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Entries about 1916

Ireland Day 9: Patrick's Footsteps

sunny 80 °F

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Croagh Patrick is probably the most climbed mountain in Ireland: according to legend, it is where St. Patrick fasted for forty days and forty nights. There is an annual pilgrimage on "Reek Sunday" (a "reek" is a mountain), which is in July. People climb it at other times as well, particularly in the summer. Since we were heading to Galway, and Croagh Patrick was so close to us, we decided to try to climb it. Daniel's parents had tried to climb it when they were here, but had not finished the climb. Thus, we were prepared to only go so far.D386910EDDF5E69DA47E171996245A54.jpegD397747DFD80EF89208FD4BCBBA5FE7E.jpeg90_D3AFD373C7E7141FD01EF774363B9737.jpeg90_D3BCA456E6D0CC2E8D0178D9D8A3DC0F.jpeg90_D3C9AF8CEBF0A0E761CFAEB531CCF97A.jpeg
Some pictures of the low part of the trail. There is a beautiful stream that runs down the side of the mountain, and the path at this point is mostly rock and dirt.
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When we had climbed some of the way, Catherine started to feel like she needed to turn back. We had a discussion about what we should do, and she said she wanted Daniel to climb the rest of the way if he wanted to. She said she would go back to the visitors' center and wait, read a book, etc. Daniel continued on his own.
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Daniel: I will write this part in my own voice since Catherine wasn't with me for most of the climb. The pictures show some of the beautiful scenery from the climb towards the ridge. It was actually a very warm day: the warmest of the year, and fairly sunny. In some ways it was a perfect day to climb, but it was uncomfortably hot. Catherine is actually in some of these pictures, making her way down as I climbed. I can't find her in them but I know she would have to be.
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One of the cairns along the way. There are prayers that are traditionally said at these "stations."
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More views from the mountain.
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People seem to have climbed down to write messages using rocks around the pond here. Many messages are unclear, as if people have removed stones from them. I didn't see anyone climbing down to add messages, either.
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There are a couple of small buildings with toilets and sinks. They aren't particularly clean but it is good they are there.
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Some more views of the climb.
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Some graffiti on the rocks. Advice, encouragement, and Eastern European rivalries.
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I took this picture with my camera exactly at eye level facing forwards. It shows how steep the climb is at this point. This is the cone, the final part of the climb.
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A glorious moment: my first glimpse of the chapel on top of the mountain. I was there!
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St. Patrick's bed and a cairn. Both have many small objects (rosaries, crosses, ribbons, etc) that people have left.
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There is such an incredible view from the top of the mountain: I am very glad I decided to go to the top. It is beautiful in every direction, and there is a great sense of accomplishment.
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The beautiful chapel at the top, where I lit a candle for a variety of intentions.
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I have to prove I was there, and didn't just download these pictures online.
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This appears to be some prayers in Cyrillic writing. Perhaps the Russians that graffitied the rock? It is nice to see the wide diversity of people who come here.
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More pictures of the church, including another selfie.
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And another.
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I took this picture accidentally, but it was a good picture to show what the trail is like.
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From the path going down.
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I took this picture also at eye level straight up and down. It shows how steep the path is.
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As I went down it seemed both easier and harder. It was quicker, but more painful and more frustrating. It truly is a "whole different muscle group."
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Back to the statue.
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Catherine had waited at the visitors' center while I climbed. She purchased a book about the 1916 Easter Rising and learned some Irish history. At one point, a man came down from the mountain bruised and bloody. Is frightened Catherine, so when she saw me she was very happy. We took this picture of us with the mountain in the background. I bought an "I Climbed Croagh Patrick" T-shirt, and thought about buying the one that said "'I Climbed' Croagh Patrick" for Catherine. I was happy to have achieved it, but exhausted from having done such a long climb.
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Both:A delicious dinner at an Italian restaurant in Westport.
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We drove through Connemara on our way to Galway. It was getting dark so we didn't take many pictures. However, when Daniel was studying in Ireland eleven years ago he took a picture in Connemara that was published in a magazine called Dappled Things. The picture is called A Connmara Landscape and is one of the first Google Image results for "Connemara landscape."
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Killary Fjord, the only fjord in the Republic of Ireland. It is a beautiful spot and we took several pictures even though it was starting to get dark. From there we went to Galway.

Note to Readers: we are now back in California, where we have our own internet connection. It was often hard to blog from Ireland as we would get in late, and also sometimes have spotty internet coverage when staying in rural locations. We plan to finish the blog, as we have pictures from each day and would love to share them with all of you. We also use this blog as a kind of photo album, and often use it to show people what we saw on our trips. Stay tuned for updates: we should be posting one or two posts per day.

Posted by danielcatherine 23:00 Archived in Ireland Tagged islands history statue views book stones climb chapel fjord shirt connemara westport saint_patrick 1916 croagh_patrick reek killary a_connemara_landscape Comments (2)

Ireland Day 2: Books, Beetles, Whiskey, and Jail (Gaol?)

