Sunday, May 31, 2009

Project 365: Day 151 -- Playing Catch-up

I've spent the entire day in front of the computer again, while Kelly is out riding his Ducati with Scott. My focus today was getting this blog up to date...almost there! Here's a shot of my computer screen:

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Project 365: Day 150 -- Jumpy Critters

Kelly spent most of the afternoon working in the yard, adding more flowers. I love these red and white ones. And check out the little critter I captured--he wasn't my intention, but what the heck.
I spent the majority of the day still processing photographs and writing blog entries from my trip journal. Maybe I will be caught up soon...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Project 365: Day 149 -- Errands & Lobster Bisque

Broke away from the computer today to run errands and have lunch with Rebekah. Before we left for Ireland, I had cleaned out the refrigerator and pantry so that food didn't go bad while we were gone for over a week. Which means there wasn't much here for us to eat when we got back. And I have procrastinated all week about going to the market. Finally had to give in and do it today.

Before heading to Publix, though, I met Rebekah at our favorite place for lunch--City Limits Bakery & Cafe. On Fridays, they have Lobster Bisque in a French Bread Bowl that is so yummy! And trust me, it's much better than my snapshot indicates. After we ate our delicious soup, Rebekah showed me photos from the Autism book she's collaborating on. Beautiful images of children with autism and their families. I can't wait to see the finished product.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Project 365: Day 148 -- Jet Lag Has Some Benefits

Kelly planted some lovely flowers in the front yard this week. I just love these little purple ones, though I have no idea what they are. We have them mixed in with purple and white petunias.

We're still trying to recover from the jet lag around here--waking up at 6 AM (and anyone who knows me even a little, knows I am NOT a morning person) and falling asleep on the couch at 9 PM...Gotta say, as much as I usually avoid early mornings, I have felt like I get a lot more done being up and about so early. I have been spending all day every day processing all the photos from Ireland, and getting everything on this blog up to date. I am actually getting pretty tired of staring at the images in Photoshop. But with nearly 2,000 images, it takes a while!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Project 365: Day 147 -- Never Ending Processing

Ok, I am a chronic over-shooter. I know. It is taking forever to process all these images. I feel like I will never be finished...A shot of my Mac screen--spent the entire day in front of it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Project 365: Day 146 -- Oh, Mac, How I've Missed You!

Yes, I have missed my dear Mac whilst traveling in Ireland. We had Kelly's PC laptop with us, but even if we could have gotten internet connections, it just wouldn't have been the same. Mac and I spend so much time together, that I think I had withdrawals. Thankfully, I had my camera to help me through it, lol. Anyway, I have been downloading all my flash cards from the trip, making back-up copies, and processing RAW files. I shot around 2,000 images in a week, so that's a LOT of processing to be done. It's going to take a while. SO during this process, I don't have the time or the energy to hunt up anything creative for my Project 365 shots. So here's a shot of my computer screen, capturing what I have spent my day doing...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Project 365: Day 145 -- Laundry

And what vacation doesn't end with a big ol' pile of dirty laundry? I spent the entire day unpacking, washing, drying, folding, and putting away clothes.

Project 365: Day 144 -- Goodbye Ireland, Hello Tennessee!

A parting shot as we head to the airport. Once there, we returned the rental car, (hoping they wouldn't notice we'd had to put the spare on after in incident with a curb in Athlone caused a tire bubble) and checked in at the Delta counter.

We had time to spare, so I picked up some matted prints in the gift shop by photographer Sean Tomkins of Galway--three beautiful images:

1. Dunguaire Castle at sunset from a vantage point I didn't see when I was there.
2. The Cliffs of Moher from the bottom, at sunset
3. Part of the coastline of County Clare that I never saw.

Kelly thought I was nuts to buy images when I had shot nearly 2,000 of my own, but these are beautiful images that I couldn't capture myself.

Then we dealt with all the VAT refunds, got through security, passport control, and the pre-cursor to U.S. Customs. Then we waited for our flight.

We managed to get seats together on this flight, and we were just forward of the wing. So it was a much more comfortable flight than the one to Ireland. But still, it's a six and a half hour flight in coach.

When we arrived in New York, we tried to catch an earlier flight to Nashville to avoid our six hour layover. But the only earlier flight had just left moments before we arrived. So once again, we spent a great deal of time in JFK International. On Memorial Day weekend. Not a pleasant experience, let me tell you. The place was jam packed, wall-to-wall people. And hot and stuffy. And a little smelly. Eventually, we made it out of there and back home, travel weary, jet lagged, and exhausted. Did you get that we were a bit tired? It felt like 4 o'clock in the morning to us, and we'd been up since 6 o'clock the previous morning. Didn't I mention in an earlier post that air travel sucks, and the getting to and from part of your vacation is no fun at all? Yeah, I think I mentioned that.

Oh, and by the way, it took Woofey half an hour to forgive us when we got home.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Project 365: Day 143 -- Our last day in Ireland...

Our last day in Ireland. While I am ready to be back in my own bed, with my own soft sheets, and see my Woofey (who's probably spitting mad at being left with the pet sitter!), I am sad to say goodbye to Ireland. It has rained most of the time we have been here, but that just added to it's flavor. The Irish people are incredibly friendly and hospitable. We have loved Ireland, and sincerely hope to return one day. In spite of the more than 800 miles we have driven this week, there is still more of the country to see, lol.

And here's the last little bit from County Kerry...this is the stretch of road from Kenmare to Killarney--the one that had my eyes closed and hanging on for dear life on the way here. Much of this road winds through Killarney National Park.
A beautiful little lake...

