Blarney Castle

We arrived at Blarney Castle in the best weather and just as it opened. Good thing too – Because we beat the lines. Some people wait for over an hour to reach the top of the castle.

Blarney Dungeon… also known as Hobbit Coffee Stops

We only had to wait in the claustrophobic ancient staircase for a few minutes before we were at the top of the castle!

The Winding Stair
Archer lookouts along the stairs.
Inside Blarney

My polish dance partner from Killarney told me the top of Blarney Castle offered the best views. I agree with him!

Waiting on the ledge at the top to pucker up!

Of course, I kissed the stone!

According to the legend, I have now been blessed with the gift of gab and sweet rhetoric. Join me for coffee and we’ll see if it worked!

The Blarney Pond… which they call a lake.
The Back Road


Monastic Sites of Glendalough

The Beautiful Irish National Park of Glendalough is just south of Dublin. This park gave me the gift of walking among ruins and trudging in the forest.

A Duck on Upper Lake
The Glendalough Valley

Standing on sacred ground…

Through a Worshipper’s Window

I met with saints across the centuries…

Resting in Peace

To remember and receive…

Reminders & Remembrance

To listen and share…

And just like this guy… to speak the truth with those who come my way. This cross stands as a reminder of Jesus’ victory in my life and the lives of those who have gone before.

Hope and truth surrounded by beauty old and new!

Absolutely – amazing.

The Book of Kells

The beautiful, colorful, Monk-painted calf-skin, book of the 4 Gospels, compiled around 800 AD, has been lost and found, robbed and ransacked, is on display at the Trinity College Library.

I have wanted to see this book for years. In so many ways, this was like a Pilgrimage for me. Nearly 6,000 miles of travel to visit its home in Dublin

Trinity Entrance

I went to honor nameless artist monks, who carefully copied the 4 Gospels – ornately, colorfully, and prayerfully.

I went to press my face as close to the glass as I could to see the details and delight in the careful copy of God’s word.

I went to appreciate and delight in the ancient copy of the book I treasure most.

Kells was displaying 2 sections

– Matthew 9:10-20

– Mark 15:20-24

Like Socrates below… I shall ponder the delight and privilege I have in seeing this book.

A Bust to Ponder

Photography of the book itself was not allowed – but here are some beautiful sites from the Trinity College Library.

The Long Room
The “New” Addition to the Library
My books want a ladder.

Someone is studying something there.

Pangur Bán

P.s. The exhibit is a bit underwhelming if you think it’s more than The Book of Kells. The audio tour is a must! And the long room makes up for it in my opinion.


The Guinness Storehouse Tour

*Disclaimer… I don’t drink alcohol.

Guinness is not just beer. The Guinness Family built an industrial dynasty bringing life back to Dublin providing jobs for thousands of people.

Arthur Guinness started brewing ales in 1759 at the St. James’s Gate Brewery, Dublin. On 31 December 1759, he signed a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum.

– Guinness Fact

Brewers, in this blog post, is not referring to coffee. (Rare instance for me… I know.)

Amazing tour!

Right above the turtle is a machine called “Iron Man”… so I technically met the original Iron Man.

Steel & Wood & Curiosity

Do you know what “Cooperage” is?!?

I do now. Look it up. It’s neat.

Sky Bar View of Dublin

I loved the smells of this tour. Fresh roasted Barley and thousand of gallons a water rushing through the story upon story of steel. The curator of this Storehouse museum exhibition is genius! Bravo for making a topic of little personal interest to me, into an amazing and memorable experience! Thank you.

Dublin Day 2… more to come

Day 2 started with a couple of valuable lessons –

1. Order the Day Pass on your phone BEFORE you come to Dublin. Then when you are downtown be sure to stop by the information center for a physical booklet. So worth it!

2. Check the parking BEFORE you drive into town so you can avoid parking at the expensive lot a block away from the less expensive lot.

Once I got over these momentary light afflictions… as you are about to see… it was an EPIC (Pun intended day).

Adventures with my Cousin Jill

Our adventures from the day deserve their own posts… coming soon!

1. The Guinness Factory Tour

2. The Hop On/Hop Off Bus

3. Trinity College & The Book of Kells

4. EPIC Immigration Museum

And, of course, we ended the day with a proper Irish Feast! My sister highly recommended eating at the pub across from Molly Malone.

Molly Malone

O’Neill’s pub is amazing! The Cafeteria Style “Carvery” threw me off, but don’t be fooled by the lack of formality. It was absolutely brilliant to be able to see the succulent, steaming, hearty Irish options before selecting. I happily went with the steak & Guinness pie with potatoes and carrots.

Irish Comfort Food
Dublin Sunset

I must to sleep… tomorrow we drive across the country to Killarney by way of Limerick!

Sleep well!

Minnesota Nice

To me…

Minnesota Nice is a way of life. It’s knowing that my cousins will figure out how to pick me up from the airport and make sure there is good food and a warm place to sleep, no matter when I decide to drop in.

Rothsay Cookbook has the best recipes

It’s also running an errand to meet a friend of my cousins and having her pull fresh baked banana bread out of her hat to serve with apple cider… with no notice.

Minnesota. Hospitality. Family. It’s nice.

Friends Lead to Stories

How a story read 25 years ago brought me to Folsom, CA today:

In the mid 80’s, (possibly earlier), Suzanne Swanson, gave my Mother, the 4 book, boxed set of George MacDonald’s fantasy and fairy stories for children. The books have bright covers in red, black, purple, and blue. The 4 books listed are compilations titled, The Wise Woman, The Golden Key, The Grey Wolf, and The Light Princess. My mother read them and enjoyed them for the most part, adding them to the family library.

At 10 years old, I had just started homeschooling and I was already a voracious reader. Mom pulled the set out of the family library and gifted it to me. Little did I know how these stories would influence my imagination and 25 years later I’d attend a conference focusing on the writings of George MacDonald.

What a delight to enjoy the communion and fellowship of people from all over the states who want to understand God as our Father as shown through the writings of George MacDonald.

It started with a gift of a story between friends and has grown to the gift of friends with even more stories.