Sunday, September 24, 2023


When our cruise ship anchored at Cobh in the Republic of Ireland, we were looking forward to seeing some of the Irish countryside. Because my friend, Sharon, was walking with a cane and sometimes a walker, and because I was with her, we were always given a reserved front seat on every tour bus. We were treated so tenderly and often felt a little like frauds because we didn't really feel like delicate old ladies inside of ourselves. However, we accepted all kindnesses and especially the superb view. 

Here is what Google has to say about our destination, Blarney Village:

Blarney is a village just outside the city of Cork, in southwestern Ireland. Its 15th-century Blarney Castle is home to the legendary Blarney Stone, said to give the "gift of the gab" to those who kiss it. Extensive parkland surrounding the castle features a network of trails, themed gardens and the large, turreted Blarney House. A 19th-century building in the village centre houses the former Blarney Woollen Mills. ― Google

We were headed to the village, but passed by the castle on the way. Most of our fellow tourists went straight to the Blarney Woolen Mills for shopping and souvenir hunting, but we were on a quest for a nice glass of Guinness. Along the way, our driver, who was out for a walk, strongly recommended that instead of Guinness we ask for a half pint of the local brew. We weren't sure exactly what the name was (that lovely Irish accent, you know), but we did our best approximation and the barman at Christy's Bar knew exactly what we meant. 

Here is the lunch we feasted on: Fish and Chips with Mushy Peas and Tartar Sauce (kid's size, as recommended for us by the barman), with that delicious mystery ale. Which was cold, by the way, and I had expected that all drinks there would be served at room temperature. 

The pub itself was modern and not the ancient dark and smoky beamed village pub I had in mind. However, it was a lovely, friendly place and we greatly enjoyed our delicious Irish pub fare. 


After lunch, we made our slow way back to a little park near where the buses were parked. And there, a very magical thing happened....   (to be continued).

Monday, September 18, 2023


I have always wanted to visit Stonehenge. I just never expected to do it as part of a cruise/bus tour when I was 78, but though the trip was not the one I would have made in my younger days, I am so glad to have seen this strange and mysterious place. 

The stones were smaller than I expected, but as amazing as I'd hoped they be. Built 4500 years ago, before the wheel was discovered, they are now a World Heritage Site

This bird was enjoying the view of the tourists

Neighbors to the stones

The reality of visiting the stones on a rare sunny day--lots and lots of other people
were also fulfilling their lifelong dream

And this was the line to get back on the shuttle
that took us back to the line to get onto the bus
that took us back to the line to get back on the ship

While standing in the various lines under that gorgeous blue sky, we had time to admire the lovely native shrubs that grew between fields and along pathways. The birds and insects loved them and so did we
Maybe a highbush cranberry?