Falconry at Adare Manor Castle Hotel in Ireland

IMG_2060I’ve always been fascinated by eagles, falcons, and owls. They are powerful and mysterious. So, I was excited when my ex/husband suggested that after our daughter’s graduation (University of Limerick) that we head over to Adare Manor Castle Hotel (Adare, Ireland) for some Falconry and Archery.

Right now, they are doing a lot of refurbishing at Adare Manor, so, I was unable to take a picture to share with you.

Our Falconry Instructor was a nice fellow. He had a variety of birds for us to look at. First, he would tell us about the bird. Then with heavy glove on he assisted us to hold the birds, being very careful of their feet/talons. With the falcons, we could FEEL the strength in their feet through the glove. When they go for their prey, watch out!

Sometimes in photography, we get a FUNNY shot. For example, if you look at this owl, at first glance the owl appears to have headphones on, BUT then if you zoom in, you’ll see that when I took the photo, the eagle was directly behind the owl. Very amusing!

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Here are a few more photos I thought you might enjoy. Owls have amazing eyes! I have never seen one up close, have you?

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Next, a falconry show must have a falcon, right. Here you go…

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Now, this owl had enormous FEET.

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Finally, the Eagle…

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And for the grand finale… drum roll please… I bet you were wondering how I did in Archery. Well, I got a bulls eye, right in the middle of the apple – 3 times too! I have two brothers, so you KNOW I’ve been bragging about my Archery skills! A friendly bit of competition is good.

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Ireland is beautiful and a lot of fun. Similar to Seattle with the weather and they really enjoy their outdoor sports, I like that.

The Falconry fellow said Adare Manor should be open to the public November 2017. THEN we can go back for Trap Shooting! I smiled and thought, “Good marketing! I’m on board for that!”

Self help – “Elf-help books” (Indiana -> Ireland)

IMG_2523Life is interesting, we come across certain things when we need them. For example, I was reading a Blog called, “It Starts with Me,” where the blogger had a personal post called, “Anxiety of the Unknown.” She tells the story of her fiancé who signed a sports contract that led them to a move across the world to the UK. After getting adjusted to a new life in England, her fiancé suffered a sports injury and as they await the results of the MRI, she is faced with the “unknown” of their future, which is worrisome.

When I went walking, I had her story on my mind.

I came upon a bookstore in Limerick (Ireland). I was amused when I saw these “small” books with little Elfs on them. Turns out they are “Elf-help Books” that have been around since 1987. They are illustrated by R.W. Alley, who is known for his Paddington Bear illustrations.

Imagine my surprise to learn that these books are published in Indiana, not Ireland. Sadly, Abbey Press Printing closed in June 2017. Not clear if there is a new Publisher, but books are still being sold on Amazon.

The “Worry” book caught my attention. This would be PERFECT for my Fellow Blogger who is concerned about the “unknown.”

Here are a few pages to read.

We all have worries in life. Somehow, I was brought to these books by a “little Elf.” They have adult and children Elf-help books.

If you were able to zoom in and read the pages I’ve shared with you, you can see that the worry message is simple, short and motivating. The illustrations are adorable in an innocent old fashioned way.

You can visit “Elf-help Books” at www.elf-help.com. 

I just read on Wikipedia that Abbey Press Printing was started in 1867 by Saint Meinrad Archabbey, who are Benedictine Monks in Southern Indiana. They’ve been marketing their products around the world and can be found in 25 English speaking countries. More than 20 foreign companies are licensed to print books in other languages.

So, the big question is “WHY, after 150 years, did they have to close their printing press this year?”

Back in Ireland… Keep your rosary handy when crossing the street.

FullSizeRender 2I’m back in Dublin and I am THANKFUL for these messages painted on the cross walks. I almost got hit by a car. I forgot they drive on the LEFT side (wrong side) of the road! Or like a funny Pub goer said, “Depending on how many beers someone has they might drive on any side of the road.”

