Showing posts with label Ireland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ireland. Show all posts


I Love Northern Ireland - Travel

I was born in Northern Ireland.

I have lived there for most of my life with a break from 1992-95 when we lived in Delaware, USA and another one from 2004 -2010 when we lived in Tervuren, Belgium.

First I lived in Londonderry in the North West of Northern Ireland and then after I got married we lived in Drumahoe which is a village just outside Londonderry.

When we returned from The US we went back to our house in Drumahoe but when we returned from Belgium it was time to move to a location from which it was easier for my husband to get to the airports to travel for his work so we chose a house in Banbridge, a town just off the A1 which is the road from Belfast to Dublin.

 Northern Ireland is part of the UK 

though many people throughout the world get confused and think that all of Ireland is one country because it is one island.

It is rather like Spain and Portugal which are two different countries sharing the one large Peninsula of land in Europe.

Or maybe think of The US and Canada?

The people of Northern Ireland are some of the friendliest people in the world and are definitely known for their hospitality.

Northern Ireland has so many beautiful places to experience.

Northern Ireland is the home of one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World:

The Giants Causeway

Other great features are:

The Historical Walls of Londonderry

My home city for many years.

The Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge

Along the beautiful North Coast

The Mountains of Mourne

The beautiful scenery close to where we now live.

The Lakes in Fermanagh

In the South West of Northern Ireland.

I have always loved Northern Ireland and will claim (rightly) that we have fantastic large beaches of fine sand, even though we do not have the warm weather for others to come and visit and fully appreciate them.

If you have never been to Northern Ireland it is well worth a visit of much more than a couple of days.

Yes I have met people who decide to visit "Ireland" so travel from the US or Europe or Canada to Dublin in Eire / Republic of Ireland and spend almost 2 weeks there and then think they can go "up north" for a couple of days (or for one day as one family of 4 expressed this desire to me after a late breakfast in a hotel in the south end of Eire - I still shake my head at this one) and take in the beautiful places we have here but then are surprised that there is too much to do in just so little time.

Other Posts about Northern Ireland can be found at 

Ennis - A to Z of Places I have Visited.

For the next few months I am going to write about some places I have visited and do them in alphabetical order.

Still wondering what I will do for the more unusual letters like Q and X etc. but maybe I will have a brilliant idea later.

In March 2015 my husband had to visit several different sites in Ireland because of his work.

I don't normally travel with him on work trips in fact let's say we could probably count the number of times I have done so on the fingers of my two hands and we are talking of a time span of over 30 years.

However on this occasion he was going to a different location each day so that meant a long working day followed by a long drive to the next place and a different hotel each night so he suggested I go with him for company on the journeys.

We live in Northern Ireland (CLICK HERE to go see the difference between Northern Ireland and Ireland if you have not already read my blog post on this) and then come back here to finish off this one.

As I was saying , we live in Northern Ireland but have not been to very many different places in Ireland so it was an opportunity for me to see some towns and cities during the day as well as not have to cook for almost two weeks.

It was also an opportunity to see quite a few hotel rooms and resulted in a blog post on Top 10 Things that Make a Good Hotel Room which you probably want to read as well

and another amusing one about all the strange/quirky things I encountered in those hotel rooms see 10 Things that made me laugh in Ireland.

On this trip we stopped one night outside what I thought was a small town called Ennis.

The next morning after I had a late breakfast and did a few puzzles I ordered a taxi and simply asked the driver to take me into Ennis so that I could have lunch and go for a walk around.

The taxi driver dropped me off beside a very tall statue and when I asked where I could get a taxi back to the hotel again he pointed over to another street and said I'd find a taxi rank there.

Convinced that this was a small town, and this seemed to be confirmed by the narrow streets, I walked along without a care in the world looking at the shops as I passed by on my mission to find somewhere nice to have my lunch.

I could see shops, I could see pubs, I could see coffee shops, I even passed a hotel on the main street but nowhere that looked like it would offer a simple lunch.

On and on I walked turning into one small street after another and starting to get convinced that I would get lost in this town of narrow streets when I turned a corner and there it was - I am so disappointed that I did not take a picture of it or think to write down the name - but I had found my cafe.

It was lovely inside and there was a peaceful atmosphere about it.  I ordered and was definitely not disappointed when my food arrived.  After eating I lingered on reading my book over a cappuccino enjoying both the beverage and the surroundings, but eventually I had to leave to see a bit more of Ennis and find my way back to that statue to get a taxi again.

Some of you may have read in previous blog posts that I like unusual roundabouts but I certainly wasn't thinking about finding one here, yet that is exactly what I did find. Shortly after leaving the cafe I turned a corner and found myself in a somewhat wider street with a roundabout at the end of it.

I immediately asked myself a question - was I really seeing a cow on a roundabout?

And the answer was yes.

A cow and two figures.

I had lived near a roundabout that had several animals on it in Tervuren in Belgium, they were all playing musical instruments and forming a fountain (it is absolutely beautiful) but never a cow just standing there.

There must have been some reason behind this but I have yet to find it out.

At least I remembered to take a photo of the cow and the figures before I went on finding my way back to the statue.

At the statue I then headed over to the place the taxi driver had told me about, at least I thought it was where he was directing me but there was no taxi rank there. I wandered around a bit and eventually ended up going over the river Festus.

It was a lovely calm view from the bridge.

It was the Harmony Row Bridge which is a pedestrian bridge in a arched shape.

The bridge and river look good from this view too.

Well I asked several people about the taxi rank yet never got any help but eventually I spotted a taxi coming along the road I was then on and I hailed it down.   Yes, I hailed it down, something I have never done before even though we have lived in The US and have been in London several times.

