Atlantic Tides

2-IMG_6443I remember that in my 5th grade English student book there was a topic about tides – a long and boring story, mostly because of all the difficult expressions we had to underline and learn by heart. Just to refresh my memory I took down my old student book from the shelf (yes, I still have it) and looked up what it was about.

“Long ago people living near the coast of the Atlantic Ocean noticed that the level of the sea rose and fell twice every day. They noticed that this didn’t always happen at the same time, at the same hour, but that it took place regularly. People did not understand the cause of this rising and falling. But they noticed that there was some connection between the moon and the waters of the ocean. Today we know that the water of the sea is always moving in or out along the shores.”

1-IMG_6442When learning it, I was probably like the ones who had lived long ago and didn’t quite understand how it all worked. Especially because we, living here at the Baltic sea, never had any tides and the water of the sea stood quite at the same place almost all year round, without very little exceptions and so it was quite hard to picture the tides. Later of course, when reading more literature, I got to know about it some more and in 2010, when visiting England and Wales, I was happy to recognize it, when seeing  the boats and yachts standing on the plain sand and I really thought about my old school book again.

But this time, we spent three marvellous days in Duncannon, just at the seaside, in a nice summer house and I was able to see all that with my own eyes. We arrived in the afternoon, which was probably one of the three lovely days during the summer, and the beach was full of people enjoying the nice weather. Just to mention – the sea was exactly where it had to be – a nice sandy beach, not very wide, but quite enough and the sea, standing still, not moving anywhere. What was totally different from any other beach I have ever seen, were the cars, parked everywhere on the sand, some of them almost in the water.


It seemed that only I was surprised about that because all the others were spending their time besides their cars, using them as lunch tables and playing ball over them. The ice-cream car was parked with its engine roaring over the beach, but probably it was just because of keeping the fridge working and the ice cream cold. We spent some time walking around and ended our day in the local pub, had some ciders and dinner and arrived at our nice summer house.

Our house had a small garden just looking at the sea and in the morning when I went out, the sea was gone, and it means it was totally gone, no water, just kilometers of wet sand.

1-IMG_6444We spent a nice day on the beach, found a really nice corner, where the cars were not allowed to park and enjoyed the warm day. Somewhere near 2 o’clock the water started to come back little by little. The life guards were busy to get the people back to the sea shore, because a lot of them, included myself, were walking on the wet sand that had been the bottom of the sea just a day before. And then the sea came back, just during about two hours. That was really amazing and unbelievable.

So now I have seen how it really works, not just from the books 🙂

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1-IMG_6469In the evening, the local musicians were performing at the pub and everybody was singing. It’s not possible to describe how much I liked it. For the first time in my life I saw people play Spoons, actually, I didn’t even know about that kind of instrument before. So besides being just great and fantastic and really full of enjoyment, it was also an educative weekend and I love Duncannon and want to come back the next year. And I am quite sure that I will. The next time it would be interesting to wonder around a bit more and discover maybe some neighbourhood as well.


A day at the Phoenix Park

Phoenix Park is one of the biggest enclosed parks in any European cities. It is actually so big, that you feel that you are not in the park, but just got out of the city and wondering around in the countryside. And the most amazing is that you are actually in the city and not far from the centre at all, so we took this trip just on foot and it didn’t take us too much time at all.

Our first stop was The Church of the Sacred Heart Arbour Hill, which was just on our way and so we walked into the garden of the church where lies the military cemetery which is the last resting place of 14 of the executed leaders of the Rising of 1916. There was a big monument with the Declaration of Independence on the wall and with Irish flag above. 

After some more walking, we reached the Phoenix park and headed to the Wellington Testimonial which was huge. It was designed by Robert Smirke as a testimonial to Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, who was born in Dublin. Duke of Wellington was one of  England’s greatest military leaders, who served as a Prime Minister and who became especially famous fro his victory over Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo in 1815. Duke Wellington was also called the Iron Duke. The monument was completed in 1861 and it is the tallest obelisk in Europe, over 62 meters tall.

It has four bronze plaques which are made from the cannons, captured at Waterloo and on three of them are the pictures connected with his battles and the fourth has an inscription on it. The monument is situated on the huge green lawn square and it looks imposing.