"I like touring around in jackets. It makes me feel safer." -Catherine

overcast 63 °F

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We woke up very early, but we rested a bit longer and ended up getting up around seven. We went downstairs and found breakfast in the kitchen. Our host asked if we had everything we needed. We had a delicious breakfast of scones, toast, tea, and orange juice. It was very good. We had the hop on-hop off pass, and so we decided to walk to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells and start our tour.
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On our way we walked through the grounds of St. Mary's Catholic Church, which we can see from our room. It's a beautiful building, so we stepped inside to see it. It's over 200 years old.
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Dublin has a tradition of brightly-colored doors all over the city. On our walk, we saw many of them. They are usually dark and solid-colored. Red, blue, and yellow seem to predominate.
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Because we already had a tour booked at the Teeling Whiskey Distillery, and it was getting late, Catherine suggested that we take a taxi rather than walk. We found two taxis resting nearby. The one sitting behind the other had a visible driver, the other did not. We approached the one behind, and the driver (an older Irishman) told us that he could only take us if the driver ahead of him couldn't. We approached the other car and found that the driver was lying down in his seat talking on the phone. He agreed to take us. He seemed to be from Poland, but he didn't talk much so we didn't learn much about him. He also didn't want to drive in the chaos near Trinity, so he dropped us towards the back. We toured Trinity, which was a fairly quick but interesting tour. It included a lot of information about famous people who had studied or taught there. We were near a group of people from Oregon. They were loud and they knew everything. The young man said that he was going to go to college to study beetles. Catherine now describes the condition of being a noisy know-it-all as "beetle mania."
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We saw the Book of Kells, which was amazing. We didn't take pictures because the signs were ambiguous about whether or not it was allowed, and the entire book is available to view online anyway at the Trinity College website. It is amazing to see how well the colors and script have held up over the 1200 years since it was made. We then went to the Long Room of the library. Daniel described it as the most beautiful building he's ever seen. The books are beautiful as is the construction of the building.
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This tour couldn't have happened without Catherine's suggestion to take a taxi. We got on the next bus and headed for Teeling's.
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Teeling is a new distillery. It opened in 2015, and is the first distillery to be built in Dublin in over a century. The Teeling family, however, has been distilling since 1792. The founders of this distillery are the sons of John Teeling, who founded an independent distillery called Cooley and then sold it to a larger corporation. He kept a million barrels, which his sons are using to get the distillery started. Their logo is a phoenix, which is associated with Dublin (Phoenix Park, etc) and represents their industry rising from the ashes (literally... one reason why distilling ended in Dublin was a huge distillery fire.)
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The distilling room tour was fascinating. The process is complex, but basically boils down to making beer, then distilling it. At present, because their distillery is new, they haven't produced any actual whiskey there yet. They do market some of the unaged spirit as poitín, or Irish moonshine.
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The copper pot stills are named after Jack Teeling's daughters.
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The tour guide explained how whiskey is aged in barrels that have had other things in them. Rum barrels, red wine barrels, bourbon barrels, etc. Teeling Single Malt apparently ages in all of these barrels and more.
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They gave samples for an organized tasting. We tried three of their whiskers and a cocktail. Catherine really liked the summer cocktail. We also tried a (small) amount of their poitín so that we could say we tried poitín.
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We had lunch at the Teeling's cafe. It was delicious. Then, having tried poitín, we were off to the gaol.
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The bus coming to take us to Kilmainham.
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Kilmainham Gaol (jail) is a very dismal looking building. It was a British prison that originally housed men, women, and children. During the Famine prison food was coveted and so incarceration rates went up.
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The Catholic chapel at the gaol. This is where Joseph Plunkett (a leader of the 1916 Easter Rising) married Grace Gifford hours before his execution.
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Many famous people were held at Kilmainham, including most of the leaders of the rising. It is interesting to see their cells.
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Grace Gifford Plunkett's cell is especially interesting. She was held here for supporting the anti-treaty forces during the Civil War. She drew this image of the Virgin Mary then.
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All of these leaders of the Rising were executed by firing squad at the site where this cross stands.
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Except James Connolly, who had not been imprisoned at Kilmainham and was brought in through the other gates.
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The tour guide noted that Eamon de Valera was held in Kilmainham for approximately 20 years, cumulatively. He returned in the sixties as President of Ireland to open it as a museum.
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The serpents over the door represent the "Five Capital Crimes": murder, rape, treason, larceny, and piracy (though when we were trying to remember them Catherine suggested "wearing socks with sandals" as one of them.
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Catherine's favorite Dublin door.
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Going by the bus drivers' information we thought the Guinness brewery would be open until 7. When we arrived, we found they closed at 6. We asked the cashier for a dinner recommendation, and she suggested Arthur's pub. We went there and it was perfect: we had soup, brown bread, and apple pie for dessert. It seemed like a perfect Irish meal.
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Some pretty churches on our walk back to Ballsbridge.
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A statue of the Virgin Mary with the Dylan Hotel in the background. We came back to our room and rested, then wrote this blog post. Tomorrow: Tara, Newgrange, and Donegal!

Posted by danielcatherine 18:13 Archived in Ireland Tagged churches bus tours gaol guinness library distillery whiskey hop_on_hop_off teeling's book_of_kells 1916 poitín Comments (2)

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