JFK, Horseride and Heaven

This morning started with blue sky and even the weather app on my Iphoe didn’t warn me that it could change. So we planned to drive to John F. Kennedy Memorial park to enjoy the sunny day, summer feeling and the last day at the seaside home. But the weather was not our friend today, so just a bit after getting started, the big grey clouds turned up and hid the sun and very soon it started to pour rain. We didn’t turn around but hoped that it will pass and so we reached to the park with totally heavy rain and wetness all around. As it seemed to clear up a little, we left the car and went to look for the tickets and then Sean’s sister came to a genial plan – we took the horse and carriage and got a horseman who was a real hobby botanist and gave us a good overview of all the trees that we passed.

Ireland is rich of US presidents who in some odd ways seem to descend from here or are connected through some relatives. JFK is not an exception. His roots go back to Dunganstown and his great-grandfather left Ireland in 1848. Probably for the same reason as all the others, to escape from poverty and look for a better life. JFK visited Ireland in 1963 when he visited his family farm and went to see his relatives. the John F Kennedy’s Memorial Park is dedicated to his memory. It’s a huge area with a collection of over 4500 trees and shrubs. The rain stopped when we were driving in the carriage and everything was so green and fresh and smelled so well. All the photos are taken from the carriage when it was driving 🙂

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When our horse ride was over the rain was over too and we enjoyed some tea and cakes and watched the local children’s’ party on the playground and just wandered around.

Before going back I was taken to Heaven. We drove up and up and again up and reached almost to the top of the world where you could see almost the whole Ireland. Ok, I am exaggerating a bit but it was very high and the view was unbelievably beautiful and I guess it was possible to see almost the whole County around you. If there’s a real Heaven somewhere, I’d really want to imagine that I could sit there on the edge of the cloud and look at the whole Ireland for ages 🙂 I am not going to write that it started to rain again, and the wind went quite wild, and my summer dress, which could have been a right thing to wear on the photos of such an amazing place, wanted to fly away and I had to run back to the car, taking the photos on my run and staring around to catch a bit more of that beauty.

A trip to Connemara

When you have guests visiting you can behave as a tourist and as there are so many places in Ireland which I still haven’t seen, I was happy to join my friends on a day trip to Connemara. I have always wanted to visit Connemara, probably because of some mysterious romance books, which I even cannot name any more but when they have been taking place in Ireland, then something has definitely happened in Connemara. So for me, it sounded a very romantic place and that’s why I recommended it to my friends.

We started early in the morning at the Molly Malone statue with Irish Day Tours and headed through the mainland towards Galway. Unfortunately, that hot summer, which had touched Ireland for the past 4 days had disappeared and given way to the normal Irish weather and so we were followed by showers, a bit of sunshine and more and more showers. I still kept believing that it could change and tried to watch the cows because there was some old Irish saying if the cows were standing, the weather would be nice, or was it the other way around 🙂 Actually when we were discussing it some days ago on our car trip, even my Irish relatives were not exactly sure, if the poor cows had to lie or stand to predict the good weather, so I tried to concentrate on the landscape and miss the cows.

01-file_000When getting nearer to Connemara, there were already more sheep than cows and none of them was lying. They all looked very colourful, of course, their real colour was white, but their heads were black and they all had painted red or blue stripes on their backs and they all had horns, even the girls 🙂 Estonian sheep never have horns, at least I have never seen them. The painted stripes have different meanings as our guide told us – they can mark the owner or if the sheep is sheared or not and probably something more that only the real sheep owners can understand.

Soon we reached the Killary Fjord to start our 1,5-hour boat trip. The weather was not our friend any more – it was grey, cold and pouring rain and all the picturesque coastline of the Irish only Fjord, that we were supposed to see was hidden behind the fog and it seemed that the real autumn had begun – it felt like somewhere in the middle of November. As the Irish weather is tricky, and I have a lot of experiences already to know it, we didn’t lose our good mood, but stayed outside on the boat and took pictures of the foggy shores.