The Phonix Park was established in 1662 by Duke of Ormond, on behalf of the king Charles II. It was founded as the Royal Deer Park and for my big surprise, the deer are living there even today. And not just some deer, but there are big herds of deer walking around and not too much afraid of people who are trying to photograph them here and there. Probably the deer are quite used to be models and if you really go too close to them the head of the herd just started moving and all the others follow quite soon, but if you walk around and take some time, they will come back again or you will see just another hers walking by.


The Papal Cross was erected for the visit of the Pope John Paul the Second in 1979. It is a simple white cross on the small hill, but it looks great and powerful. Maybe because it is standing alone on the hill and there’s a big emptiness around it. Somehow it feels scary, maybe because the weather turned so gray and dark when we reached there, the sun went off and the sky was quickly covered with dark and threatening clouds. When the Pope visited Dublin, he gave an open-air ceremony for more than 1.25 million people and actually it’s very difficult for me to imagine so many people standing there and waiting for the Pope to speak. But it was a very important event in Ireland and so after that visit, John Paul became one of the most popular baby boys’ names in Ireland and stayed in a high position for quite a long time. We have also one in our family 🙂

Our most important aim of the day was, of course, visiting the zoo. It was funny that we both hadn’t done it for a long time, what happens of course if you don’t have small children any more. But in spite of the lack of small children, we decided to be children ourselves and so we enjoyed every single second of the next part of the day. Dublin Zoo is quite an old one, founded already in 1831 and today it is a very nice and modern place to spend the whole day and even then you will be short of time. It’s a very spacious zoo, where the animals have good conditions and a lot of free space to feel themselves like home. The Zoo is divided into different areas with special names.
The World of Primates

Asian Forests

African Savanna

My favourite  – the Elephant Baby.

The elephant Baby was 6 days old and was born on the 17th of July, but already on his feet. His mother’s name is Yasmin. And now I read, that in August another elephant calf Ashoka was born and on the 17th of September the third one, a girl, just only 68 kgs heavy


The peacock was wondering around just on its own, swaggering its tail ahead everyone who had time to admire it.

And all other kinds of other creatures:

And one of the best parts were all these amazing plants, so you almost felt yourself walking around in a jungle.

To end the day perfectly we finished in in the Church. So not any kind of influences from the Papal Cross this time. The Church is a big bar/restaurant that is located in the centre of Dublin and established in a former St. Mary’s church. The real church was closed in 1964 and the building remained empty until 1997 when it was purchased by John Keating who renovated it and opened a bar there in 2005. The renovated building was noticed by Dublin City Neighbourhood Awards and in 2006 it won the first price in the category of Best Old Buildings. In 2007 the building went over to the new owners and was renamed “The Church Bar-Restaurant”.
So before heading back home we had some ciders at the Church. For me, it was really surprising that such a catholic state as Ireland seemed to me has rebuilt not only this church for quite an unusual purpose but also many others. One of our neighborhood churches had been a night club for some time and in one of them, the Tourist Information Office is located. I think it’s a great idea to renovate these old buildings instead to let them just stand abandoned. In spite that the Church is more like a tourist place and for that reason very expensive, it was a nice experience anyway and I cannot deny that I was a tourist 🙂


15 km walk on the Cliffs of Howth


Howth is magic, it’s true – just as their web page says. We took a short ride from Dublin by train and after a half of an hour or a bit more we reached a magnificent small seashore village Howth. At first, we were a bit afraid of the weather, because just when we reached it started to rain, but we spent this part in a cafe and it passed quite quickly.

IMG_6175I didn’t know too much about Howth before – just knew that it’s one of the well-known seaside villages near Dublin, where it is possible to hike on the cliffs and buy fresh fish from the little shops on the pier. On that day the village was quiet, but the people who were spending their time there were absolutely aware that they are on holiday and in spite of the cool and windy weather everybody was wearing their summer clothes and outfacing the cold. I have to say that I was not so brave and during the first hour I couldn’t stop thinking about my raincoat that I had left.

