Co Meath & Co Kildare

30 Jun 2012 – Back Road in Brownstown/Co Meath

Tue: appreciations to Ann for meeting me at the station. Ann crossed my path in 1965 and is my first Irish friend. She is also the first Irish who invited me to her home to meet her parents and she made scramble-eggs. Such kindness can never be forgotten when one is quite alone in a foreign land at the age of 15! Today she is a grandmother of Rebecca & Shannon, cute 18 months identical twins!

Wed: O’Connell & Grafton St in DUB with the maddening crowds! The quiet side street is Ann St S where WEST Jewellers used to be and the only jewellers in DUB where life’s journey has left footprints!! Today it is John Brereton Jewellers…

Poor Mick (Ann’s husband) had to be at the outpatients at the Mater Hospital due to a bad infection to his recent surgery. This is the first encounter to hear of patients with pants and shoes on during surgery and recovery in bed… !

Thu: Dún Búinne/Dunboyne=Búinne’s stronghold with history dated bck to the Middle Ages. Hair appointments for the ladies! Thanks to Ann & Mick for a delicious Irish Hereford steak dinner at The Mint Leaf Restaurant**** and a pleasure to meet Mick’s bro & wife, John & Marion.

Lunched at Carton House***with an enchanting boat house by the river.

Carton House was one of Ireland’s greatest stately homes and one time ancestral seat of the Earls of Kildare and Dukes of Leinster. This 1,100 acres/4.5 km² is located 14mi/23km W of DUB, in Maynooth, Co Kildare and possessed Ireland’s finest example of a Georgian-created parkland landscape. In the 2000s much of the estate was redeveloped into two golf courses and the house into a hotel complex.

Nothing can ever diminish my domestic comfort and happiness but illness and death – Stella Tillyard in Aristocrats

Castleisland & the Surroundings

28 Jun 2012 – Bye Bye Co Kerry

Sun: Baile an Bhuinneánaigh/Ballybunion, pop app 1,400 is where Catherine’s parents retired to from DUB. Wanted to pay respects. Mr&Mrs Carrick’s hospitality to my mother during her early 1960s visit to DUB was vaguely mentioned a couple of years ago. Ballybunion is known for its summer seaside location and a golf course that Clinton has been. Today the Traditional Irish music lives on and could be heard by the old castle wall!

Lios Tuathail/Listowel=Tuathal’s ringfort pop app 4,000+. Sometimes known as the Literary Capital of Ireland and a number of internationally known playwrights and authors have lived there, including Bryan MacMahonand John B. Keane. Here in Nunday, trying to break the Guinness World Record where the largest gathering of people dressed as nuns will be happening this weekend!

Mon: Baile Uí Shíoda/Ballyseedy=town of Sheedy and a lovely walk in Ballyseedy Woods where I finally found a Paddy who will not give any grief 🙂

Trá Lí/Tralee=strand of the River Lee with a pop app 23,000 and rich in history. Kerry County Museum, a good exhibit which depicts life in medieval Geraldine Tralee. And the only place with Drinking Consultants that has crossed this life’s journey… 🙂 🙂

Oileán Chiarraí/Castleisland was described by one of its most well-known citizens, journalist Con Houlihan, as not so much a town as a street between two fields. A pop of 2,300 with charming main street; often considered the Gateway to Kerry, as the main road to all towns in W & S Kerry passes thru’ here. N21 from Limerick continues on to Tralee while the N22 goes to Killarney and other towns in S Kerry.

I’m full of uncertainties; but what about it. they keep me going – Con Houlihan

An Fhianait=The Wild Place!!

26 Jun 2012 – En route to Dublin

An Fhianait/Fenit=The Wild Place, is a small village in Co Kerry located on N side of Tralee Bay app 10km/6mi W of Tralee town.

Fenit Marina (1997), largely with the aid of EU funding is a 130-berth marina located at Fenit harbour and is connected to the land by an 800m causeway and viaduct. The marina caters to leisure craft for boats from 6m-15m in length with an approach depth of 5m which provides access at all tidal levels. The min depth of water is 3m.

