Monday, June 30, 2008

Something fun....

Lucas' cousin had a link to a website on her blog that made photos look antique-like. I thought these photos of Tyrone & Gavin turned out really cute.

Good times in Wexford.

A night with friends; Susan, Mandy & Micheal

Micheal, Lucas, Gavin & Tyrone

A cottage that Micheal used to live in before he built his new house. This is a typical Irish cottage, although this one doesn't have a thatched roof (straw.) Micheal is the 8th generation of Redmonds that lived in this cottage.

Our little European Rental Car.

Ballymoney Beach in County Wexford.

We went to Wexford this past Wednesday. It is a county located in the southeast.We stayed in Ballymoney which is outside of the town of Gorey. The whole area is very rural and there are a lot of farms. We stayed with a family friend called Micheal. He is a farmer and lives two fields away from the beach. His house is situated so whatever window you happen to look out, you can see the ocean. It's beautiful! Wednesday was a beautiful day so once we got to Ballymoney, we headed straight for the beach. It was probably 60 degrees at the most but it was pretty warm when the sun came out. We all rolled up our pants and went to the waters edge to dip our toes in. Gavin and Tyrone loved seeing the waves crash at the edge and Gavin went in a little too far and soaked his pants. We took off Gavins pants and shirt and he went staight in up to his hip level. The water was freezing cold, remember it's the Atlantic Ocean, but it didn't phase Gavin at all. He kept running in and out and when the little waves crashed right at the edge he would squeel with delight when the water splashed up on him. Tyrone wasn't as adventurous but he did splash in the water right at the edge. Both boys had fun picking up dry sand and throwing it in the water and looking for sea shells. We had a lovely time at the beach and it reminded me of the summers my family and I spent swimming and sunbathing on this same beach.

Stained Glass windows from Dublin

Images of County Wicklow

Some food from Ireland

Traditional Fry...very good!
A violent feed of Fish n' Chips...smothered in salt and vinegar

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The People of Dundee!

This first picture is of me wearing the helmet from the movie Gladiator, and holding a sword. I love this picture and this store was AWESOME!
This is the Campbell family! They are great people and we will miss them.

Mandy with Helen Campbell at J.M. Barrie's birth place.

This picture is with Rosel Dobson. She joined the church in 1969 after my dad taught her and her husband the gospel. She is one of the most fascinating people we have met, and loved all the time we spent with her.

Dundee, Scotland

This is the Campbells home where we stayed in Monikie, Scotland! This area is so green and across the road is a field with horses.
This is Dundee High School which is alleged to be the place where William Wallace went to school. Obviously Wallace didnt go to high school here, but where this building stands is the same location of the schooling institution in the 1200's.

This is a memorial on Law hill which honors the fallen soldiers from Dundee who died in World War one and two. This has a great view of the Firth of Tay and the bridges over.

The boys on Law Hill with a shot of Dundee in the backround. We had great weather that day as you can see in the picture.

Monday, June 23, 2008

St. Andrews, Scotland

Gavin in the graveyard of St. Andrews Cathedral. The ruins still show the foundation for most of this building which dates back to the 1300's. As seen in the picture below, part of the building is still standing. This is right on the east coast of Scotland and the Ocean breeze is FREEZING, blowing in from the North Sea....even in June. The famous golf course is right down the street.

We were trying to make it to the Castle here, but we were short on time. I wanted to get a picture of the castle at St. Andrews. While making our way down the street, we could hear someone begin to play bagpipes. It was so melodious and powerful. We followed the sound to an Episcopal church where we found this guy below. He was warming up for a wedding. He was kind enough to play "Scotland The Brave" for us. I have to admit, it was a pretty emotional thing standing there with the strength of the pipes blowing through the Scottish breeze playing one of my favorite tunes. It was icing on the cake for me!

Stirling Castle and William Wallace

The actual sword that William Wallace used to fight at the battle of Stirling bridge. Sorry it is sideways. The Sword was taken from Wallace when he was captured. Wallace was executed and the sword was kept by the English until it was donated at a later date to Scotland.

"He who holds Stirling-Holds Scotland" This is why two of the greatest and bloodiest battles in Scottish history were fought in the shadows of Stirling castle. The first by Wallace in 1297 at the bridge and the second by Robert the Bruce at Bannockburn in the year 1314. The statue is of Robert the Bruce.

The inner hold of this castle dates back to the 1500's. Pretty cool place. We toured the dungeon area, and all of the different fortifications. This place is way cool.

We took our place at the throne of Stirling Castle. This room was a gigantic hall, just like you would imagine in the old English movies where they would have a dance or court. It had at least 4 or 5 huge fireplaces with flags or royal banners hanging over them.

