February 25, 2010

Dublin- Day 3

Walking over a bridge to get to Newgrange

Reconstructed sidewall of Newgrange

Entrance stone w/ entrance behind

In front of another stone at side of mound

View of the Irish countryside

We woke up on our third day and headed to where the tour would leave for Newgrange.  We took a shuttle bus with 3 other people to Newgrange, which was about an hour outside Dublin.

Access to Newgrange is restricted to people visiting through the visitor center.  We took a shuttle from the center with a group of about 25 people to see the actual mound.  During summer months, it is so crowded that you have to wait for a few hours to even get on a shuttle.  Once we arrived at the mound, we had a tour guide who described the area and history and then led us into the passage...

Newgrange is a passage tomb of Brú na Bóinne.  Newgrange was built in such a way that at dawn on the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice, a narrow beam of sunlight for a very short time illuminates the floor of the chamber at the end of the long passageway.  It was originally built between c. 3100 and 2900 BC and rediscovered in 1699 AD.  Due to natural shifting of the soil, it was in disrepair and restored in 1962.  A few hundred years of graffiti had occured before the restoration and that graffiti is still there.  Let me tell you, is is strange to see graffiti that is 200 years old and with such care that the people took enough time to write their name and the year in massive stone with a "Times New Roman" type font (complete with all of the little accents at each letter).

The passage through the dark doorway has a few new lights mounted so you can see where you are walking.  The passage is very narrow and requires that you duck a bit in parts and walk sideways in parts ini between giants stones.  You finally get to a small domed opening that has a few cave like niches with carved stones, may have been ceremonial alcoves.  We weren't allowed to take photos inside.  The guide turned off the lights and they were able to mimic the solstice with a light by the entry.  It got really dark in there and with 25 people in a small space, we were packed in like sardines.  It was kind of fun!  We had a bit to squeeze around people and take a turn about the "room" and then we walked back outside.

We took our shuttle bus back to Dublin after we looked around the center's museum.

Logan in a basket

How did he get here?  He wasn't in Dublin.  
Logan loves sitting on or in things that were not meant to be used that way.  He is just like his mother used to be.  Two nights ago he was helping Nathan with a screw driver and trying to fix things with him, so he must be just like his daddy, too.

February 19, 2010

Valentine's Dinner w/ a Twist

Nathan took me out for a Valentine's dinner last night to House of Kobe (like Bennihana's) and we took Logan along.  He decided he didn't like our chef or the fancy tricks he would do.  Every time a chef in the room lit his grill on fire, Logan would scream and start crying.  Poor little guy.   That stranger anxiety must be kicking in now.  He was not happy.

He held my finger the whole ride home.  Is it bad to want to cuddle him for the rest of his life?

February 18, 2010

Bear with Me

If you are visiting this blog, I hope you like me a little bit and have the patience to do me a favor.  You can see a Prilosec OTC ad at the right of this.  If you click on my name, it will take you to a site were you can vote for me to be one of their sponsors.  It requires you to register with them, so I understand if you don't want to go through that process.  I just thought I would mention the little "badge" and explain why it's there.  I'd love to be one of their sponsors and I need your help to do so.
Just a Note:  I believe the campaign may end on February 22nd.

Update: You can vote everyday, so keep going and voting for me!

February 17, 2010

Dublin- Day 2 Cont.

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Interior of St. Patrick's Cathedral
We headed over to St. Patrick's Cathedral after our Guinness tour.  It is the largest church in Ireland and has been called an early gothis style, but I would say that it definitely leans more towards the Romanesque.  It was quite dreary outside hte cathedral and tended to look the same inside.  Nathan and I wandered around the cathedral and, pretty much, had the place to ourselves.  A memorial and grave to Jonathan Swift, the writer of Gulliver's travels was right inside the cathedral by the entrance.  A portion of the cathedral appeared to be a temporary storage area with a bunch of boxes stacked around.  I didn't know what to think about that.

Whitefriar Church- St. Valentine's Bones
We took a quick walk over to the Whitefriar Church to see St. Valentine's bones.  Alas they are under a table in a wood box.  It's hard to look through solid wood.  Oh well.

It was getting a little late, but we decided to walk over to St. Stephen's Green and managed to walk through for about 10 minutes before a policeman kicked us out as the park closes at dusk.  We, then, bought some awesome hot chocolate and white chocolate biscuit at Butler's Chocolate Cafe.  Yummy!  We walked through the nearby shopping district shown below on Grafton Street.


