Day 7 – The Mannor House, We Have Arrived!

Bright and early we awoke to a beautiful morning Irish morning.  It was so pretty the birds flew backward to see where they had been!  We looked out the window and decided to skip breakfast and head for Kilkenny by taxi.

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Day 6 – Happy Birthday Mary; To Waterford!

We were up at the crack of noon!  We must have been tired because my eyes did not open until 8:00 am.  Perhaps I have discovered the secret: whiskey sours make you sleep!

We opened the curtains and saw a magnificent Irish morning.

What is a huge Irish spider called? Paddy long legs.

It was a wonderful day with spots of rain here and there.

We got ready, and I thoroughly enjoyed the shower with the overhead rain fixture and the heated tile floors.   We accepted the hotel’s complimentary breakfast and headed downstairs to the Hound at 9:15 am.  We need our strength for Mr. Road’s Wild Ride Part III.

Just like at Disneyland, we were off in a cloud of dust.

Waterford was about 30 miles from the estate.  The House of Waterford is in Waterford, Ireland, a Viking city built in 914 AD.  This esteemed factory is the beating heart of the world’s luxury crystal manufacture and is where our most intricate, authentic, and masterful crystal pieces come to life.

Thirty-three minutes as the crow flies, 90 minutes as we drive!

Before going on the road, we had breakfast at the Hound.

Breakfast at the Hound.

We hit the road at 10:00 am with an 11:00 am appointment at Waterford.  We got the GPS to work with the car, so it was easy to get there.

On the road again.

Mary was an excellent driver, although I had to notify her when the speedometer exceeded the indicated speed limit.

Mary was serious for 33 minutes and had a death grip on the steering wheel.

We rolled into Waterford with  15 minutes to spare.  Some friendly folks pointed us to the parking lot, and we checked in at 10:58, right on time.  We had a private tour with our docent, who I kept in stitches during the tour.

The first stop was an all-crystal grandfather clock.

We took a VIP tour with our docent.

We passed through two sets of security doors and entered the manufacturing area; The crystal came out of the oven at 2000 degrees.

The molds are made from local beechwood.  You can see the molds are burnt on the inside where the hot glass touches them.  The wood is soaked in water between uses and lasts just a few days before they have to be replaced with a new mold.

The crystal is formed using beechwood molds held by the glassblower.  The glass is shaped and then expanded by blowing into the pipe.  After that, the glass is reshaped and reheated.  This entire process takes almost 30 minutes.  The glassblower must undergo five years of training and pass a strict test.

The molds last about five days before they are tossed.

The crystal is prepared for the glass cutter.

The artwork is hand-ground.

The glass cutter also has to have at least five years of training.  Many of these workers have been with the company for 30-50 years!  The glass is cut my hand, and the cutters must know about fifty types of cutes.

The cutting machine has embedded diamonds.

For Robin, we asked for the price and decided we would go for a plastic one instead.

For Robin.

Some examples were available to examine. By the way, each real Waterford piece has the name WATERFORD engraved somewhere on it.

The work gets pretty detailed.

We scoured the gift shop because it was Miss Mary’s birthday, and she found what she wanted. We bought two and had them shipped back home; no suitcases for these puppies!

Mary got her birthday present: Irish coffee mugs.

As part of the VIP tour, we had tea.  This was our lunch, and we munched our way through it while sipping tea and watching people on the street.

We had tea in the adjoining tea room.

Hey, why not try a new shot?  I was outside looking for Mary to come out of the Loo and decided the reflection in the glass was interesting (the buildings, not me).

Mary used the facilities, and I experimented.

We crossed the street and went to the Medieval Museum.   It was quite well done.  Below is a real room circa 1200s.  The stonework is pretty amazing, considering it is a thousand years old.  Note: the lighting is new!

In the basement of the Medieval Museum, it was dark and dank.

They recreated the clothes of the medieval folks and had a large collection of vestments used by the clergy.

Normal clothes of the 12th century.

We like to dress for any occasion.

We dressed for the occasion.

We only had time to visit one of the five museums but we could have stayed there all day.

There were five museums in the complex; we went to one.

Heading home, we traveled M9, a freeway like those we have at home.  Once we leave the freeway, the roads narrow, and we slow down to a crawl when anyone comes in the other direction.

It rained on the way home, and yes, some of the streets were narrow.

