Sunday, May 26, 2013

Knee deep

It's been a while, sorry! We've been busy doin' stuff though like driving around and exploring and planning side trips. This past week we did our biggest one yet, 6 whole days east north and west plus an extra unplanned spontaneous day so I could attend a natural dye class. It was really wonderful to come to our little haven atop the bog and chill. Today we took a walk down the road with plastic bags for filling with road side trash (because it just hurts to see litter in such a beautiful place) and me with my spindle. I really enjoy walking wile using my drop spindle. It's both meditative and I'm multitasking! 

I had a lot of fun taking these pictures in Dublin. I especially love taking pictures of every day sort of things like fruit stalls and butcher shops. I've often contemplated the fact that I am a meat eater. I have thought of what it might be like to go vegetarian and lots of lively discussions with my vegetarian friends. For me it's really simple. I love meat. I do my best to make an effort to know where it comes from, which is really important for all the food I eat. Anyway, I really took this picture for my dad. We love talking about meat and how to cook it. 

Walking through this hall in the Long Room at Trinity College is treat (when it's not over crowded with other tourists that is) I've always found these shells just stunning even though I have no idea what these books are. Just love to look at the shelves. 

Jubal and I outside Trinity College. A rare shot as we are seldom with other people. Here on the other side of the camera is my dear friend Cáit and her husband Rob. We spent the day touring Trinity, the Guinness store house and then Howth. Two newly married couple we are:)

A collection of various Guinness bottles over the years.

I found this really fascinating. The lease to the building and property which the building sits on. Under glass, in the floor. Sir Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease. Very clever man. 
I loved this bit; at the end of the tour you get a free Guinness. You can have it in the sky bar at the top where you get a 360 degree view of Dublin. Or, you can learn to pour your own, which Jubal took advantage of. He's a natural!

Howth was really beautiful and a wonderful end to our day. 

With the rest of the time we spent in Dublin, it was so full or rich color, and interesting things around every corner. One of my favorite moments was when we located This Is Knit in Powerscourt. Such a fantastic knitting store. The lady who helped me was so sweet and kind, the selection was amazing and I was just in heaven. I was really good though and only bought two tiny balls of this 100% Shetland yarn in dark green and light pink. Trying a new yarn rule- (they change all the time!!) the price was so good I was obviously moved to get a smidgen. But I had no idea what to make with it so I only got a little bit so I could experiment with it. Also, I can order more if I decide on a sweater or something crazy like that. 

Our Dublin trip came to a close with out sadness because we have plans in the making to go back to stay with Cáit and Rob in a few weeks. More Indian and Jameson & gingers in my future with great company!

We headed up to Belfast and stopped in for a few hours to see another old friend, Nigel. I hadn't seen Nigel or been to Belfast in 14 years. 
In front of city hall is a Titanic memorial. 

I really loved these rich brick buildings. No idea what it is though. 

More of city hall. Really a huge expansive building! 

After the 3 of us had lunch and caught up, Nigel took up to the top of this building, a mall (one of the nicest malls I've been in) for a view of Belfast. 

We the drove to another part of the city to view the site where the Titanic was built. An area that has just recently opened to the public. Nigel was telling us that it has always been closed off. There is a good size museum here now that is brand new too. We did not partake as we didn't have quite enough time but it would be interesting to visit it someday. 

We drove on up to Bushmills for the next two nights and stayed at a very nice B&B, Sea View. The bed was Oh-So-Comfortable. Like a nest that hugged me. 

The ever famous Giant's Causeway. 

We walked this path up to the far end where you can't see the path any more and then up to where I took the picture from. I had forgotten how much walking was involved and by the end, my back of my poor knees where so unhappy with me. 

These stones configurations are just fascinating to me. We did the super touristy thing and opted for guide material as we walked. I had a phone like thing that told me a story at each point which was really cool and Jubal had a book which he loved because he's such an avid reader. We were both very happy with our materials as we ambled along oohing and awing at the landscape. 

We also visited the Carrick Rope Bridge. After visiting this place with Nigel, Cáit and other friends 14 years ago, I painted my largest oil painting that hangs now in our living room. It's a scene of the the far side of the bridge but looking back. I was really looking forward to going back to that spot again and laying in the grass to contemplate the meaning of life. But when we reached that point in the path, it was blocked off to protect nature. It made my past experience of being there all the more powerful in my memory. 

What a day that was! We were wind burned I think and for the first time in a very long time, I took a nap in the middle of the afternoon. Felt so good.

We carried on to Donegal and stayed at another very nice B&B with another very nice bed. Slept so good!

We visited Studio Donegal where they weave fabric for blankets, suits, and upholstery. We went up stairs to the work room and chatted with a man who has been weaving since the 70's. We were in awe of the workspace and where just tickled that we could be present while these wonderful fabrics where being produced. Much to my delight there was a box full of woven scraps for sale by the kilo. I got myself €6 worth of fabric, and 4 balls of 100% kid mohair grown and spun in Co. Down for €4 ea and was just happier than a bird with a french fry. 

We made our way north to our B&B and had a fun time walking around the curved street in Adara where we found this weaving shop. We had been considering stopping at the Studio Donegal again to pick out a blanket, but when we met Eddie and had such a nice chat about all his work, we knew we found our blanket. Eddie has been weaving since 1959. He used to have a tweed shop in the back of the pub next door which his son now runs. Eddie works out of this shop and creates all the fabric for blankets, waist coats and hats and capes. He also sends his fine goods to the Irish Imports store on Congress street in Portland! I look forward to checking out that place again when we return for Eddie's goods. 

We continued south east to Roscommon to meet up with a very fun and sweet lady, Michelle Fallon of I met her at the Roscommon Lamb Festival a few weeks ago and eyed some adorable cushions that she made and that I decided I could not live with out. So Juba and I went to pick them up from her and we had such a nice visit over tea and cookies. We made plans to go back and see her in a few weeks. I especially loved taking about our crafting experiences.

Earlier that day I had seen on FB that a natural dye class has happening in Westmeath the next day. We were at dinner in Athlone almost pointing south when I got a confirmation email about the class. Jubal and I quickly and effortlessly adjusted out plans to head to slightly in the other direction. Next morning we showed up at the old grocery in Tryrrell's pass, Co. Westmeath. A quiet little town but sweet and cheerful. We had our spot of tea and scone as soon as we arrived and then I headed into the workshop as Jubal occupied himself at the cafe. I met 5 other ladies and had a wonderful time exchanging tips and stories. So happy I was able to go! 
We dyed with alder cones.
A 2nd dye bath of logwood.

A 2nd dye bath of madder root.

It was such a wonderful way to end this side trip. And I made new friends and felt inspired even further with my natural dye endeavors.

On the way home to Doolin, while driving through someplace, we came across a sign reading Thoor Ballylee, home of W.B. Yeats. We stopped in to have a look. A really beautiful drive home the rest of the way even though it was raining. 

Such a wonderful trip <3



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