A seaside day in Dún Laoghaire

Dún Laoghaire is a small suburban seaside town, located just 12 km’s from Dublin by train. Actually, it’s a part of Dublin and it takes about 15 minutes to reach it from the city centre but when you are already there, nothing reminds you the big and busy capital city and you feel yourself like in a real summer resort town. Long and nice promenade takes you along the seaside and calm and well-rested people are walking their dogs, riding their bicycles and strolling along the seashore, sitting on the benches and enjoying their 99 Flake ice-creams. Even the weather seemed to be totally different from the city weather and we had to take off our jackets and put on the sunglasses and of course, buy the 99 flakes at once.

I was wondering why do they still call them 99-s when they don’t cost 99p-s or there doesn’t seem to be any other connection with that number and so I had to google it. And the result was amazing – the ice-cream served in a cone with a Flake 99 is UK-s (and probably Irish) favourite ice-cream and I pretty much have to say that it’s my favourite ice-cream too for now. But calling them 99 has a long historical touch – the majority of ice-cream merchants in the 30-s were Italians and in the days of the monarchy, the Italian King had an elite guard consisting of 99 soldiers. After that everything elite or first class was called 99. That’s how they started to call them so. I also found that the Flake has to be 99 mm-s long and the cones had also cost 99 p-s in the past, but somehow I like the story of Italian elite the most. Now I know that my taste is elite 🙂

The name of the place is very hard for me to remember, especially the pronunciation but I am so used that the Irish names are the tough ones and when you learn it, it’s not difficult any more – /dun lieeri/, it sounds for me, and it means The Fort of Laoghaire. The high king of Ireland, Lóegaire mac Néill, chose this place as his sea base from where to carry out raids in the 5-th century. The town Dún Laoghaire dates from the 1820s and was called Kingstown at first. The two piers were founded in the 19-th century and the harbour is now one of the largest in the country. We picked the East Pier for our walk and after googling it came out to be the most popular and even used in some movies. The long walk ends at the old Lighthouse where you can also find  a small cafe and the ice-cream parlour, selling the Flake 99, of course.  The buildings on the pier reminded me a lot of our Haapsalu promenade, probably all the summer resorts have something in common 🙂

On that day Dún Laoghaire was hosting the Laser Radial Youth and Men’s World Championship and we saw thousands of small boats coming back to the harbour. The amount of them was unbelievable and they still kept arriving when we left.

The piers seemed to be also a favourite place for local guys who practised diving from the quay. That was a bit terrifying to watch, especially that the water didn’t seem to be too warm and not too clean either but this little matter didn’t stop the boys.

I have to say it was one of my most beautiful days here and Dublin still surprises me – you can find so many different sides of it and you never get bored. And seaside places are among my favourites anyway.


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.


A sunny day at the seaside

To get a sunny day at the seaside is not something that you can take as granted when spending your summer in Ireland. Oh, yes, there is a lot of sunshine, but usually, the sun just goes and comes and you can never be sure how long does this magical moment last and unfortunately it never lasts as long as you wish. But this day started with the blue clear sky and ended the same way so I feel that it’s something that needs to be written down and remembered 🙂

Our plans took us to the Camden Fort Meagher, the next fortress, this time, a Maritime Fortress, situated in Crosshaven, just above the sea. Camden Fort Meagher is a coastal defence fortification, one of the best remaining example of that kind of fortification. It was built to defend the mouth of Cork Harbour and the first fortifications date back to 1500. 65% of all the fort is built underground in the tunnels and chambers, but as the weather was so beautiful, we didn’t spend too much time underground but paid more attention to everything that was on the ground, especially the marvellous views over the Cork Harbour and all these small and bigger boats who were enjoying the nice sailing weather.

This time, I didn’t forget to take my selfie stick and therefore I had a lot of fun to practice how to use it properly. It’s not only good for taking selfies but also for all nice views over the sea and that’s why I have so many photos of myself and the sea 🙂

Of course, there was a band 🙂 it’s almost everywhere where they expect tourists and it gives the day a perfect Irish taste. I know, that I sound like tourist now but I am still not tired of hearing them playing Land Rover over and over. The fort is taken care by the local volunteers who really do care about the history and the buildings and give you a good overview of the place and also chat with pleasure like all the Irish like to do.

