This is my guide to Ireland, everything from Irish tourist attractions and sights, Irish history , Irish food and recipes, folklore and mythology to the people and culture along with a few Irish superstitions and traditions. Your guide to Ireland by an Irish woman living and raising a family in Ireland

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Terataii Reiki and Counselling Centre: Quotable Thursday #10 - June 25, 2009

Terataii Reiki and Counselling Centre: Quotable Thursday #10 - June 25, 2009

Joining in Pamposh's Quotable Thursday Meme with a quote from Kahlil Gibran

Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Humorous Irish Quotes

This Week its Humorous Irish Quotes

In preparation for Pamposh's Quotable Thursday Meme over at Terataii Reiki and Councelling Blog -

"I think the
Irish woman was freed from slavery by bingo. They can go out now, dressed up, with their handbags and have a drink and play bingo. And they deserve it."
- Author John B. Keane

"I spent 90% of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted."
- Soccer superstar George Best

"We have always found the Irish a bit odd. They refuse to be English."
- Winston Churchill

"It was a bold man who ate the first oyster."
- Jonathan Swift

"I am a drinker with a writing problem."
- Brendan Behan

"You know it's summer in Ireland when the rain gets warmer."
- Hal Roach

More Funny Quotes

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Reminiscences of Ireland - Part 3

Belcarra - Beginning - By Bob Donkins

On arrival at Belcarra we were shown the caravan that was to be our home for the next week. When we had settled in we were given a quick induction course on looking after the horse, caravan and the rules of the road. We were supplied the maps and our itinerary. We cooked our first meal in the caravan before an evening stroll in the village and off to bed.
The next day after a bit of amusement watching people chasing the horses round the field we were introduced to our travelling companion for the week - Blackie.  After the lessons on horse grooming and harnessing Blackie to the caravan it was decided that we should leave first,  the other vans following at 10 minute intervals. 
Each day we travelled about 10 miles which took about 3 hours so we arrived at Ballintober shortly early in the afternoon.  Having attended to Blackie and set him free in his paddock,  we borrowed the bikes that were available and cycled to  local shop to but fresh milk and eggs.  By the time we arrived back at the campsite all the other caravans had arrived.  We relinquished the bike to another family and set off to explore the the beautifull Ballintubber Abbey. 
We went back to the campsite for a shower then went to the local pub and restaurant.  We were so tired after all the excercise and fresh air we were in bed and asleep shortly before 10 pm.
It was with some trepidation following the previous day's antics that a I went with one of the other travellers to round up the horses.  To my amazement Blackie came running up to me and I was able to put on the leading rein with no problem.  As I lead Blackie back to the caravan the other horses follwed meekly behind him.  I was unanimously voted to be be the horse catcher for the rest of the trip.
We were soon ready to set off on our next leg to Castlecarra.
One of the rules we were given was that we should walk as much as possible so that we did not tire the horses too much so our feet were tired when we arrived at the campsite. 
After looking after Blackie we were content just to sit and watch the youngsters play ball.  We ate our evening meal in the fresh air and enjoyed the views of Lough Carra and chatted and watched the sunset.
The next day it was a day off for the horses so we went for a walk to the Lough and to see the castle. We just enjoyed the scenery and watched the butterflies and a well camouflaged frog.
Having eaten our picnic lunch we walked on to the ruins of Moore Hall and then headed back via Burriscara.

Reminiscences Of Ireland - Part 2

Third Visit to Ireland - Horsedrawn Caravan Trip - By Bob Donkin

I met Lynda in an MSN internet forum in 2000.  A few of us met up in Manchester but Lynda couldn't make it so I took a trip up to Glasgow to meet up with her and a couple of other members from Scotland.  We immediately hit if off and I started to visit her on a regular basis. In 2005 we took a holiday to Ireland.
I flew up to Glasow and then we both flew to Belfast airport where we were collected by friends and taken to Ballyclare where we stayed for a few days. 
We took the opportunity to visit Belfast.  I was amazed how different it was from my previous visit.  Everyone appeared so friendly and happy it was a world apart from the city I'd visited 30 years earlier.
For various reasons we decided not to hire a car so our journey in Ireland started by catching a bus to Enniskillen where we stayed at the Rossole Guest House B&B. The next day we looked around Enniskillen then took the bus to Sligo. It was late when we eventually arrived at our B&B so we didn't realy get a chance to see much of Sligo.  We did find a nice pub that served evening meals but had a chance to wander round the town late in evening.  Our bus to Castlebar left fairly early and we arrived there in time for lunch. We had a quick tour of the town before going to the supermarket to stock up on food for the week and getting a taxi to Belcarra.