Very soon the weather started to change again, the rain stopped and the fog faded away and it seemed like the mountains, which lay on both side of us, started to take off their foggy clothes and dress into the green festive dresses. That was really so beautiful and worth waiting.

At the same time, it went warm again and we also could take off our raincoats and warm sweaters and start to feel summery again. Very soon it was already possible to count the sheep on the mountains and then our 1,5-hour boat trip was over and we had to go back on the bus and drive to our lunch place.

We had a short lunch break at Kylemore Abbey, which seemed to be the biggest tourist spot in the area. The Abbey is still used by the nuns, but we didn’t have so much time to go inside and greet them because we had to stand the queues to get some lunch. That’s of course not the greatest thing of taking a day tour – the place was visited by almost 25 buses full of tourists, but it all went quite quickly and there’s nothing to complain about. We even had time for a small walk towards the gorgeous abbey, admire the building and the stunning high mountains behind it, take some quick photos and go back to the bus.

Our last stop was Galway and even if I knew that I am going to like it and will be sad to have such a short time here, I couldn’t imagine that I liked it so much. Now it’s my favourite town in Ireland, without any question. Galway is the home of a Claddagh Ring and a lot of signs and adverts here and there reminded you that.

Of course, we wanted to find the sculpture of two Wildes, or to be precise, a sculpture of two writers – the Irish writer Oscar Wilde and the Estonian writer Eduard Vilde. The sculpture is mad by Estonian sculpture Tiiu Kirsipuu,  and was given to Galway as a present by its sister town Tartu, where the second copy of the sculpture is located. The writers are from the same generation, but have never met, it’s just the imagination of the artist who saw them in a nice chat on the same bench discussing the life and literature.

Even our guide didn’t know who is this man sitting beside their famous writer, now he knows, I hope that he will tell it to the other groups as well because when entering the busiest street with hustle and bustle, musicians and jogglers, these two guys are the first ones you will notice.

Galway is a place where you need to sit down, forget your hurry, take a beer and enjoy life, then perhaps take a little shopping tour and buy some unuseful, but cute souvenirs, a Claddagh ring to your loved one and some woolen Irish jumper just in case because after enjoying the sun and the music, it might get cold again but you still don’t want to leave.

Now I have a plan for the next summer and it’s always good to have one – we will come back and stay here for some days and do all these things together.


Irish Dancing

Everyone who comes to Ireland wants to see Irish Dancing, which probably became really famous after Riverdance performed on Eurovision in 1994. That’s why my friends who visited us in July asked us for taking them to see Irish Dance. So we carried out a big online search to see which different places are offering Irish Dance evenings and which of them are not so awfully touristic and expensive. As the Church is in our neighbourhood and despite being a real touristic place is still worth to see, we suggested them two options – the Church and the Parliament Hotel and they picked both of them 🙂

So on a nice warm summer evening, when our friends had just come from a Viking Splash Tour, which they loved a lot, and we had just arrived from our Cork visit, we ended up at the Church and enjoyed some good Irish dancing with a nice dinner, just like any other tourists, and as the other tourists, I also made a video and uploaded it on my Facebook page, where the Curch had also liked it.

Rock of Cashel

Every year we have made a trip to Crosshaven, which is located near Cork. This year we went by car and came back by train and on our way made a short stop in Cashel, a town, situated in County Tipperary and on our way we passed six different counties of Ireland starting from County Dublin, then to County Kildare, County Laois, County  Tipperary, County Limerick and our last stop County Cork.

Cashel is a small town with the main tourist attraction the Rock of Cashel, which is also known as Cashel of the Kings and St Patrick’s Rock. Of course, here it’s not possible to get past St Patrick anywhere and it is said that in the past days it was a mountain, called Devil’s Bit, where the Devil lived and St Patrick banished him from the cave and after that, the mountain landed 30 miles from its original location and became a site of the conversion of the King of Munster.

