If you have been to Ireland, you most likely have seen many sheep grazing the countryside and walking in the middle of the road. Did you notice many of the sheep are painted? There are a few reasons for the different colors on the ship explained by our expert guide, Mickey.
Cobh Heritage Center is a unique place where we explored the conditions on board the early emigrant vessels, including the dreaded “coffin ships,” the biggest port for emigration in Ireland and the last stop for the Titanic.
Cobh was formerly called Cove when the town was founded but in the 1800’s the name was changed to Queenstown, by the British until Ireland regained control in the 1921 and change back to Cobh. It was renamed Cobh because there is no “v” in the Gaelic language.
In 1783 the first glass house was in Waterford city and was established by the Penrose Family. The lords and ladies in the time would come into the glass house to have a chandelier or stemware commissioned to be made. This is how the crystal business grew. The House of Waterford Crystal was originally called Waterford Glassworks.
Did you know there were palm trees in Ireland? The temperate climates help the palms grow, and many people have them growing in their yards. We saw many along the way to Waterford. Waterford is one of the largest cities in Ireland, preceded by Galway, Limerick, Cork, and Dublin at the largest.
Kilkenny is a medieval city, one of the first in Ireland. Kilkenny was built by the Norman’s who initially invaded from the Normandy region of Northern France. Kilkenny is also referred to as the medieval mile. The town is very quaint with its cobblestone streets and stone buildings. There were many brightly painted doors. It was in Kilkenny that I began taking pictures of the painted doors and we notice how several of the doors had a smaller door within the larger door. Many of these I was able to walk through easily. These little doors are called Wickets, and they were typically found in a large castle or gate. The smaller door or wicket was only able to fit one person at a time. Back in the medieval times, the larger double gates were designed to allow wagons and coaches to pass through. The purpose of the wicket was to avoid the main castle gate to be open for just one or two persons to walk through, using the wickets helped the guards to control better access to the castle with having one person enter at a time.
In a previous blog, I shared the information about the Irish driving on the left side of the road as do other countries in Europe. Mickey shared with us the history and reason why the Irish drive on the left side of the road.
The lush green of Ireland is due in part to a very temperate and mild climate. When we were there in March, the flowers had already come out in February. Ireland rarely sees temperature extremes. The south of Ireland’s weather can have temperatures in the eighties. While we were driving to the Dingle Peninsula, we did see snow falling along with beautiful blue sky. The grass is green all year long. Grass grows 300 days a year. In the east where Dublin is the average rainfall is 3 feet of rain per year and in the west near Dingle, the average is six feet of rain per year. With the grass growing all year, Ireland is all about livestock and grazing, from horses to sheep to cattle.
The stories, history, and folklore bring so much magic to a tour of Ireland. I went on a tour of Ireland last you, and our guide was Mickey Nolan. Mickey has been a tour guide been with Celtic Tours since 1988,and he was full of stories about everything Ireland; to the history and fun facts of the country today.
On the river cruises, I have been on in Europe; the locks are a fascinating part of the journey. Water locks were inventing and designed beginning in ancient times by the Egyptians and refined over time by the Chinese, the Italians, and an American engineer.
Bonjour, So many sites to see so little time….. Paris is a great city to explore art, history, and culture. The city of Paris consists of 20 districts or "arrondissements." In the eight oldest districts of the city is where many of the statues and monuments are located within the city. In the western part of the city is where many of the castles of Paris are located. The 16th district is a residentialarea and one of the most expensive with the cobblestone streets and limestone buildings. When you look at the streets, you can go back in time to the 19th century and imagine the city back in that time.
The engineer that built the tower was Gustave Eiffel but was was actually designed by one of his employees. The tower was built for the World’s Fair. The French complained at first about the tower. Parisians thought it looked like a nail blended in Paris in the middle of a beautiful city. Paris at that time was a city mostly of limestone buildings and it took many years for the French to accept this metal tower.
The real name of Josephine was Marie Josephe Rose Tascher de la Pagerie. Josephine Bonaparte came from Martinique in the West Indies and had an independent mind. Her first husband was Alexandre de Beauharnais, and they had two children a son and a daughter. They were separated, and she had to live on her own so, during the French revolution in 1789, Josephine went back to her island of Martinique, to help her family financially. She moved back to France in 1791 because her husband had a promising military career. 1793 and 1794, known as the years of terror, Josephine’s first husband Alexander Beauharnais was one of the best officers in the French Revolution. He was considered to have betrayed the ideals of the French Revolution, so he was sent jail. At that time the wife needs to follow the husband in prison, so Marie Josephe Rose went to jail with her husband.
Rouen, France also called Roman Town, is a traditional French city that has retained all its history as it has grown. The city offers many historical sites as well as magnificent cathedrals and cafés and shopping for everyone’s taste. The old city center has many half-timbered houses that date back centuries.
The quaint 14-century old seaside village of Honfleur is about an hour from Caudebec-En-Caux in the Haute-Normandy region for France. When you travel through the small villages, you see many thatched roof cottages. These homes have the thatched roofs many with iris growing along the roof line. There are only three craftsmen in the region that build and maintain these roofs. They do not teach this craftsmanship in school, so the men need to have an apprentice to keep up with the trade.
Spring and Summer vacations are just around the corner--What are your vacation plans? One of the best trips in the States is to visit one of our many national parks. There are currently 58 National Parks in 29 states from Alaska to the US Virgin Islands.
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