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Archive for 'Ireland'

In Dublin Fair City #travel

During our recent cruise we stopped for a day in Dublin. We’ve visited Dublin before, but it was fun reacquainting ourselves with the city. Drummers welcomed us as we disembarked from the cruise ship.


Our first stop was to the Georgian House Museum in Fitzwilliam Street. Mrs Beatty, the widow of a wine merchant, was the first occupant of the house. The house is furnished and appears as it would have during 1790 – 1820 period. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take photos, but it was well worth the visit. Dublin has lots of Georgian buildings, and I enjoy the elegance of this time period.

Dublin_Georgian Doors

Two doors for Georgian townhouses.

Our next destination was The Book of Kells and the Long Room at Trinity College. The queue was long but I passed the time chatting with the man in front of me in the line. He was there with his wife and two adult children in a family reunion of sorts. My advice to anyone intending to visit in the future is to buy your tickets online before you go. It makes the wait much shorter!

The Book of Kells exhibition was crowded, but the illuminated manuscripts are beautiful – so much artistry in the illustrations. It was exacting work and done by more than one scribe. Due to the delicate nature of the manuscripts, no photos were allowed.

My book lover’s heart was looking forward to the Long Room, part of the Trinity College library. It is floor to ceiling with books and so impressive. It thrilled me.

Dublin_TrinityCollege Long Room

Dublin_TrinityCollege Long Room Shelley

This is me in the Long Room. Check out those ladders to get to the top shelves.

Dublin_TrinityCollege Long Room 2

Dublin is full of history. Dublin Castle is mainly 18th century in origin, although a castle has stood on this site for much longer. It is open to the public, apart from during state functions. We merely admired the exterior.

Dublin_Dublin Castle

A view of Dublin Castle


Temple Bar is the cultural and entertainment center of Dublin. It’s full of pubs, expensive drinks and tourists. U2 own a bar here.

The weather for our day in Dublin was fantastic. The locals were out in force too, and I’ve never seen so many people with red hair. A lot of pale skin was on display due to the heat. I managed to get a bit burned and I had sunscreen, so I imagine there were lots of sunburnt people that night.

If you’re in the market for knitwear, there are some beautiful jumpers, hats and scarves available to purchase. I dragged hubby around several stores in my search for an Irish green scarf. Mission complete. I’ve worn it a lot this winter and get lots of compliments since it is a bit different to those in New Zealand.

We had a fantastic day, did heaps of walking and got enough culture to make me happy. Dublin is a fun city to visit for a day or longer.

Tipperary – You’ve Come a Long Way!

Tipperary Ireland

I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this sign during our visit to Ireland. Do you remember the wartime song – It’s A Long Way to Tipperary? This is the place they were singing about. It was green and quiet. I loved exploring Ireland. It felt like home because parts of the country reminded me of New Zealand.

And a random question for you – do you have Irish ancestry? I do on my father’s side of the family.

In Love and War by Suzanne Barrett

Today Suzanne Barrett is visiting to give us a taste of her recent release, In Love and War.

Timnagh, County Waterford, 1993

Irish dairy farmer, Meaghann Power, struggling to make ends meet, rents her converted castle keep to an embittered war correspondent wounded in Bosnia.

Quinn Lawlor has come to his ancestral homeland to heal and to be left alone. However, pragmatic Meaghann discovers much more than just her attractive-but-surly tenant’s body is in need of healing. What begins as indifference turns to fascination, and later, desire. But can their passion survive Meaghann’s own dark secrets?

‘But where can we draw water,’
said Pearse to Connolly,
‘When all the wells are parched away?’
‘O plain as plain can be
There’s nothing but our own red blood
Can make a right Rose tree.’
William Butler Yeats

Love and War“Well, my girl, you’ve done it, now!” Brid O’Donnell’s efficient voice sliced through the stillness inside the cheese barn, sharp as a knife through curd.

Meaghann Power straightened, wiped milk-spattered palms on her white apron, and turned toward her aunt. No secret remained long in the village, but the speed with which this particular news had traveled surprised even her. “What have I done, Aunt Brid?” she began.

