Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Kilkenny town

Kilkenny markets itself as a medieval town and we really like medieval towns. I love tall buildings with narrow passageways, preferably that wind around. Therefore, the idea of Kilkenny appealed to us and I wasn't disappointed. The city itself is wonderful (although pretty small). There are old buildings, ruins of buildings, and narrow streets. The only thing that I found a bit strange was that the pubs stopped serving food before dinner in the evening. I wanted pub grub one night but the pubs that we went to had all stopped serving food. However, we did find a couple nice places to have pints and just enjoy the day.

Since we felt we had seen the city in a day, it also served as a good base to see other things in the area. I have to say, it was really nice to have a car for the weekend and not have to worry about how to get to places and public transport schedules...

Kilkenny Castle

This weekend, we did a lot of sightseeing. We managed to get up for breakfast each morning and were usually out of the B&B by 10:30 AM. Usually, we aren't even awake by then on the weekends or when on holiday! Anyway, our first sight was the kilkenny castle.

The castle is set on beautiful grounds and a river. It is currently owned by the Office of Public Works (aka the government) and is being restored. Well, except the part that has been turned into a convention center. So, anyway, pictures aren't allowed on the tour and it was a guided tour, so no pictures of the inside. The rooms were decorated/restored to how they would have been when the Ormands were still living in it. When the government took the castle over, it was apparently in a serious state of disrepair. The building has been restored with a lot of attention given to the details. There is some original furniture and pieces that aren't original are frequently period pieces.

My favorite room was the last on the tour. It was a portrait room. It is a long room with very high ceilings. The ceilings were wood and painted/styled in such a way that it looked like it should be a Viking ship, not a castle ceiling.

All in all, it is definitely a worth while tour and better than some of the other castle tours we've been on. The guide seemed really enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Also, as an aside, if you are traveling to Ireland and into old buildings, I'd really recommend the Heritage Card. I think it is 21 Euros and gets you into a variety of sites owned by the Office of Public Works.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Long weekend

Yesterday was a bank holiday in Ireland. The October bank holiday to be precise. I have no idea what the purpose of the holiday is other than it is close to Halloween and it is about halfway between the August bank holiday and Christmas. Anyway, we decided that we needed to take advantage of the long weekend and hired (rented) a car and went to Kilkenny. While there, we stayed at the Laurels and John even booked one of the "deluxe" rooms. The place was a bit out of city centre but the town is small enough that it didn't really matter. Overall, it was a very good base for exploring and the rooms were comfortable. Ours had a whirlpool tub which was very nice for the muscles after a day of walking around. When we arrived in the room, I was very happy that the bed was really big. However, when we got into bed the first night, I felt an all too familiar feeling: the edge of a twin bed. A check later revealed that, yes, this was two twin beds bolted together, not a king sized bed.

Anyway, we did a lot of sightseeing during the weekend and those of you who are regular readers know that that means pictures. Lots of pictures. :) I am organizing them and will start posting soon...

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Since I have a cold and don't have the energy for knitting, I thought that I should blog about knitting. :) A while back, I took a class on how to knit socks from this is knit. The class was on two Saturday mornings. It was hard to get up but I have been very well rewarded. I finished my socks and they are nice and toasty warm. Since it has gotten cold outside, it is nice to have warm socks to put on when I get home. And even better, although the socks are made from thicker yarn than usual for socks, I have two pairs of shoes that I can wear them with. Now, I just have to start more socks since I seem to have a large stash of sock yarn...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Food festival

Two weeks ago there was an international food festival down in Marlay Park. We actually organized ourselves to head down there since the sun was actually out and we have been a bit "lazy" on the weekends. So, we hopped the bus and spent a couple hours wandering around and eating. On Saturdays, there is a market so we took a bit of a wander through that as well. We got me a nice big ceramic mug for my tea and hot chocolate.

Overall, we were pretty happy with the diversity of food. We did wonder, however, why Dublin got its own designation as a culture. See, the rest of the flags were names of countries. The U.S. stand had chocolate chip cookies and such. The Mexican stand had yummy Mexican food and salsa and other sauces to sell. It was actually through the Mexican stand that we found out about the festival because they are usually at the Saturday market that we go to get our salsa. There was even a sushi making class!

