Cobh Heritage Center

Cobh… Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Back on the coach and off to the coast to visit the Heritage Center in Cobh (pronounced Cove). Cobh is ‘one of the major transatlantic Irish ports, the former Queenstown was the departure point for 2.5 million of the six million Irish people who emigrated to North America between 1848 and 1950. On 11 April 1912, Queenstown was famously the final port of call for the RMS Titanic when she set out across the Atlantic on her ill-fated maiden voyage. … At Queenstown 123 passengers boarded in all; only 44 survived the sinking. … Cobh was also a major embarkation port for men, women and children who were deported to penal colonies such as Australia. The records of such deportations can be found in ships’ log books in the Cobh Museum …  Another tragically notable ship to be associated with the town, the Cunard passenger liner RMS Lusitania, was sunk by a German U-boat off the Old Head of Kinsale while en route from the US to Liverpool on 7 May 1915.‘²

The following slideshow contains photos of exhibits, artifacts from the Titanic, and the immigration of millions of Irish fleeing the Great Famine.


Overlooking Killarney Valley

Group Photo Shoot… Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Tour Group Photo

Our tour group overlooking the Killarney Valley.

We left the Maldron Hotel and Cork for our adventures in Cobh (pronounced Cove) and Blarney Castle. First, we made a stop at a point overlooking the Killarney Valley to have a group photo taken by a professional photographer. Unfortunately, there are no names included with the photo, and Gina and I never got to know each person’s name either. The one person in the photo that EVERYONE got to know very well, was Jane, our tour guide. She’s standing in the white coat with the green and white scarf.

But, seated on my right and behind me were the father-daughter duo from Halifax – we spent quite a lot of time in their company. Standing on the extreme right edge of the photo and seated to Gina’s left were the family group from Indianapolis (their son is the tallest young man in the back row). The rather round gentleman in the gray shirt on the left side of the photograph was from the Central Valley, and he and his wife were a hoot. The silver-haired woman in red in the front row was from Vancouver, the dark-haired Asian woman to her right was from California. The youngest member of our tour, Grace, her Mom (seated in the same pose on the ground in the front row), and great-grandmother (seated next to the woman in jade slicker in the second row) were from Massachusetts. The woman in the jade sweater kneeling at the left of the front row was from Stittsville, Ontario. And there were others who we made or had some sort of a connection with, but it is too difficult to point them out. I was pleasantly surprised at the overall courtesy, friendliness, and good cheer that the group shared.

The location was quite beautiful even though the morning started out overcast and cool.

Check out some additional photos here:


Crystal gift to Pres. Obama

Waterford Crystal Factory… Monday, May 8, 2017

We left the quiet beauty of Glengalough and drove about 91 miles south to the town of Waterford, County Waterford, on the River Suir. Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city and was founded by the Vikings in the 9th century. It was taken over by the Anglo-Norman invaders of the 12th century and was one of the most important Old English entres in medieval Ireland. Since then it has seen sieges, invasions, famine and economic highs and lows. It remains the foremost city in Ireland’s south-east.¹

Here we toured the Waterford Crystal Factory and had some lunch. Enjoy the slideshow!!

After our tour of the factory, we were taken to the Maldron Hotel in Cork, County Cork. The Maldron was originally the North Infirmary Hospital built in 1719-20, on the site of the churchyard of the old St Mary’s Church that was destroyed during the Siege of Cork in 1690. Gina was hoping for some good, old-fashioned spirits and spooks. But, really all we got were church bells and early, morning yard maintenance!!

We enjoyed a delicious, quiet meal in the hotel pub again this night – this was to become our standard routine.


Glendalough… Monday, May 8, 2017

Our daily adventures depended upoIMG_3713_editn a very strict schedule. Each night we made sure to examine the posted itinerary for the next day. We would need to be up, bags packed and outside the door for the porter’s to collect, down to breakfast, and ready to board the coach according to each daily schedule. Thankfully, Gina and I NEVER held up the coach (although we did need to wait on a few of the party once or twice…).

Our second day in Ireland, had us leaving the capital city of Dublin and driving about an hour south to Glendalough, County Wicklow.

Here are a few landscape scenes shot from the coach as we drove to Glendalough.

Glendalough, the valley of the two lakes, was an Early Medieval monastic settlement founded by St. Kevin during the 6th century. The settlement was destroyed by English forces in 1398, the surviving buildings most likely date from the 10th and 12th centuries.

The following youtube video is a slideshow of the pictures I took while exploring Glendalough. The background music was found at

The Little Museum of Dublin – Welcome Reception… Sunday, May 7, 2017

After our visit to Trinity College, we boarded the coachIMG_1732_edit for a return to the Clayton Ballsbridge Hotel for a much needed short rest/nap, quick shower, and change of clothes before our evening Welcome Reception at The Little Museum of Dublin.

This reception, with drinks and hors d’oeuvres, was our first real opportunity to mingle and get acquainted with our fellow tour members. Due to poor weather conditions in Halifax, Nova Scotia, some of our group had not yet arrived in Dublin, but our party would eventually number a total of 40 vacationers. Most of our group were older couples, there were a few other parent/adult child travelers, and we even had a family consisting of Great-grandma, Mom, and 11-year-old girl. We called various provinces of Canada and states in the US home. Over the course of a week spent together, we would find our fellow travelers to be kind, warm, funny, and a pleasure to be with.

Discover the best small museum in Ireland.  

The Little Museum of Dublin tells the remarkable story of the Irish capital. Our collection was created by public donation, entry is by guided tour… (



After our museum tour, Gina and I had a late dinner in the hotel Pub. We decided not to be too adventurous our first night away. Gina ordered a burger and I had the Fish and Chips. We experienced our first, individual, tiny-sized Coke bottles!


The Book of Kells and the Old Library… Sunday, May 7, 2017

Included in our tour was admission to The Book of Kells ‘Turning Darkness into Light’ exhibit at Trinity College. Photography was not allowed in the exhibit, so I have only memories of the beautifully illuminated manuscripts of the four Gospels written in Latin.


The Book of Kells is believed to have been produced early in the 9th century by monks of Iona (an island off the west coast of Scotland) and at Kells, County Meath, where the monks moved after a Viking raid in 806 AD. During the Cromwellian period (1653), the manuscripts were sent to Dublin for security. The Book of Kells came to be housed at Trinity College when Henry Jones became Bishop of Meath in 1661.

Photographs were allowed in the Old Library, upstairs from The Book of Kells exhibit, and it is a wonderous place…

Trinity College… Sunday, May 7, 2017

After our quick stop at St. Patrick’s Cathedral we moved on to Trinity College where Coolette presented a short lecture on the history of the college while we stood in the cobbled courtyard. Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I and modeled on the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. “It is one of the seven ancient universities of Britain and Ireland, as well as Ireland’s oldest university. The Library of Trinity College is a legal deposit library for Ireland and the United Kingdom, containing over 6.2 million printed volumes and significant quantities of manuscripts (including the Book of Kells), maps and music.” (,_Dublin)


Entrance to courtyard


Old Library


Signpost to Book of Kells


In the courtyard


Wm. Lecky promoted Irish writers and politicians in the 19th century

As you can see, the weather was beautiful. And Dubliners were making the most of the sun and warmth in every outdoor space we visited. Gina and I could only hope that this unusual weather pattern would hold for our entire visit!!