Town of Ennis and the Friary

First installment of Ireland pictures!  I’m going to break these up into chunks over the next couple weeks so I don’t blow up your readers.

We flew into Shannon airport, which was really great because it was much less crowded and easy to get in and out of – especially learning to drive on the left!  Our first base was Ennis, which is a nice size town about 20 minutes from the airport and a good spot to be for all the things to see in County Clare.  It’s super cute.


That is the friary, which we toured later. It was raining when we first got into the airport, but then it dried out and the sun came out when we got to Ennis.



Many towns in Ireland took part in something called Tidy Towns, which is basically a competition for towns to beautify themselves. The towns painted the buildings bright and colorful, which is very appealing to look at.

We stayed at the Rose Cottage B&B


It’s a larger B&B. I think the owner said she can have 16 people at a time. We actually were the only ones staying there (Sunday and Monday). It was about a 10 minute walk to town from here, which was great.

The river Fergus runs through Ennis.


We ate dinner in the building on the left and sat looking out that arched window. Or I did – John had his back to it LOL.

As I mentioned above, the Franciscan friary is smack in the middle of Ennis.


You can go inside and look around (there is an admission fee). This friary is from the 13th century.






There was a roof built over the main part of the friary to protect the carvings inside.


It’s amazing to see something this old. And right in the middle of town, too.


It’s quite large as you can see by tiny John below:


I fell in love with the tower. I have a million shots of it.


Don’t you love the gray clouds behind with the sun?  It was beautiful. It is beautiful!

Post vacation weigh-in

Wednesdays are my weigh-in days. I was not sure what the scale would say after a week in Ireland eating whatever – and a lot of it. I don’t really care too much about any weight gain from vacations because it’s worth it.  😀 Normally I gain a fair amount of weight after vacations and I would have been happy with anything under a 5 pound gain, but I was pleasantly surprised to see only a 1 pound gain!

I’m sure some of that is because there was a lot of walking, but John was thinking maybe the food was just less processed over there (or at least where we were eating).  Breakfast for me all week included porridge, believe it or not.


Some days I had eggs as well. I had no interest in the full Irish breakfast of bacon, ham, sausage, baked beans and whatever else.  My breakfasts were much bigger than normal and I swear the B&B hosts were not comfortable with what we ate (John being a vegetarian) thinking it wasn’t enough. LOL Along with the oats, there was brown bread and toast with butter and jam, plus eggs, fruit, yogurt and cereal to choose from. A much, much bigger breakfast than at home, and a lot of butter LOL. I have to say that I really enjoyed the Irish butter and I might be suckered in to buying the Kerrygold brand here.

We walked a lot, too.  Here are the mile breakdowns each day

9/24 (travel day)  1.5 miles

9/25 – 6.5 miles

9/26 – 7.7 miles

9/27 – 7.1 miles

9/28 (a rainy blustery day) 3.5 miles

9/29 – 9.1 miles (we were really tired that day LOL )

9/30 – 8.8 miles

10/1 – 5.5 miles

10/2 (travel day) 1.6 miles

That’s a lot of walking.

We had dessert every day and sometimes another sweet. Ireland does great sweet things!


The above was a napoleon type of dessert with a coffee frosting, and yes, it was as amazing as it looks!

My focus now is to lose the 1 pound and then not gain weight for the fall and holidays. I love eating all the fall foods, so this will be a challenge. I can have things, just not every day.

Still working on pictures. I took so many!

Ireland tidbits

I have a ton of pictures to go through and edit and assemble, so it will take a bit for me to share pictures of our trip.

It was wonderful!  We saw spectacular natural views, castles, ancient forts and dolmen, modern larger city and smaller cute villages.

I did end up getting sick, though. After not being sick for a couple years, of course it would be on vacation. On Sunday, I started to develop a very sore throat, which lasted a few days and then I got stuffy. It wasn’t a really bad cold, thank goodness, and never affected my sense of taste or smell, but it was annoying.

For transport, we rented a car, which was an experience in and of itself.




How the hell is this supposed to work?

Some of the roads are really narrow, and I mean narrow. One car width with 2-way traffic. Someone has to back up to find a place to pull over enough to let the other one by.  That was interesting. Then the times when it is a narrow 2-way road and your side is either a wall right to the edge of a road or brush, so you are just about hitting that, and there were a couple times we were scraping the brush.

2-way road!!


Of course, there was construction and we had to deal with that as well.  John and I kind of alternated driving and on Saturday, I finally said “I’m done with the left side driving” and told John he had to drive. It was the last full day, but he didn’t mind the driving as much as I did.  Each of us hit a curb, but that was the only mishap while driving.  Still beats the tour bus, though 😀

Some interesting differences:  When asking if they can take your order or if you have been helped, the phrase is “Are you all right?”  That threw us at first. We were sitting at a table waiting for a server. I was looking at my phone and saw the battery was low and I was frowning at it. A server came up and said “Are you all right?”  I said, “Yes. I’m fine. I’m just wondering why my phone battery is low”. Then she replied, “No, you’re not” and left. That was weird. It wasn’t until it happened again that we realized what was meant by it.