After we ate our fill, we wandered around the park a bit until it closed.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Today I had a very challenging day at work. On my way home, I stopped at Butler's Chocolates to buy a friend a box of chocolate and got myself a bar. I ate a bit of it on the way home. When I got home, I checked my email and was delighted to see that my friend Yvonne had a second invitation to Ravelry and had graciously offered it to me! I then used the elliptical for 35 minutes. While I was exercising to relieve the stress of the day, John came home and he had some goodies. A friend had given him a lift part of the way home and had let John take a couple things from the garden. So now I have a fresh pink rose, sage, and thyme. After exercising, I made some macaroni and cheese from scratch and joined Ravelry.

Now I am going to cast on a hat for a friend since I finished the fingerless gloves I started this weekend. I am all about the present knitting. However, I really need to start my fingerless gloves since I now know how I am going to do them...

Monday, October 08, 2007

A bit early

After I left work today, I decided to stop into Penny's to look for some Halloween items for my autumn lesson tomorrow. I wandered around downstairs looking for a white sheet and what did I see but Christmas decorations! Yes, I said Christmas decorations. Wrapping paper, Christmas crackers, decorations. Lots of Christmas stuff. But no Halloween things. Last week, the staff in one of my sites were collecting for their Christmas party.

Now, I understand that Christmas is a big holiday, but it isn't even Halloween yet. Besides, Halloween is a fun holiday where you get to put out all sorts of silly things like witches and ghosts and ghouls. Autumn is such a wonderful season and is so pretty. Why can't it be celebrated as well. I mean, over two months for Christmas stuff just seems like a bit much to me. (and yet, I have started knitting Christmas presents but that is because they will take time...)

Saturday, October 06, 2007


This has been a productive weekend. This morning, I learned about making jumpers/sweaters (and other things, too) from the top down. It was interesting and we started a baby cardigan which I am going to give to a mate who is due late December. After getting home, I showed John the progress I made on the mistake rib scarf I started when we were in Berlin (yes, the beginning of August). I had put it aside for a while because I wasn't sure of how I wanted the colors to work in the design. Once I figured that out, and it got cold, I started working on it and have been knitting it in knitting groups and on the train. Anyway, I showed him the progress and he asked why I didn't finish it since I only had a couple rows left. I explained I stopped knitting because it was my stop. I then finished it. :) This evening, I wove in the ends and have my first scarf for me! John is teasing me that it is his, but it is mine. All mine. I will show pictures after I get the "set" done as there is going to be a fingerless gloves, hat, and scarf set. I am excited to start on the gloves as they will get used as soon as they are off the needles.

Anyway, after getting back from going to the food festival in Marlay Park, I worked on the scarf/wrap that I started back in May. It was supposed to be a going away present for a friend. She left in July. Anyway, I finished it! I am really excited about it it and people who have seen it have said it is really pretty. I still have to weave in the ends but I am really happy with the design (I designed it myself). It is my first real design and I haven't even finished an item with following a pattern without modifications! I already have plans to make more of the wrap/scarf and have made notes of how to change it to make it into a wrap. Lisa said that she would help me write up the pattern/chart as I don't know how to make a chart (and have never read one).

Now, I only have two things on my needles! One is the sock that I started this week (and just learned how to make in the last couple weeks) and the other is the cardigan from today's class. I need to cast on a "mindless" project for the knitting groups...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

breaking in

Making friends can be difficult. Recently, I met up with a friend and we were talking about friendships and meeting people. She asked me if I normally know if I will like someone the first time or two that I meet them. I responded that I do. Usually, I click with someone or don't. I tend to think I am a pretty good judge of character as long as I trust my gut. I am not used to a long warm up period with people before becoming friends. I am used to meeting someone, clicking, spending time with them, and then not seeing them for a while. :)

Here, things are different. I have met many lovely people. Yet, somehow, there isn't that connection, that "spark" with many of them. Sometimes I wonder if it is cultural as the Irish tend to be slow to warm up. A friend recently told me that it took a friend of hers 12 years to make friends after he moved to this country! That is a really long time. I do miss having cultural things in common, like National Public Radio, The Daily Show, and other politics. I sometimes wonder if that is why I tend to get along with other foreign nationals better. Today I had a different realization, people who I get along with immediately also tend to love purple. Is it possible that there are certain personality traits that draw you to a particular color? I have also realized recently that I tend to get along well with other females (but not males) who have the same astrological sign as me. Hmm...