Handsome Pop & Bird

Handsome Pop

Handsome Pop & Bird


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Joined: January 1st, 1970

Europe » Ireland » County Galway » Aran Islands July 24th 2022

Winding down to exiting temps in the 60's including a fair amount of rain for those in the 90's. Not sure which we prefer at this point. This post will contain pictures from Dingle, Inishmore in the Aran Islands and Portrush in Northern Ireland. Seems the star of this group is Inishmore courtesy of Dun Aengus and the accompanying cliffs with the Cliffs of Moher running a close second. Dun Aengus is a Bronze Age Fortress constructed for a reason we are unable to discern. As you will see the area around the Fortress is largely barren limestone offering little inducement for cultivation. Nonetheless, the fortress was built on the edge of seaside cliffs with stacked limestone. Aside from the sights we engaged in another lengthy conversation, on this occasion, with a couple on holiday from ... read more
Ancient Sheep
Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher

Europe » Ireland » County Kerry » Portmagee July 18th 2022

And now for the puffins, lots of puffins. They are quite cute and love posing for the camera. Take a look. These little guys (Bird attests the cutest are female) begin arriving in May and then one morning in early August staff wakes on the island and the puffins are gone, some to Iceland, others to Canada. On a few pictures notice holes in the ground, which is where they make nests. We have previously seen puffins in Norway but only on water with our small craft zipping about locating the birds. But here, wow, the puffins pose on dry land or rock in their full splendor. Should you desire to see more puffins, just stop by we have 'em. Ya know, a bit hard to send this as no more looks at these puffin pictures ... read more
Marital Bliss
No Fishing Today
One of Bird's Favorites

Europe » Ireland » County Kerry » Portmagee July 17th 2022

One shinning day in July 2022 Bird and HP hopped abord a boat for a one hour ride to Skellig Michael that mystic home of ancient monks and puffins. Monks arrived at Michael during the sixth century, not long after the remnants of the Western Roman Empire were extinguished. They scratched out a meager existence until the early 12th century, eventually being driven ashore where another monastery was established boasting only meager remains. But Michael's are impressive, and all are at least one thousand years old, Landing upon the island apparently can be something of an acrobatic act with our guidebook likening it to "jumping off a trampoline onto an ice ring". In fact boat captains report they are able to affect successful landings on only five days per week, which created no small amount of ... read more
Little Skellig
Little Skellig
Skellig Michael

Europe » Ireland » County Kilkenny » Kilkenny July 15th 2022

We sadly departed Dublin without kids on the 12th with Bird and HP just moping along. Otherwise day was okay, warm with folks vehemently complaining of heat in the mid-seventies. A couple of days later when in Portmagee, jumping off point for Skellig Michael, a Yellow Flag warning was issued for temperature as on 16 July it was to rise to a blistering 73F. Honest Abe folksYellow Flag. Chatted with an Airbnb host one afternoon and she warns temp may reach the intolerable levels of the eighties with no rain. She didn't say but one would imagine, they blame the U.S. and China for the bulk of climate change. Countries in Europe by and large are doing the work to reduce carbon, but the big boys do little. At any rate visited a couple of demolished ... read more
Jerpoint Abbey
Kells Priory
St. Canice's Cathedral and Round Tower

Europe » Ireland » County Dublin » Dublin July 12th 2022

The travelers rolled into Dublin after a horrendous day (okay, an exaggeration, but it wasn't good) at Heathrow. Dropped car at 13:15 (1:15 for US types), finally escaping security at 15:30. We boarded an hour late, and continuing our downward spiral, after arriving in line for take off, the captain elected to taxi around a bit to "cool off the brakes". Things took a decided upturn thereafter. A bit before arriving at our hotel we received a message from Baby Bird informing us seats awaited for dinner...beside them! Dinner good, but markedly superior was seeing BB and Walt three days before our 50th anniversary. Can life get any better? Well, yes it can as Doozer and Erin arrived the next day. The six of us spent four of the most wonderful days in Bird's or my ... read more
Kilmainham Gaol
Six of us in front of Trinity College