They don’t seem particularly water conscious. There were no low-flow toilets to be found and they (the toilets) used a ton of water. A lot of sinks had separate hot and cold taps.  Two of our B&Bs had these interesting shower units:


They run on some sort of electricity and you turn the dial and the shower starts. They are a little noisy, but effective. I wonder if there is something like that available here. It would be good for a small bathroom and less plumbing, I would think.

The Irish do some things that would never fly code wise in the US. One example is at cafes, there were little pitchers of milk left on the tables. Left for whoever sits there next and not refrigerated. Don’t know how long they have been out and who used them before. Ick.

Getting a check at a restaurant is really difficult. Normally, here when the server takes your plates and asks you if you want anything else, the check is then brought (sometimes before you are even finished). We had the hardest time trying to get checks. They would clear the plates and then disappear, making us have to hunt them down after waiting a long time. That happened pretty much every time. Very strange. Or we were told to pay at the bar, which you can’t get to because there are too many people around it.

Brown sugar there is not the brown sugar here. John asked for brown sugar for his porridge and each place brought out natural sugar (Sugar in the raw).  I noticed the juice area in one place had a bowl of actual brown sugar, so I am not sure what they call it.

Hopefully I will get some pictures up soon, but it is back to work for both of us right away.

20th anniversary!

Just a quick post from Ireland! Normally this would be a What’s Blooming post, but I’m typing this from my phone, so this is it ?

John and I are celebrating 20 years here in Ireland. It’s been a great trip and ending all too soon. Expect lots of blog posts about it in the near future. A couple teasers:





Revisiting candy corn

I posted this a couple years ago and the comments were so fun that I think it deserves a rerun.  You can check out the comments here.

Okay, it’s time to talk candy corn. I know there are a lot of you who don’t like it. I love it! Funny thing is that a lot of people associate candy corn with me. Sad and funny at the same time, don’t you think?

candy corn

Anyway, as a candy corn connoisseur, there are certain rules about candy corn.  The first is freshness.  Stale candy corn is terrible.  This is why I only eat candy corn in the fall when most is consumed and what you get is fresh.  Don’t be buying any convenience store snack bag of candy corn in July and expect it to be good.  

The other is brand. I am very particular about the brands of candy corn I like.  You can’t just go and buy any old candy corn.  Best brand?  Zachary’s.


It has the best flavor in my opinion.


The other thing about candy corn?  You cannot mimic the flavor in other things.  It’s like fresh strawberries. Any kind of strawberry candy or muffin or whatever just doesn’t taste like strawberries.  So just say no to this:ccoreoMost definitely say no to this:


It’s just white chocolate colored like candy corn. Imposter!!!

The other thing is to stay away from candy corn that has been adulterated.   This means none of this:



No, no, no.  JUST STOP IT!!


Candy corn is a simple candy. Not sure why I like it so much, but I do!  We should take a poll and see how many candy corn lovers also love eggnog (I do!), which is another polarizing holiday treat. 

Adirondack Balloon Festival!

It’s that time of year!  I love the balloons. The festival is always so dependent on good weather. Some years there have been no flights, some years all 5 flights happen.

The festival opened on Thursday with a small launch in Crandall Park. We can walk there from our house. It’s about a mile or so, which is great because we don’t have to deal with traffic and parking! Score!  It was a little breezy and we were thinking the balloons weren’t going to go and then they started.




It’s neat to watch the process close up.


We saw one balloon actually get a burn in the canvas as it was inflating. There was a big hole in it, so that balloon couldn’t fly (obviously). Makes me wonder if the crowd didn’t get too close.


Jurassic Journey. I don’t know what that is. I could look up the website, but I’m feeling a little lazy 😀




You really can get close to the balloons at they inflate. It’s amazing how they let you be so close.


You’re not supposed to touch the balloons when they are inflating, but kids tend to want to run up and touch them.


Adults, too, I guess.

I love the colors in this one.


My favorite shot of the day. Perfect placement for this balloon to go directly overhead and we could see straight through to the top.


Isn’t that cool?


I was glad to get a chance to catch them. The balloons didn’t fly on Friday and Thursday was the only other night we could go.


Gorgeous evening all around!

What’s Blooming!

We have had that spell of warm weather, which has really extended the bloom time for the plants.



Even with all the fall leaves around them, they are looking great for late September!

The Enchanted Evening rose has sent up a bunch of buds.


Too bad I will probably miss these when they bloom, but maybe not. Guess we’ll see in a week.

The fall favorite – Autumn Joy Sedum:


My potted million bells just keep going.


The plant is getting a little leggy, but I’ll just leave it as is since it is so late in the season.

Raspberry daquiri agastache:


Please live through the winter little plants!  I don’t want to hope for a lot of snow, but I think the reason all the agastache died was because there was no snow cover to blanket them. Some would be nice.

One last Razzmatazz coneflower.


