Newgrange and the Religion of the Past

Certainly one of the most spectacular sites in all of Ireland, in terms of ancient history are the various mounds, and tombs you can find in the Boyne valley. Here’s a little map… This is a World Heritage Site, and well worth the visit. It’s stone circle and passage tomb may date as far back as 5,000 years, making it older than the pyramids and stonehenge. The Irish have done an excellent job of preserving the site, and the visitor… Read more

Russborough House

Russborough House. One of its claims to fame seems to be the 700-foot long limestone façade stretching left and right from the main entrance. This country estate looks out over Blessington Lakes. The Leeson family moved from England to Ireland in the late 17th century. Their fortune was made in the brewing industry. Joseph Leeson built this Palladian style home between 1741 and 1755. Joseph was rewarded with the title of Earl of Milltown in 1763. The home remained in… Read more

A Week in the Fall of Jerusalem

For Jews the hot August week in A.D. 70 when Titus finally overcame the resistance, breached the Jerusalem city walls, and burned down the Temple, was one of the worst weeks in their entire history. For better or for worse it changed the nature of their religion from being a Temple-centered religion to being almost entirely a Torah-centered religion. It also eliminated most of the sects of Judaism (including Sadducees and the Qumranites) other than the Pharisees. All three or… Read more

The Nobel Laureates of Ireland

Ireland is a small island, but it has more Nobel Laureates for literature than any other country— which is remarkable. And even beyond the laureates there are world famous writers like Jonathan Swift and Oscar Wilde and James Joyce. The four laureates of Ireland are W.B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett, George Bernard Shaw, and a modern author Seamus Heaney who won the award in 1995. If you’ve not read any of their works I’d suggest: 1) Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and… Read more

Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin

Christ Church Cathedral (aka The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity) stands in the heart of Dublin. It was founded around 1028 by the Hiberno-Norse King of Dublin Sitric Silkenbeard (970-1042) and the first Bishop of Dublin, Dúnán. Following the Norman Invasion by Strongbow in 1170, Henry II took communion here after murdering Thomas Becket! Shortly after, in 1186, it was rebuilt by the Anglo-Normans. During the Reformation, King Henry VIII made sure the church adhered to his new Church of… Read more

Logan got Lucky

If you need a good laugh at the end of the summer, and you want it in movie form (and a movie you can actually take your kids to, as it involves no violence, sex, or even bad language) then Logan Lucky is for sure, for sure the movie for you. For just under two hours you get to watch a group of southern hicks attempt a heist, right under the noses of the authorities, and right under the racetrack… Read more

St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Jonathan Swift

St. Patrick’s Cathedral Founded in 1191, St. Patrick’s is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland. With its 141-foot spire, it is the tallest and largest church in Ireland. The Statue of St Patrick in the side door of the cathedral has three parts— the torso is from the 13th century, the head is from the 17th century, and the base is from the 19th century. Poor St. Patrick seems to have been treated like a three leaf clover…. Read more

Bored? A ‘Bad’ Rap for Millennials

‘Boredom Is the state of mind Of those who lack Imagination.’ —— About that boredom In an endlessly interesting world, Stop focusing on self-indulgence And watch how things unfurl. Endless entertainment Does not satisfy Don’t pretend it does, Don’t even try. Easily amused? What’s a matter wit’ you? Easily confused? Well….. me too. This world is hard You look for distraction It thrives on novelty The latest attraction. The problem with ‘the latest’ Is new is soon old, As soon… Read more

The Latin Quarter in Galway

The downtown tourist area in Galway, near the river, is called the Latin Quarter. We are not fans of McDonalds, but we are fans of McDonaghs, the fish and chip place where we ate in the Latin Quarter in Galway. I doubt other than in Dublin or Belfast, there are more sidewalk cafes in all of Ireland….. Lots of musicians on the streets as well… A general carnival atmosphere exists in this part of Galway. Read more

The Viking Boats in Galway

We went on a little walking tour through busy Galway, and one of our first stops along the River Corrib, which flows through the city, was to see the Viking boats, docked in town for a while. Fortunately for us, the annual Claddagh Traditional Boat Festival was taking place from May 24 to 28, and today is the 25th! We got to see the two recreated, sleek Viking longships which were moored in the harbor! The Viking age lasted from… Read more

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