In 1851 a lighthouse was built on the little Samphire island, located a few hundred meters west of Fenit pier. A large bronze sculpture of Saint Brendan was erected in 2004 on Great Samphire Island, the rock around which the harbour was built. This island has been utilised as part of the port development.

Appreciations to Ailis for arranging this lovely sail trip.

Not sure what is wrong but it is taking forever to upload pix on the blog in Ireland. All postings from Ireland will be edited and updated. For the time being will acknowledge all the wonderful people who has made Co Kerry & Cork a memorable experience: a million thanks to Catherine & Denis Brosnan and their family, Ursula & George, Jim & Moria for all their hospitality. Another special million thanks to Catherine for driving me all over.

As one who has often felt this need, and who has found refreshment in wild places, I attest to the recreational value of wilderness – George Aiken

Idyllic Guagán Barra

25 Jun 2012 – Co Kerry & Co Cork

Sat: Welcome grandniece Devon Yiher LAM-TRIBBE born in NYC/USA.

A wet drive inland to Achadh Deo/Aghadoe overlooking the town and lakes of Killarney. The area is famous for its views of the lakes and islands, including Innisfallen Island. The ruins of 13th century Parkavonear Castle and of Aghadoe Cathedral an old Romanesque church in ruins, make the spot popular with tourists and archaeologists.

Seemingly today the tinkers are now known as the travellers and their graves are rather unique and elaborate.

Guagán Barra/Gougane Barra=the rock of Barra/Co Cork. St Finbarr, who is said to have built a monastery on an island in the lake nearby during the 6th century. Was in grotto#8 to keep dry today 🙂 The present ruins date from around 1700. when a priest called Denis O’Mahony retreated to the island. During the times of the Penal Laws, Gougane Barra’s remoteness meant that it became a popular place for the celebration of the Roman Catholic Mass.

The idyllic Church at Gougane Barra – built on island near monastery/well site at end of 19th century. Today there was a wedding and too wet to attempt the tempting trails in this area. An excuse to find shelter at the cafe or a warm bowl of soup 🙂 🙂

After the snack at Cronin’s Cafe***(soup was great but the coffee cake was way too sweet for the savory tongue!), headed to Cork via the mountain road with the local traffic 🙂 🙂 🙂

Catherine’s two grand-daughter, Abby & Emily who live in Cork will be slumbering with their cousin Aisha in Castleisland. Also to be in the area for the sailing trip tomorrow. Good idea of a design for a lovely kitchen cum dinning and living area making it a bright big space!

Scenic and pleasant drive in spite of the wet grey skies thru’ charming Macroom.

The actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts – James Joyce

Happy Mid-Summers Night…

23 Jun 2012 – From Corca Dhuibhne

Fri: Beautiful drive to Corca Dhuibhne/Dingle Peninsula

The Dingle Peninsula is named after the town of Dingle. The peninsula is also commonly called Corca Dhuibhne which means seed or tribe of Duibhne. This is the most western part of Ireland and the village of Dún Chaoin is often jokingly referred to as the next parish to America 🙂

There is no other landscape in western Europe with the density and variety of archaeological monuments as the Dingle Peninsula. This mountainous land juts into the Atlantic Ocean has supported various tribes and populations for almost 6,000 years.

The Stonehouse Cafe & Seafood Restaurant***located at Fahan, Ventry on the Slea Head Drive serves a delicious fresh local crabmeat sandwich with a view. This unique building boost the only stone roof building in the world according to our host David who wishes us céad míle fáilte/100,000 welcomes. To David, 100,000 thanks for delightful service.

David Lean’s 1970 film Ryan’s Daughter*** took place at a village on the Dingle Peninsula in the immediate aftermath of the 1916 Easter Rising, and was partly shot on location near Dún Chaoin, Coumeenole Beach.

Road signs to confuse you totally, so there is no choice but to slow down 🙂 🙂

The Town of Dingle was founded by the Fitzgerald and Rice families. Extensive trade with France and Spain was the main reason for Dingle’s importance, and also the town was a embarkation point for pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostella.

The Conor Pass, which runs from Dingle on the southern end of the peninsula towards Brandon Bay and Castlegregory in the North, is the highest mountain pass in Ireland, a tight, precarious road, weaving its way around the sharp cliff faces and past the high corrie lakes.

