Saturday, June 25, 2011

City Life

I never imagined I would visit Ireland in my life and certainly didn't plan on it when I left for Italy in January of this year. Luckily, I have been fortunate to meet some wonderful people and gain some great experience. Most of my time has been spent in beautiful remote places ... on islands, peninsulas and in the countryside.  However I have also been able to visit some of Ireland's great cities too. 

Galway: On the west coast, chock full of great pubs, cafes, seafood and wonderful musicians playing nightly at the pubs.

My first "Murphy" sighting began in Galway.

Kilkenny: Enjoyed the fabulous Cafe Mocha with my cousins Laura & Maia

Kilkenny Castle with my cousins. 
I also enjoyed walking along the castle park grounds, cute streets, shopping area and doing a bit of pub crawling.

Dublin: My first hitching experience

Saw many of the "must see" sites in Dublin. Here I am on the River Liffey which divides the city.

Dublin: Temple Bar

Dublin: Grafton Street- the most popular pedestrian shopping street, full with tourists, street performers, musicians, cafes and coffee shops. 

No Dublin adventure is complete without the tour of the Jameson Distillery. I volunteered on my tour to be an official Whiskey Taster. Here you can see my certificate. Yum!

Cork: A city of diversity. 
Loved Cork! Happened to be here on a weekend that was hosting a gay pride parade on one day and a marathon on the next.

Cork also had some nice shopping areas, was set along a river with hills in the background and also had some industry based here (Apple has a huge site in Cork). 

Loved the sunshine and bar that had a deck on the river- enjoyed a beer here while making some new friends. 

Kenmare: Beautiful little culinary town at the start of the Ring of Kerry and the Killarney National Park. 

Killarney National Park: Ladies View Overlook. You can see the lakes of Killarney in the distance. 

One of the lakes in Killarney National Park

Torc Waterfall in Killarney National Park. I loved Killarney, not for the city (though that was cute too) but for the nature and beauty that was just outside of it. 

This captures the essence of Irish city life in one shot. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Colorado Comes to Ireland

I am so grateful to have wonderful friends. They are my favorite part of my life, no matter where in the world I am physically located. I value the relationships I have with people and enjoy spending time developing them.

This is how Jennifer looked most of the time- holding her trusty "brolly" in the Irish rain!

Neighbor Jennifer spontaneously came to Ireland and joined me at one of my host sites in West Cork. It was so fun to have her here with me, to experience just a part of what my life is like these days. She was such a constant part of my Colorado life and to have her here, to talk with, walk with, be silly with, and cook for ... it was absolutely wonderful. And boy did we have some adventures!

We spent most of our time at the Boat House in Adrigole (boat house is in the background).

Every morning we enjoyed a cup of coffee together... just like old times! 

And then we went for our morning walks!

And afternoon hikes up the pass (when the sun was out).

Found great picnic spots along the way

And other spots that might haven been part of a pub? 

Introduced her to "baby guinness"

Learned fun new card games and let my competitive side show a bit too much.

And even had some road warrior adventures in driving on the left side of the road on narrow streets that looked like they were meant for maybe one small car. Jennifer was not too pleased with the idea of driving in this country but she did great. I think she might even want to still be friends with me. Maybe.

This tunnel will forever make us laugh so hard it hurts! We went through here and tried to turn on the headlights. Instead, we found both wipers, the windshield spray, AC/Heat and every other button in the rental car, all while trying to avoid the rock wall and water falling inside the pitch black tunnel. No lights, no reflectors, no nothing. We never did find those lights, but it was a hilarious few minutes trying!

Muckross House in Killarney. Beautiful grounds. Sunny day. Happy girls.

Caha Mountain Pass between counties Cork and Kerry. Reminded me a bit of Colorado. Jennifer knew at that moment that I have been gone too long when I start to think that 1,000 ft mountains look like Colorado. 

Rhododendrons at Muckross House- beautiful! 

Hike around the lake

New friends and old friends in a new town. Jim and Jennifer in Killarney. We all stayed at a hostel here and went out for a pub crawl to find live music- we were successful at both. 

Misty walk to the Gap of Dunloe. 

I still can't believe she was here and gone in what seems like a flash. We had a great time and can't wait to spend time in Colorado again in January! 

Jennifer has done a much better job of blogging our adventures together on her own blog. 


West Cork is one of the most beautiful places in Ireland that I have seen. Despite the extreme WIND, cold, rain and grey clouds, it is still quite beautiful, especially when the sun peaks out.

I spent 2 weeks in a small "town" on the Beara Peninsula volunteering at the West Cork Sailing Center. I was supposed to help tourists with kayak rental and show them where to find the seals in the bay. Sounds fun, right? Well in the slow (aka COLD) season, there are fewer people who want to get in the water so instead I did a lot of cooking in the boat house cafe and tidying up around the center.

My favorite sign, just outside the boat house.

View from the boat house, just after a lashing rain storm

All suited up and ready to find the seals!
Kayaking in Adrigole Bay

Beautiful Hungry Hill- Beara Peninsula

Fushia flowers

Flox glove flowers- these are all over this area.

Close shot of the fox glove. I love their spots inside the flower. 
Fence post along the road up Healy Pass- there are a lot of cow pastures here


The best part was that my neighbor Jennifer was here with me! More to come on that in my next blog!!

The Gallic Kitchen

I spent 3 weeks with Sarah Webb and her family at The Gallic Kitchen in County Laois (pronounced "leash"... of course!). Sarah has been honing her craft in pastry kitchens all over Europe from Switzerland to England to Ireland. After doing large scale production in Dublin for many years, she and her husband Patrick decided to make a life in the Irish countryside and moved the business to Durrow, just an hour or so southwest of Dublin. I was fortunate to be able to learn from her in the kitchen, in the cafe and at markets. 

Me at "work". The Gallic Kitchen Cafe is located in Abbeyleix, a cute Irish town with one traffic light. Here I sold her lovely savory pies, sausage rolls, roulades, scones, bread, cakes and cookies. I also got to be a barista and brew Bewley's Coffee (an Irish brand). 

Sarah Webb, the superwoman! She is in the bake shop most mornings by 5:30am and produces food all day long. I really appreciated her letting me join her in the kitchen and learned a lot of great recipes (see further blogs for more info and photos).

Patrick is the glue that holds it all together. He is constantly delivering Sarah's beautiful food to Dublin, Kilkenny and the surrounding areas. 

Tomato Chutney. I learned to make and jar this. YUM!

Sarah rolling up a chicken sun-dried tomato, basil savory roulade. I made the base layer of roulade and the mayonnaise pictured here. 

Savory Pies... Guinness & Steak, Chicken Ham & Parsley, Shepherd's, Duck Confit. 

Our stand at Dublin's premier food and garden festival... Blooms! I got to be a part of the Gallic Kitchen at the Temple Bar Farmer's Market and at the Blooms event. 

My partner in coffee crime, Ben. We had fun frothing milk and making fancy coffees. I might not be fluent in "Starbuck speak" but I have certainly progressed.