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Monday, July 25, 2011

Ireland

Greetings from Mansfield Center, CT; home from 9 days in Ireland. It's so nice to travel, but really, there's no place like home. Once you get to your destination it's all fine,the trials of getting there can be full of stress. Due to an Amtrak delay, we almost missed our ship in NYC. We boarded with just 40 minutes to spare before it sailed. Going transatlantic on the Queen Mary 2 is, to us, the only way to cross. We had 7 glorious days of sailing, most of it nice weather. Sailing under the bridge out of New York harbor is always a thrill, as you would swear that the funnel of the ship is going to slice the bridge in two.








There's a needlework group that meets every day at 2:00, so I got to meet up with other people who knit, crochet, do needlepoint, etc.


During last summer's crossing I met a young woman who was as much in love with knitting as I was. I was so fortunate to see her again on this crossing. Her name is Bianca Griere, she is from Canada, and someday, probably in about 10 years, she is going to be a fashion design star.




The ship catered to my gluten-free diet, and one morning I was presented, with a flourish, a plate of gluten-free blueberry muffins. I have to say, they looked alot better than what they tasted. But the thought was lovely, so I ate two of them. They will never give you one of anything on that ship, even if you specifically ask for just one!



Here's my church (well, almost mine) in Kilkenny.

Once off the ship we flew to Dublin, rented a car, and proceeded to drive all around Ireland. Lots of the beautiful scenery was missed due to fog, mist, rain, cold, and very high winds. The Cliffs of Moher was a case in point; I was afraid of literally being blown off the cliffs. The wind was so strong you couldn't walk into it.

Here's what we were up against on the Dingel Peninsula, which has some of the most beautiful scenery in the whole world.





For me, the high point was Aran. After a choppy ferry ride over, we hiked most of the way to the Black Fort, which had a spectacular view of both the island (Inishmore, the largest of the 3 islands), and the ocean. And guess what? I bought a hand knit Aran sweater at Kilronan (the "city" on the island), AND some white yarn. I also spent a considerable amount of time looking at all the sweaters for sale.


Someone on Aran needed a new mattress, so it had a ride on the ferry! I guess that's the only way for a mattress to cross.



Sweaters for sale at Kilronan on Inishmore.



This little cottage has a thatched roof, but most of the houses don't, as it is a terrible fire hazard.








You wouldn't believe all the rocks on Aran, both in the ground, on the ground, piled up for fences, etc. In order to farm, they actually had to make soil from beach sand and seaweed.

This a picture of the ground.

These are rocks made into a wall.


View from the fort




I tried my first Irish coffee, which was quite good, due to the large topping of whipped cream. Being gluten-intolerant I didn't try Guinness, but our friend seemed to enjoy having two pints with each meal! The B and B's we stayed in were lovely, and served beautiful and delicious breakfasts, which fortified us for the days spent trying to keep warm and dry!! I am so sorry I missed the sweaters on display at the National Museum in Dublin. I didn't know about that until I came home and read Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting; should have read it before I went. Duh.

Home sweet home; picked up our lovable and gorgeous rabbit from the rabbit-sitter's house, slept around the clock, and now I have to fly to Portland on Wednesday for Socks Summit.

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