Middle Aged World Travelers, Day Tour to Cork, Blarney Castle, and Cobh, Chapter 4, Part 2

I got off-track with my travel log. Good thing I journaled some each day or I would never be able to remember all the adventures we had or the wonderful things we saw each day of our trip to Europe in May. One of the primary reasons I’m blogging about this trip is I never want to forget a single bit of it! Alan, my husband, and I had so much fun, just being together and seeing parts of the world we’d never seen before and might not ever get a chance to see again. If I haven’t said this before, I’ll say it now, “If you get a chance to travel abroad, GO!” It will change your life in ways you can’t imagine.

Ok, now on to the rest of our fourth day in Ireland, May 20! After we left the Blarney Castle, we took a driving tour through the center of Cork City, which is actually on an island in the middle of River Lee which joins the bay of Cork. Amidst narrow streets and many pedestrians, there were views of lovely little homes and old schools. Cork City is a university town and so there is that feel of academia that always makes me remember my years working at Texas Tech University. Here are a few pictures typical of what we saw in Cork City. I was especially fascinated by that pink house! There are many things to see in Cork City, but, being in a bus, it was difficult to take pictures in the narrow lanes.

Cork City Houses

The Pink House in Cork City. I’m not sure if it was a home or a business, but I love it!

After leaving Cork City, we drove further east and then south to the tiny town of Cobh, which is famous for being the last departure point from Europe to the Americas. We went to St. Colman’s Cathedral which is absolutely beautiful. It has a huge tall spiral which reportedly was the last thing seen by most emigrants as they left the Bay of Cork and headed to the Americas. I loved this Cathedral as it had such a peaceful, quietness to it that was very conducive to prayer. So I did. Pray, I mean. I’m not Catholic, but I love their churches and cathedrals because of that peaceful quietness.

St. Colman’s Cathedral

The Cathedral is in a lovely little neighborhood with very colorful houses built down the hill.

Photo doesn’t do this area justice. The houses are painted in very bright and cheery colors.

Finally, we went to the Cobh Heritage Center which at one time was where the ships left for the American and all points west. Some especially famous ships that left from this port were the Titanic and the Lusitania. As everyone knows, the Titanic was sunk in the northern Atlantic Ocean after hitting an iceberg. The Lusitania was the ship torpedoed by a German U-boat during World War I off the coast of Cork. 1,198 people died leaving 761 survivors who were mostly rescued by Cobh and Cork residents. The Cobh Heritage Center has some very good exhibits about the mass immigration of Irish people during the Potato Famine, life on the ocean liners that took the immigrants to the Americas, as well as a good exhibit on the Titanic and the Lusitania.

We stayed at the Heritage Center for about an hour and a half at which point we went back to the train station, boarded our train, and took off our shoes for our aching feet and headed to Dublin. It was a long day, but a very good day. We saw so much that it seems like a fantasy in some ways now, but it was very, very real.

More on our continuing adventures soon!


Middle Aged World Travelers-Chapter Two Continued

When Alan and left our hotel to go to Trinity College and visit the downtown area, we were both a little apprehensive about such things as getting lost in the big old city, pickpockets, thieves, and also knowing where we were to go the next morning to meet our bus tour group for the Cliffs of Moher tour.  Ok, those are the things was worried about.  Alan was worried that I would get too cold and get sick on our first day out.  So I was constantly flittering about and mothering him to do this, not do that, did he still have his passport, his phone, his ticket, his butt?  He was fathering me with put your hat on, do you need my coat, are you warm, are you cold, don’t push yourself too far.  To put it bluntly, we ended up having our one and only little spat at Trinity College before the tour.  A few minutes later, we both admitted to being a little anxious and decided to loosen up.  We were on vacation for crying out loud!  So what if any of those things happened?  It wouldn’t be the end of the world after all!  We made up with apologies, a vow to quit being such pains in the arse, as they say in Ireland and England, and to have a great time!  It was amazing how much more fun things were after we relaxed.  Imagine that! Ha! If I’m offering advice in these stories of our adventures, the first thing I would advise is to r-e-l-a-x. You’re going to be fine and have a lot more fun if you do!

There are several things I forgot to mention about Trinity College yesterday. First of all, it is a beautiful campus and as old as the hills. Ok, not old as the actual hills, but it was established in 1592 by decree of Queen Elizabeth and was patterned after Oxford and Cambridge, although no further branches were ever added or built. For centuries, it was strictly Protestant. Catholics were not allowed to attend. Neither were women allowed to attend until 1904. Until more recent years, the Provost (head) of the College had to be a Trinity College graduate. The college’s buildings originally followed no true design pattern, but then an attempt was made to design buildings that did follow a neoclassical design in the early 1800’s. Additional buildings have been added in the 1900’s and are more modern in design. Some scenes from the famous Harry Potter movies were filmed at Trinity College in the Old Library.

Here are some more pictures of the Trinity College campus I thought you might enjoy seeing. I’m writing about our Cliffs of Moher trip now so hopefully I will get that post up tomorrow morning! Peace and love, Elaine

Beautiful Quiet London Morning


We woke up early, you and I,
and I was soothed by the
whisper quiet breeze through
the tree outside our window
and your warm arms around me.

No cars, no loud people,
just quiet sunshine and
lovely fresh air.

Where is the noise?
Little birds cheeping from
across the park.
Where is the fog and overcast skies?
Only sunshine through thin,
wispy layered, not really there clouds.

This is not what I expected
in the middle of London.
Enchantment is not advertised
as one of London’s qualities.

Now, an hour later,
the city is slowly awaking.
Distant sounds are heard,
but the one most clear is
the solid reassuring tones
of the hourly church bells.

© Elaine Wood-Lane

Bridges|NaPoWriMo Day 28

I grew up in West Texas,
where bridges are few
and far between.

Rivers are rare
and often bare,
no water to be seen.

Lubbock County
has but one little bridge
over a little dry draw.

I went to San Francisco,
where bridges abound,
and was completely awed.

I went on the Oakland,
plus the Golden Gate,
and fell completely in love.

I loved seeing
the blue waters below
and the big blue sky above.

Now I live in Colorado,
where rivers
and bridges are many.

I’ve walked across the
Royal Gorge bridge,
totally worth the penny!

I’ve been converted
to bridges you know,
they thrill and mystify me.

I still love best,
the great big ones,
that span a deep blue sea.

© Elaine Wood-Lane

Today’s challenge was to write a poem about bridges. A bridge is a powerful metaphor, and when you start looking for bridges in poems, you find them everywhere. Your poem could be about a real bridge or an imaginary or ideal bridge. It could be one you cross every day, or one that simply seems to stand for something larger – for the idea of connection or distance, for the idea of movement and travel and new horizons.

Growing up in a place with few real bridges, they seemed a bit scary. However, after crossing the Oakland Bay Bridge (Bay Bridge to the locals), over that dark water at night, I was hooked! Since then I’ve ridden and walked on many bridges and even gone under a few by boat (ferry in San Francisco) and by train (under the Royal Gorge in Colorado). Bridges are fun!

Love and peace, Elaine