Posts from the “UK & Ireland” Category

Newgrange: A Passageway to Ancient Ireland

Posted on September 9, 2015

Cosy is not the word that would normally spring to mind when discussing a prehistoric mound — especially one that contained ancient human remains . . . and some (regrettably) newer ones. But the Neolithic burial site known as Newgrange in the midst of the bucolic Irish countryside feels safe . . . comforting even.   Set on a grassy hilltop near a bend in the River Boyne, the oval-shaped structure softly rises above the rolling farmland dotted with sheep, cows and yellow fields of canola. Access to the site is controlled by the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre and the cost of a vistor’s pass starts at €2.   As the Irish will proudly tell you, this structure is older than the Great Pyramids and Stonehenge.…

Slideshow: Northern Ireland’s ‘Troubles’ as Captured in the Murals of Belfast

Posted on June 27, 2012

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Belfast: Murals Remembering ‘The Troubles’

Posted on June 27, 2012

It was smiles all around today as Queen Elizabeth II, the 86-year-old monarch of the United Kingdom, held out her gloved hand to shake hands with Martin McGuinness, former IRA commander and current deputy first minister in Northern Ireland.   The historic handshake, unthinkable even a year ago when jaws dropped as the Queen visited the Republic of Ireland, symbolized a final reaching out across the great divide that ripped Northern Ireland apart in a three-decades-long conflict known as ‘The Troubles.’ More than 3,500 people died as republicans (Catholics) and unionists (Protestants) struggled for political control in a bloody campaign of bombings and tit-for-tat shootings that shattered families and stunted the country’s economy. Both of the Queen’s visits underscore the tremendous changes that have occurred…

Belfast: An Impressionist View of City Hall

Posted on June 25, 2012

Sometimes a bad jiggle of the arm when taking a photograph can create something unexpected. Belfast City Hall in all its classical style grandeur and copious use of marble represents the city’s boom time at the beginning of the 20th century when its dockyards were turning out massive ships, including the doomed Titanic. The good times would not last.   As such, the building stands out in a city filled with crumbling brick buildings in its core and drab apartment towers that line the main motorway. Belfast is not a stereotypically pretty city but it is interesting.   Tours of Belfast City Hall are available for free from Monday to Saturday in the late morning and afternoon. But to be honest, if you’re only…

Best Bookstore in Dublin: Hodges Figgis

Posted on June 12, 2012

One of Ireland’s greatest gifts to the world has been to literature. James Joyce, Bram Stoker, Frank O’Connor, William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, C.S. Lewis, Oscar Wilde, the list goes on and on. A great way to pass an afternoon or two in Dublin is to stop by Hodges Figgis, the country’s best bookstore, and peruse its huge array of Irish novels, plays, poetry, and historical works.   Located at 56-58 Dawson Street, the shop is a thing of beauty. As soon as I laid eyes on it from the top of the #10 double-decker bus, I was smitten. The outside is dressed in traditional hunter green and gold with beautiful curved windows showcasing the latest wares or featured authors scheduled to give…

Towering above Ireland: The ruins of Monasterboice

Posted on May 21, 2012

The lonely sentinel of the Monasterboice ruins rises above a patchwork of green fields where Holsteins lazily graze. The rounded tower, which at 28 metres is one of the tallest in Ireland, was built more than a thousand years ago and is still in remarkably good shape despite a Viking takeover in 968 and a devastating fire in 1097. Located in County Louth near the town of Drogheda, the site was founded in the fifth century likely under the leadership of St. Buithe, a disciple of the St. Patrick. Today, Monasterboice remains a hauntingly spiritual and peaceful place with only the sound of the wind, the lowing of cattle and the cries of birds pinwheeling ‘round the tower breaking the silence. Admission is free…

Gallery: Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Posted on March 14, 2012

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© Jennifer Robinson and, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Robinson and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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