Europe » United Kingdom » England » North Yorkshire » York July 4th 2022

Made it to our next to last city in England on 2 July. York has an extensive and varied history. First settled by the Romans who, of course, erected walls and other durable structures, followed by Saxons, Vikings, Normans then evolving into the English we know today. Quite a lot of history, but the Minster (think cathedral) is the most impressive sight. Construction began in 1230 and required a full 250 years for completion. It's the largest we have seen on this trip. The Middle Ages stained glass is breathtaking. There is more in this one cathedral than exists in the entire remainder of England. The reason it exists here is during the English Civil War York was pro-royal, but the commander of the Parliamentary forces who subdued the town was from York, and he precluded ... read more
York Minster from Wall
Roman and Medieval Walls
Saint Mary's Abbey

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Durham County » Durham July 2nd 2022

Thought we had completed Durham until breakfast when fellow inn mates (actually their son had graduated from Durham University yesterday and is on the way to the continent for the next three months) informed us the cathedral may be open today. Really! This was confirmed between their taking an additional look at the website and our innkeeper. Super! William, the innkeeper had insisted on driving us to the cathedral area yesterday, we steadfastly declined another ride. This guy does not stop; yes he took us again. Furthermore, that constant complainer HP had lamented the fact the only cottage pie he has seen on a menu was at a Costco. Yeah, the sap ate it, but really? So, that morning our innkeeper informed us he had prepared a cottage pie and our presence was required after the ... read more
Length of Cathedral
Monk Doors
Saint Cuthbert"s Shrine

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Durham County » Durham June 30th 2022

Before we begin the next entry must apologize for being remis as no mention of a wonderful, and quite long, conversation with a couple of Scots eating at a table next to us in Keswick. They were retired folks hiking about the area who had luggage sent from one town to the next as traversed the area. And what an enjoyable pair. We actually solved the world's problems, until one injected "no one listens to us"; yeah, forgot that part. They titled Boris Johnson a "mini-trump". Perhaps, but a bit hard to believe. Spoke of the possible additional vote of Scotland exiting the UK (lunacy, they say), and what will become of Northern Ireland. Repeatedly they wondered "what is it about American's and their guns". We couldn't offer a cogent response, can anyone else? They have ... read more
Hadrian's Guesthouse

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Cumbria » Keswick June 30th 2022

Pleasant drive from north Wales to Keswick, which is in the "Lakes" (and yes it rained). English make a big deal of the lakes and "mountains" (highest is 3200 feet), but gosh the green grass filled with sheep driving north was quite a treat. If you or I saw the intensity of green our comment is "photoshopped"; nope it's actually that color. Yes Doozer, sheep abound, even more abundant than the Cotswolds, but these poor folks have tasty meat, not reared for wool, but their muscles. Bit sad isn't it to kill these pleasant creatures for our palate. Keswick is central to the lakes on the shore of the largest (Derwentwater). Much of the town is constructed of slate that has a greenish hue, quite pretty. However, no one would describe the weather pretty on 28 ... read more
English Breakfast
Little Waterfall

Europe » United Kingdom » Wales » Conwy June 26th 2022

Made what Bird estimates to be our second longest drive yesterday (four hours in all including Costco) traveling from Stratford to Conwy in North Wales. Prime sights for us are medieval castles constructed by Edward I to subjugate the Welch, although there are other attractions, including a Roman Fort on the Irish Sea. We did, in fact, visit the "Roman Fort" that was actually little more than a wall that had obviously been over restored. Didn't even take a picture. During one of Edward's trips to the continent along about the 1270's or early 80's he met a master architect in one of the German states and secured his services. This fella had many years of stable employment in Wales. Our first castle to visit is the one he constructed in Conwy. There is an adjacent ... read more
Conwy Castle Interior
Part of Conwy's Town Wall
View of Conwy Castle From Wall

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