pub

Belfast

Stop #14:

I found Belfast to be the highlight city from our visit.  While the trip was focused primarily on landscapes and scenery, the cities definitely added to the experience.  And after long days of driving, Guinness was welcome in the many pubs each night.  Belfast seems to be one of the up-and-coming destination cities.  It has so much to offer.  I’ll definitely plan a longer visit at some point in the future.

If you love street art (not graffiti), then there is plenty to see (below is a panorama of one of the places I particularly found interesting).

And the pubs are incredibly interesting with some Irish themed whiskey or beer ads in just about every squire inch of the wall (and ceiling) space. Great photo opportunities!

A man I met at the front of the church pointed this out to me. Recognize these from playing cards? They are front and center on the Church of Ireland Cathedral…

Diamonds – Greed

Clubs – Conflict

Hearts – Love

Spades – Toil

Kilkenny

Stop #8:

So I thought Kilkenny looked familiar, but I thought it was because I was getting good at recognizing Georgian Architecture! Imagine my surprise when Randy spotted a picture of a red and yellow door that he was sure I also had in an older portfolio. So I now realize that I returned to Kilkenny with Randy after visiting there about 5 years ago while on a work trip!

Cork, Ireland

Stop#4:

Cork actually means “marsh”. With all the rains in Ireland this year, I can see why! The city is a University town split into a few islands by the River Lee.

Viking invaders expanded the area around 915, and Prince John, Lord of Ireland, granted the city’s charter in 1185. Like many European cities, Cork city was once fully walled, as you can see in some of the photos.

We saw Cork in the evening after a day packed with visits to the Ring of Kerry and various castles and we stayed at a very nice hotel central to the city. We also had beers at the Oliver Plunkett, where lively Irish music was performed in the background.

Bunratty Castle

Stop #1

Bunratty Castle is the most complete and authentic medieval castle in Ireland, located not far from Shannon. Built in 1425 it was restored in 1954. With an ambitious itinerary and a burning desire to get to the Ring of Kerry, we didn’t visit this castle for long. And the rain certainly made it hard to drag out camera equipment.

London – Off the Tourist Trail

At the end of our Carpathian Mountains of Eastern Europe Trip, we were lucky to visit with long-time friends Mark and Tom in London.  Apart from some fun times catching up, we visited the Tate Modern for views from the tower, had fish & chips in an old pub, slid down the gigantic new slide at the Olympic Park (one slide = GBP 22 or so!) , had dinner in Islington, spent the day walking around canals and Brick Lane, and reminisced about days in my 20s when working there.  There is a picture here of my old KPMG office (where I worked in 1997 and 1998) right next to Blackfriar’s Bridge (which is now a glass covered bridge but used to be open air).  The city is alive with construction everywhere and nearly as many cranes as double-decker buses!  Somehow, it always feels so good to visit that city.

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