Ireland Photos!

Ok, so maybe the wait was not worth it.  I forgot I could upload the photos from my phone directly to my computer.  My computer has had better luck connecting to the internet than my phone.  I will try and get Megan’s photos too.  I am adding some photos to the blog post they belong to.

Update:  Opps..now I need to convert the file size to less than 2mb for uploading.  Later today, right now we are off to Ballymichael in Northern County Donegal.

Interlude: Fire in Evergreen

Last night I got a text, and email and a voice mail both at home and on my cell that our home was to evacuated immediately.   I thought, “Wow, the big fire in Evergreen finally hit.”  Fire in Evergreen is probably our biggest fear.  I was part of a group several years ago that investigated setting up a community support group for emergencies and we discussed how fire would devastate our community.  Conifer got their act together and we look to them and our local fire department and the Jeffco Sheriff’s to keep us inform.   Turns out Facebook was the best way to stay informed.

Thanks to everyone who kept us up to date.  Kayla at BoneJour Pet Sitting emailed later to let us know that Max and Indy are safe.  When we left for Ireland, they had just experienced a family emergency, now they had to evacuate 16 dogs and a handful of other critters.  They are on Facebook too.  We love them!

We seem to miss the big news when we go on vacations.  We were in Yellowstone for the Pope visit, and Maine when the Moose walked through Evergreen, now this.

Thanks again to Kayla, Lisa, Joan, Shawn and Diane for keeping us informed.

Day 4: The Road to Donegal

Monday, 3 June

We left Dublin today.  Took the bus to the airport where we rented a car and drove 3.5 hours north and west to Donegal, Co. Donegal.  We still need to drive another 3 hours (round trip) to get to Tracey’s grandfather’s location in Ballymichael, Co. Donegal which is practically the top of Ireland.

On the bus ride to the airport, I had a nice conversation with a gentleman who had a thick  brogue.  I think I understood a little more that half of what he said.  We talked about the weather, traveling and taking care of my parents.  My parents come up regularly as I am asked what I do for a living.  It leads to some interesting conversations about health care and how well we take care of our selves.   Regarding the weather, he was commenting on the good weather we were having.  We are getting some sunshine during the day and the clouds roll through with a little overcast and occasional sprinkle later in the day.  But all in all it is good.  I told him that a friend from Michigan once told me that, “If you don’t go out in the bad weather, you don’t get out.” He let out a big smile and told me it was true.

View from RossmoreSheep at RossmoreToday we spent an hour and a half on the Waterbus touring the Donegal Bay.  Most of the boat was taken up by a touring group of Germans.  On the trip out from the bay the guide pointed out many features as you might expect.  The information was not presented all that well, but we saw a small island in the bay known as Boyle’s Island (Ballyboyle Island) where the Gaelic Ó Baoighill origins may come from.  This really needs to be checked but Boyle is a popular name here.  However, on the way back we were thoroughly entertained by the Germans singing Irish tunes lead by our Guide.  The fact that he had his CD’s for sale gave us the clue as the nature of his true calling.

Megan and our Car at the Waterbus Port
Megan and our Car at the Waterbus Port

We are staying at the Rossmore Manor.  Wow! What a view.  No photo can do it justice.  (again, when I can find a decent Internet connection, I will upload some photos).  And lots of green hills covered in Sheep.  The water comes almost up to the B&B and it drains with the tides.  It takes about 6 hours to drain and another 6 to fill.  So plenty of water to be seen and later just a marshy bog.

View from the Rossmore Manor
View from the Rossmore Manor

Today was the first time we drove on the “wrong” side of the road.  In the US we drive on the “right” side or so a few folk remind us.  The speed limits are fast relatively speaking.  Imagine driving the old country single lane back roads at 65 miles an hour except that two cars are going in opposite directions.  A bit unnerving.  Not all that bad really so far as there have not been many cars coming in the opposite direction.  The main highways are an exception but there, the roads are wider and well marked.  We only made a few mistakes and kept to the left side…mostly.

Day 3: Dublin Bike Tour

  • Tracey and Megan heading out on the Bike Tour
    Tracey and Megan heading out on the Bike Tour

    Sunday, 2 June

    Got up an took the bus to Dublin for a bike tour this morning. Dublin City Bike Tours.  Apparently Brian, the owner, was the first to start a bike tour in 2010.  It was an all American Tour.  Two gals, one young man and David from Wyoming.  He is orignally from Denver, go figure, travel across the ocean and meet a man from your back yard.  He is on a “long tour” that his daughter encouraged him to go on after his wife died from Ovarian Cancer 5 years ago.