Paul needed a drink (or two) back at the estate after we had the car valet parked.  Mary inspected the left-hand side of the car, and it was OK, even though a lot of Saint Anne’s Lace was trimmed along the way.

Entering the estate.

Being in-country required we become more Irish so with a little help from AI, we transformed ourselves.

Mary got into this Irish thing.

I loved the leatherwork as it was warm and waterproof.  I traded my cane for a sword and ran into the pub, and hoisted a pint of brew.

Sir Paul is here to slay the dragon.

The Dragon Lady went to freshen up after the harrowing experience of driving.  She returned with her evening finery.

Dressed for dinner.

We actually stayed at the Hound from 4:30 pm until 10:30 pm, partaking in various libations and having dinner with new friends, Amy and Larry.  They are from Northern Ireland and are on holiday.

Amy and Mary are new friends.

Larry and I joked all evening long and kept the ladies in stitches.  We even had the barkeep make us a Greyhound!  He found some grapefruit soda in the back room, and it worked.

Amy and Larry were a fun couple, and we had dinner with them at the Hound.

You know what they say:

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Day 5 – Dublin To Mount Juliet

That’s why I always recommend a good BM in the morning – Bloody Mary!

I once submitted ten puns to a joke competition.  I really thought with that many, one was sure to win.  Sadly, no pun in ten did.

At 7:30 am, I was summoned by the boss and requested to go downstairs and bring her a latte.  What was my choice?  I complied, promptly put on some clothes, and headed to the ground floor and the breakfast area.  I retrieved the latte and got myself a hot chocolate and a donut!

I was soon alerted that I had forgotten the straw!  All men make mistakes, but married men find out about them sooner.

Try it, it’s fun. I know Vibrant O’Goofy, Cheerful McNoodles, and Itchy O’Wacky will enjoy it.

Breakfast was grand, and we stayed for quite a while, filling up on fresh berries and other goodies for the upcoming highway adventure.

My doctor said I look like a million dollars – green and wrinkled.

We packed up, loaded the car, and went on “Mr. Toad ‘s Wild Ride, Part II.”

Hang on, here we go!

We made the trip in 55 minutes.  Mary got confused between kilometers and miles.  No wonder the telephone poles looked like picket fences.  We stopped twice so I could throw water on the glowing red rubber tires.  I kept yelling the current speed, but finally, the speedometer broke with the needle pegged up against the “danger” sign.

Zoom was an understatement.

The roads kept narrowing as we approached the estate.  Mary made me walk the last mile ahead of the car carrying a red lantern.  I looked like a big fat Bo Peep bringing in a large grey sheep.

The facility was immaculate (and clean also!).  The clouds were threatening, and the temperature hovered in the low 50s.

The sky was about to open up and rain, we just made it.

The facade was amazing.

She walked into the lobby and requested that I follow behind her by five paces with my head facing down.  I  implicitly followed her instructions.

Mary carried the piano bench while I had the remaining sixteen suitcases.

I overheard the conversation and immediately thought about the trunk at midnight being 42 degrees.   Maybe I can request a bath towel to keep me warm (if it does not cost extra)?

Why me???

After we found our room and freshened up, we headed to the bar but decided we needed to eat.   The Hound was a five-star dining experience; the food presentations were marvelous.   We met a lovely couple from Northern Ireland and spent the afternoon doing what Irish people do! hic!

A magnificent view of the range.

When our room was finally ready, we returned to the lobby to get the key and directions; Mary visited the security pheasant.  His name was Woody!

Mary tried her language skills on the bird.

When we found our suite, I decided to test the bed. I fell asleep within 45 seconds of entering the room. Mary covered me up, said a few words (which will not be repeated here), and waited two hours to dare wake me up!

Being the reigning champ of no hangovers, I popped up, straightened up my clothes, and assisted Mary to the Hound for a light dinner and a boggle of wine.

The rain keeps coming.

The roofs were all slate. Hard slate, such as purple or grayish-black Buckingham slate, can last 150 to 200 years.   However, you must keep the slate clean, or you could get moss buildup.

Slate roofs last forever.

We had one more bottle of wine (it sounds like an excellent name for a country western song). Mary had the soup special, and I had a Waldorf salad and a salmon appetizer.

Dinner at The Hound!

