Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I'm Baaaaaack!

Yep, back from Ireland! Land of rolling emerald-scapes, sheep o' plenty, bustling cities both large and small, pubs galore, friendly peeps AND a booming economy! As you may know, not long ago Ireland was considered a third world country. Not. Any. More. Currently Ireland is kicking some economic butt and the once impoverished nation and people are thriving. Truly wonderful to see and experience, if not expensive. But in true LadyLinoleum shopping fashion, my dollar was their euro for which I converted and spent aplenty, thereby doing my part to further stabilize the country's current economic bliss.

Needless to say I spent quite a bit of time shopping on Grafton Street with my mom, the hubby being the designated shopping bag holder, buying lots of tweed and indulging my personal addiction of choice - shoes! Oh shoes, how I love thee. Okay, yes, I've just gone from zero to completely shallow in 2.5 seconds (more to come on this front I assure you). Let's move on, shall we?

We, the travelers three (my husband, my mother and meself), decided that when in Ireland, stay in castle. So, we made reservations at Clontarf Castle. Located approximately three miles from Dublin City Centre, once owned by many a historic figure including Oliver Cromwell and peppered with the heads of dead animals past, was a very comfortable accommodation that served as our base of operations for the length of our stay. Incidentally, the Clontarf area was the former neighborhood of Bram Stoker of Dracula fame. Cool, eh?

Clontarf Castle:



One of the many animals who gave its life for wall ornamentation:



Neato lobby shot:



Having rented a car upon arrival in Dublin we were free to travel the country at will due to wheels. So travel we did, up and down the east coast of the Emerald Isle to destinations such as Lisburn and Belfast in Northern Ireland and Slane, Newgrange and Waterford down in the south of the good ole Republic.

First stop, Lisburn, Northern Ireland!



Home to the Irish Linen Centre and Museum and quite the picturesque stop on ye old map, Lisburn is a beehive of activity. Lots of shops, restaurants, pubs and as I mentioned above, home to the story of the origins of Irish linen manufacture. This is a must-see for those of us with a penchant for fiber!

Although the museum does have intriguing current exhibitions relevant to linen and fiber in general on its ground floor, I recommend their permanent exhibition which tells of the origins and production of linen found at the top floor of the building. Complete with mannequins demonstrating the various stages of linen production and a real live docent present to answer any questions you may have, this exhibition is both informative and a little disturbing due to its Village of the Damned styled mannequin workers. Ending the mostly self-guided tour through the exhibition and making sure that none of the mannequins has suddenly sprung to life, seeking to make you part of the um, err, experience (okay, so I've watched House of Wax one too many times), the viewer is then met with several working floor looms dressed with linen fiber and their actual-in-the-flesh weavers producing amazing linen specimens for sale. Very cool.

Irish Linen Centre:



Next stop on the northbound very narrow two lane Irish road, Belfast!

It 'tis strange that my rather reactionary husband has a distinct interest in urban guerrillas, which was our main reason for a visit to Belfast, for it is so contrary to his political bent. The man continues to be a puzzle...Anyhow, despite Gerry Adams and crew having put down their weapons in favor of ballots, this modern city rests just above not so distant images of bloody urban conflict.

So what to the travelers three do in Belfast? They drive their rental Beemer around in search of Sinn Fein HQ to purchase t-shirts. No, I'm not kidding. Are you thinking ugly American tourists? Yeah, me too...



Ahem, well if you're not completely appalled by that last travel tidbit, then stay tuned because there's lots more to come from our travels about the green isle in the North Atlantic...

21 comments:

SheCrochets said...

Mmmm... isn't Ireland wonderful? I know what you mean about the shoes. I bought my most fave pair of brown leather boots on Grafton street a few years ago... they rock!

Kari said...

Ahhh I love your pictures and so envy you.

Welcome back!

Jessica said...

Sounds like you had a blast! Can't wait to hear more!

Vera said...

Welcome back. Looks like you had a great time, and the photos are beautiful.

FinnyKnits said...

Thanks for sharing the first chapter of your travel story -- of course, this makes my wanderlust spring to life. Looking forward to the rest of the recap!

MrsFife said...

What, no yarn?!

Welcome back.

ladylinoleum said...

Misfit - no freakin' yarn! Can you believe that??? I just couldn't find anything, well, special.

Kari - it was really cool. Flights are cheapo. Really, it is a totally doable vacation.

Jess, Vera, Finny - More to come...

Sue said...

Welcome home! Looks like a fantastic trip!

~drew emborsky~ said...

I'm so happy you had a great vacation!!!

briana said...

I love my tee shirt sooooooooooo much! Bitchin' recap so far, LL.

Amy O'Neill Houck said...

Vacation sounds wonderful--I cant'w ait to hear more!

Renee said...

Hey welcome back! I totally understand about the shoes...when I visited my hubby in England, I went a little nuts myself.

Sara said...

Glad you are back! Sounds like you had a wonderful time!

JANNIKINZ said...

Welcome back, Glad you had a good trip & looking forward to more stories.

The Shrone said...

How many pints of Guiness did you imbibe during your visit? Did you spy any authentic Shrones while in the motherland?

Steve said...

Glad you had a good time! The weather looked B-utiful!

Rose said...

Welcome home!! Isn't driving around the UK a blast? For so many reasons...
I love the "Solicitors" sign right above the Sinn Fein one. That's saying something to me too.

wren said...

Always welcome a spot of virtual travel. Have my bottle of Guinness on standby ready to drink whilst reading the next post.

Samantha said...

Welcome home! I want to stay in a castle too. Perhaps you can crochet them an animal head so no more creatures need die for the decor?

susan said...

welcome back lady li!
i love northern ireland with a passion and wished i had seen the south, but you brought in the highlights here so thanks!
fab sounding trip!!
hugs,
susan

Linda D. said...

Ireland...........I am so jealous. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to hearing more. I need to share this with you. Do something just for you and check it out.

A Grandma in Greensboro NC

www.miraculousjuice.freelife.com
Linda