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Ireland Day 3: The High King's Seat

rain 60 °F

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This morning we got up at around seven to meet Daniel's Aunt Jackie at her hotel for breakfast. By coincidence, she was staying just across the street from where we were, and we were able to see her before she flew home. We had a great time and we are very glad that we were able to meet up during our trip.
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After breakfast we walked to a camera store to get some black and white film. When Daniel came to Ireland in 2003 he took a lot of black and white pictures. This time he decided to bring the same camera so that Catherine could take pictures too. We went for a nice walk through Ballsbridge and the city center, and found great customer service and help at Conn's Camera's.
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We saw more Dublin doors.
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We also found a church called St. Teresa's. It seems to be a Carmelite church, and has a lot of side altars beside the main altar. The view in the photo is actually only a side entrance to the church, which is much larger.
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There was a small side chapel that Catherine specifically pointed out, so we went in to it and found out that it had a statue of the Infant of Prague and had a prayer to him on the altar rail, along with a rack of candles. Since we are adopting a baby through an adoption service called Infant of Prague, we said some prayers for the process to go smoothly and lit a candle.
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After the walk, our host called us a taxi to the airport, we checked out, and went to pick up our rental car! Our car turned out to be a Toyota Yaris hybrid, which is very much like a smaller version of our Prius. It is even red! We also tried a couple of the potato chip favors available here.
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The first place we went was the visitors' center at the Hill of Tara in County Meath. In the gift shop we found a familiar hat, and a lot of fairy-based merchandise.
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The Hill of Tara is the complex from which the High Kings of Ireland ruled. There are structures there dating back thousands of years, and evidence of burials and other ceremonies being carried out there.
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The lia fáil, or stone of destiny, was used for the coronations of the kings. The legend is that it would cry out if the rightful High King touched his foot to the stone. Catherine considered finding a hidden location and crying out when people touched the stone, but was persuaded against it.
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It started to rain heavily while we were touring Tara. It's a good thing that we had our hoods/hats. The grass was very wet but it was still a very pleasant walk.
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It was an amazing place to tour. The centuries of history and legend associated with the place are fascinating. We were especially intrigued by the fact that most of the visitors appeared to be from the area (lots of Meath and Dublin license plates). It's intriguing to imagine living in a place where such ancient historic sites are so readily available.
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Daniel standing atop the Mound of Hostages, one of the tombs at Tara.
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Vegetable soup and brown bread! A perfect Irish lunch. And now we can say that we dined at Tara.
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We were planning to go to Newgrange, but the lady at Tara told us it was sold out, so we went directly to Donegal. We had to go through Northern Ireland to get there. Neither of us had been. The pictures above show a beautiful area there with a flock of sheep grazing. Northern Ireland is interesting: the diversity of its population is evident in the different flags/decorations/ types of churches you see as you go through different towns and neighborhoods. One town was plastered with Union Jacks and had a huge banner over the Main Street that said "God Save the Queen." Another had Irish tricolors on every lamppost.
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We drove through Eniskillen on our way to Donegal. It was intriguing, but we didn't end up spending much time there.
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Mountcharles is a great village. We are staying just up the hill from the village, and our hosts have been wonderful. There is another couple also staying here. They are from Michagan, so we talked to them a bit about Ireland and the United States.
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Seumas MacManus, who wrote The Story of the Irish Race, was from Mountcharles. The former village water pump is dedicated to him, as this was where he would sit and read to the children of the village.
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We had planned to eat at the pub in Mountcharles, and we walked there from the house. Unfortunately, when we got there they had just closed the kitchen (we arrived at 9:06). We walked back to the house, got in our car, and drove to Donegal Town. We ate at the Manhattan Steakhouse, which was very good. Donegal Town looks amazing: we can't wait to go back tomorrow.

Posted by danielcatherine 17:13 Archived in Ireland Tagged food united_kingdom cars driving pubs sheep tara donegal northern_ireland eniskillen mountcharles Comments (2)

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