The presentations were terrific.   This beauty is salmon sitting on a diced onion with a beautiful sauce.

Salmon for dinner!

So, at the end of dinner, we were both shot!   Mary did her famous “Mary Grin,” which meant it was time to go home. After paying the bill, we both headed to the room, which was like the blind leading the blind.   After several wrong turns, we found the room.

The evening was perfect; I did NOT have to go to the car and sleep.  I did find the linen closet a little cramped.

We called Dianne, Robin, and Colleen but only talked to Colleen and Mark since it was noon on Saturday and everybody was out and about.

Mary, after her second glass of wine.

We crashed at 11:00 pm as tomorrow we are going to Waterford Crystal Factory and then to a formal high tea where I have promised to behave (fat chance!).  BTW, tomorrow is Mary birthday.

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Day 4 – Exploring Dublin Continues! Beer First!

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

The alarm went off at 6:00 am.  We got out of bed and hurriedly got ready for today’s adventure.

We showered, put on our cleanest dirty clothes, and went to have breakfast at our hotel.

Breakfast was pretty good; they had a little bit of everything.  I had dry toast, and Mary had one of each.

We needed to be at the bus stop by 9:18 am to catch the bus at bus stop #6.  We walked in a heavy drizzle, which everybody seemed to ignore.

As I age, I remember all the people I lost along the way, and I wonder if a career as a tour guide was the right choice.

If everything goes according to plan, we should arrive at Gunness about 30 minutes before our scheduled time.

The light rain/heavy drizzle was good because it allowed us to cool off from our speed walking activity.   We walked to stop #6 again, this time without a map.  Eight stops later, the bus dropped us off at Guinness.

Hello Guinness!

It was still misting slightly, so we ducked inside as soon as we arrived.  I looked like a drowned rat, so they allowed us in early.  It was also beer o’clock!

The black stuff, Irish champagne, ebony nectar, black custard, and a pint of plain are all nicknames for this much-loved Irish institution.  There’s no doubt that Guinness is one of the most famous beers in the world.

We are ready to go inside.

Guinness converted its huge building into an area that told the whole story of Guinness, complete with merchandise on the first floor, three floors of how they make beer, two floors for food and drink, and viewing the city on the seventh floor.  It is called The Guinness Storehouse.

The Guinness Storehouse was built in 1904 as a fermentation plant for St. James’ Gate Brewery.  It was closed in 1988, and a decade later, in 2000, it was transformed into a seven-floor storehouse open to the general public.

There were seven floors to explore.

How did Guinness get a 9000-year lease?  The owner of St. James’s Gate Brewery asked for £100 as a deposit and £ 45 rent per month.  On December 31, 1759, Arthur Guinness succeeded in getting the owner to sign a lease for a maximum of 9,000 years … Under these conditions, Guinness beer is still brewed at St. James Gate, and the company pays loyalty every month £ 45!

Did I say the building was built well?  Look at all that steel initially used to support the enormous copper vats containing the beer.

The building is old but built well.

The barley display had amazing three-D effects and a sky that changed from summertime to winter as we stood there.  It emphasized the relationship with the local farmers over the centuries.

Did You Know?  Barley (Hordeum vulgare), a member of the grass family, is a major cereal grain grown in temperate climates globally.  It was one of the first cultivated grains, domesticated in the Fertile Crescent around 9000 BC, giving it nonshattering spikelets and making it much easier to harvest.  Its use then spread throughout Eurasia by 2000 BC.  Barley prefers relatively low temperatures to grow, and well-drained soil.  It is relatively tolerant of drought and soil salinity but is less winter-hardy than wheat or rye.

In 2022, barley was fourth among grains in quantity produced, 155 million tonnes, behind maize, wheat, and rice.  Globally, 70% of barley production is used as animal feed.  In comparison, 30% is used as a source of fermentable material for beer, or further distilled into whisky, and as a component of various foods.

Everything is grown fresh in Ireland for Guinness beers.

Beer is 92% water, so the quality of the water is essential.  The display was fantastic, with the water being controlled to show beer bottles and signage.

Even the water comes from the local mountains.

The manufacturing has to be precise to ensure consistency in the beer.  Guinness has it down to a science these days!

We enjoyed several tastes as we progressed through the displays.  In dog beers, I’ve only had one.

Roasting the ingredients is a trick.  That is 449.6 degrees Fahrenheit!