IMG_6201The internet describes Hawth as a small and bustling fishing village which is popular among the tourists and locals and After walking through the small town or village you will soon reach the road that goes above the sea and after some time you will reach the sign that explains the different routes. You can pick from four different routes, which are called loops and they all actually start from the railway station, The Cliff Path Loop is 6 km long and is described as easy, the Tramline Loop is 7 km and also classifies as easy, the Black Linn Loop is a km longer and described as moderate and the last one Bog of the Frogs is 10 (but according to some pages 15) km long and marked as hard.

IMG_6227We took the last one because we both like walking and really wanted to spend the whole day outdoors. Almost the whole hiking path was on the clifftops and the landmarks that we passed are called Nose of Howth, which was the beginning of our hike with stunning views of the Lambay Island and Baily Lighthouse beneath. It took us about 3-4 hours to take the whole tour and during this time the weather changed from the threatening autumn to the mild summer day and the views beneath  us were marvellous and picturesque.

IMG_6241Especially nice were all these secret beaches and it was almost impossible to understand where were the tracks that reached them, but as we saw some people enjoying their time there, it was definitely possible to do it. The end of the track went over the golf ground, passed some really nice country houses and ended in the forest which was quite like a jungle and lead us back to the village at last.

IMG_6213This time, we didn’t find out how to get to these lovely little beaches beneath the cliffs because we just wanted to walk through the whole Loop, take photos and enjoy walking. Maybe some next time it will be a good idea to take your picnic basket with some snacks and wine with you and enjoy the beaches beneath the cliffs. In this case, of course, it’s wiser to take the shorter Loop.

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We ended our day on the pier of course and had a look into every single little fish shop. The timing was not the best because it was the late afternoon and everybody knows that the best time to get fresh fish is at the early hours of the day, but anyway, we got some monk fish and for me it was the first time in my entire life to eat monk fish.

IMG_6296After that, we couldn’t help but had to wonder around all these nice small seafood restaurants which were still quite empty, because it was not the real dinner time. but we found a really good offer and enjoyed our fish plate in a cosy little restaurant and we really couldn’t expect the better end of the day.

Back at home, we put our monk fish into the fridge to wait for the next evening, because after that huge fish plate and a bottle of white crispy wine we were too full to start to cook again. and I don’t have to say how tasty it was. I looked it up the dictionary and I know now the name in Estonian too, but I really had not eaten it before. Hopefully, I will eat it again quite soon, if not before, then the next summer.


Kilmainham Gaol

Kilmainham Gaol is an old prison in Dublin which is most famous because lots of the members of Irish Easter Rising were kept here and some of them were even executed here. Nowadays there’s a museum where you can take guided tours. We took a guided tour with a really smart tour guide who told us all about the history of the jail and gave loads of information about the Easter Rising that is going to celebrate the 100th anniversary in 2016.

When we reached Kilmainham Gaol, we had to book our tour and wait about an hour, but when waiting we could have a look around at the exhibition. Our tour guide was really smart and she told us all about the history of the jail and gave loads of information about the Easter Rising that is going to celebrate the 100th anniversary in 2016.

If you want to get to know the Irish history Kilmainham Gaol is one of the places that you need to visit, because here you will get to know how this country has struggled for its independence to build up its own free state. It reminds me a lot of Estonian history, maybe that’s why I feel so much at home here.

Meeting Titanic

We started our day at the perfect time for having a brunch at Bunnyconnellan Restaurant in Myrtleville, not far from Crosshaven.

30It was located on the top of the cliff, overlooking the Atlantic’s and the views were breathtaking. It’s a very popular place among the locals, especially for weddings, but not only. It’s a perfect place to start your day or to come over and chat with your friends at the weekend with a nice drink and delicious food.
The name of the restaurant was put together from the names of the women who started it and it’s known as “Bunny’s” among the local people. And it is open all year around.

Inside it looked like a cosy pub or a bar and the outside terrace was large, with big tables and nice corners where you can be quite on your own and don’t have to listen to the other peoples talk. But if you are having a big party, then you have a lot of space to enjoy the company of your friends, mixed with the fresh smell of the sea breeze, and the music of the waves just beside you.

I would like to come back in the evening because I have always liked the mystery of the dark sea when you can just hear it. Maybe the next year I will be lucky enough to come back and have a late dinner right here above the Atlantic Ocean.