The taxi took me back to the hotel just as Fred was arriving back from work for the day.  He was tired and hungry and I was tired and my feet were getting sore from all that walking and walking.

On doing a little bit of research on Ennis online (should have done this before I got there of course) I discovered that this town of the narrow Streets (as I will always think of it) is actually the County town of County Clare so it is larger than I thought and that explains why I ended up walking through so many streets.

Have you heard of Ennis the Irish town with the narrow streets?

The tall statue is called the O'Connell Monument with a link to the Crimea War.  The figure at the top of it is Daniel O'Connell who is called the "Great Liberator"

I also discovered that there are other statues apart from the tall thin one I met on my arrival and those on the roundabout. 

Yes there is one of a hand.

I never noticed it.  I wonder is this the only large town sculpture of a hand in Ireland and I also wonder if there are other unusual large sculptures in Ennis.

Maybe I need another visit to seek out more and to find that lovely cafe again.

As for any of you readers, well this just might be a good town for you to visit in Ireland because I think it would be just what some of you imagine an Irish town is like.


10 Things That Made Me Laugh in Ireland

Laughter is good for you.

I have often said it and I do believe it is true and it was certainly good for us during that trip we made for Fred with work in Ireland.

It's the trip that produced the blog post Top 10 things that make a good Hotel Room.

The first comment I had on that blog post was about a hospitality tray and it really made me laugh as I thought of a certain incident during that trip.

So where better to start my list of

1. The Missing ....?

It was in the same bedroom that had all those other failures of being a good hotel room and although it was something we definitely noticed we had to laugh at it because it just seemed so funny compared to everything else that was wrong in the room.

Have a look at this picture and see if you can notice the mistake.

Yes we were in a double room with 2 saucers & 2 spoons 
but only 1 cup.

I can quite understand it if a spoon is missing because well who takes sugar these days (don't laugh - we do) but I certainly think we might need the cup to actually drink the tea or coffee from.

2.  No Room for a Chair.  

Doesn't seem that funny well at least not until you see where there was no room for the chair.

Yes just the very place you need a chair - at the desk/dressing table.

There was so little space between it and the bottom of the bed that a chair could not be placed there and the only way I could work at the laptop was to pull the bed down even closer to the desk and sit on the end of the bed.

Oh yes and guess what  -  it was that same room again!

3.  The Gift of a Crunchie.

n a lovely hotel near Athlone we were greeted with this in our room.

We wondered how they greeted guests on any other days.

"Make it a Malteser Monday"
"Turn in with a Twirl on Tuesday"
"Wake up to a Walnut Whip this Wednesday"
"Take a Taste of a Twix on Thursday"
"Sit down with some Smarties this Saturday"
"Snooze after a Snickers on Sunday"

or maybe it was only the special visitors on Thursday Nights who received a special chocolate treat.

4.  The 9 Colours of Light.

One of the hotel rooms had a large wall mirror which was not unusual.

Then we discovered a panel with lots of buttons & switches beside the bed.

The buttons were numbered 1 to 9 so of course we had to press each one to see what it did.

And the result was the 9 different colours of light which appeared at the top of the mirrored wall.

The last one was just normal light but hasn't come up well in the picture.

It was rather hard to take all 9 pictures of the lights because I was giggling so much.

I just thought - What a waste of money!  Especially when lights 6 & 8 were so close in colour.

5.  The Picture Mystery.

The very next hotel brought us this puzzle.

How could they possibly manage to lose two parts of their pictures?

6.  The Cow Roundabout.

I enjoyed walking around this little town with its narrow streets and just as I realised I had got myself lost I saw this large roundabout with a cow.

Now I have nothing against roundabouts with animals as we had a beautiful one close to where we lived in Belgium but then there were several animals creating the Tervuren Fountain.
It always made me smile.

I really wasn't too sure whether it was the cow that made me laugh or the fact that the roundabout seemed too big for the narrow streets.

10 Things that made me laugh in Ireland

7.  The Case of the Missing Hotel Information Books.

In one hotel we wanted to find out the usual information about the opening hours of the hotel pool and restaurants along with info. on the surrounding area and the ever important checkout time.  So we hunted the room for the Information book or file.

The only thing I could find was a plastic covered page containing the Room Service Menu which had a rather ragged edge (never thought at the time to take a picture).

Eventually I rang reception to say that the hotel information was missing from our room only to be told that they had removed them from all of the rooms because

        wait for it

     they were getting new ones the following week.

Surely the sensible thing would have been to remove the old after they had received the new?

They must not have thought of that.

Oh and the ragged edge of the Room Service Menu   -  was obviously because they had torn the hotel information sheet out of the old info. book to be able to leave the book in the room.

Yes we could have the food menu so that we could spend more money in the hotel but we were not allowed to have other info.

8.  The Foggy Morning.

Our last morning was the morning when there was to be an eclipse of the sun but in Clonmel there was

as we had heavy fog to cover the sun.

9.  The Toilet Key.

Driving back home late that afternoon we had to make a pit stop.

and I laughed so hard when Fred held up the key on a chunky chain.

I had only ever seen that happen in the movies.

10.  A Very Appropriate Song.

We enjoy listening to music and chatting as we drive along.

Suddenly at one stage Fred started to sing "It's a Long Way to Tipperary" at which I really laughed because we were actually driving through the County of Tipperary at that time and he didn't know we were.

Of course I then suggested we might make a wee detour to go see

Tipperary town itself and we followed a few signposts only to find out that it actually was going to be a Long Way to Tipperary from where we were.

One of the hotels had given us a complimentary bottle of Tipperary water so that just had to be our Tipperary memory instead.

I'm looking forward to finding things to laugh about in other trips as well.