Forty Shades of Green

I close my eyes and picture the emerald of the sea
From the fishing boats at Dingle to the shores of Dunardee
I miss the river Shannon and the folks at Skibbereen
The moorlands and the midlands with their forty shades of green

~”Forty Shades of Green” by Johnny Cash

A year ago today was our first full day of a three week trip from the U. S. to Ireland and Scotland. One day as we toured the Ring of Kerry in Ireland, Dennis, our tour guide, played this Johnny Cash song for us.

I remembered the song this morning as I was thinking about our trip. Johnny Cash wrote it in 1959 while he was in Ireland.

We saw at least forty shades of green (and probably more) as we traveled around the beautiful Emerald Isle.

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Dingle Peninsula, Ireland
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Wild Atlantic Way, Ring of Kerry, Ireland
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Wild Atlantic Way, Ring of Kerry, Ireland
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Dunluce Castle, Northern Ireland
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Lamb at the Fairy Fort on the Slea Head Drive, Dingle Peninsula

Here is Johnny Cash singing ‘Forty Shades of Green.’

I don’t know when we’ll be able to travel again but until then, I have my wonderful memories.

Lens-Artists #79: Window with a View

For this weeks challenge, Amy has asked us to show windows with a view.

As we traveled around Ireland last spring some of our hotel rooms had great views out the windows.

I loved the view of Eyre Square from the windows of our room in Galway, Ireland. It took some creative maneuvering of the camera to avoid the black window frame (alas, you can still see part of it in the upper right corner).

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Eyre Square, Galway

Our first bed and breakfast experience was the Alderhaven Country Home in Killarney, Ireland. The home was in a beautiful setting and our hosts Pat and Norrie O’Neill were wonderful. When we decided to let someone else do the driving and take a tour of the Ring of Kerry, Norrie arranged a tour with a a tour company and guide she knew.

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View from our room at the Alderhaven Country Home in Killarney. That’s our blue rental car.
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Nothing better than a full Irish breakfast with a view. At the Alderhaven Country Home in Killarney we watched bunnies in the yard every morning.

At the Westwood Country House in Tower, near Blarney, our room overlooked the back yard. Our hosts Fergus and Eucharia welcomed us into their beautiful home and prepared fresh eggs from their back yard hens and smoked salmon for breakfast. Fergus even gave us scones to take along for a snack on our all day bus tour. Seeing the evening sky through our window was a real treat at the end of a long day.

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View behind the house from our room at Westwood Country House in Tower, Ireland

Our room several floors up in the Hotel Europa in Belfast, Northern Ireland had great views of the city. The photo at the top of this page was taken looking down at the street.

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View from our room on about the 7th floor of the Hotel Europa in Belfast, Northern Ireland

Many thanks to Amy for this weeks Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Window with a View

 

Lens-Artists #67: Candid

This week, Ann-Christine has challenged us to capture candid shots of people and/or animals.

This challenge was a difficult one for me because it’s hard for me to get good photos of people. Usually my candid shots are epic fails, either blurred or someone has a funny look on their face. As I searched through my photos I found some candid shots from our trip to Ireland and Scotland earlier this year.

On that trip we visited more than a few pubs. I couldn’t help but capture a few candid shots as we enjoyed a pint and dinner after a busy day of taking in the sights.

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Bartender pouring our first Guinness pint at the Gravity Bar at the Guinness Brewery
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Bartender at the beautiful Crown in Belfast, Northern Ireland
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Decisions, Decisions… in Edinburgh, Scotland

I loved hearing the music in the pubs and seeing the street performers.

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Musicians in Dublin
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Musicians at a pub in Dingle, Ireland
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In the shopping district in Galway
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Bagpiper in Edinburgh, Scotland

I managed to capture a few people doing everyday things.

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Waterville, Ireland
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Dingle Boat Harbor, Ireland
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Surfers at Inch Beach, Dingle Peninsula, Ireland
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Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

I can’t end this post without including some candid animal shots.