I thought this plant was a goner early in the season because bunnies chewed it down to nubs, but it survived. It’s been around for about 13 years with me, so I shouldn’t have doubted it.

The foxgloves.  This is the same plant with 2 different colored stalks.


I am letting these all go to seed any hopefully I will have more next year.

The zinnias have been a poppin’!


I made fun of them earlier this year, but they showed me and some are now almost 5 feet tall!


I should have lots of blooms still until we get an overnight frost. My mums haven’t even bloomed yet.

Have a great weekend!

A look into my eye

Our fall temperatures didn’t last too long. Back to the 80s again with humidity. Ick.  I think Ireland might feel like a bit of a shocker with coolness if these temps don’t go down some.

When it was chillier, I made some pumpkin oat bran. Also to start using up open stuff in the fridge 😀oatb9-20

I just cook the canned pumpkin right with the oat bran and whisk in some egg whites. Topped with a bit of butter, dried cranberries and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup (the real stuff).  Definitely seems like a fall breakfast even if the weather isn’t.

I had to get my new iPhone replaced already. I just got it in June but one of the microphones broke in it.  If I took a video with the front facing camera, the sound only came out as static. I was bummed because I recorded a bit of the Divas the other night and it was just static.  It used to work. The weird thing? If I took a video with the rear facing camera, the sound worked.  So after forever on the phone trying to prove it wasn’t software related, I got them to issue me a replacement phone under warranty.  Then I had to spend time backing up and reinstalling on the new phone, but all appears well and good now 😀

Anyway, back to the title of today’s post. Today was eye appointment day.  It was the full shebang, too, with dilation and pictures of my retina. I don’t know if any of you find the human body fascinating, but I do.  John doesn’t LOL.  I have a bit of scar tissue on the back of my retina and today the doctor took comparison pictures to make sure it hasn’t changed since it is close to my macula.  Here is my eye:


Isn’t that a cool picture?  That white stuff is the scar tissue. She said it could have been some infection as a kid or whatever. No way to really tell what created it, but it’s in both eyes.  It doesn’t require anything other than periodic pictures to make sure it isn’t changing.

I had only a bit of vision change in one eye and I do need reading glasses (which I knew anyway and already bought a pair).  Ah, aging…

Jazz at the lake

Every year in September is the jazz festival. It’s for 2 days and 4 groups play each day.  They do a great job with some stellar entertainment and it is free to attend!  Very generous benefactors.  We decided to see a couple of the groups and headed on up by bike.  There was a lot of traffic headed to the outlet mall!


That snakes back aways and the light is behind me here. Good thing we can ride on over this.  It was a beautiful day. Pretty windy, but the temps were nice.


The concerts are held outdoors if the weather cooperates.


Brubeck Brothers:


The crowds were great, too!


After that, it was time for a treat!


One of our favorite places to go in Lake George. Everything is so good there.  I chose a black and white cookie, only the white was caramel!


Guess that makes it a Black and Tan. 😀  John had a napoleon, which I didn’t get a picture of, but really good (and messy).

We then bike down to my parents’ house to feed Boo while they were gone.


“Why you take my picture, lady?”

Then he got some loving:


Then a short 5 miles to home.  Days are getting shorter! Eeek!  Ended up with just about 29 miles on the day:


The other group we wanted to see didn’t play until after dark, so we couldn’t bike back to the lake.  It was weird to go there via car LOL.


This last group was called the Divas and it was an all-women big band group.


Very, very good. It would be really nice if this wasn’t a thing and women jazz players made up half the groups out there as a norm.  Someday.

It was really great to relax this weekend, which I actually did!

What’s Blooming!

I am sooo glad this Friday is finally here. Now for the first day off in 2 weeks. There are fall blooms  a plenty now and the garden is actually a study in white.

I did move my big butterfly bush Tuesday evening and it was not too happy with me.


It’s kind of wilty, even with plenty of water. I hope it makes it. Maybe I should have cut it back a lot. There is plenty of time for the root system to get established, so hopefully it will survive.

Fall aster:


I only have one little aster plant. John likes this flower, so I put one in.

Last gasp of the tippy pots.


I am going to change the tippy pots out to mums. I’m debating doing it this week or waiting until we get back from Ireland so they don’t dry out. I don’t want to ask my folks to water the plants on top of taking care of our house and Pixie.



I got another butterfly bush a month or so ago. Darn sales…  This one is supposed to only get to about 3 feet high, so it will fit in the front better:




In thinking about it, I have had more luck than I realized with seeds this year.  Moonflowers are about as easy as it gets. I just stuck the seeds in the ground and got 9 vines!  Unfortunately, I didn’t trellis them, so they are running along the ground  and up a couple of poles I put up.  I love the buds:


You have to check each day for the blooms to catch them. They only last a day and when the daytime sun hits them, they wilt.


I’m definitely doing these again next year.  Note to self – get trellises.


More plant moving this weekend now that I have a free weekend!  Yay!  Bulb orders should be arriving soon as well, probably while we are gone LOL.