As everywhere else, where there is a tourist attraction, you can also find a small wool shop selling local handicraft. Here they have been really smart because the sheep were eating just beside the house, so whenever they will run out of wool, they can just step out of the door and gather some more.

Before we went to the fortress we were looking around for a nice place to have lunch and we couldn’t have made a better choice than O’Neill’s Restaurant, which seemed more like a cozy little cafe, run by a family. It looked so appealing from outside and we didn’t get disappointed when entering because it was the perfect little place to have your lunch. It had a bit old looking atmosphere, exactly what you are looking in a small town like Cashel and the food was tasty and the hosts friendly.

1-File_001(7)I cannot leave out the fact that after our lunch we were given the free vouchers for the Castle tour and were welcomed back any time. The O’Neill’s has also lots of good reviews on Trip Advisor and the Trip Advisor’s sign on the window. We ordered the sandwiches, which is a very popular lunch dish here and in spite of being a real sandwich lover, I really like Irish sandwiches and can suggest them to everyone. I especially like these places where you can pick all the ingredients on your own but I a sure that in every place they follow your wishes and please you with the tastiest sandwich you can imagine. And it’s big enough to share if you are not so very hungry at the moment but just cannot pass the lovely moment at the cafe with your sandwich 🙂

And of course, wherever I go, I am admiring the nice little colourful shops and pubs which have so lovely decorations and therefore look so cute, that you just cannot leave without entering or at least taking a photo.


A Day Trip to Cliffs of Moher


As my son had his birthday in May and I hadn’t seen him since that I wanted to give him a present and as we see too often because he lives mostly in Canada, I gave him a trip that we could make together. As the time is limited, I tried to pick the best one and so we started early in the morning with Paddywagon Tours, which seems to be a great name in Irish tourism business, you can see their green signs all around the town. Paddy is a real Irish nickname, of course, after St Patrick, who has been probably a bit greater doer than Paddywagon, and it’s said that besides bringing Christianity to Ireland, he also got rid of all the snakes. Who knows, maybe they just didn’t have any snakes here even before St Patrick’s time 🙂

1-1aOur tour guide is named John and he promises to speak as a real Dubliner and so he does all through the tour. He has thousands of jokes, stories and competitions, he predicts the weather, sings Galway girl, teaches us to swear politely and in an Irish way, using the word “feck”, which really doesn’t sound too rude, but a bit funny. And the least but not the last, at the same time he drives the big green Paddywagon bus with joyful elegance through all these narrow roads, and never loses his positive spirit, even not when we lose a couple on the Baby Cliffs. Ok, they just sat on the wrong bus and met us at the next stop, which means that at the same time there were more than one Paddywagon buses, to be honest, there were three.

The first stop is a small colourful fishing village called Kinvara where we can stretch our legs and take some photos. The weather is not very promising but our guide convinces us that we will get a sunny day on the Cliffs of Moher and I have to tell that he was right. In Kinvara there are not too many houses, so they have had a possibility to paint them all in different colours, which gives the town a nice and friendly look. Almost every house hosts a pub or a small shop and they have also a little port for boats.

2-1bThe landscape is green, so green and even greener, with some rocks and lambs, cows and small houses, sprinkled over all that greenness that make up the Emerald Island. The name Emerald Island is the perfect match to Ireland, if you haven’t seen it, you will never believe how many different shades of green are possible to find there. The stone fences seem to be here as popular as on Estonian Islands, so I am pretty sure about our same Viking ancestors.

1-10After twirling on the crooked roads that go up and down, back and forth, we end at the ruins of Corcomroe Abbey, a place where the Cistercian monks used to live in the 13th century. The abbey is located in Cleare County and is made of limestones, again something familiar. The views under the abbey vaults are nice, green and bumpy, but the big dark clouds are following us and when we are running on the bus it rains already. One of the Irish kings was buried under the abbey and lots of other noble and not so noble persons into the small graveyard that surrounded the abbey. Someone asked the guide if nowadays the graveyard was used and in which reasons you could be buried there. The guide answered that the only reason for that was to be dead (and of course preferably local, I guess).