There were AV displays everywhere, and we looked at old pictures of how it was made one hundred years ago.  It was backbreaking work, from bringing the ingredients to making the barrels.  Guinness was ahead of his time as he provided housing for his workers, complete with hot and cold running water.

Their AV displays are fabulous.

They had been advertising for 100+ years, so part of the tour included a visit to all the campaigns that had taken place during that time.

Remember, “Beer makes you feel the way you ought to feel without beer.”

They have old advertising displays available to view.

A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle – a campaign from 70 years ago!

Enough said.

At the end of the tour, we climbed two more stories.  Above us were several restaurants, and finally, on the top floor, was a 360-degree enclosed observation deck.  Perched atop the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland, the Gravity Bar is an iconic spot that offers breathtaking 360-degree views of the city while you savor a pint of the world-renowned Guinness stout.

View from seven floors up.

Without question, beer is the greatest invention in mankind’s history.  Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.

We dined on the 6th floor and had Irish stew and a glass of the brew!  But I digress.

It’s the best stew we have had so far, probably because it was made with Guinness!

After a power nap, we took a taxi to the Westbury Hotel’s dining room called Wilde for a delightful dinner.

To the Westbury Hotel for drinks and dinner.

The ambiance and service were superb.  We sat on the enclosed patio surrounded by greenery.  It was a fantastic meal with attentive, friendly staff.

It was named after Oscar Wilde!

We shared a bottle of excellent champagne!

She is about to get a surprise.

While dining, we met a couple from San Francisco. Doing what I do, I ordered a “surprise” from the bartender, and it was excellent. Then I ordered two more: one for me and one for the next table over. The bartender did not have a name for the drink, so after some discussions, we called him over and told him the name!

It was named “Gender Reveal”

Why, you ask?  Well, it looked like a female drink because of the color.  It tasted like a male drink because of the spicy, smokey taste!

We had a delicious meal, and to top it off, we shared a baked Alaska.

REAL baked Alaska.

The waiter sang Happy Birthday to M’Lady, which she had NOT expected.

We celebrated Mary’s birthday early.

After such a meal, we wanted to walk.  Since returning to our hotel by foot was out of the question, we ambled up and down the shopping area, enjoying the sights.

We strolled the shopping district for 30 minutes after dinner.

We hopped on an electric taxi.  The driver loved the car, and it was a quiet ride.

We did NOT drive in the city.

Our hotel features live music from 9:00 pm until late.  The musician played several danceable songs, and we enjoyed them.  Yes, we had another small drink before heading to the elevator.

It was a good time.  It was only a 15-minute walk to get there, but the walk home took 45 minutes; the difference was staggering.

We returned to our hotel and danced until 11:30 pm.

With help from my doctor, we made it to the fourth floor, where we crashed.  We are driving to Mount Juliet tomorrow, where we will stay for a week before returning home.

BTW we were the only folks dancing, and we got a standing ovation!

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Day 3 – Seeing Dublin On Our Own!

We have returned to normal. We were up and moving at 5:30 am, so we have adjusted to the new time zone.

We got ready and dressed in our exploring attire. First, we had a light breakfast at the hotel, and then we went off to see Dublin on the Jump-On/Jump-Off bus.  For $40, you can spend all day on the bus, getting on and off at the various sights within the city.  Such a deal!

It was cold so we sat up top in front, enclosed but had a magnificent view.

We do not JUMP! We carefully board and un-board!

Nobody knows where we go, not even us! The only requirement was that we must return to our hotel by 5:00 p.m. to prepare for the dinner show at 6:30 pm .

We saw everything! (Click for a full-sized map)

We walked to the nearest pickup point, #6. Although the online app said it would take 9 minutes, it took us almost 25 minutes.   We did stop and take pictures.

Walk, walk, walk!

The walk took us by the “Grand Canal”. There were barges on the canal with people living inside.

The canal can be used by barges up to 12 feet in the beam.   The canal passes through 36 locks and crosses the River Liffey near Sallins on the Leinster Aqueduct, a stone structure of four arches designed by Richard Evans.   Commercial navigation ceased in 1960, but the main line remains open for recreational use.

Walking down the Grand Canal.

They control the canal level using 36 different locks along its path.

Amazing water control.