Arms akimbo, the stout middle-aged woman loomed in the open doorway in a dripping yellow mackintosh. She smoothed wisps of rain-dampened hair from her eyes as moisture pooled beneath her on the barn’s concrete floor. Aunt Brid’s usually set features tightened into a disapproving frown. Outside the barn door, Ireland’s continual rain misted the hillside and ran in rivulets, forming a lake in the driveway.

Meaghann plunged her hands into the sink’s soapy water and groped for the wooden paddle floating on the surface. Please God, not another lecture. She drained the suds and refilled the sink, staring at her work-roughened hands. A paraffin heater in the corner hissed as a drop of water landed on its black enameled surface. Above her a string of incandescent bulbs cast a golden glow over the paint-peeled ivory walls.

“Done?” the older woman snapped. “You invite a single man to live with you, then act as if it’s nothing!” Brid’s voice rose several decibels. “The decent people of the parish won’t be seeing it that way, and neither do I. It’s not seemly for a single woman and a strange man to be livin’ together,” Brid clucked. “This sort of carry-on may happen in Dublin, but not in Timnagh. And not in my own family.” She punctuated her remark with an irate shake of her head.

Caught by a gust of wind, the door behind Brid creaked on its hinges, and Meaghann stepped to the threshold and wrenched it closed. Only then did she face her aunt. “We won’t be ‘living together’. He’s renting the keep. And he’s not a stranger. The Lawlors came from the village.”

Brid gave a humph, then moved to the dusty corner where the heater glowed. “Hardly! They left thirty-five years ago. Besides, you know nothing about him. If you’d come to your senses and take Seamus, you’d not be struggling to run this farm by yourself.”

Meaghann stiffened her jaw. Didn’t she have the Devil’s own troubles trying to keep the place from falling to bits around her without her aunt determined to foist onto her every available man under seventy? With a sigh, she lifted the washed utensils from the sink onto a towel. “Aunt Brid, the truth of the matter is, I don’t want to marry Seamus. I­ ” She paused, not waiting to give thought to her reluctance, then plunged on. “I…don’t want to marry anyone­least of all Seamus.” She’d wanted to marry once, but that was a long time ago. Then she could afford to dream, now…. Her jaw tightened and she picked up another utensil. Now there was just today, and an endless stream of work, which never quite got done.

Brid’s heavy arms criss-crossed her ample bosom. Ginger brows furrowed as she spoke. “The way I see it, you’ve little choice. I hate to remind you, but you’re growin’ no younger. Seamus is a good man, and a fine farmer.”

Meaghann whirled around, her hand wielding a three-foot paddle like a sword.
“Seamus McHenry is fifty-seven years old!”

Brid snorted. “Don’t see as how you can afford to be choosey, girl. You’re goin’ on for forty yourself.”

How well she knew. Noisily, Meaghann expelled her breath, at this point not caring if her frustration carried over in her voice. “You’ve been at this for the last three years. Give it up. Seamus doesn’t want a wife­he wants a mother for that brood of his. Five young ones and little Cara not out of nappies.”

Meaghann turned her back on her aunt and plunged the still-damp wooden paddle into the milk curd. She gave the curds another swirl, then, satisfied the culture was working, set the paddle on a plate. “I’m managing just fine, Aunt Brid. I don’t need a husband to help me run my farm.”

Bold words, she thought as she pushed the ribbed cuffs of her cardigan up her forearms. Fact was, she needed help in the worst way.

Jack Power’s daughter wasn’t one to crumble under a little adversity when keeping her farm meant everything­security, a sense of place­of continuity. She’d grown up here in Timnagh, seeing the cycle of life repeat itself again and again. She loved the welcoming acceptance a small, close-knit community offered, as well as the chance to grow old with those you loved.

But there were times when the load she carried threatened to crush her.

Purchase In Love and War

Suzanne Barrett spent part of a winter in Ireland researching In Love and War. She has published four books with Kensington. In Love and War, twice a Golden Heart finalist, is her second book for Turquoise Morning Press with four more releases scheduled for 2011.