Followed by the rain, we reach the Baby Cliffs and the sight is magnificent, a little bit scary because of the rain and wind and height, but you can feel that there’s the Ocean ahead – the Atlantic Ocean. You can even smell it. We take our photos, admire the nature and get back to the bus, which seems to be the right one. Because of the rain we couldn’t see the three islands which are supposed to be near the coast, maybe just a little bit.

The next stop is in Doolen, in a small windy seaside village, where the houses are all white. Although the village is tiny, just only a handful of similar looking houses, there are three big pubs and in one of them, we are going to have our lunch. The afternoon band is again playing Land Rover, but it is a very touristic place where they are probably living from the clients of these tour buses and why not to listen to Land Rover in the afternoon.

And now the main attraction – we really reach the Cliffs of Moher and the weather really improves, exactly as our John had promised. We are happy to have the sun, the clear sky, and a fantastic view of the grandiose cliffs. We haven’t got rid of the wind, but somehow the wind is a part of that day anyway. At firs,t we keep on the track, but when it ends and all the others are going on, we also start to balance on a narrow path, which is quite slippery after all that rain, but the panorama gets better and better and it’s so awfully great to walk there and feel the nature around you and the Atlantic almost just under your feet. These 2 and a half hours are totally too short for that place, so we miss the other side and have to go back to the bus.

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On our way back we have one more short stop at Bunratty Castle and filled with good emotions we reach Dublin at 8 pm. Wow, it was a great day, even if I am not a fan of bus tours, but anyway, if someone asks me, I would suggest this tour to anybody, especially if you don’t have too much time and you are not going to rent a car. So it came out that the birthday present for my son was also a great present for myself and I am so lucky that I did it.


The most haunted house in Ireland

1-IMG_7701With a rainy day, we visited the most haunted house in Ireland – the Loftushall. It is said that the Devil himself had visited that place and put a hex on a daughter so that her ghost hasn’t found peace till now and haunts in the house. In the 90-s one boldfaced man started to run a hotel in the house but on one night all the guests and staff ran away without any explanations and left all their belongings into the house and never came back to take away a thing. After that, the house has been abandoned and no one had wanted to come to live there. Nowadays it’s a tourist place, where they make guided tours with ghosts jumping from around the corners and spooking the poor tourists who have willingly paid for getting scared. But it is said that the house decides on its own who can stay there and for how long time. It seemed that our stay was quite accepted because we didn’t meet any real ghosts but of course, we did our tour and went quickly away. Maybe the ghost has got used to the crowds and stays still in some hidden place 🙂

After the spooky afternoon, we stopped at Templer’s Pub and had an early dinner. I ordered fish and chips because the fish that they offered was monkfish and that has become my favourite here. And sometimes you just feel like fish and chips, especially when you have been visiting some spooky house with ghosts on a rainy day.

For desert I got a jar of jam, ok they had also sprinkled a bit of crushed gingerbread  on it and a glass of sticky cream to eat with it. By the way, it was called Fruit Crumble 🙂


Visiting Tintern Abbey


The weather has been quite rough this summer, windy rainy and cold, but for this day the sun has come out and it’s even warm outside. Anyway, I am not used to taking my coat off probably till my holidays in Crete in August and the only thing that cheers me up is knowing that they have the same kind of weather in Estonia 🙂 So our trip around Duncannon takes us to Tintern Abbey today.

1Tintern Abbey was founded in 1200 by Count William of Marshall and it got its name after the bigger namesake in Wales.

In 1541 in became a private property of Colclough family (pronounces as simple as /kookli/) and it was habited till 1959 when the last living old lady gave it back to the government. I guess it wasn’t a too cosy place to live because I could never imagine these thick stone walls to get really warm, rather I can picture this poor old lady with 3 pairs of woollen socks and a huge cup of tea staying in one small kitchen or somewhere near the fireplace.

