What I’ve Learned in/and About Ireland

  1. The Irish people are very patriotic and constantly work to maintain, improve, restore and spread the Irish way of life:
    1. any person seeking public office must speak fluent Gaelic in order for them to be able to speak with and listen to their potential constituents.
    2. all public signs in Ireland are written in both English and Gaelic (in Wales, they are written in English and Welsh)
    3. Ireland continues to work on having their historic writings, emblems, monuments, and other symbolisms returned to Ireland from Britain
    4. Ireland also continues to strive towards one united Ireland to be out from under British rule
    5. The tour guide in Killarney explained why so many places in Ireland begin with “Bally, Kil, Skellig and Cloch”.
      • Ciarrai = Ker = County Kerry meaning the place of the people of Ciar.
      • Bally=Baile which means homestead of….
      • Kil=Cille so Killarney is the Place of Arney,
      • Cloch=rock of ….
  2. Irish Phrases we use today
    •  “Beyond the Pale” came from the 1169 British Invasion of Ireland.  Local people who lived in land beyond the scope of the British reach were said to live Beyond the Pale.
    • He who runs away lives to fight another day.  This saying obviously came into being when the Gauls, Vikings, Pict’s, Anglo-Saxons, Romans and other invaders showed up on Irish soil.
    • A new broom sweeps clean, but an old one knows the corners.     Ah, a phrase where we only use the first half.  It means a broom that is broken in is more flexible.
    • Far away hills are green.  We say this as “the grass is always greener
    • Little pigs have big ears.  I remember my grandmother using this phrase when I was a child
    • If you lie down with dogs you’ll rise with fleas
  3. Follow this link for fun information from Dublin, remembering that Irish people have a great sense of humor.    http://extra-extra.blogspot.ie/2007/06/nicknames-in-dublin.html
  4. And, it seems that all soups (except chowder) served in Ireland are puree’d, even the vegetable as you can see in the photo.

Vegetable Soup in Portmagee, IE5.The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) was founded in 1824 by Richard Martin, an Irish politician and one of the first animal rights activists.

6. In the late 18th century, Cork was the largest exporter of butter in the world, mostly to Britain and the British Empire.Butter Museum, Cork






It was interesting to me to find that when I visited the Butter Museum in Cork, to learn that when the Irish dairy community wanted to expand their exports (which had been primarily to Britain) the British said it was not a good idea.  Ireland now exports KerryGold dairy products to 81 countries worldwide.

7. There are NO postal or zip codes in Ireland, except in the city of Dublin.

8. Ireland was the last country in Europe to permit divorce. It was narrowly approved by a 1995 referendum when only 50.28% voted in favour (this was three percentage points more than at the previous referendum in 1986) and the first-ever divorce granted in Ireland was in 1997. Irish law allows couples to divorce only if they have been living apart for four years.

9. St. Patrick’s clearing of snakes in Ireland is a myth.   Ireland has never had snakes because it is an island and a really long swim for a cold-blooded snake. (No leprechans either)

10. There are more mobile phones in Ireland than people.

Next stop SPAIN!

A Day in Killarney, Ireland

I only had 3/4 of a day in Killarney so I decided to take the On/Off Big Red Bus.  It was almost a personal tour..there was only one other woman on the bus.  Our driver was very knowledgable and explained how Irish towns and cities were named and how the Gaelic words were massaged into English by the British.




Big Red On and Off Bus Killarney

Off to the Killarney National Forest (more of a park than a forest).

Torc Falls
Torc Falls
Not Niagara Falls, but charming all the same
Not Niagara Falls, but charming all the same
Rossmuck House and Gardens
Rossmuck House and Gardens


Who needs a 65 room house?  Really!



Muckross House is a mansion designed by the Scottish architect, William Burn, built in 1843 for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, thewatercolourist Mary Balfour Herbert.

With sixty-five rooms, it was built in the Tudor style. Extensive improvements were undertaken in the 1850s in preparation for the visit ofQueen Victoria in 1861. It is said that these improvements for the Queen’s visit were a contributory factor in the financial difficulties suffered by the Herbert family which resulted in the sale of the estate. In 1899 it was bought by Arthur Guinness, 1st Baron Ardilaun who wanted to preserve the dramatic landscape.

In August 1911, not long before the First World War, Muckross House and its demesne were again sold to William Bowers Bourn, a wealthy Californian mining magnate. He and his wife passed it to their daughter Maud and her husband Arthur Rose Vincent as a wedding present. The couple lived there until Maud’s death in 1929.

In 1932 her parents Mr and Mrs Bournes and their son-in-law Arthur Vincent decided to present Muckross House and its 11,000 acre estate to the Irish nation. Being called the ″Bourne-Vincent Memorial Park″, it thus became the first National Park in the Republic of Ireland and formed the basis of present-day Killarney National Park. In later years the park was substantially expanded by the acquisition of land from the former Earl of Kenmare‘s estate.  Courtesy of Wikipedia

Horse and carts at Muckross estateLots of tourists were taking advantage of the horses and carriages (traps) to move from one location to another in Killarney National Forest.  Very Charming!

Getting up close and personal
Getting up close and personal with the Trap “Engine”




There was one blackbird that hopped along on the lawn parallel to the sidewalk with the tourists were strolling.  This bird squawked and squawked and squawked at every other person as if to say .. Hey, look at me, I’m right here and I want a snack, and I want it now!”  But sadly there was no response from most of the tourists.  He was very lucky that I noticed him and that I actually had a chocolate breakfast bar in my purse.  Yes, of course, I had to stop and feed the bird.  He was not shy about snapping it out of my open palm.  His cohorts were a bit more stand-offish, but eventually the breakfast bar was consumed by several of the birds.

Finally he gets the courage to snack on the chocolate cookie  A nice Spanish man took the photos, but could not seem to get the shot when the bird was actually taking the food.  Oh, well.IMG_1565

Look at the girl sitting on the bench.  This will give you an idea of the size of this castle.

Ross castle

This is a front view of Ross Castle




I did have a great meal at Mac’s Of Main Street in Killarney.  A “fab” seafood chowder.


The best seafood chowder in Ireland

Tomorrow is Wednesday, so it must be Cork (Ireland).  Nite Nite