100,000 thanks to Catherine Bronsnan for everything.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine/Under the shelter of each other, people survive = There’s strength in unity – Gaelic quote


21 Jun 2012 – A Drive Down Memory Lane

Wed: Poor Olai, he is having his first runny nose and not sleeping well. Left Majorsuten 0715hrs on the T-bane/subway to the bus terminal catching the 0805hrs one hour bus ride to RYG/Moss airport (NOK 150, S$33). Dep with Ryanair on time 1035hrs (NOK 331, S$71 RT).

Arr DUB 1135hrs to blue skies and a delightful summer day, 15mins ahead of schedule. DUB is 1hr behind OSL. Silly me thinking that the flight was only 1hr when it is 2hrs…

The half hour bus ride (EUR6, S$10) from the airport to the Heuston train station took an hour due to traffic jams but was happy to have that time to go down memory lane with the exception of the two new landmarks Samuel Beckett Bridge/2009 and Convention Center by River Liffey.

O’Connell St with many people out enjoying the good weather.

Will edit the names of the roads for the above pix later… the last pix above used to be the Bank of Ireland until the 1970s. This building was originally designed by Edward Lovett Pearce in 1729.

Christ Church Cathedral /1028 is just as impressive and fresh in the memory. This is the most well-worth 1hr bus ride and certainly not the express bus 🙂

Seán Heuston Bridge/1828, Heuston train station

Train from DUB to Farranfore, Co Kerry SW Ireland (EUR32, S$52) took nearly 4hrs with a change at Mallow. Have not been on an Irish train since the 1960 & 1970s student days!

This post has taken forever to loan the pix, very frustrating. Needs to be edited!

I always thought old age would be a writer’s best chance. Whenever I read the late work of Goethe or W. B. Yeats I had the impertinence to identify with it. Now, my memory’s gone, all the old fluency’s disappeared. I don’t write a single sentence without saying to myself, ‘It’s a lie!’ So I know I was right. It’s the best chance I’ve ever had ― Samuel Beckett

Tåsen & Sognsvann

20 Jun 2012 –  Friends from Above the Arctic Circle Days

Sun: captured the piddle-paddling of feet from nursery school kids on an outing at Tåsen 59°57′9″N 10°45′1″Ø.

Tkx to Ingrid  & Hans K for a delicious dinner with the Hustad family. Appreciations to Jenny for her trial performance of the year-end school program. Slumbered at Tåsen to catch up with Anne who will be arriving tomorrow.

Mon: refreshing walk around Sognsvann 59°58′31″N 10°43′39″E (app 3km. This lake is a popular recreational area, used as a camping, picnicking and bathing destination for the residents of OSL during the summer. The first time in this area was 1967 as a tourist. Then in 1980, lived in this area for a short time where Linn attended nursery school. Today, the lake has a dam and thank goodness it is still not too crowded on a weekday!

Such fun to catch up with Anne who is in OSL for a conference. She arrived early Mon evening from Trondheim and we had a blast chatting past midnight. Anne and Ingrid go back a long way from the Tromsø days/1970s! Today, we are all living in different locations. Many thanks to Ingrid, our gracious hostess for wonderful company, food & wines and beds for us at Tåsen in the OSL area.

Needed Tue to recover before flying off to Dublin today 🙂

But oh! the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one’s deepest as well as one’s most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely. Oh, the comfort – the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person – having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away – Dinah Craik

Weekend Visitor

19 Jun 2012 – A Wet Weekend

Nice to catch up with Berit, B’s mom who flew to OSL from Trondheim.

Sat: shopping at Storo Storsenter, largest shopping mall in OSL, with 125 shops, restaurants and services. Being a rainy day, many also had the same idea and that took mental energy to not get frustrated in crowds! But really it was not that crowded compared to the weekend crowds in SIN!

The only thing that caught the camera’s attention are the lights, otherwise just another mall. The colourful LAKKBAR is not what you think! Guess which shops were visited!! Shopping malls are NOT for 9months and me, especially where there are no cinemas 🙂

Sun: a refreshing early morning walk to Frognerparken which is app 15mins walk from the apt.