O'Neill's Pub

We ate dinner at O'Neill's Pub, I had the corned beef!  It was a really nice and easy way to have dinner in a relaxing environment.  We popped over to the Arlington Hotel for a few pints after dinner and walked back to our hotel, with a few photos along the way.

That 2-decker bus must be going fast

February 15, 2010

My New Shop on Etsy


I have opened a shop on Etsy called studiowitte.  You can visit it here.(http://www.etsy.com/shop/studiowitte)
I am selling a number of art pieces that you can see above, with the last photo showing a detail of the side of the pieces.  They are mixed media on wood consisting of charcoal and acetone transfer.  I really had fun making them!

February 13, 2010

Dublin -Day 2

A statue of O'Connell (aka: Pigeon Head Wilson)

Day 2 started off with a quick walk into the city centre via O'Connell Street and past our favorite statue, shown above.  We grabbed a bite to eat at Elephant and Castle in Temple Bar.  It was excellent with the best scrambled eggs and hashbrowns ever.  I must remember to add some Thyme to my potatoes.
We headed back to the hotel after, where we were to be picked up for a tour outside of the city.  We waited for about 1/2 hour at the hotel and then I called to see what had happened.  They had never marked our booking down, but we were to get a discount for a tour the next day.  So, we decided to head to Kilmainham Gaol...

Kilmainham Gaol Entrance

Kilmainham Gaol-Older Portion

Kilmainham Gaol- Only light came through window at upper right

Kilmainham Gaol- With 19th century renovation of older portion

Kilmainham Gaol- Newer Portion

The Kilmainham Gaol has a decent museum that we were able to look around before the guided tour that explained a lot of the conditions and inhabitants of the prison.  It was built in 1796 and had a few additions and renovations until it was abandoned as a prison in 1924 by the Irish Free State.  It was overcrowded as soon as it opened with each cell intended for use by one person, but holding many more than that.  There was no heat and no glazing on the windows.  The open air concept was supposed to be restorative to the inmate.
It is seen as a very unpleasant place as many of it's prisoner's were political and jailed for there parts in uprisings against the rule of England.

You might recognize the newer portion as being used in a number of films, including In the Name of the Father.

Outside Guinness Storehouse

Guinness Storehouse Museum

Guinness with Elaborate Cloverleaf in Head

We headed over to the Guinness Storehouse after the Gaol and toured their extensive museum.  The end of the self-guided tour was at the very top of the renovated factory where we each received a complimentary drink.  Nathan's had a cloverleaf on it.

February 10, 2010

Dublin- Day 1 (Completed!)

Waterford Crystal Chandelier- Dublin Castle

Large Ballroom/ State Room- Dublin Castle

Alley at Dublin Castle
After the newer, Georgian, portion of the castle tour, we went down into the bowels of the castle and saw the 13th century, Norman, portion of the foundation and originally exterior wall along the moat.  The water still resides under the castle and is a bit murky.

Norman Foundation
We headed to the Temple Bar area for and did a little shopping and watched a few traditional Irish music street performances.  We, then, headed to dinner at The Shack, which was really good!

Palace Bar- Temple Bar District

Having a Pint at Palace Bar

Ceiling/Skylight- Palace Bar
Nathan and I hung out at Palace Bar for a bit and listened to a live Traditional Music Session.  It was a very casual atmosphere with musicians gradually joinignt he group, talking over the music, and people milling about and watching.  We really enjoyed it.

Day 2- Tomorrow

So Very Happy

Hanging out by the microwave cart (as usual)


Logan makes me laugh sometimes.  He was having a grand old time the other day playing with the many "toys" on the microwave cart.  It's a good spot to hang out in while I'm preparing dinner.  I'm glad he can keep himself amused, but it's awfully hard to keep cooking when I have to stop and take so many pictures of the cute little guy.

February 6, 2010

Dublin Day 1- Cont.

 Croke Park Stadium- across from our hotel

The Bell Tower at Trinity College

Georgian Period Building in Downtown Dublin

In Front of Dublin Castle
You had to know that a trip we took would be full of architectural tours.  Dublin is an old city that dates back to 841 AD or before when the Vikings were settled there along side native Irish Celtics.  The city gets its name from the Irish word for "black pool", Duiblinn.  The actual black pool was located next to Dublin Castle.

After looking around Trinity College we took a tour of Dublin Castle.  It was an excellent tour with a guide that actually conveyed a lot of information.  We toured the Georgian period portion of the castle that is still in use for State functions today.  Here are a few photos.

 State Corridor- Dublin Castle

Italian Stucco Fresco- Dublin Castle Bed Chamber Ceiling

Black Pool location- Now intricate lawn
Stay tuned for more...