As you can see, they must have had this issue in the past with foreigners crossing when they shouldn’t, because they CLEARLY write, “Look LEFT” or “Look RIGHT.” This is full proof. Thank goodness!

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My daughter has been living in Ireland for 4 years, so she’s an expert at walking fast and just crossing at a moments notice. I find it amusing when she reaches the other side of the street and looks back at me with the expression of, “Mama, WHAT are you doing over there?”

THEN, like a true Italian, I give her a frustrated look while I move my hands pointing to this huge commuter train that could have smooshed me and that I was “trying” to STAY ALIVE! We both chuckle at that!

On a lighter note, here is a map of the main part of Dublin. I think you can probably enlarge it. Then you will see that I was exploring the Trinity College area.

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IMG_4415I was looking into taking the “Hop On, Hop Off” tour bus. As I was doing this, I heard Italians speaking. There was a big group of them. Made me think of my Mom. They told me they were from Milan.

Which reminds me. When I was at the airport there was a Spanish speaking woman in front of me. It didn’t look like she had flown before, because she asked me “in Spanish,” if I could help her. I spoke to her in Italian (some words are similar) and moved my hands to show her that she needed to take her shoes off, throw water bottle away, put her purse in her main bag, etc. She was sweet and hugged me. It is a bit stressful, even if we are a seasoned traveler, because we are trying to get through the x-ray machine at the same time our carry on comes out.

It feels good to help someone! That good feeling stays with us for a couple of days!

The week is not over… SHARE YOUR STORY of helping someone!

 

Do you believe in LUCK?

FullSizeRenderToday I was taking a walk and something shiny caught my attention in the grass. I looked down and THERE I saw a LUCKY PENNY!  It’s ALWAYS a good day when we find a Lucky Penny!

I smiled super big. This was such an odd place to find a penny next to the sidewalk in the grass. For those of you who might not know, in America if you find a penny and usually it should be “heads up” it means “Good Luck!”  Also, as you see on the penny it says, “In God We Trust.” So, if you have been going through challenges in life, it is a reminder to Trust in God, he is watching over you. Or I’d like to think my Guardian Angel wanted me to know he/she is working hard on making dreams/wishes come true, have FAITH and do “my share” to make things HAPPEN!

I do feel that LUCK is when OPPORTUNITY meets PREPARATION! We help create our own luck along with the Universe sending us a few miracles/surprises along the way.

Not far from the penny this FUNNY BUNNY appeared. How is that for a rhyme and he didn’t dash off, he just stood there.

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Years ago, I read a very interesting book called, “There Are No Accidents: Synchronicity and the Stories of Our Lives,” by Robert H. Hopcke. I was reminded of that book today. If you have a chance try and read it. Hopcke interviewed different people who had curious events happen in there lives certainly synchronicity was at play.

LUCK seems to be on my mind lately. Recently, while in Ireland, I came across this Fairy Dust in the Tourist Shop. After I shook the jar, made a few wishes… WELL, I had to buy it. It just seemed like FUN!

So, I am sharing my WISHING JAR with YOU!

Make a WISH and SHAKE THE JAR in your mind. Let’s give the Leprechauns and Fairies something to do.

GOOD LUCK with your wishes!

 

 

Irish Hat Designer: Jennifer Wrynne

image2IMG_1452While exploring Dublin, I came across “Powerscourt Centre,” off of Grafton Street, which was a very charming looking house that had been converted into a shopping center.

You can see an inside view of the building. It appears this must have been a courtyard and they added a window covering above.

Walking up the stairs the first thing I saw was the tall ceiling, staircase, open eating restaurant below AND this beautiful display of hats by Irish Hat Designer, Jennifer Wrynne.

The British and the Irish take their hats seriously. In the U.S. I think we only wear special hats to the Kentucky Derby, maybe I am wrong, but it is not as common for us to wear hats.

As I continued along in this building they had another small cafe on the second floor where we ate. They had wonderful pastries and a view into the courtyard.