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A shepherd tending to his flock during a sheep dog demonstration in Ir
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Highland Cow at Fernie Castle, Scotland

Many thanks to Ann-Christine  for this weeks Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Candid

 

Photo Challenge: Lens-Artists #58 – Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

This weeks challenge is to find photos that represent something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. For this challenge I decided to use some photos from our recent trip to Ireland.

For something old, I chose the oldest man made thing we saw. The Fahan Beehive Huts on the Dingle Peninsula are from around 2000 BC.

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Something Old – Ancient Bee Hive Huts from about 2000 BC

For something new, I chose this lamb. As we drove around Ireland and Scotland, there were many fields filled with sheep. I loved seeing the new little lambs.

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Something New – Lamb at the Fairy Fort on the Slea Head Drive, Dingle Peninsula

Our rental car in Ireland is the closest thing to something borrowed I could think of. This blue Nissan Qashqai, similar to the Nissan Rogue in the U.S., got us everywhere we wanted to go.

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Something Borrowed – Our Rental Car in Ireland

For something blue, I liked the blue buildings on this street in Dingle.

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Something Blue – Dingle Town, Ireland

Thanks to Patti at Pilot Fish Blog for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue this week

Killarney, Blarney, Cobh and Irish Whiskey

One afternoon during our stay at a delightful Bed and Breakfast in Killarney, we took a jaunting car tour through parts of Killarney National Park. Our guide Mark and his horse Susie took us through the forest, beside the lakes, and we had our first view of Ross Castle.

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Killarney National Park, Ireland
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Red Deer in Killarney National Park, Ireland
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Ross Castle on Killarney’s lower lake

On our way to our next destination near Cork, we drove to Ross Castle for a close up view. I was fascinated by all the fishermen unloading their fishing gear in the parking lot so I looked around to see where they were going. Boats were lined up on the banks of a stream which led to the lake on the other side of the stone bridge.

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Fishing Boats in Killarney National Park, County Kerry, Ireland

Ross Castle is in a beautiful setting on the banks of Killarney’s lower lake inside Killarney National Park. We wandered around the castle before driving to County Cork,

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Ross Castle, Killarney National Park, Ireland

At the end of the day we arrived at our next bed and breakfast near Blarney. The gardens and views from the B&B were stunning.

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View from our B&B in Tower, Ireland

On Henry’s birthday we visited Blarney Castle to join the millions of others who have climbed the steps to the top of the tower to kiss the Blarney Stone and gain the gift of eloquence.

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Blarney Castle

Kissing the stone sounds easy. However, actually doing it isn’t so easy. First you must get in line and then go up a series of steps before arriving at the parapet walk at the top of the tower. Once it’s your turn to kiss the stone, you must lie on your back, hold onto an iron railing, lean backwards over a crevice, and hope you can reach the stone to kiss it! I needed help, but I did it!

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At the top of the Blarney Tower
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Me kissing the Blarney Stone
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After kissing the stone it’s time to go back down the stairs
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Do you see the person who is leaned back to kiss the Blarney Stone at the top of the tower?

Our next stop on Henry’s birthday was the pretty seaside town of Cobh which was the last place the Titanic picked up passengers before beginning it’s maiden (and only) voyage in April, 1912. We enjoyed a tour of The Titanic Experience Cobh before wandering around the waterfront and watching the activity in the harbor from a waterfront park.

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Annie Moore and her brothers sailed from Cobh to the United States in December, 1892. She was the first Immigrant to enter the United States at Ellis Island
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Titanic Experience Cobh at the original ticket office and dock where passengers were picked up
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Waterside Park in Cobh, Ireland

Next up was a tour of the Jameson Irish Whiskey Distillery in Midleton.

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Jameson Irish Whiskey Distillery, Midleton, Ireland
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Jameson Irish Whiskey Distillery, Midleton, Ireland
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Sláinte! Toasting to Henry’s birthday after the Jameson Distillery Tour.

To top off a fun filled day we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at a nearby pub.

Next up, two train rides and Northern Ireland.