The threatening clouds above the Monolitten were signs and signals to find shelter. Turned around to capture  a pix of the cleaned-up Sinnataggen/Angry Boy which was recently vandalized with red paint. Now he has a golden hand 🙂 🙂

Just in time to the Café Vigeland in the visitor center by the entrance and the sky opened up…

Back to the welcoming scent of a freshly baked veggie Quiche and it was yummy. Thanks to May for this lovely lunch and appreciations to Berit for all the good wines. Safe trip home to Trondheim.

Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche – Bruce Feirstein

To the Younger Generation

17 Jun 2012 – Happy Fathers Day to all fathers

Thank you to FB friends and friends of friends for sharing this note. Could not have put it better except to add this… keep an open mind.

For the younger generation, it is easier to do as their minds are not so set, and if you manage to keep those minds open, life will be full of adventures. If you are so fortunate to continue and displine keeping those minds open even later into life, your adventures and experiences will be enjoyable. Safe travels and good luck to you all!

When I saw this posting, immediate thoughts were with the group of international students in SIN from early this year. They are full of positive attitudes to a completely foreign food culture yet were very willing to taste everything placed in front of them. Appreciations to them for taking the effort and especially to Magnus who even took the extra step to meet up in Norway. Pix clock-wise:

Natasha Vlahovic/USA, Magnus Ramstad Dahl/Norway, Ashley Reitmeier/USA, Ryan McGee/USA, Jean Baptiste Jacob/France, Tommy Dewick/USA.

To Tommy, glad you sat next to me on the plane to KCH when we met and you showed interested by asking questions about KCH. Of course not forgetting that we were on Tiger Airways and your first remark… when are they serving the Tiger 🙂 🙂 🙂

Oh, the tiger will love you. There is no sincerer love than the love of food – George Bernard Shaw

Hakuna Matata

15 Jun 2012 – Sorgenfrigata=sorrow free road!

Today two highly respected gentlemen (my father LAM Tin Yue and L&M’s grandfather, John K HALD ) are not in this world but in sorrow free paradise celebrating their birthdays. They are always in my thoughts and mind.

A street named Sorgenfrigata is where all my ongoing banking transactions in this area and it is literally 1min walk from M&B. When the account was opened during dark ages of the 1970s, it was called Bergen Bank then! Now it is DNB/Den norsk Bank.

Told M&B that they should be living on Sorgenfrigata (just around the corner from where they are now!), but B informed me that in Trondheim, (where he is originally from), an area named Sorgenfri is where the garbage dump is located!! Free of sorrows when you can empty life’s garbage and still have a bank account on the green+ side! Not so sure about going to a hairdresser with the name, SKUM =foams in Norwegian also on the same street 🙂

Sanssouci/French (the former summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, in Potsdam, near Berlin), meaning without concern, worries, etc. With a summer palace of that size, of course there are no worries 🙂 🙂

Hakuna Matata/Swahili phrase that can be translated literally as ‘there are no worries’, used in the Lion King, a Walt Disney movie.

Bob Marley’s Don’t Worry Be Happy, carefree lyrics…

Here’s a little song I wrote,
You might want to sing it note for note,
Don’t worry, be happy

In every life we have some trouble,
When you worry you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy

Hakuna Matata can sometimes be mistaken for irresponsible, capricious, immature, thoughtless, undependable, untrustworthy, wild, etc. And being that at all times will probably result in unfavourable consequences. A balance of everything might be a better way to life, but then, even balance is subjective…  blablaba to another never-ending topic 🙂 🙂 🙂

Men who love humanity have all dreamed at least once during their lives of bringing all their fellow-men together in a state of carefree happiness. And only the world of the theater ever really succeeds in doing this – Jean Jacques Gautier

Saraca Thaipingensis  Chinese name -worry free tree.Edited 1 Mar 2014: this will be an appropriate place to add this, appreciations to niece JenLeng who saw this full bloom of yellow flowers on the trunk of a tree, Saraca Thaipingensis and it has a an interesting Chinese name -‘worry free’  这棵黄花盛开的树名叫“无忧树。但愿大家有个无忧的週末

Must buy a place in ‘Sorgenfrigata‘ and plant these tree on that street 🙂