Monthly Archives: September 2011

AMSTERDAM’S CANALS FREEZE – bikes on ice

It can sometimes be hard to find a place to park your bike in Amsterdam, but at the moment it's no problem. Photo: schlijper.nl

It’s been a long time since Amsterdam’s canals have been this frozen. I suspect if I were there right now I’d be huddled inside by a heater, but it’s nice to be able to admire them from a distance.

Thanks, Menno Heslinga, for bringing this to my attention via Facebook and acknowledgements to Thomas Schlijper for the photo above. More of his work is on schlijper.nl, including this bit of video of a young thrill-seeker trying to ride a bike across the ice.

3 Comments

Filed under Cycling, Holland

RYAN’S DAUGHTER – film location as tourist magnet

The old school house can still teach visitors a thing or two.

There wasn’t much going on in the village of Dun Chaoin (Dunquin) perched on the end of the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland. Until 1970, when film director David Lean arrived to make Ryan’s Daughter. Continue reading

14 Comments

Filed under Ireland

THE NEW FACE OF OLD IRELAND – Dingle, Kerry

We tourists love to see boats, and the older and rustier they are, the better we like them.

I first visited Ireland in 1976. It was a poor country, and I didn’t see anything which looked at all like the town of Dingle looks now.

That may be a pity for visitors who come looking for an authentic Irish experience, but I bet it’s a relief to the people who live here that the worst of the poverty is behind them. Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Ireland

DINGLE WAY – an Irish walk with character

Any dry stone wall looks good to me.

The ‘Dingle Way‘. It sounds like a gentle amble. It’s not a macho name like ‘Inca Trail’ or ‘Kokoda Track’.

And indeed, although along its 179km length there’s some slogging through mud, some scrambling over rocks and some modest climbs, it’s a walk that any active person can manage comfortably. But there’s more to it than just the walking. This is Ireland, and it’s a place with character. Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Hiking, Ireland

GREAT BLASKET ISLAND – the abandoned heart of Irish heritage

Great Blasket Island extreme left. It looks fine from here, but getting there is the problem.


The weather was against us today. We were planning to take a boat out to Great Blasket Island, off the coast from the most westerly part of Ireland. Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Ireland

CAPE CLEAR, IRELAND – where cars go to die

Cape Clear Island - the most southerly part of Ireland.

Cape Clear Island makes its own rules, it seems, especially about motor vehicles. Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Ireland

KILLER GARDEN – Blarney Castle

Welcome to our garden - just don't touch or smell anything!

Blarney Castle, keeping (pun intended) up with its neighbours in other parts of the world, loves to point out the ways defenders could kill attackers.

Holes for boiling oil pouring and dungeons for burying people alive are lovingly labelled.

Blarney goes a step further; the garden below the walls features poisonous plants – wolfbane, castor oil and that greatest of all killers, tobacco.

Castor Oil plant - death by laxative?

I knew lupins were damaging to the environment, but are they harmful to us too?

We were amused to find an empty cage, which formerly housed the marijuana plant. By the cage was the following sign:

Please, Officer, can we have our pot plant back?

Entrance to Blarney Castle and Gardens costs EUR10.

The writer was the guest of Failte Ireland.

2 Comments

Filed under Ireland