Looking Back: Day 7 in Pictures: Bray

On Sunday, August 21, 2016, we packed up and left Tara Towers Hotel and headed south to Bray. Tara Towers was booked when I made the reservations, plus it was neat to venture out to a new area. Our hotel for the night was The Martello Hotel, right across from the Irish Sea. Bray was a fun and festive place. If you are familiar with the Jersey Shore, it was part Belmar, part Manasquan, and part Point Pleasant Beach. If you click on one of the pictures below, it will turn into a gallery which you might find easier to view.

Bray was the vacation from the vacation and I really enjoyed it. The only thing I would change would be to build an elevator at The Martello Hotel. We had to climb a lot of stairs to get to our room with our bags, which was a little difficult. Otherwise, everything was splendid. If you would like to learn more about any of the places from today’s post, please visit these links:

Bray, Ireland

The Martello Hotel

The Harbour Bar

Katie Taylor

Coming tomorrow: Day 8: Goodbye, Ireland!

*** All photographs that are a part of this gallery were taken by me, Jill Ocone, on August 21, 2016 and are copyrighted. It is illegal to reproduce or to take credit for my intellectual property contained on this post. Thank you for your compliance

Looking Back: Dublin Day 5 (Part 1) in Pictures: The Hill of Tara

Dublin, Day 5: Part 1: August 19, 2016. It rained. And rained. And was windy. And did I mention it rained?

Did the weather damper my excitement about visiting the Hill of Tara? Absolutely not.

One of the most important sites on my pilgrimage to Ireland, visiting the Hill of Tara was profound. I’m glad it was windy and rainy because I was able to disguise my tears. This place was very special to me (if you know me, you know why. If not, you’ll find out someday…)

The Hill of Tara is an archaeological complex associated with kingship and sacral kingship rituals. From the Hill of Tara website:

The Hill of Tara is A ROYAL PLACE: In prehistory and historic times 142 Kings are said to have reigned in the name of Tara. The coronation stone called The Lia Fail or Stone of Destiny has rested here down the ages. And it was here that the most powerful of Irish Kings held their great inaugural feasts and were approved by Earth Mother Goddesss Maeve.

The Hill of Tara is A SACRED PLACE: In ancient Irish religion and mythology, Tara was revered as a dwelling of the gods and an entrance place to the otherworld of eternal joy and plenty where no mortal ever grew old. In the legends of St Patrick’s mission to Ireland he is said to have first come to Tara to confront the ancient religion in its most powerful sight.

The Hill of Tara is A CELTIC PLACE: Tara is one of the largest complexes of Celtic monuments in all of Europe. In reading its landscape we are transported back in time to when the first settlers came here 6000 years ago. They and the Celts who followed them chose Tara as a very special site.

Royal, Sacred, Celtic. Words I would also use to describe a special spirit. If you click on one of the pictures below, it will turn into a gallery which you might find easier to view.

What an amazing place.

To learn more about the Hill of Tara, click here. (Sidebar: To those who know the backstory with the Triskelion symbol, take a look at the symbol used on the Hill of Tara website all over! So awesome!)

Once again, THANK YOU to my spirit guide, my treasured friend.

Coming tomorrow: Day 5, Part 2: Celtic Boyne Valley Tour

*** All photographs that are a part of this gallery were taken by me, Jill Ocone, on August 19, 2016 and are copyrighted. It is illegal to reproduce or to take credit for my intellectual property contained on this post. Thank you for your compliance.

Looking Back: Dublin Day 4 in Pictures – Dun Laoghaire

Day 4, August 18, 2016: My day in Dun Laoghaire (pronounced dun leery). On my 2014 trip, we stayed at the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire, and I would have stayed here again had the universe not had other plans. I was very excited about seeing Dun Laoghaire again. I loved it in 2014, and looked forward to returning, walking the pier, and just “be”ing. I have to say that it is one of my favorite places on Earth. No idea why, it just is.

Dun Laoghaire had a role in WWI history. Known then as Kingston, the RMS Leinster, which was its mailboat, was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine in October 1918 four nautical miles into the Dublin Bay. Over 500 people died in the attack.

