Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Irish Tour part 2

Continuing our tour of Ireland down to the South.

We visited a toy soldier factory. They make everything from soldiers, to ballet dancers; nativity scenes to "Lord of the Rings" chess sets. Very cool.

We enjoyed the sights and smells of the English Market in Cork.
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We toured a museum in Cobh regarding the Titantic. Cobh (or then Queesntown)was the last port of call before the fateful voyage. Many of the crew came from this area.


The Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula are absolutely breath-taking. The sea, the mountains and the lakes. Here the girls are at "Ladies View":
Here is one of the ring forts that dot the island. These predate castles and would be where the chieftans brought their families for protection.

This is Muckross house (muck=pig ross=peninsula). Beautiful stately home.

No trip down south would be complete without a visit to Blarney Castle and kissing the infamous stone!

That concludes the highlights of our amazing trip. If you ever get the opportunity, visit Ireland! The people are welcoming, the scenery is beautiful. Thanks for traveling with me!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Join Me for a Tour of Ireland

One of the things that we are most committed to doing is exploring whereever we are living.  So to that end, last February/March we set off on a two week tour of Ireland.  We spent a week based in County Antrim exploring the North and then a week based in Killarney exploring the South.  Here is a little taste of what Ireland has to offer if you are so inclined to visit.

A tour from North to South is known as going from Malin Head to Mizen Head:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Malin to Mizen most commonly refers to a journey from Malin Head (Ireland's most northerly point in County Donegal) to Mizen Head in County Cork (commonly thought to be Ireland's most southerly point, although nearby Brow Head is approximately 30 feet further south). The journey is most often attempted by cyclists and walkers as a challenge route with the goal of raising money for charities. As the crow flies, the two points are 466 km (290 mi) apart. The shortest road distance from Malin to Mizen is approximately 555 km (345 mi).
We did indeed visit Malin Head:

And we visited Mizen Head (it was off season so it was closed):
And just for good measure we visited Brow Head as well (not a tourist spot!)

Whilst in the North, we went on tours in both Belfast and Derry/Londonderry to learn more of the history of the troubles and the north/south divide.  I'll admit, I find it difficult to comprehend the depth of division that is a part Irish history.  But both of our tour guides were excellent and seemed intent on giving a balanced view.
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The Antrim coast is just gorgeous.  Here is the Giant's Causeway:

The Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge goes across a gorge to a small island.  Despite the gale force winds (literally) German and the girls crossed it.  There is a new plumb line for the "scariest thing I've ever done".

We also visited the W5 science museum in Belfast:

Drove by the Titanic museum that was not yet opened:

Carrickfergus Castle:

and went fossil hunting on the beach:

Perhaps the highlight for all of us was meeting one of Jewel's (and my) personal heroes. This lady was a missionary in the Congo and has amazing stories to tell. We were privileged to join her for tea in her home and hear her tell some of the stories we had read. Something I'll never forget!

This post has gotten long and photo-laden, so I'll stop for now. Next up, touring the South. Hope you are enjoying the tour!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Testing...Is this thing still on?

Somewhere along this blogging journey I've lost sight of why I do it.  What started as a place to record memories, share travels, journal life and stitching and feed this passion of a writer became something else entirely.  The attempts at developing my writing voice by participating in a few weekly memes resulted in my writing to a narrow audience.  That was never my intention.  I stopped going deeper and stopped thinking harder.

God has taken me on an amazing journey the last three years.   We came through a painful church non-split/split that left me bruised and broken.  I didn't (and largely still don't) feel able to share the depth of that because of those left behind that I dearly love and who are still hurting.  Now, four moves later, there is much that I have not said about the learning curve that perhaps I should have.

As I just alluded above, we have just completed our fourth move in three years.  This time it is out of most of my comfort zones into huge unknowns.  I have felt very strongly the last few weeks that God is calling us to new wineskins because the old ones won't hold what is in store.  I believe, at least I hope, that writing is part of that.  There are thoughts on women and friendship and marriage dancing in my head looking to find a voice.

I also want to get back to the fun heart of this blog--exploring the world with my amazing family.  So be prepared.  A photo tour of Ireland is coming.  Along with some thoughts of impressions of the London 2012 Olympics.  I might even throw in some stitchy pics and a few kid antics as well (life with a just turned 10 year old, 7 year old and toddling 10 month old is never boring).

To the four or five of you who have hung in there with me, and emailed me and loved me and cared for me, thank you!  I hope that something I have to say will make it worth it.  I look forward to journeying down this path with you.