We waited for the bus to arrive. It was right on time and also very empty. We sat in the first seat at the top near the windshield. It was scary as the bus weaved in and out of traffic at a top speed of Warp Seven! The smell of burning tires lingered in the air, and the screeching sounds of rubber hitting the road were almost deafening. But we made it.

We were awaiting the bus as Mary studied the signage.

Being upstairs right over the driver’s head was an eerie feeling.   We both stomped on the floor as if to hit the brakes but it didn’t work.   The driver wondered what was going on.  Since they drive these big vehicles daily, the drivers know what they can and cannot do.

We could see everything.  We are about to enter Warp One!

Riding upstairs, we could see the effect of electronics on the city.   The buildings are “old” and completed before even radio came into being.  They placed wires and cables needed in this digital age along the sides of the buildings.   Does the term “rat’s nest” come to mind?

Wires everywhere.

Always clean your fireplaces and chimneys, or you will get gardens sprouting up.   Between the soot and bird droppings, the chimneys had rich soil on top.  Most of the chimneys had weed and flower gardens growing at the top.

Clean your chimneys.

We jumped off at the Guinness Distillery since we had a noon reservation.   We then discovered our tickets were for Jameson Distillery!  It was already busy.

We were ready to go!

Then we looked at the tickets, and they were for tomorrow! We had no tickets for Guinness at all; the tickets we had were for Jameson Whiskey Distillery! Oops!

We told the bus driver about the situation, and he checked. Using this online app, he found nothing open today or tomorrow.

After a few minutes of Mary crying alligator tears and me weeping, he went inside the Guinness building and motioned us inside.

It’s going to be OK, Mary!

He had “pulled” a few strings, and we could buy tickets for tomorrow!  We did and moma’s happy!  He got a good tip!!

We then headed to the Jameson facility and took the tour (we had tickets for Jameson).   It was founded by John Jameson in 1780, and today, the former factory is a monument to Irish whiskey.

It was like Disneyland; we ran through the front entrance like two little kids!

Remember, “There is no bad whiskey. There are only some whiskeys that aren’t as good as others.”

We are entering Jameson sober.

We got a history lesson first and then entered the science room, where we learned about making whiskey.

I was getting the lowdown on making whiskey.

The tasting room was our favorite.   Ask Mary about “the leg man.”  We tasted three types of whiskey, and as usual, we decided on the best one.

Loads of interesting facts.

We looked all over for the medical prescription glasses but alas, we will have to order them from Amazon!

BAck on the bus, we completed the route and returned to #6.  We returned to the hotel from the #6 stop (where we began today’s journey).

At the corner by the bus stop was a bit of the Old West: the California Burrito Bar. We had to go inside and see if it was real! Read about the story behind this establishment. 

WHAT?    Taco-Bell look-alike?

The burritos were great.   We shared one burrito, which was plenty for each of us.

The cooks did a great job, and the burritos were super!

We returned to the hotel at 2:00 pm. and at 4:00 pm, we went to have a drink before catching a cab to the Celtic Nights Show at the Arlington Hotel.

We arrived a tad early and went to the pub next door before the performance.

The bar was part of the hotel, but when the theater doors opened, we had to go outside to enter the basement theater.

Decisions decision.

At 6:30 sharp, the doors opened, and 150 of our closest friends joined us for the two-hour romp through Irish folk music.  I might add that we carried the remaining wine with us—without spilling a single drop!

We had good seats, far enough away not to go deaf but close enough to see the action.

In the basement of the hotel, the atmosphere was perfect.

Jameson was working on us before we got there! We thought of Jeff all during dinner.

Jameson was here in spirit.

I could not resist this photo!

I love this picture.

We ordered bread and immediately thought of Dianne Reidy. We brought the remaining pieces home to the hotel with us.

The Irish bread was fantastic.

Mary did the Irish stew.

Official Irish Stew. BTW, Mary’s is much better!!

I went for the excellent lamb stew.

Dinner will be served.

During the two-hour performance, we consumed a bottle of champagne and then took a taxi to the hotel. The doorman at the bar where we first stopped saw us exit the theater and stopped a taxi for us.

The city was not quiet at 10:30 pm.  The buildings were nicely lit up.  So were we!

We were tired, so we went straight to our rooms and crashed. The lights were off at 11:30 pm; we didn’t even read!