This time, I was the one who had to make a decision and pick the next place – The Whiskey Factory or Cobh Heritage Centre. I didn’t have to think too long because I know that I am not too much into all kinds of producing processing and so I excluded the Whiskey Factory. Maybe some next time, why not. So we headed to Cobh – the town with three names.


Cobh Heritage Centre is situated in an old railway station. and it’s dedicated to the mass emigration during 18th and 19th century and to Great Famine 1845-1852 when the whole Ireland was starving and what became the reason for the mass emigration.

IMG_6089It is said that between 1845 – 1950 over 6 million people have emigrated from Ireland and over 2,5 million of them have started from Cobh or Queenstown. So this port plays an important part of the immigration history.

Besides that a lot of big cruise trips, Titanic among them have stopped here and the port was also used for deporting criminals to Australia.

As it has been a spot for leaving Ireland forever, it now offers the genealogical research for your Irish ancestors. It is possible to order a session and get to know how to read the old records and find your Irish roots.

IMG_6084At the entrance stands the statue of Annie Moore and her two brothers.
Annie Moore is considered to be the first person whose name was written down on Ellis Island in the United States after coming down from the ship.

She started from Cobh harbour on 1st of January in 1892 and the whole journey took 12 days.

The similar statue stands also on Ellis Island as a symbol for all the Irish people who have emigrated using the same way.

People leaving their homeland forever – quite lifelike sculptures.

I had never heard anything about the Irish photographer Frank Browne, who was the most well-known Irish photographer during the first half of the 20th century.  But in Cobh Heritage centre I got to know a lot about him and his unbelievable trip on Titanic.
IMG_6095Frank Browne started his journey from London by a train called “Titanic Special” which was taking the passengers from London to Southampton port to board Titanic, The queen of the Ocean.

He had a first class ticket from Southampton to Cobh, where the ship had it last stop to take on board some more passengers. He was there to take photos only, but on his way from Southampton to Cobh, he made friends with a wealthy American family who offered him a first class ticket to America. That sounds already as the beginning of the Titanic movie.

But probably Frank had its own Guardian Angel looking down at him because when he telegraphed about that unbelievable opportunity to his uncle, bishop Robert Browne, he got a very strict answer – “Get off the ship” – and that’s what he did, in Cobh, where he was supposed to get off. This telegram probably didn’t make him too happy when he got it, but it saved his life. His photos are the only evidence that has remained from the Queen of all the Ships that didn’t make a single voyage.

And it’s not all about Titanic for that day. When we left the Heritage Centre we couldn’t pass it.
… and we couldn’t stop thinking about it.
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Around Cork



It’s my first trip out of Dublin and it happens because someone’s sister lives near Cork 🙂 At first about three hours by car and here we are, in a nice house in the middle of the fields in a place called Crosshaven. And we are going to stay here for three days.


1-1The first place we visit is a small town Kinsale which has a fort which is called the Charles Fort, a historical port and a lot of nice colourful picturesque houses. It is located about 25 km-s south of Cork and sits at the mouth of the river Bandon with only a bit more than 2000 people. But I believe that in a summer time they have lots of tourists wandering around and enjoying the atmosphere of the town.

They have a big yacht port as well and a nice promenade to walk and enjoy the yachts beside you.

Here is a collection of my favourite houses in Kinsale:

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And the tiny Hat Shop with lots of beauties 🙂

And a tiny Chocolate Shop with handmade chocolate, yummie …



And something that reminded me Haapsalu, unfortunately, we didn’t see the Hotel itself




And some good advice here and there, why not 🙂

On our way back we stopped and counted the Irish cows and enjoyed the landscape. I still don’t know how many cows were there, but quite a lot.

A day full of history

It was time to get to know the old Dublin and have a sight into the historical background. On one hand I was a bit sad that I didn’t read these Edward Rutherfurd’s books before coming, but on the other hand, I will be pretty more educated when I go back and start to read them. I am sure that I am able to enjoy them more when I have more connections with the real Irish history and it all makes more sense to me.

4We started the day from the Dublin Castle, where we visited the Chester Beatty Library which is situated in the castle building. It’s a collection of manuscripts, books, and miniatures that belonged to the mining magnate sir Chester Beatty and is now displayed a free exhibition.  You can find items from almost all the countries in the world and they are exposed as Wester collections, East Asian collections, and Islamic collections.