Dun Laoghaire was only four DART stops away from our hotel, which was a ten-minute ride at most. Our first stop was the east pier. There were a lot of single people who seemed to be enjoying their lunch break outside at the pier area, as well as a lot of families spending the beautiful day outside. I was able to see the James Joyce Tower in the distance (which I visited later in the week; stay tuned for the post from Day 6).

After enjoying an ice cream cone from Teddy’s on the pier, we visited the National Maritime Museum of Ireland, went to my favorite store, Eason, and had dinner at O’Neill’s Dun Laoghaire. If you click on one of the pictures below, it will turn into a gallery which you might find easier to view.

 

If you ever visit Dublin, be sure to check out this wonderful area, as well as the other towns up and down the Dublin Bay. You won’t be sorry. If you are interested in learning more about any of the places I included, here are links for you:

Dun Laoghaire Town

The Forty Foot Pub

O’Neills Dun Laoghaire

National Maritime Museum of Ireland

Eason

Coming tomorrow: Day 5, Part 1: Hill of Tara (Celtic Boyne Valley Tour)

 

*** All photographs that are a part of this gallery were taken by me, Jill Ocone, on August 18, 2016 and are copyrighted. It is illegal to reproduce or to take credit for my intellectual property contained on this post. Thank you for your compliance.

Looking Back: Dublin Day 3 (Part 2) In Pictures

Today’s post features Day 3, continued. On August 17, 2016, after visiting the James Joyce Center, we went to the Dublin Writers Museum, followed by a visit to the famous Temple Bar region. If you click on one of the pictures below, it will turn into a gallery which you might find easier to view.

If you are interested in learning more about the locations referenced in today’s post, please visit these links:

Dublin Writers Museum

The Garden of Remembrance

Dublin City Gallery Hugh Lane

The Clarence Hotel

Bad Bob’s Temple Bar Dublin

The Temple Bar

The Norseman Temple Bar

Ha’Penny Bridge

Coming tomorrow: Day 4

*** All photographs that are a part of this gallery were taken by me, Jill Ocone, on August 17, f2016 and are copyrighted. It is illegal to reproduce or to take credit for my intellectual property contained on this post. Thank you for your compliance.

Looking Back: Dublin Day 2 (Part 2) In Pictures

Today we will look back at the second part of Dublin Day 2. I think we did the most walking on Day 2, and while my legs were screaming in pain by the end of the day, I was glad the reason they were screaming was because of such a wonderful day versus hurting for nothing at all. Surprisingly, the pain subsided while I slept, which hardly ever happens. I know I had some special spirits looking over me, and I like to think they played a hand in my better than expected health throughout the week. Day 2 Part 2 takes us through Merrion Square through our storytelling dinner at The Brazen Head Pub, Ireland’s oldest pub. If you click on one of the pictures below, it will turn into a gallery which you might find easier to view. Cheers!

If you would like to learn more about the sights I saw on Day 2 Part 2, here are links for you:

PDF Copy of “A Selection of Stories from An Evening of Food, Folklore and Fairies at The Brazen Head

Oscar Wilde Statue, Merrion Square

O’Neill’s Pub

Knobs and Knockers

Molly Malone

Bewley’s Oriental Cafe on Grafton

Dame Tavern

Costa

Dublin Castle

Queen of Tarts

Dublina Viking and Medieval Museum

The Brazen Head

I hope that you visit tomorrow for Dublin, Day 3, Part 1 (including James Joyce statue and James Joyce Centre). Until then, be well my friend!

*** All photographs that are a part of this gallery were taken by me, Jill Ocone, on August 16,2016 and are copyrighted. It is illegal to reproduce or to take credit for my intellectual property contained on this post. Thank you for your compliance.

