As many of you know, I’m keeping a list in my head of places I want to see… my bucket list. It so happens that I love to travel. And there are a number of exotic experiences I would love to witness first hand. What amazes me is, that even with my mental list, God still manages to add more incredible experiences than I could even dream up… Wow… The last two weeks fell under that category.
Last winter, I was spending some quality time with my dear friends Rachel and Jennifer and somewhere during the course of conversation, Rachel said “Hey do you want to go to the British Isles? I’m taking classes thru Liberty University’s online program, and they are offering me credit to take a tour with them.” One thing quickly led to another and before we knew it, we were boarding a Virgin Atlantic flight to London. What an experience! So here it is, my personal highlights from our trip broken down into 3 blog posts… Enjoy
First stop was Killarney, Ireland. I couldn’t help but love this town.
As always, I loved the different flair of culture along the way. We drove the Ring of Kerry which is about a 150 mile loop along the coast of Ireland. We stopped at a museum and learned about the harvest of bog or peat which is a wet product that they find about 18 inches below the ground. So they dig it up in long earthen sausages. Dry it and take it home and burn it like coal. (this is a brief and Kendra like description) Also at the museum they had houses of day of yore. The stable house shocked me. I’ve read so many books where the house and barn where connected so the animals could help heat the house. Somehow, in my mind’s eye, it wasn’t quite this close of quarters.. But, my mind’s eye was wrong. I took this pic standing beside the bed in front of the hearth..
The countryside dotted with sheep and cattle had my nose pressed to the bus window. And I loved the way all their fields were surrounded by hedges and stone fences. We stopped and watched a demonstration on sheep herding. Shepherd Brendon had a wonderful show. He used 2 border collies to separate out his small flock of sheep. He stood at the bottom of the hill and gave commands and the dogs carried them out perfectly. Part of the time he used whistle commands and the rest of the time, he instructed with a low voice. (Apparently the dog crew around here needs hearing aids) I still can’t believe that there are no predators left on the Republic of Ireland. But he said that the sheep live happily because of the eradication that happened years before.
And it so happens that on my #30 for 30 project is- cross the Atlantic.. So I stuck my toes in on the other side 🙂
Every day, a couple of times a day, we did the most far out stuff imagined. So it’s hard for me to decide what all to bore you with… But the Blarney Castle must be mentioned. While there has been a castle there since the 1200s, the present structure wasn’t built until 1446. The ruins are incredible and she still stands quite proudly, keeping a watch over the land around her. We joined the long line that snaked through the meeting hall, up the spiral stairs, through the bedroom, around the kitchen, past the banquet hall. I tried to imagine her in her former splendor- the rock walls were said to be covered with tapestries and some sort of plaster. We stopped by and inspected the murder hole which acted as a defense option should some unwelcome visitor manage to break his way into the entrance… Boiling oil or water or an arrow or a rock or whatever would be dropped on the head of the unsuspecting fellow.. But her crowning glory is the Blarney Stone. Way up in the top of the main castle, is a blueish stone, that is said to give you the “gift of gab (or eloquence)” if you kiss it. The only down side is that to kiss is, you have to lean back over an opening several hundred feet in the air to be able to accomplish this. My family really encouraged me to do this, because “you definitely need the gift of gab” lol There are two people there- one to help you keep from dying and the other to take your pic to sell it to you for a small fortune if you survive… According to my research there have been people who lost their lives attempting this, but the safety bars they now have in place, had me feeling completely confident. Supposedly they were to sanitize the stone between each kiss, but that wasn’t the case… None the less, what an thrill.
(The Blarney Stone is on the at the top of the castle, on the inside of the outer ledge way up in the sky there 😉 )
St Patrick’s Cathedral… Wow… My favorite was the Door of Reconciliation. in 1492 it was time for the bloody feud between the Butlers and the FizGeralds to end, Part of the Butler clan was hiding in the chapel, and because they refused to come out and negotiate, FitzGerald (who had the upper hand) cut a whole in the door, begged for peace, stuck his hand in-not knowing if it would return or not- and amazingly shook hands and the feud was ended.
Dublin was also a beautiful place… The colorful doors on the Georgian style houses from the 18th century… The ha’penny bridge (toll to walk across it used to be half a penny)… The way-too-tempting coffee shops and pastry displays…
Praise to the One who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think…More later -Kendra