--we all did it when we got here too! The girls are so excited. Sofie even tucked Ruth in last night and woke her up this morning. The fun will start tomorrow--Tim's finally got some time off!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


We drove to Kilkenny today to see the castle. So far, this is the first one that we've toured the inside. No photographs were allowed on the inside. It was what you'd think a castle should look like-many twisting staircases, an enormously long hallway with bedrooms named The Blue Bedroom, The Chinese Bedroom, The Red Bedroom, etc. and a kitchen in the basement all equipped with call boxes. 35 bells in total! We toured the Butler Family portrait gallery--very impressive room. Tim especially liked the quarter sawn parquet floor. Kilkenny Castle

Sofie is sitting in a wood-turned sculpture in the Butler House gardens. That must've been one heck of a lathe!
Kilkenny-High St.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 12, 2010

2 1/2 Months

Well, we've been here 2 1/2 months. It feels like we've been here a lot longer. Not in a bad way though. It's been very easy to feel at home. Once you get down the driving and find the essentials-grocery, gas, library, park-it's just like home!
We have a GPS here. I was a little skeptical at first. I'd see them advertised as hot items for Christmas. I know how to read a map and Tim knows how to read a map so the GPS is for people who don't, right? It has been a life saver here. If you've ever been to Ireland you know there is very minimal street almost none. You'll be at the intersection out in the country, no street signs, but the GPS knows the road names. How weird is that?

We've never been big into tech gadgets, except iPods (love those things) but man, the GPS is amazing. It knows where everything is. Most of you know Tim and I are like the last two people on the face of the earth without cell phones. That's changed too. It was more out of necessity--no land line in the house and I've yet to see a pay phone. GPS and cell phones, oh my! My embrace for technology just got a little bigger.

Riding Lesson IV

The sun was shining today! I took almost 90 pictures during their hour lesson--gotta love a digital camera. I picked out a few of the best ones. They rode in the other riding arena. It was a lot bigger and with a ton of obstacles to steer around. Sofie cantering on J.R.

Finally got pictures of them jumping!

Lucy on Bertie.

Funny how Sofie's hair and the horse's mane look interchangeable.....mmmm....maybe she's part horse.

Lucy's the leader--so good for her. She can't look down EVER!

Over the poles.

Lucy cantering on Bertie.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tuesday Afternoon

Lucy and Sofie hard at work. We did history all day.....easily their favorite subject. If it's not raining, we usually go for a walk down the lanes through the bog in the afternoon. Today we had company.

We came to open part of the lane and we found two horses! Sofie wanted to pet them but they weren't too friendly. Abandoning horses in Ireland isn't uncommon. They kept their eyes on us the whole time. This is as close as we could get. I wonder if we'll see them next time we go for a walk.
Here they are watching us leave.

We always stop on the way home so these two can cuddle. All she does is whistle a little (sometimes she doesn't even have to do that) and over he comes. He rubs his head on her arms and shoulders. He puts his head down and she just hugs his big neck. He just stands there, eyes half closed. She kisses him and waves goodbye and then begs me for a horse the rest of the walk home.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Slieve Bloom Mountains

We all needed a little fresh air and something physical to do, so we drove over to the Slieve Bloom Mountains to do a little hiking. Tim's doing the driving today. We both drive now (so much fun! It only took me a day to master it). I'll have to have the girls get a picture of me behind the wheel.

All smiles and fresh legs.......this route was marked a "muscle-stretcher". The hardest route was labeled a "muscle-maker".

They just couldn't stay on the path.....they had to climb on everything.

There were all these little waterfall coming down the mountains. I think we stopped at every single one to ohhh and awww. Lucy and Sofie touched every one, threw rocks in, climb up next to it, etc. They said if their house was just up on the mountain they would come down and play in them every day. I don't doubt that for a second.
After 6 kilometers, Sofie needed a ride. Maybe we'll do the "muscle-maker" route next time!