After walking around we found a nice cafe above the sea and had a cup of coffee before we went home to cook the dinner. On our way home we stopped also in Crosshaven, where all the local pubs were busy and people were enjoying the weather and being outside with their friends and families. I would really be happy to get more such kind of weathers here because it’s so unbelievably beautiful here, so beautiful, that very often you just forget about the weather. And I have to say, that this summer has really been nice and warm – I can prove it by going through my photos of the last summer where I was wearing a coat on almost all of them 😀

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.


Just one nice Sunday

It was the first time when somebody came to visit me in Dublin and I could feel a bit more local, and I really did, in spite that my son has also lived in Dublin years ago. So it came out that the straightest (or cheapest, or the most exciting) way from Canada to Estonia goes through Dublin, with a 10 hour stop on Newfoundland Island and so my son landed in Dublin airport early on Sunday morning. As his visit was just 2 days short, we had planned the both of the days quite well. Soon after the breakfast we went to walk around in town, to find out who of us knows Dublin the  best. And I have to say that I was the winner because he hadn’t been to parks and to churches and even not in some well-known pubs. Probably he knows more about McDonalds and night clubs.

We started from the Temple Bar area and the band was already playing at 12 at noon, but we didn’t stay, just had a quick look at the Unknown Whiskey Drinker and headed to St Stephen’s Park, then to Iveagh Gardens, to Dublin Castle and Christ Church and St Patrick’s Church, then to totally different Church where he met his friends and I left him to have drinks with them. We finished the day at the Thai restaurant.

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What is near Duncannon?

2I have been really happy to spend again some time in Duncannon, a nice small village at the seaside where the sea lies just behind your garden fence and where it’s possible to watch the secret life of the sea. This time, it was mostly stormy, even when it wasn’t raining and when going on the beach, it was possible to feel how the wind is fighting with you and holding you back when you want to walk. But anyway, there were a lot of brave people walking their dogs or just wandering around despite the heavy wind. I tried to be among them and spent some time taking photos and listening to the song of the wind and struggling with the flying sand.

1There are lots of marvellous places around Duncannon and this time I had a chance to visit quite a lot of them. The village itself is also very nice with picturesque views, some pubs, locals and summer visitors, small shops and sandy beach. But if you drive a bit you can visit easily the Hook peninsula, and the nearby towns Waterford and Wexford, the last one has given the county its name too.

3I had been to Waterford before, but that time my stay was limited at the bus station, waiting for the bus that took us to Duncannon. This time, I was lucky to see the town twice, and try again this quite common way of travelling from one side of the river to the other. So it means that we just drove on the ferry, and after 5 minutes off again, and very soon we were in the centre of Waterford, where the Street Performers’ Festival took place. The first time when I saw this way of travelling, was when going to Cobh. This is something that we don’t have, but here it seems to be very common.

Spanish entertainers

The Street Performer’s Festival, which is called SPRAOI Festival (pronounces /sprii/) means FUN in Irish. Reading the name doesn’t make any sense how to pronounce it, so it’s better to write it down to remind it. It seems that in the Irish language they are very generous with writing different letters into one words and it seems that just in case, they have written them always more than they are ever going to pronounce. That makes Estonian so easy-peasy, in spite of all its 14 cases, but at least we pronounce how we write.

5The centre of Waterford was very nice and the people who had come to see the performers didn’t mind the rainy weather. Fortunately, it wasn’t raining all the time and children could enjoy the performances. Especially cool was the drum band from Ireland which consisted of children in different ages and of their really enthusiastic teacher who encouraged them to play and act, what they did really good.

6As the big clouds arrived we didn’t stay for the fireworks and we were smart because it started to pour rain and I don’t know if they could carry out any fireworks with such a weather. I would definitely want to come back to Waterford and spend some more time there.

We visited also Wexford, but that was a short visit, just got a glimpse of the main shopping street, so I must come back there too, and probably I will.

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.