Looking Back: Dublin Day One in Pictures

Today I will begin sharing details and images from my “mission from the universe.” This post focuses on Monday, August 15, 2016, which was the day I arrived in Dublin. The flight ended up being delayed for over 4 hours, and my friend and I didn’t take off from Newark until 2:30 AM EST. We landed in Dublin about 2:30 their time, 9;30 EST, and were at our hotel, Tara Towers Hotel, around 4:00 PM Dublin time. We hardly slept on the plane, so we took a nap and then went out for a little exploring, which included getting a cab and telling the driver to take us someplace good for dinner. He met the challenge and drove us to The Purty Kitchen (click here for their website). Wonderful place, wonderful food, wonderful company. If you click on one of the pictures below, it will turn into a gallery which you might find easier to view.

A lot of people have said to me that they wished they could afford to take a trip like this. I’ll be honest: it was very affordable, and I was surprised at how little it actually cost. If you put $20 a week for a year and a half ($3 a day), you can plan a trip just like this too. It’s all about choices. Life is too short to stay in one place. Start thinking now about someplace you’d like to see, and for the next 78 weeks, put away $3 a day, and you will be there in 548 days. You can save on hotels too by traveling with a friend.

Coming Tomorrow: Day Two, Part One

“Mission from the Universe” Part 1: The Ides of 2014

20160807 Y Days Blog Photo New FontsI’ve been alluding to my upcoming adventure, which I have dubbed my “Mission from the Universe,” for some time now in random SoulSEAker posts.

Now the real countdown has begun. As my mission will commence in 7 days, I am ready to share parts of my story with you.

PART 1: The Ides of 2014. I was originally supposed to visit Ireland, Wales, and England with fellow teachers and students in April of 2014, but it was not meant to be. My father-in-law unexpectedly passed away the day before I was supposed to leave, and instead of kissing the Blarney Stone during Spring Break, I kissed Poppy goodbye for the last time.

Losing him was just surreal, like every death we all have dealt with I’m sure, but this was POPPY. He was the glue that held us all together, and we were all left shattered, heartbroken, and lost. A few times I just collapsed on my living room floor and lay there, in the fetal position and in solitude, sobbing uncontrollably.

Personally, I was also extremely angry, which at the time was misunderstood as selfishness.

That was the furthest from the truth: It wasn’t because I couldn’t go on the trip. Rather, I was angry that we were all robbed of Poppy and his presence in our lives.

I was still reeling in silence at losing a treasured friend and colleague (who I will call SHE for now) four months prior. I kept that grief bottled up inside ever since I received that fateful phone call from my friend D over winter break. Now here I was again, confronted with another huge and unexpected loss over a break, and I was pissed beyond belief.

I mean I literally saw red a few times. Literally.

I wanted to hit, punch, kick, and scream, and I did up at the beach three times. I am sure I looked like a raving lunatic yelling at the waves and the sand as I acted out like a two-year-old, but man, I had to in order to release the anger from my system. Looking back now, I think that was the angriest I have ever been in my life.

When my nephew, who was 8 at the time, heard the news of Poppy’s passing, he cried, “Things are going to be so different now.”

He was right.

It is true that “This Too Shall Pass,” and as each tomorrow became today, things subtlely returned to as normal as life would be, albeit with that sparkle in Poppy’s eye missing, his compassion and kindness now absent.

I was able to get a refund for my missed trip (sidebar: always spend the extra to get the trip insurance).  As luck would have it, my mother and a longtime friend both agreed to accompany me in July/August on a similar trip to Ireland, Wales, and England. We left on July 26 and returned on August 3, 2014. Throughout the week, we visited Dublin, Killarney, Waterford, Cardiff, Stonehenge, Bath, and London.

It’s now two years later, and I am headed to Ireland again a week from today with the same longtime friend.

This time, we will only be staying in Dublin. That’s by design.

Those who really know me know I am a creature of habit, and hearing that I am returning to Ireland next week might not be a surprise.

Others have asked why I would spend money and time to see someplace I already visited.

The reason?

It’s my mission from the universe, and I must go.

Stay tuned for Part 2: SHE and ME tomorrow.

And, yes. The term Mission from the Universe was inspired by Jake and Elwood Blues. I certainly won’t be causing as much damage as they did…or will I? 😉