November 28 is Albanian Flag Day, or independence day. Thirty years ago in 1993 I celebrated Flag Day at the 55th anniversary of Radio Tirana, founded on Albania’s national holiday. It, like everything else in Albania in 1993 was fraught … Continue reading Happy Independence Day, Albania!
Several posts in this blog have discussed Titanic. But the moral is that sometimes you can’t resist a force of nature. On our flight out of Keflavik we crossed over Greenland. We got good views of the East Coast. The … Continue reading Titanic’s Back Story
In 1968 it was easy to “experience” a slice Iceland without large crowds on a 48 hour stopover. The tour companies developed the “Golden Circle,” a day tour that take you to a waterfall, geothermal area with a geyser, the … Continue reading Ersatz Iceland
When I was in grade school Iceland was a distant land, stuck between two continents, that, our teacher assured us, was not all ace and snow. But the odds of any of us getting there, unless one of us were … Continue reading Hippie Airlift (Exploring Reykjavik)
(I can’t believe I’m referencing ABBA.) The United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man are all on the British Pound. English Coins and Bank of England notes are accepted all over. But each jurisdiction also issues its … Continue reading “Money, Money, Money. Must be Funny.”
After visiting the Cathedral Suzi and I sat in an outdoor café on the plaza in front of the cathedral enjoying a coffee and deciding what to do next. There are a good number of chalk artists in the plaza … Continue reading Ukrainian Modernism.
I first saw the cathedral at dusk from a train pulling into the station. I was staying on the train, on my way from a student seminar in Bonn in 1964. The Cathedral seemed dark and menacing, backlit by a … Continue reading Cologne Cathedral
German trains do not run on time. We were on our way to Cologne from Copenhagen. This was the last of our missed stops from the 2023 World Cruise. No the Zuiderdam did not sail up the Rhine to Cologne, … Continue reading “I don’t know what’s happened to our country, it’s a shame.”
…Thank you Frank Loesser. * We were having lunch on a deck by a shaded lake. There fountains in the lake giving us a constant water gurgle regularly punctuated by screams of terror and delight. We were enjoying open faced … Continue reading Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen.
The Cove of Cork, Queenstown, Cobh, by what ever name it was Ireland’s pressure valve, the port from which large parts of Australia, Canada and the United States were populated, and not a few to Argentina and Chile. Thousands of … Continue reading Farewell to Ireland
We just missed the Lough Foyle Ferry from Northern Ireland to Greencastle, and so missed Greencastle’s blessing of the fleet, something I had wanted to see. It was at the maritime museum near the mariner’s memorial. But after the blessing … Continue reading Small Town Festival (Greencastle Regatta)
We stayed at an Air B&B in Moville, three miles south of Greencastle. Moville is half again bigger than Greencastle, with several bars and restaurants, and is a good place for traditional sessions. With the kids it was hard for … Continue reading The Road South from Greencastle
When my grandfather was a kid, he played in a real castle. The castle was built on a high spot along the shore near the narrow entry to Lough Folye in 1303 by Richard de Burgh, the Norman Red Earl … Continue reading The Castle.
I was in a car that drove to Inishowen Head twice this trip. Once with Suzi and Brian and once with Kevin and Shannon. Inishowen head is just north of Stroove, which is 3 miles north of Greencastle. There is … Continue reading Stories From the Road between Greencastle and Stroove.
As a youth my grandfather spent every New Years Eve on his knees in St. Finian’s church, welcoming the new year with prayer as the bell in the tower tolled 12 times. When he left Ireland he preferred a different … Continue reading My Grandfather’s Church
Greencastle was the emotional heart of this journey for me. It was the center of my grandfather’s stories of growing up in Ireland. It is the place of family legends. Grandpa took me there in 1961 when I was 14. … Continue reading Greencastle, Ireland
Mac Lir means “Son of the Sea.” Manannan Mac Lir (In Welch Manawydan fab Llŷr) was the Celtic God of the sea and sometimes guardian of the underworld, kind of a Celtic combination of Poseidon and Hades. Mac Lir is … Continue reading Descended from a Sea God?
We spent two days on the Causeway Coast, the north coast of County Antrim. Much of that time we spent at the Giant’s Causeway itself but we spent time driving the roads and enjoying the scenery. We stayed at a … Continue reading The Causeway Coast of Antrim.
OK I am about 100 million years off, but I liked the alliteration. The Giant’s Causeway is a formation of hexagonal rock pillars that reach out into the sea. The formations were caused by molten lava flowing over chalk beds … Continue reading Jurassic Jungle Gym
Wrapping up Belfast. It isn’t all Titanic and Peace Walls. It is a very pretty city. We stayed in a row house on Fitzroy St. During the term it is student housing. During the summer it is an Air B&B. … Continue reading Belfast Photo Galleries.
Belfast’s premiere attraction is “The Titanic Experience.” It tells the story of the ship that was built with Irish Pride, sunk by English Hubris. But I know the sinking story, I wanted something else. My grandfather had been a White … Continue reading Looking for White Star.
I saw the Queen in Belfast, August 1961. It was not an intimate audience. I was standing on a curb along with thousands of other people, many waving small Union Flags and some wearing orange sashes and bowler hats. The … Continue reading Reflections on the Late Queen.
(Belfast) Shannon wanted to experience high tea, so she booked a table at Belfast’s Merchant hotel. Shannon, Liz, Suzi, Liam, and I went while Brian and Kevin looked after Elias and Fiona (two on two, almost even odds) and arranged … Continue reading High Tea at the Merchant
Here is another guest post, my son, Kevin’s observations on our visit to Belfast with a few of my pictures. Belfast is a city that looks to the past. The gigantic gantry cranes of Harland & Wolff have been still … Continue reading Kevin’s Thoughts on Belfast