Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The misadventures of hiking Sugarloaf...

I decided to hike up Sugarloaf Mt. in Wicklow Cty on Wednesday.  I took the bus, crossed the bridge and immediately stopped into the post for directions to the "trail head." (Blogger won't recognize that the post pic is already rotated clockwise on my computer...but wanted to display the name of the town the base starts).  Turns out there is no trail head or markers...Your man told me to walk up the road hill for some time (turned out to be an hour with little to no shoulder.  I had to step off the road whenever a car drove by so not to get run over) till it leveled off (which it did about 5-6 times along the way).  I would then come to an abandoned petrol station on my left...just go into the lot and 100m up there will be a "well worn path"  "Ya caint missit!"

Turns out the abandoned petrol station was a run down farm and I had to go through two closed gates to get to the path...this was all after stopping a car to ask for directions when I was finally at my wits end!  Mind you, this was the recommended back way...b/c the front path is nearly impossible to find unless your from around there and involves frequently crossing over farmer's private land.

Yes, yes...thisildoo just fine indeed!
(the name of someone's home)

Once I finally found the "well worn path" this was it's progression.  The trail going up the back side of Sugarloaf eventually met up with the front trail, which was a much more impressive view of the mountain.  Quite steep and windy, so I decided to only go up halfway...will hike it again with Chris.

Making my way down... I decided to try to find my way down the front trail, as I didn't want to risk my life again on the roadway.  I took many wrong turns and hit many dead ends.

It's never a good sign when one of the "trail markers" is a skull...But I made it out safely.  Realizing more and more that America's idea of a hiking trail is not the same as the Irish'  Round trip took roughly 3 hours.


Chris and my favorite Grey Heron greeted me upon my return.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

millions of blooms...

Here's Chris' orchid.  This picture was taken a couple days it has 6 blossoms between the two branches and there are 3 more on the way...updates will be coming next week!

You're beautiful...

Here's the latest update on my garden:

The lettuce looks a bit limp, but it keeps getting bigger and bigger...not sure what it's suppose to do, so I let it keep on keeping on!

JUST BEET IT, beet it, BEET IT, beet it!

3-2-1 Blast off!
(get it...Rocket!)

The tomatoes are hanging in there...grateful for their bamboo supports during the windy season.  My prize tomato plant is cool chillin with it's chopstix support for now, but I really need to get to the nursery for more bamboo.  It's HUGE and smells like home (the tomato plant, not the nursery...the nursery is full of old men)!

I'm on the top of the world, lookin'...down on creation and the only explanation I can fi-i-i-i-i-ind is that this pole bean plant is on steroids.  I tried explaining to it that that's the end of the line...there's no where else for it to grow...then it sat ME down and told me it's plan.  Once the wind dies down (if it ever does), I'll put the plant next to the railing on the balcony and it will wind itself around that...Can't wait to see how far it goes!

Everything all lined up, standing at attention!
You're Beautiful...You're Beautiful it's true!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Blowing kisses...


Blackrock to Dun Laoghaire...

On Saturday, I took Chris on a tour of the southern DART towns...
Our first stop was to Blackrock Park...I finally got a good picture of Chris throwing the frisbee!

Then we headed to Dun Laoghaire for lunch at Harry's Cafe...

Walking to Monkstown via Dun Laoghaire harbor we came across kids learning how to sail...cause that's what you do when you're a kid growing up in Ireland.  This little girl's mission of the day was to stay as far away from the other kids as possible. Solitary bliss!

Chillaxin on the wall near Monkstown swimming hole; listening to the waves crash against the stone wall!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Tea with The Lord Mayor...

The Lord Mayor invited all the leaders involved with my volunteering group Let's Walk & Talk through the Dublin City Council for morning tea.  Pictured are all the leaders that could make it.  The Lord Mayor holds office for 1 year, is elected by Dublin City Council members and presides over council meetings.  She does not deal with policies, but rather makes appearances throughout the year and is on the go typically 18 hours a day.  The gold chain around her neck is called the Great Chain and was made in 1698.  She wears this for all formal functions.  It was very kind of her to invite our group to the Mansion House (where every Lord Mayor of Dublin has resided since 1715).

After The Lord Mayor excused herself for her next function, Greg, one of the other leaders, took me on an unofficial tour of the "public" rooms of the mansion.  This is the Oak Room (the top picture is blurry b/c we weren't suppose to be in there and I was rushed out!).  Hanging on the walls are all the coat of arms for each Lord Mayor in Dublin's history.  I found the O'Connor coat of arms (County Sligo) that I grew up knowing on my way to it is what I think represents the Sullivan side of the family from County Kerry (I could be wrong has happened before).

In the formal dining room... This is a Waterford Crystal Vase.

Of course a bar with all the Irish beers on tap was built into the entrance hall of the Mansion House...The difference is, it's Irish!

Some American History intermingled with Irish History.  Apparently the Choctaw Nation from Oklahoma (forcibly removed from Mississippi, apparently) came to aid the Irish during the great potato famine and received a plaque on the wall of the Mansion House in their honor.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Chris' Blossom...

My mom requested that I post a picture of Chris' Orchid blossom when it opened it is!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The garden that keeps on growing...

I will be transplanting my last thing this's my rocket (arugula).  It's growing quickly and I'm SOOOOOOO excited for it's harvest!  Yummy, yummy, yummy!

My beets are coming up...they have been outside the whole time, enduring the mighty wind and rain...they are always wet and cold, but they seem to love it!

So I cheated a little and bought a basil plant...Mmmmmm, Basil!

The blue bean has really taken off...I'm afraid I'm going to run out of pole!  He's already up to the 4th rung, quickly making his way up to the fifth (out of 6).  The green guy (the pictures are backwards) is getting up there too, but going at a more steady pace.

I got very worried about my tomato plants last week.  I put them out, all day for two days when the wind finally settled down and it was sunny.  After that I noticed some of their leaves were starting to turn whitish/yellow and curl up to die.  I snipped off a couple leaves and took them to the nursery for a diagnosis...sun scorch!  Apparently I have to be more mindful of direct sunlight all the way up here in Ireland as they can't handle too much of it.  He accused me of watering the leaves in the middle of the sunny day...I was immediately offended (though it was probably true...did I learn nothing from mother?).  I have been more cautious about putting them out again...and how I water them.

Chris' Garden is going to town (that one was for you mom and dad).  This little Bonsai needs a trim and the orchid is on the verge of blooming...any day now!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Walking from here to Monkstown...

So I decided to walk along the Strand from Ballsbridge to Salthill/Monkstown.  It took me 90 minutes, but was extremely beautiful the whole's what I saw:

The park in Blackrock...have I mentioned how much I like the brilliant green here in Ireland?

At Seapoint the birds were soaking up the sun!

Salthill/Monkstown...I didn't realize until today that during high tide this is the place for the frigid sea...wet suit optional!

Walking around Monkstown...I ate at this cute cafe for lunch, I think it was called The Tea Room (delicious Caprese Salad with real mozzarella and the worst cucumber, apple, mint juice ever)!
Everything is smaller in Europe...

There was a sailboat race off Dun Laoghaire harbor.  It was pretty cool the watch...I could get used to living by the sea!