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Irish Adventure Day 2 – We Made It

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Jet Blue and Aer Lingus did a great job getting us to our destination after American canceled the flight.   Traveling First/Business is the only way to go.  We had great meals, and the seating was fantastic.  There were as many knobs and controls at our seats as a car!!  The entertainment center had everything, and the seat could fold into a bed.

I could not sleep, so I managed a glass of wine every 45 minutes, but the wine never kicked in.  That made me happy, and I lowered the airplane’s weight, saving petrol.  I watched movies while my traveling buddy, Sleeping Beauty, snored away for the last 4,000 miles.

There is a fantastic amount of room!

We made it in one piece!  After flying all night (six hours plus a five-hour time change), we arrived at 8:30 am.

The airport was easy to navigate since they had Galic signs everywhere!

Green airplanes are everywhere.

Before getting the car, I exchanged the currency at the store near the car pickup.  Mary got bags from the airplane.   Mary has hidden talents!  She and the other five bags came toward the currency exchange area.  My Girl Friday does a wonderful job.

Standing in line, I almost yelled, “Over here Friday, and hurry it up!” But common sense and my desire for self-preservation kicked in, and I refrained from such a self-destructive outburst.

The words “Hurry up, Friday!” were never spoken.

We’re about to have some fun now that we’ve rented a (Pew-Got) Peugeot, a French car.  It was a hatchback and quite spacious.

We had trouble connecting the iPhone to the car’s onboard system because our cables didn’t match.  After leaving the car park, we went straight to Circle-K, about two blocks away,  and bought 50 euros worth of cables.  Finally, we got the iPhone GPS connected to the car.

I must admit I was a bit scared as Mary was driving, not because of her but because we had to drive on the wrong side of the road.  We spent about an hour driving 33 minutes because we were getting used to the street signage and missed several offramps/turns.

As expected, Mary adapted and did an EXCELLENT job.  I felt safe and secure since I was locked in the trunk, wrapped in fireproof blankets, hugging my fire extinguisher and first aid kit, having my cell phone speed dial settings ready to call the police and local hospital, and strapped to the floor with a five-point racing car harness.

Tomorrow, if we drive, I will sit in the back seat and have Mary wear a bidet and gloves to look like my driver.  Oops, beret—I keep forgetting.

We are located in the center of town!

We found a spot to park underground and unloaded it in preparation for going to the room.  All eighteen bags surrounded the car, and this lovely lady came over and said hello in Galic.  I responded with, “Dia duit ann. Nílimid ach ar cuairt ar feadh cúpla lá. Thug Mary a cnuasach culaith leis.”   After being slapped a few times, she offered to help us.

OK, here is the truth: we only had five bags.  The lady grabbed two and went to the lobby.  She then came back and got the last big bag.  Mary and I soon followed, hoping she wasn’t a homeless person making off with our clothes.  With our carry-ons in tow, after Mary repacked hers after “the big cable search,” we headed to the lobby.

We asked the front desk person who this masked hero/homeless person was, and it turned out it was the hotel’s General Manager!!  Wow, talk about service.  We are going to write Hilton about her helping us.

Check-in was easy, and we were on our way to the room in minutes.

We were on the 4th floor with a scenic view of the next-door hotel.  Oh well, we just wanted to take our pills and have a drink—well deserved, I might add.  We had a better room reserved, but it was not ready.  We didn’t care; we needed to freshen up after thirty-six hours of traveling.  I was eyeing the firehose outside but decided to wait another ten minutes.

After freshening up (and changing my underwear after Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride), we went downstairs to the Bistro.  There, we had an excellent pastrami sandwich washed down with a glass of wine.  I also had a whisky sour.

Returning to the room, I took a shower and hit the rack, thinking I would sleep until Thursday morning.  Alas, I woke up at 7:00 pm, ready to go.

We studied the local brochures.  Mary took a shower, and we went downstairs for something to eat and a libation.  You know what they say, “Nuair atá tú in Éirinn, déan mar a dhéanann na hÉireannaigh!”

It’s time for dinner.

The Bistro was open, and soccer was playing on every TV.  We found a little area with two tables and no TV, yeah!!

We sat down and had dinner; six people came in a few minutes later.  It was a “family” of six, three of whom were Irish and three from Venezuela!  It’s a long story; ask us!  Wonderful people!

Mary introduced us using her Spanish skills.

New friends.

