Monday, September 7, 2020

September Sips by

 Last week I got my September Sips by box, which was a nice surprise.   This subscription service costs about $15 a month and says it makes about 15 cups of tea.

Today's picture theme is my fairy garden to celebrate the end of summer!

The Sips by box includes four different teas from four different brands.  I started with one of the black teas, from Asheville tea.  I looked into this company and they source ingredients from local farms.  The Asheville grey is a earl grey (of course!) with black tea, calendula flower, bergamot oil.  Very good!

The next tea I tried as an iced tea--the Queen of tarts by David's Tea.  The Sips by sheet recommended that we try it iced.  It was definitely tart, and I wasn't a huge fan, but it was ok.

The next day I tried the Cookie Tea blend, the Dark Chocolate Cookie with High Caffeine content.  A black tea with cocoa.  I enjoyed it with some milk.

The last tea I just tried today and really enjoyed!  By Ahmad tea, Raspberry and Pomegranate tea.  Very strong berry taste and lovely green tea.  This is probably my favorite tea from the box.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Ireland 2017 trip recap

In 2017, I signed up for the scenic Ireland trip offered by Globus.  It is not the exact same tour today, but still 13 days.  

Day 1--To Limerick

Describing travel woes and a nighttime jaunt.

Visiting the Cliffs of Moher, a working sheep farm for scones and tea, Galway and its street market for lunch, a marble factory, and overnighting in Clifden, a small fishing village.

Describing a visit to Kylemore Abbey, including its pretty grounds, a lunch stop in a tearoom in Westport, a visit to Knock, a pilgrimage stop after townspeople saw an apparition at the church, a walk along the cliff wall at Bundoran, a seaside resort town, and a visit to a pub for music and drinks.

We started the day with a visit to the Belleek factory before heading to Londonderry/Derry to see the the "People's Gallery," murals of the Irish troubles from the 1970s and 1980s.  Next to one of my favorite stops of this trip--Giant's Causeway, before arriving in Belfast.

A driving tour of Belfast (including with murals) followed by a visit the the Titanic Experience where the old Belfast shipyards were located.  After a brief break at the hotel (which we used to to a little sightseeing of Belfast's City Hall and a couple of churches), we were off to the Queen's residence in Northern Ireland, Hillsborough Castle for another looked forward to stop--afternoon tea and a tour! 

First thing we went to see the burial mounds at Bru na Bionne (very cool) then arrived in late afternoon at Dublin.  A quick Dart ride into the city (we were unfortunately staying in the suburbs) and we visited Christ Church with its beautiful floor tiles, and the off to the National Gallery of Art before heading to Temple Bar for a pub dinner.  After a quick picture of Hapenny Bridge on the River Liffy, we were heading back to our suburb hotel.   

A whole day in Dublin to enjoy Merriam Square, the Library and Archeology Museum, Grafton Street, Dublin Castle, churches, including one with mummified bodies in its crypt, and dinner at the Guinness Storehouse.

The day began with a cooking demonstration at Ballyknocken Cookery school after which we could eat the scones made (yum!), a stop at Kilkenny to visit the castle, on our way to Waterford where we visited two churches (complete with Waterford crystal chandeliers) before heading on an excursion to a thatched roof pub in Dunmore East for drinks and music.  

A morning stroll in Waterford followed by a stop at Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney stone.  Our last stop for the day was Cork, where we explored, including visiting a couple of churches.

We had a bit of time on the bus before we stopped for a brief break at Bantry to stretch our legs on our way to Garinish Island, where we saw seals and pretty flowers.  The sun even (briefly) came out for some beautiful pictures.  A brief stop for lunch at Glengarriff before driving through the Ring of Kerry on the way to Killarney.  We ended the day with a walk to Muckross Abbey in the Killarney National Park.

The day started with a drive to the Dingle Peninsula and the Inch Strand, on our way to the Blasket Island Centre to learn about the Irish speaking community that lived on the island until evacuated in the 1950s.  We lunched in the pretty fishing village of Dingle Town, before some shopping back in Killarney.

A morning walk to Ross Castle in Killarney National Park followed by a quick stop in a neo-gothic church, before driving to Adare with its thatched roof cottages for lunch.  We had time to wander up to see the ruins of Desmond Castle, before heading back to see the priory.  A short bus ride later, and we were back where we had started in Limerick.  We had a bit of free time, so rushed to St. Mary's Church before heading to a special dinner at Bunratty Castle.

 Review:  This is the longest Globus tour I have been on--usually I have added extra days and travelled without the tour, but I was planning on going on this one alone.  Luckily at the last minute Katherine, who I usually travel with when I go to Europe, decided she could come with me.  At that point everything had already been booked for me, so we just went with the tour and no extra days.  Globus did a very good job with Ireland, so I realy didn't feel like I missed out on something.  I would definitely recommend this trip! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

County Kerry and back to county Limerick

Our last day of the tour started with a morning at leisure at Killarney.  We wandered down to Ross Castle in the Killarney National Park.

On the way back, we stopped at St. Mary's Cathedral, built in the 1800s in neo-Gothic style.

We left Killarney and were on our way.  We lunched in Adare, with its pretty thatched roof cottages.  

We walked up to take pictures of Desmond Castle, ruins dating back to around 1202.

Next back into town to see the 13th century Trinitarian priory.

Back in Limerick, our last stop, we quickly headed out to St. Mary's Cathedral, which we had only seen at night when we first arrived in Ireland.

Along the way, we passed King John's Castle, built in the 1200s over the River Shannon.

St. Mary's Cathedral has part of its original 12th century Romanesque church, including the nave.

The church also has 15th century black-oak misericords (seats) with carved with animals and mythical creatures.

We had very cool dinner plans--entertainment and food at Bunratty Castle--an excursion with the tour group.

Our evening started with music while we sipped mead,

before we headed down to the great hall for our banquet.

Finishing my visit to Ireland with castles and thatched roof cottages made for a great last day.