All images Copyright of Bob Donkins

Reminiscences Of Ireland - By Bob Donkin

This is a travelers reminiscences of his visits to Ireland
A four part series by Bob Donkin, who has kindly agreed to share his Irish travel experience with us.

Part 1 - "Just passin thru"

First Visit
Back in the early 70's I worked for British Rail and got free train tickets so with a friend we decided to tour the British Isles.

Starting at London we went to Penzance in Cornwall from there we went up to Thurso in the north of scotland via Edinburgh and Inverness. Then via the the Isle of Skye and Glasgow down to Stranraer. We got the ferry to Larne and then on to Belfast. To be honest it was a bit of a scary experience. It was at the height of "The Troubles" and the evidence of it was all around. We caught the first possible train to Dublin. We found a campsite I think it was in Bray but can't remember exactly but we found a local pup and sampled the "Liffey Water". The next day we went back to Dublin to look around. We saw the usual sites, the museum, Dublin Castle etc ending up at O'donoghues pub. My overall impression of Dublin at that time was that it was very similar to a lot of the UK provincial cities, possibly a bit behind the times, and a funny mixture of friendliness and aloofness.

O'donoghues was possibly the highlight of the trip. After about half an hour sitting by ourselves we struck up a conversation with one of the locals. A short time later we "accepted" into the company and spent a good few hours in, somtimes heated, discussions putting the world to rights. We got invited to a students' party after the bar closed and ended up getting back to the campsite around dawn.

The next day we got the train to Rosslare and then home.

Second Visit
The second visit in 2003 was more fleeting than the first. I attended a funeral in Ballyclare. I was collected from Belfast ferry terminal, stayed 2 nights in Ballyclare then dropped off at the ferry terminal for the return trip home. The evidence of the troubles was still to be seen, Some streets decorated with Union Jacks and Ulster flags while other streets were decorated with the Irish tricolour and many murals from both sides.

To be continued... My third visit to Ireland

All images are copyright of Bob Donkin

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Famous Irish Quotes - Oscar Wilde

Here is a list of some famous Irish Quotes

Quotes by the poet Oscar Wilde

Quotes for Quotable Thursday on Terataii Reiki and Councelling blog

"Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you" - Oscar Wilde

"A man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her" - Oscar Wilde

"They spoil every romance by trying to make it last forever" - Oscar Wilde

"If you are not too long, I will wait here for you all my life" - Oscar Wilde

"What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing"  - Oscar Wilde.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Lough Key Forest And Activity Park

Lough key forest is situated in Boyle, Co. Roscommon

Lough key is a vast forest estate covered in a magnificent variety of woodland and wildflowers, populated by deer, foxes, hares, rabbits, squirrels, otters, badgers and a wide variety of birds.
There are many activities at lough key with much to see and do for all ages, there are 19th century tunnels, a viewing tower, trails and walkways, an adventure center an an outdoor play kingdom for children to play and explore.

Lough key has a rich history with many bronze age and Neolithic settlements, in the 1600's the land was granted to an English family who resided there until 1957 when a terrible fire destroyed their mansion.
You can take one of the many trails through the woods or along the canals or even take the tree canopy walk, a bridge through the treetops of lough key that offers amazing views of the surrounding area.

Lough key is an adventure filled day out for the whole family in one of the most spectatular woodlands in Ireland - well worth the visit

Under the fairy bridge - Lough Key

All images of Lough key forest provided under Creative commons by Irishfiresides Photostream

Friday, March 6, 2009

Temple Bar, Dublin City

Temple bar - the cultural quarter of Dublin

Ireland has a lot to offer and Temple bar is one of the must-see's of Dublin city and I would know, having spend much of my early twenties in Temple bar. One of the most colourfull streets in Dublin, Temple bar is lively and energetic with a great night life and friendly atmosphere.

Some of the oldest bars in Dublin are situated in Temple bar and you can find a variety of entertainment from live music (ranging from traditional Irish music to rock/alternative music and everything in between) stand up comedy, street performances, parades, art shows, plays and much more.

There are many options for accommodation in Temple bar to suit all prices and everything you need is close as Temple bar is situated in the heart of Dublin city. You can shop during the day or explore the city, go to live performances or just relax at the meeting house square, there is always something to see. You will also find many fantastic and unusual shops, signs and artistic graffiti in the area such as these

temple bar sign

Skateboarding a few years ago was a popular pastime of the youth around temple bar as they practiced and performed on the streets and ramps in the area, often if they were good, to a large audience of tourists and locals, although you can see from the above sign that not everywhere was the skateboarding appreciated!

graffiti temple bar

Many of the streets in Temple bar are pedestrian only and are great meeting places. There are many street performances and large crowds gather to see musicians, comediens, mimes, drummers, jugglers and more. In Temple bar the entertainment is as much on the paved streets as in the pubs and venues.