Then we headed out to see the two churches that are both situated quite near there. Despite Ireland being a Catholic country, these churches were both protestant churches. And for a catholic country, it’s surprising that they have used their empty churches in very curious ways like using them as night clubs, pubs, and tourism information centres, which is a nice way to keep them as a part of a modern society.

We also entered the Christ Church and climbed to the St Michel’s Tower where there was a really nice view on the town, even despite the rainy weather.

The next step was going back to the roots and investigate where did it all start and who were the first to settle down in Ireland. We went to Dublinia to see the Viking times and some Medieval history of Dublin. And guess what, the Viking didn’t come just only from Scandinavia, but also from Estonia, so we could have the same roots. Yes, I knew that already, but it was nice to see it written on the wall and to point it out with pleasure.

Music festival in Merrion Square park

The Festival of Street Performers, which took place in Merrion Square park included a really nice two days full of music of different Irish groups.

1 (1)It was a nice small music festival, even the weather was sunny and warm and no showers at all. So we enjoyed almost all the groups and picked up our favourites. One of them became my real favourite, so I even got their CD.

On the first day we were not clever enough to bring our blanket, but on the second day we took it seriously and laid down on the grass and listened to all the bands and I really felt that the summer had begun.

The best of the day was Gypsy Rebel Rabble – and I have got their album now.

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Interskalactic – a big band with a Jamaican flavour.

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Colours Afrobeat Foundation – Irish afrobeat band, rooted in African music.



The secret gardens

Dublin, that is called  Baile Átha Cliath in Irish, is a big city.  Of course, it’s the capital of Ireland with population over 500 000 people, but if walking around it doesn’t seem so big at all and if you don’t want to walk around the busy streets it’s possible to escape into several nice parks which are situated so near to each other that you can just walk a bit and there’s the next one. So we did.

_DSC0438We started from Trinity College that has also lovely green areas around the old buildings and the world famous Book of Kells somewhere inside the old Library. I remember pretty well when I learned it at the University, but not so pretty well to talk hours about it. I guess that they turn the page each day, so it’s possible to see different pages when you visit it more than once. Actually, the Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript gospel book, that contains the four gospels of the New Testament and it was created somewhere around 800 AD. Maybe one day I will go and have a look at it, but this time, it was just a plan, that was not put into practice. The name of Kells comes from the Abbey Kells where it was held for centuries, where it remained until 1654 when Oliver Cromwell sent it to Dublin for safekeeping and from the 19th century it has been on the public display.

4This round sculpture is called Sphere Within Sphere and it’s made by an Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro. Versions of the sculpture can be seen not only in Trinity college but in different places of the world, including Vatican. Anyway, it seemed a nice background for a photo and as we had our photograph with us for the whole day, it’s not the only marvelous photo that we have got from that day. I didn’t know then that this one might have opened the session for my sculpture photo track because that idea came to me some time later.

5After that we headed to Merrion Square Park, which is a bit wild, you can really walk through the bushes and little, crooked paths under the big and old trees. At least it’s not such kind of a flower garden, but more like a place where young kids would like to play Indians and climb the trees and if you are a bit out of the tree climbing age you would probably want to lie down the grass, watch the clouds and enjoy doing nothing. The sculpture of Oscar Wilde enjoying himself on the big stone is a good example of that nice feeling of doing nothing but still being happy and fully alive and if the sun makes you to shut your eyes for a while,  you are definitely not sleeping, but resting your eyes.

merrion_park_1Although the Irish playwright spent a great deal of his time in England the country of his birth has chosen to honor him with a statue in Merrion Square Park.  As it’s possible to find a lot of proof that the sculptures of Dublin have a lot of nicknames which maybe always don’t sound so very polite, but at the same time quite funny, spiced with a bit of Irish humour, this much loved Irish Writer has also a nickname – nothing less that “The Queer with the Leer”, which sounds a little cruel perhaps, but in spite of that it doesn’t absolutely mean that they don’t love their great writer. They do of course, nevertheless of that name.

merrion_parkMerrion Park is also famous for its summer events, concerts and festivals. So are the other parks in Dublin of course, but I was lucky to take part of one of the Music Festivals there, but I will write a bit more about it in some next post.
I got some quite interesting facts about Merrion Square from a page called “10 things you probably didn’t know about Marrion Park” and I have to say that I really didn’t know them. I got to know that Oscar Wilde, Yeats, and Daniel O’Connell have lived on that street, that Oscar Wilde’s mother used to hold a salon that was visited by Bram Stoker and that about 250 years ago the place looked like a farmland on the edge of the city and it was possible to see as far as the bay. They started to build the Georgian houses to Merrion Street in the 18th century.