3One of the vainest family members let to build such kind of a bridge, just only because its decorative and beautiful appearance. And especially decorative it looks seen through the upper window of the Abbey where our tour guide tells us stories about the Colclough family’s history. Yes, we are having a guided tour, so smart. The tour guide makes the place more alive, especially that she knows a lot about the characters and habits of every single person who has lived there.

4That’s how they built the walls during the old times  – the blend between the lattice was made from so many different ingredients that the restoration workers of nowadays were not able to catch up on it. But at least they tried! And it’s possible to see the wall building process in different stages. The guide says that this filling made the walls warm keeping and let the stone breathe. Probably it will make sense for our school’s  construction department 🙂5

This noble place was meant to be the seat of the superior head of the church. Actually, it doesn’t feel too comfortable, but maybe the needs of the medieval deacons were a bit more modest these days. But why not to try, if you have a chance, and the sun is shining really warm, unbelievable and nice.

10The little road that goes through the wood takes you to the Colclough Walled Gardens, which have been restored and trimmed recently and look quite nice. You need to buy a ticket again when entering the gardens, but I think they are collecting money for some more restoration work. The gardens are nice, full of flowers and there’s also an orchard part with vegetables and scarecrow which looks huge and decorative, probably not so decorative for the crows. In Estonia, we call these things not Scarecrows, but Scarepeas, instead, although they are meant to scare the crows, not the peas 🙂11

We take a long walk back and have a look at the Abbey from the other side and cross that decorative bridge.

As our guide pointed out to look up when leaving the Abbey, I remembered to do it. The outer walls were decorated with lots of small statues who were watching down on the ground with a mean look in their eyes. The guide told us that their task was to defend the Abbey against the evil spirits. And as we all know that the evil spirits are always coming from underground, that’s why they have to stare down 🙂


The Irish National Heritage Park

In the Irish National Heritage Park in County Wexford, you will get a true picture of the Irish history.



In 6000 thousand years ago the Irish used to live in such kind of houses. The houses were all made of reed and chimneys were not used yet. Here is our nice tour guide doing her summer job.



The reed roofs are a bit similar to Estonian reed roofs, but the shapes of the houses are totally different. No windows, no chimneys, just big roofs.



On such kind of a ground, the Druids worshipped their gods and made sacrifices to them. If you were lucky enough to be chosen, then in the middle of the stone circle your head was chopped off and the gods were supposed to fulfil the wishes of the people, or not 🙂


1500 years ago the people started to build Ringforts and all their life went on inside it. It was used for herding the animals, doing your everyday tasks and also for protecting you from the enemy.



One Celtic Cross – beautiful with its colours.


From Viking’s Age, which started from 795 Anno Domino


Crannog – artificially created island, surrounded by a wooden fence, to keep away the enemies.


Inside Crannog – the houses still had roofs made of reed. Crannogs were still used 400 years ago.


You cannot avoid whiskey in Ireland

1-IMG_7461_1A trip to whiskey factory, that was meant to be a year before, was carried out now. I guess it was one of the rainiest weathers and so we had to pick something that will take us indoors. In that place, you again have to take a guided tour and at the end of the tour, when it’s possible to taste different whiskeys, you could get a Jameson Irish WhiskeyTasting Certificate, which I did of course 🙂

whiskeyCongratulations! You toured, you tasted, and now you can tell the world. Thanks for visiting the home of Jameson and toasting over 230 years of history. Enjoy your Jameson Irish WhiskeyTasting Certificate. And remember bragging is optional.

That’s what was the text that came with e-mail and the Certificate. I must say that the Whiskey Tour was much better than I expected and we enjoyed it a lot, despite the rain and the raincoats that we had to wear all through the tour because we had to walk around on the premises and move from house to house.