We rode for almost three hours with a stop at the Barge Pub for a hot drink.  I had hot chocolate. The girls had coffee. The weather was sunny then, later the clouds rolled in and cooled things down.

Our Guide, Brian
Our Guide, Brian

I will upload pictures later when we get a better internet connection.   They are on my iPhone and the connection is taking forever to upload.  Speaking of iPhone.  We paid for the International Plan on Verizon.  $25 for 100mb data upload.  I have already used the first 100 and am working on the second.  Megan is on it too, but was smarter and turned off Data Roaming, such discipline as she has been sending lots of texts out to her friends.  I have been using Google Maps way too much. Today I was much better at saving both data use and keeping my cell battery charged for the day.

Lunch was after the bike tour at Ray’s Pizza,  Brian from Dublin City Bike Tours gave us a map he marked up with “the best place to get….(whatever)”  mostly food sites.   I am sure he worked something out with the owners, but Ray’s was very good.

Statures of the Irish Famine Migration
Statures of the Irish Famine Migration

I have been playing a game of find the American connection.  So far, everywhere we go there is something prominent from America.  We had dinner at O’Shea’s and they had a sign up for Coors Light.  Plenty of McDonalds and Burger King’s.  In fact, Dublin is not unlike many American Cities.  While we had yet to drive, traffic and the cars are not much different, people all look pretty much the same, perhaps even a bit more clean cut.  It is an International City so no stereotyping here.  Tipping is not as big and “chips” are French Fries.   Lot’s of chips with many of the meals

However, I did see a group of 20 something boy’s that I am pretty sure must have just grabbed a bunch of jackets and sweat suits from a store.  I saw them again later, and the cotton sweat suits still had the fold wrinkles in them.

Yesterday, we had time to swing in and get a quick look at Trinity College.  While there I was stopped by a woman from the tourist office conducting a survey.  We had a great chat about culture, the Irish, and Donegal.  We stopped talking when it started to rain and Megan and Tracey were giving me the evil eye to get a move on.  Anyway, the woman said that it was hard for her to fill her English and European quotas this time of year but American’s this time a year out number the others 3 to 1.

We had a great time in Dublin, but we are leaving too soon to fully take in all the main tourist attractions. Tomorrow we head for Donegal.  At this point, I can see us coming back to Ireland but let’s see how the rest of the trip goes.

Day 2: Lost in Dublin

Saturday, 1 June

Well we tried to take the bus to Temple Bar and missed our stop. We rode for awhile before we figured it out. Bus route 44. Glad we bought the day pass.

Our first stay was at the ABC House just outside of Dublin.

Waiting for the ABC House to Open.
Waiting for the ABC House to Open.
Tea for Tracey at ABC
Tea for Tracey at ABC
Scrambled Eggs
Scrambled Eggs

Touring Down Town Dublin by foot.

Love Locks on the HaPenny Bridge
Love Locks on the HaPenny Bridge
HaPenny Bridge with Love Locks
HaPenny Bridge with Love Locks
Megan and Tracey at the Spire
Megan and Tracey at the Spire

The New Normal

All was well, the family was doing great for a change, the river was calm.  So I decided to focus on myself and get a Colonoscopy.  I would be out of commission for two days, prep and procedure.  Then the storm hit.

Mom’s cancer screening came back positive.  A small mass and a rise in the marker for Ovarian Cancer.  She needed a Colonoscopy too!  To biopsy the mass.  Well the Doc could not get to it and now she needs to go to a radiologist so he can figure out how to get to the mass.

Then Dad had a small stroke.  We had 10 great months after the last Shunt surgery.  He was walking, talking, reminding us of his need for a shot or Megan’s sports practices.  He has some left side weakness and is in a Skilled Nursing Facility a SNF (Sniff) called the Life Care Center of Evergreen.  He is doing well but he is not home.

Indy, our Survivor Dog, grew a cancerous growth on his leg, so we found out the same week of my Colonoscopy and Mom and Dad’s troubles.  It will cost $750 to remove and it may not work. He is 12.5 years old and we already paid for one knee surgery and one miracle. He had an emergency Splenecotomy.  He was given 3 months to live.  That was almost three years ago.  We really can not afford the surgery with all that we have been through. Now what do we do?

And me?  One polyp so I get to repeat in 5 years.

Just another day at the Stills’ abode.

Sigh…back to riding the rapids.

A blog by Michael