They speak English, Spanish, and German.  Mary had a holiday!!  I assisted in the translations!  My efforts did result in some raised eyebrows.

Spanish is spoken here.

We will see them again tomorrow and celebrate again!  It will be great fun!  Mary and I ordered a round of Jameson Eighteen for the guys.

Fun with friends.

I made the toast after swigging down the Jameson.

The German-speaking person and Mary exchanged email/text numbers to coordinate tomorrow’s meeting.

They were speaking German and sharing numbers.

Finally, at 11:42 pm, we turned off the lights and crashed!  We are talking K-Boom, out like a light!

Tomorrow, Jameson Distillery and the On-And-Off Buss will be there before going to the Celtic Nights performance.

Time to celebrate!

We crashed at m  night!  Just before my glass slippers turned into moccasins!

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Irish Adventure Day 1 – Plans Change! A Full Day Of Travel!

2:45 am came early!  Our driver has been with us for almost thirty years.  HE put us right at the entrance to AA.

We had a banana to stave off hunger before getting on the airplane.

Our AA flight was canceled courtesy of Boeing; bad fuel shutoff valve!    The rebooking was fairly painless, even though we had to stand in line for quite a while.  Now we are going to Boston and then on to Dublin via Air Lingis, the Irish National Airlines.

We popped onto Jet Blue at 10:00 am for a five-hour flight to Bostin.  The flight was easy.  We landed at 6:00 pm and walked to Aer Lingus, nearby.   At 8:30 pm, we took off for Ireland, not knowing what food would be available on Aer Lingus.

The airplane food was quite good.  We didn’t land in Dublin until 8:00 am Wednesday!

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I needed that!

We were up early and began packing in earnest!  OMG, thirty-two suitcases for ten days, and I have one small gunny sack!

Did You Know?  A gunny sack, also known as a gunny shoe, burlap sack, hessian sack, or tow sack, is a large sack, traditionally made of burlap (Hessian fabric) formed from jute, hemp, sisal, or other natural fibers, usually in the crude spun form of tow.  Modern-day versions of these sacks are often made from synthetic fabrics such as polypropylene.

We skipped breakfast, and by 1:00 pm, we were famished.  I needed to go to the poster office to give Uncle Sam some additional money, so I used the time to pop by CVS, get a pill box, and then go to In-An-Out for some burgers!

Colleen called us because she got a message to make sure we did our pre-flight check-in.  She checked in for us; we merely provided the passport and Global Entry numbers.

Thank goodness for Robin and Colleen; without them, we would be staying at home.

At 6:00 pm, Irene came over to witness the panic in action.

Orville Wright said to his brother, “Wilbur, you were only in the air for 12 seconds. How could my luggage be in Cleveland?”

Packing Room #1

I use Packing Room #2, commonly known as Robin’s Nest.

The baggage tags are now on!

Perhaps I misspoke; I have two bags.

We planned to hit the sack at 9:00 pm, but at 10:30 pm, we finally closed up the bags and moved them to the front room.  The limo picks us up at 2:45 am.  Irene is already here, and Scout knows something is up!

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It’s A Dance Day!

What can I say??

Today, we packed Ireland. I have all the cleaning done and am trying to figure out how to pack it with minimal wrinkling (the Manor House has in-house dry cleaning, just in case). Mary’s clothes come out fine, but mine, being in the gunny sack, is another story!

In the afternoon, we got ready for the Starlighters British Bash!  Join the fun!

Don’t you dare!

We danced until 9:45 pm when our feet gave out!

Just us!

On the way home, we stopped at Aces Bar and Grille, and then before going home, we did a Taco Bell run, coming home with tacos and burritos.  Yummy!  Hot sauce at midnight!

Tomorrow, we pack!  Tomorrow

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Does It Ever Stop???

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

As my amazing mother would often say, “I’m busier than a fart in a whirlwind!”  Today was one of those days!  We started at 6:00 am and finally hit the sack at 11:30 pm.

We checked the trap, and Bunny #2 has not visited the cage, even though he has been in the yard several times.  We will get him eventually.

The day was magnificent. We opened up the house and just enjoyed the 150-foot-deep yard, where we get our exercise. We visited the garden, but there were more pressing things today, so we did not stay.

It was a beautiful day!

