Thursday, August 15, 2013

A whirlwind trip…but worth the time

We had a very busy trip to Ireland during the last week.  We met with the Stake Presidents and Stake Employment Specialist in Belfast and Dublin and also with the Branch Presidents in Tralee and Galway.  We also met with the District President for the Limerick District.  Along the way we met with some of the senior missionary couples. 

We left on Wednesday and returned to Scotland the following Wednesday.  In the eight days we drove about 1,200 miles.  So, we saw lots of scenery along the way and we were also able to stop and see a few things of interest.  We have made a list of places we definitely want to see on our next trip.  Right now we are planning to return in mid-September.

I have posted a map of the country so you can see our travels. 

We left Edinburgh early Wednesday and drove to a small port town of Cairnryan on the west coast of Scotland.  We boarded a ferry and traveled to Belfast. It is amazing what these ferries carry in addition to the people - cars, buses, semi-trucks & Trailers The sailing was a little over two hours.  Thursday was a full day of meetings from about 1:30 p.m. until about 10:00 p.m.  Friday we headed to Waterford to meet some senior missionaries.  We had enough time to take a tour of the Waterford Crystal factory.  Most of the everyday Waterford Crystal is now made in the Prague, Poland, and Germany.  The factory in Ireland only makes specialty items such as trophies and special pieces.  It was interesting to note that the green sticker with a seahorse and the Waterford name etched on the edge of a piece is the only way to tell if it is “Waterford”.

The Waterford Crystal showroom

This factory only makes specialty items.  You can have this coach for only about $50,000

This harp was about four feet tall and cost about $75,000

This piece was about five feet tall and was about $180,000

We then drove to Tralee which was suppose to be about 3 ½ hours.  It took almost 5 hours because the roads were so narrow.  Ireland roads are much narrower than the roads in Scotland.  Saturday we headed to Limerick and Sunday morning drove to Galway.  We were planning to drive on Monday to the town of Sligo but decided that it was too far to go there and make it to Belfast at a decent hour.  As I was driving I thought how it would be great to play back my "brain video" on the blog so you could see how beautiful this country really is.  We had a week worth of "Beauty all around"...

This is just north of Dublin at New Grange

From  on top of Knowth looking across the valley

You can tell fall is coming as all the crops are being harvested.  This was rolls of straw ready to be taken in from the fields


On the way to Belfast we stopped at New Grange which is just north of Dublin.  We were planning to see New Grange last October when we visited Ireland on our vacation but didn’t have time.  We stayed in New Grange about 5 hours.  It was fascinating.
This is Knowth.  I will go into more detail on the next post about this area.  It is an archeological wonder that dates back to about 4000 BC.  It was fascinating and I will provide some detail next time.

They think this was a 16 month calendar and the explanation of how to count the days comes out to 364. 

No one is really sure why these mounds were built or what went on within them.  There is one they have found that ties to the Spring equinox and on to the fall equinox.  New Grange is tied to the Summer and Winter solstice

These are "mounds" located near Knowth

This is the entrance into New Grange.  More to come about this area...stay tuned
On the way to Belfast we saw the turnoff for the town of Armagh which is where my ancestors came from.  My Mother’s Grandfather (Joseph Cornwall) was born in Armagh.  He and his father (Alexander) emigrated to America in the early 1860s.  Next time we will stop and see what is in the town.  On Tuesday we went to a Linen museum and learned all about the Irish Linen industry.  Sadly, most “Irish Linen” is only packaged in Ireland.  Most of the flax is grown in Belgium and China and woven other places.  It is interesting to see how they make the flax yarn and how it was woven.  It was a big industry at one time.  Now there are only a couple of small towns that actually weave the linen.

 Wednesday we took the ferry back to Scotland and drove home.  A great trip, a beautiful country…we will be back again next month.



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