The Temple Bar Pub, Temple Bar, Dublin, County Dublin, Republic of Ireland (Eire)
The Temple Bar Pub, Temple Bar, Dublin, County Dublin, Republic of Ireland (Eire) Photographic Print
Pitamitz, Sergio
Buy at

Truly worth a visit and an experience you will never forget.

Temple bar images from

Sunday, March 1, 2009

This Is Ireland

This is my guide to the beauty spots, tourist attractions and sights of Ireland. 

Follow me around Ireland and get a real feel for the people, places and wonders of Ireland.  Speaking as an Irish person living in Ireland, Ireland is a beautiful country with a lot to see and learn, ok the weather is not always ideal but something you will easily forget as you travel with me.

This image is Glencar waterfall in County Leitrim, It is not a large waterfall but it was made famous in the poem "The Stolen Child" by W.B. Yeats

The Stolen Child

By William Butler Yeats

WHERE dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we've hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he's going,
The solemn-eyed:
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than he can understand.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Irish superstitions

Irish people are or at least were some of the most superstitious people that ever existed.  As an Irish woman in my twenties I have learned many of the superstions from the older generations and from story telling and although most of the superstitions are not heeded anymore, very few have been forgotten.

I will share a few of these superstitions from time to time as I remember them.

Irish superstitions part one - Unlucky omens

You may have heard the saying "the luck of the Irish" but according to old Irish tales or Old wives tales most things brought Bad luck!

  • If anyone stumbled at the foot of a grave - it was considered bad luck and if you were unfortunate enough to actually fall and touch the ground, death would most likely occur within the year
  • If a magpie came to your front door and looked at you  - this signaled death and could not be averted
  • Black cats, a girls whisteling or a crowing hen all signaled bad luck
  • If you kill a robin you will never see or have good luck
  • A wagtail near your house equals bad luck
  • It is unlucky to accept a lock of hair from a lover
  • It is unlucky if a hare crosses your path before sunrise
  • Friday is the most unlucky day to move house, start a business or take a trip
  • Never put shoes on a table or you will be sure to have bad luck
  • A broken mirror means seven years bad luck
  • It is bad luck for a fisherman to keep the first salmon of the season
  • You must never walk under a ladder
  • You must never open an umbrella in the house
  • Handing someone a knife is bad luck
  • Two people washing their hands in the same sink at the same time means disaster
  • Red haired women were considered most unlucky
This is just some of the many superstitions that have been told in Ireland. There are many many more, more than I will ever be able to write.  Most are far fetched and yet some are based on commen sense, for example if a piece of food dropped to the floor, it was to be left untouched, for the faery folk/the good people and it was them who knocked it from your hand - although that may seem far fetched, at the time hygene standards would have been poor and it would have been difficult to persuade a hungry person not to retrieve the food on the basis that it may not be clean - but very few people would have taken something back from the good people, as they were referred to.


Newgrange - Bru na Boinne

Newgrange is a stone age passage tomb situated in the Boyne valley. It is over 5000 years old and is even older than stonehenge in England. It is actually even older than the great pyramid of Giza in Egypt!
Newgrange was built during the Neolithic or New Stone age and was built by a farming community.  It can only be visited by guided tour from the Bru na Boinne visitor center and can be completely booked out for long periods.
It is an ancient temple with spiritual and ceremonial importance and has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

The Winter Solstice

At dawn from the 19th to the 23rd of December a narrow beam of light penetrates a roof box in the cruciform chamber of Newgrange and reaches the chamber floor slowly extending to the rear of the passage creating amazing illuminations that last about 17 minutes.  Visitors wait in the dawn darkness to catch this yearly occurance.  Newgrange brings over 200,000 visitors a year.

Myths about Newgrange

It is said that Newgrange is the buriel place of Lugh Lamhfada, the spiritual father of mythical hero Cuchulainn. It is also said to be the place he was conceived by his mother Dechtine.

Traditional Irish Jewellery - rings

Irish Jewellery

The Claddagh ring is one of the most popular pieces of traditional jewellery, dating back over 300 years.  The ring shows hands holding a heart and the meaning of the ring is friendship, love and loyalty. 
Claddagh rings are traditionally used as wedding rings, friendship rings, engagement rings and are also very popular as mothers day gifts. They make an ideal gift for anybody and almost every Irish woman has owned one from a young age as they are often given on a girls 16th birthday.

The basic meaning for the Claddagh ring is Love and loyalty forever.

Womens Claddagh birthstone ring

Women's Claddagh Birthstone Rings - Sterling Silver

Women's Mo Anam Cara-My Soul Mate - 14 Kt. Gold Ring

Women's Mo Anam Cara-My Soul Mate - 14 Kt. Gold Ring

Celtic charm womens ring

Women's A Ring of Celtic Charm