_DSC0481After Merrion Square, we walked a bit more and very soon reached the St Stephan’s Green Park. On the corner of the park, there’s a statue to commemorate the Irish Famine(known in Gaelic as An Gorta Mór). These pillars surround a statue of the 18th century father of Irish republican, Theodore Wolfe Tone and although it represents one of the darkest periods of Irish history the Dubliners have given it a relevant nickname and call it the Tone-Henge (look at the shape of the pillars:)) The park was officially open to the public in 1880 and is very near to one of the biggest shopping streets in Dublinst_stevents – the Grafton Street. Just over the street lies one of the most beautiful shopping centres that I have ever seen. It didn’t look like a shopping centre at all, it called to my mind a picture of a resort town musical theatre or some other place where people walk around with big hats decorated with bows and feathers. I was surprised to hear that it wasn’t built somewhere at the beginning of the last century but in the middle of the eighties, not a very romantic time by my mind. When I looked up some information about the shopping centre I got to know that it was built instead of a marketplace that had really wonderful name Dandelion Market, which used to be a place with stalls with all kind of punk stuff, like badges, clothes and posters and where U2 used to have several gigs. What a pity that I didn’t have a chance to see it in these days.


St Stephan’s Park was quite a different story – gorgeous views, large well maintained green lawn, flower beds and ponds with swans swimming around and therefore it looked like a place where to make nice photos and just walk around slowly, happily and proudly.

7It gave a bit the same feeling as our Promenade in Haapsalu, especially when to think about it’s beginning with all these well-dressed people promenading around and showing off themselves. So we walked there a bit, watched the people who had come out to spend their day in the green and the birds and children who were feeding them and headed out of the park. In every park there are signs what is prohibited in the park and one of these things was playing ball. That didn’t stop too not-yet-grown-up young men playing ball and worse, trying to swing with the tree top. It was something that probably every country boy has tried somewhere at the age of ten somewhere in his nearby woods, but it was definitely not the perfect thing for 25-year olds to do in the public park. Fortunately, they didn’t break the tree.

13Our park tour ended in a small and niceIveagh Gardens, which was the favourite of Sean, because of being a real secret garden in his childhood. That Park was established in 1863 by Benjamin Guinness, the 3rd Earl of Iveagh, the grandson of the Arthur Guinness,  who started to brew the Guinness beer and became the richest man in Ireland of his times.

_DSC0536_crop (2)The Park was really a jewel and even the Internet says that it’s the least known parks in Dublin. It has retained its style being between of French formal and English Landscape styles and therefore looking just as a place where to come to be on your own and think your secret thoughts. Unfortunately half of the park was closed because of the oncoming Festival, but it was nice to walk around in Rose Garden, it even didn’t matter that the season of blooming had come to an end, to discover all these little fountains, pools, paths under the old big trees and nice statues hidden underneath them.


So after every time you feel tired or want to get away from the rush and traffic, you can find a small secret garden just around the corner and it seemed that a lot of people, not only the tourists had found that to be a good idea and were spending their time just enjoying the green grass, the sun and fresh air with their lunch box, children, dogs, or friends.

I really want to go back to all of these parks and take my time to capture the feeling, this time with my book and lunchbox and probably have to pick one of these sunny days that are not so rare as I was afraid of.


Hello Dublin :)

Two days ago I said bye bye to Estonia and after three hours flight, I could already say hello to Dublin. It was a nice flight with more views than usually when you are flying. At first along the Estonian coast, then over the skerries of Sweden, then just the blue sunny sky and fluffy clouds around, some Prosecco on the board and then already the coast of Ireland was just below us.
And then the happy getting together. Good that we had a photographer with us 🙂