Of course, my phone was malfunctioning while I was trying to take more photos with a message, “storage full;” otherwise, I would have had a few more photos for you. I would highly recommend visiting this place. They also had antique shops, a yarn shop, jewelry, flowers, a shop with housewares and wedding dresses too.

Learn more about Powerscourt Centre online.

 

 

Chicago: River is Green / Happy St. Patrick’s Day

St Patricks Day - Chicago riverDid you know that it is a tradition in Chicago to turn the river GREEN for St. Patrick’s Day? There are two Irish families, the Butler and Rowan clans, that have had this honor since 1962. They sprinkle their special “Leprechaun Dust” and PRESTO the river becomes this spectacular green color.

My daughter lives in Ireland, so she will be drinking green beer I am sure. She hasn’t found a Leprechaun or his pot of gold yet!  She has seen some beautiful rainbows and sweet sheep like the one below!

Wishing you ALL a “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!”

To my SMC and ND friends: GO IRISH!

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Miracles… Lost items that are found.

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Scarf when lost.

Guest Blogger:

Francesca Meffert / Ireland

Tuesday

My heels clicked against the pavement as I crossed the street already ¾ of my way home from campus when the first stab of panic hit, “Why don’t I feel my scarf around my neck?”

The wind howled, mocking my inattention.

Touching my neck, bare flesh greeted me and my stomach flopped as I realized the wind had surely snatched it in my scurry home.

I asked myself, “Do you want to go back for it?” “No, it wasn’t my favorite scarf and I rarely wore it anyways. Besides, if the wind took it who knows where it might be.”

I resumed my walk home, my feet scuffling a tad heavier.

Wednesday – Saturday

Cycling into campus I took the route I came the previous day and alas there was no scarf to be found.

The next day was the same….

And the next…..

and the next.

Sunday

I gazed out the window as the bus prattled its way closer to campus. That morning I had cycled into college; a fact I was struggling with at this moment when deciding whether to get off on campus to collect my bike or head home. Sighing, I did also want to stop by Church at some stage to light a candle, which, if I went for that option would entail having to walk back into campus for my bike. As the scenery passed by with increasing alacrity I found myself facing a decision among 3 options:

Option 1: stop at college, get bike, go home.

Option 2: stop off a bit later, go to Church, get bike, go home.

Option 3: go home.

(It is worth noting that the route via Option 1 or 3 would take me different paths to/from college and my house).

Going with Option 2

I pressed the button and got off the bus and began my walk to Church. This is a route I had taken the last four days. As I was about to cross the street, I looked down and saw a heap of wet, dirty, grimy cloth that had clearly been exposed to the elements for a good while. My heart felt a moment of sadness for the poor thing and all of a sudden I felt myself doing a double-take, wait a second, that’s MY scarf!!

I crouched down and delicately plucked the grimy scarf from the ground and placed it in my bag, arousing stares of intrigue and distain from drivers and passerby’s alike. Standing up, I was grinning from ear to ear like a fool. It wasn’t even the fact that I had my scarf back, it hadn’t been super important to me, it was “what finding it represented,” and I couldn’t help but think:

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                                            Scarf when found.

What was once lost can always be found.

Perhaps that could be true of objects, but I felt this was a gift from the universe more symbolic in nature.

Often times, we find ourselves in predicaments or situations that are stressful, hard, or challenging in some manner or another – be it in our work, relationships, life decisions or more. It is in those moments that we must ignite the best in ourselves – be it motivation, love, passion, determination, patience, hope or whatever is required to see us through it. We all have the capacity to ignite these elements within ourselves, but it’s up to us to trigger them. Finding the scarf reminded me, that although it can be difficult to imagine, “what was once lost can always be found” and we can find it in ourselves to recall our best traits to see us through.

Had I chosen Option 1 or 3, I would surely not have found my scarf or remembered this important life lesson. As my friend reminded me, everything happens for a reason.

I hope that this scarf can serve as a lesson, that you too, can find whatever it is in your heart that you are searching for, it just takes faith!