The breathtaking view from Lady's View of the Upper Lakes. Really, this photograph can't come close to doing this scene justice. It's hard to portray just how high up we are.

A mountain stream that feeds into the lakes.
The little church by the stream...
Now, a view of those lakes from eye level. Wrong time of day, photographically speaking, but my only chance. I can't even describe how peaceful and tranquil it was here.
And then we were joined by these guys...
Now can't you just see woodland faeries hiding in the trees? And maybe an Elfin princess?
Driving back towards Limerick, I noticed how much parts of Ireland look like parts of Tennessee...cattle, dilapidated fence and all.
We caught sight of the enormous windmills, too. The photograph can't begin to show the scale and enormous size of these things, which are obviously used for commercial wind power.
So on the way to Shannon is Bunratty Castle. We had time, so we stopped to check it out. Dang, they have created an entire medieval amusement park there. So tacky and touristy. The castle is literally just a few feet from the road, there are gifts shops and "authentic" pubs all around, and a medieval village. And they charge $15 euros per person to get inside the wall! We grabbed a few quick shots of the outside and left.

Just grabbed this shot from the moving car. No idea what the place is. Just like the composition and the architecture.
Our last B&B--just 5 minutes from Shannon International, since our flight is in the morning. It's clean, cozy, comfortable, and has a good shower.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Project 365: Day 142 -- The Ring of Kerry and the Ring of Skellig (and no, they aren't peices of jewelry)

We headed into the village today for breakfast, and at that point decided we had done everything there was to do in the village. Time to expand our horizons, so to speak. But on the way back to the car, I photographed this gentleman out for his morning walk.

On the drive to the Ring of Kerry--which was our plan for the day--we stopped at this structure by the side of the road. Kelly doesn't think it's really as old as it's intended to look. I have no idea what it is, how old it is, or why it's there. But I enjoyed photographing it.

Yesterday, we photographed this beach from an elevated point on the highway. Today, we took the side road down to the water. It's just before Waterville, and I believe it's called Silver Strand, but don't quote me on that--it's not like there was a sign or anything marking it. As someone who loves the ocean, I was in heaven down here. I spent time photographing all the tide patterns in the sand, the rock formations, the pretty purple flowers growing in the rocks, the tide pools...and as we explored, a misty rain came down, and a fog rolled in.

We climbed to the highest point on the beach, where the view was beautiful....

And I love this shot of Kelly walking back down the hillside. The grasses were tall, and very wet. So by the time we got back to the car, we were both soaked from the knees down. We didn't care.
This made me laugh--a sign for Ireland's only surf-side bar. Painted on a surf board. Did you know they surf in Ireland? We discovered that while watching one of their 3 television stations, when they had a show on about some surfers. I can't imagine surfing in the North Atlantic. WAY too cold!
More views of the coastal areas that make up the Ring of Kerry...

We found another beach area that was beautiful. And there were the ruins of a church and a cemetery on the hillside overlooking the little cove. It was getting pretty foggy by this time, but that just added to the ethereal feel that Ireland has. After seeing the countryside, it's no wonder they tell so many beautiful stories about faeries and magic. Ireland itself feels like a faerie tale of sorts. It's hard to describe the mystical quality here. It's a place that encourages your imagination to reach far and wide, and to believe in things you might not back home. Anyway, we explored the ruins and the cemetery, were I photographed yet more crosses. Kelly climbed up to the highest point with my camera and took some photos from there.

One thing I noticed was that these little daisies were growing in the paths. Only in the areas where feet had trodden down the grasses. The little flowers didn't grow amongst the graves or in the open areas--only on the paths.
At the bottom of the hillside was the beach, where Kelly skipped some stones. According to our guide book, this area has the warmest waters in all of Ireland, and is very popular during the brief summer season. We stuck our hands in the water, and it was pretty warm for the North Atlantic in May.

No day in Ireland is complete without a pint. We stopped in Waterville for a late lunch/early supper.

Along the Ring of the Skellig Peninsula, there is a small Chocolate Factory. They give you tastings of all the gourmet chocolates. So of course we stopped and tasted--and bought. Some rather unusual flavors, too. Sea Salt--dark chocolate with a slightly salty finish. Chili Hot--dark chocolate chips with fine red pepper flakes (those were for Kelly!) Gin & Tonic--haven't tried that one yet. Dark chocolate coated orange peels. Mint brittle. Lemon brittle. It was all yummy!
This is the kind of crazy roads they have here in Ireland! See how there are no shoulders, and no place to pull over? And it's only wide enough for one car. Yet there is two-way traffic! And the speed limit sign posted 80km!
A fog bank moved in completely at one point during our drive. We couldn't see anything! So I have no idea what lovely views we may have missed.
The fog cleared somewhat as we arrived in Portmagee. A cute little harbor with tours over to Valentia Island. It was getting late in the day, so we decided not to take the trip over to the island, but to head back to Kenmare.
Back in Kenmare, we strolled through the village.
One thing we have noticed in Ireland is an abundance of Real Estate offices, with lots and lots of properties for sale. They say the prices have come way down since the recession hit, but in my opinion, they are still way high. We thought we might buy this little place as a vacation home, lol.
Then we stopped in a pub for some Irish coffee. I loved seeing all the Coke lined up behind the bar, and the beers on tap are different from what we see in America.

Here is the view from our room at the B&B...and this is at 9 o'clock at night...