We went to work rearranging our formal dining room, expecting to see WC Fields and Mae West in the early afternoon.  The room’s corners are now bare, and our upstairs “ballroom” now has more goodies.

We got the formal dining room ready.

Scout (aka Luigi) heard the word “company” and stayed by the front door, ready to pounce!  He has his scarf on from the groomers; he likes to be ion style.

Scout (aka Luigi) awaits their arrival.

Around 1:00 p.m., the movers came along with David.  Special movers are required as these full-sized wax figures are quite fragile.  Scout observes them and wonders who these two new people are.

Scout comes to see the unveiling.

Good afternoon, Ms. West.  We decided to come over and see you sometime.  Mae came from the Movieland Wax Museum when they closed and still has her sales tag from the museum.

On October 31, 2005, Movieland closed after forty-three years in business and 10 million visitors.  David arranged to get several of the figures for his museum.

Mary Jane “Mae” West (August 17, 1893 – November 22, 1980) was an American stage and film actress, a sex symbol whose frank sensuality, languid postures, and wisecracking became her trademarks.

We could not have her live with us alone, so WC Fields came along.

William Claude Dukenfield (January 29, 1880 – December 25, 1946), better known as W. C. Fields, was an American actor, comedian, juggler, and writer.

Together again. My Little Chickadee is a 1940 American comedy-western film starring Mae West and W. C. Fields was funny.

No fighting kids!

David says goodbye to Mae and WC.  They will have a good home and will certainly be a conversation piece!  Now, our friends can come over and dine with Mae and WC.


We got ready for the rest of the day as we went to Vicky’s garden display, then off to Franco’s for dinner, and finally, a performance of the “Riders In The Sky.”

Vicky has been busy!

See the details right here on our regular website!  

Oh boy, would you want to water this garden by hand?

We begin the tour.  Vicky has a large collection of delightful plants and containers.

We love the “Del Mural.”

As Vicky says: When my husband, Del Kuhn of over 40 yrs. died in 2021, I grieved deeply. Compelled to create a visual piece of art, I had this commissioned. It was designed to reflect his life & our history. The quail he hunted, his lucky coin, his fishing, the coveted trout, marshmallows toasting over the fire, 2 raccoons in the tree (called our grandsons ‘bandits’), pine cones for crafts later, his favorite wildflowers, deer/elk he hunted, his beloved airplane and secret images in the mountains.

Even the note he wrote me 50+ years ago is copied on the painted tree. The river represents the sum of my grieving tears, but I have learned to ‘go with the flow. ‘

Life is for the living. The ‘stars’ light up at night. His memory plaque is displayed. He was deeply loved and is missed. (Google his name)

We then went to Franco’s for dinner and had much fun with Vicky, Jim, and Yolie. Guess who is getting pasta this evening? His name is Luigi. Mary said the veal piccata was outstanding. I did the swordfish, and it was also outstanding.

We went to Franco’s for dinner.

Mary liked the waiter and tried to take him home; he would not fit.

Mary met the head waiter.  Whoa!!!  There were two glasses of wine on his platter!

Off to Cerritos to see “Riders In The Sky.”

Did You Know? The Riders first performed on November 11, 1977, at Herr Harry’s Frank N’ Steins in Nashville, TN. The Riders consisted of Deputy Doug (Douglas B. Green), Windy Bill Collins, and Fred LaBour for this first performance. Happy with the crowd’s reaction, the Riders performed for the second time at Herr Harry’s the next evening.

The band still didn’t have a name between the second and third performances, but that changed in December 1977, when Fred LaBour found a copy of The Sons of The Pioneers album Riders in the Sky. When LaBour saw the album, he immediately called Green and told him that Riders In The Sky should be the band’s name. Green agreed and from their third performance on, they were officially billed as Riders In The Sky.

We were dressed for the occasion.

Take a listen, be ready to laugh!!

We all enjoyed the evening.  Spending time with friends makes life worth living.

Vicky and Jim await the show.

We had wonderful seats, and the sound in the theater was very good.   They did a Q&A session with the audience, which brought even more laughter.

What a show! This was their 7890th performance in 40 years!

Fun with friends!  Thanks, Yolie (in blue), for the photos.

We laughed throughout the performance.

Giddy Yup!

After the show, we went to Ace’s for a glass of wine before going home.

Posted in Dining Out, Friends, Gardening, Theater, Working Around House | Leave a comment