The castle literally rests on a cliff. on the other side of that wall Im sitting on is a steep cliff. It had to be close to 500 feet. The misshaped grass behind me is the Kings garden. This castle has the most amazing view of the entire valley. You can spot all of the battle sites from the castle hill.

This is Wallace monument. This is the resting place of his sword. The tower oversee's the battleground of Stirling Bridge. There are homes built there now, but you can get a good idea how it all went down.

Peter Pan Day!

Gavin and Tyrone with Jamie and Jennifer Campbell! We all went to have ice cream at Vissochi's, which is right down the street from J.M. Barrie's house. Notice the Peter Pan picture in the backround.

We went to a town called Kirriemuir which is the birth place of Sir J.M. Barrie, who wrote Peter Pan. Gavin and Tyrone on the left are dressed as Captain Hook. In the next picture is Mandy standing next to a little building. It is a washroom just outside of the flat where he grew up. Its very small, and only one room. If you've seen "Finding Neverland," with Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, they show how Barrie used the washroom to show all of the plays that he wrote. He would charge neighborhood kids to enter and see his plays. This building also plays in part of the Peter Pan story where the lost boys built a place to hear stories from Wendy.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lashing Rain to Scottish Plane!

Yesterday the heavens opened and the rain fell...all day! Mandy's cousin Denis came over to pick us up so we could tour the town. The only issue is his little European car could only take 1, other than himself. We decided that we would take the bus into town. Once in town we went to take a tour of the history of Dublin. Its called Dublinia, and it showed us how the Vikings came to Dublin about 841 A.D. and built a fort. The city wall is mostly gone but there is still parts that is still standing and it is awesome to see. During the Viking tour Gavin was able to try on an authentic Knights helmet, and Tyrone loved seeing actual bones from an old viking woman. Tyrone kept yelling "PIRATE" in the middle of this quiet gallery! It was pretty funny. There were several stained glass windows that I was able to get a picture of, even though the sign said I couldn't take a picture. At the end of the tour there was a gift shop with a lot of cool stuff. The boys each got a wooden sword and sheild. We took many pictures but you'll have to wait until I can put them on a disc. We took another tour of a crypt under Christs Church. You walk into a giant Cathedral with the gothic type archways. The stone is all old and gray. To the side was a stone stairway which took us under the church. Down in the crypt it was cold and creepy. There were headstones of certain church members in the 1800's. I kept making ghost sounds and needless to say the boys stayed very close to us. They were kind of scared.

After the museum and church it was still pouring rain. We were caught outside for quite a while trying to catch the luas and bus back to Clondalkin. When we got back to the house we were cold, hungry and tired. It was an early night for us all.

Today we fly to SCOTLAND!! The land of my McKnight forefathers. The land of William Wallace and Nessie! We are staying at the home of the Campbells. My Dad served his mission is Scotland and they are members of the church over there. I think my dad taught Sister Campbells mother and baptized her. I do not look foward to getting on a plane today but Its quicker than taking a boat. I plan on seeing the castle at St. Andrews and the Sterling Bridge, where William Wallace fought a battle. Also Dundee high school where he allegedly went to school in the late 1200's. I am very excited. We'll take lots of pictures and we'll post them after we get back to Dublin next Monday.

Monday, June 16, 2008

What a day!

Today was going to be a pretty relaxing day, we thought. My dad suggested we go to Bray. It is an oceanside village in the next county, Wicklow. We headed out about 10:30am and drove to Bray. It has a long pier that stretches around a grassy cliff that is called Bray Head. It was a little windy and chilly, but soon the sun came out and it was really nice. We will post some pics we took very soon. We walked the length of the pier. I was reminded of how my family and I used to drive 20 miles each Sunday to meet in the upstairs of a pub called 'The Hibernia Inn' for church, right at this pier. The church had just opened a branch in Bray and rented a room in this building. It was such a small branch, maybe 12 people including my family of 6. I remember the special spirit that was in that room as we met each Sunday and partook of the sacrament and listened to new members bearing witness of our Savior Jesus Christ. Meanwhile there were people drinking and smoking in the pub below. The Hibernia Inn is still there. There is a Bray Ward now and they have their own building. The church has really grown here in this part of Ireland.

When we left Bray, we headed for Arklow, about 15 miles away. It is a little village that was founded by the Vikings in the 9th century. It has a main street, with little shops and pubs along the way. We parked the car and walked down main street, all downhill. We found a little souvenir shop on main street. They had Irish jewelry, T-shirts, tons of little nic-nacs. Lucas found a rugby shirt there, which he had been looking for. Gavin chose to buy a diesel truck. Tyrone bought a gun. Surprise, Surprise! We had talked about finding a baby braclet for Niamh, while we were here in Ireland. Jewelry is very expensive, so we were not too optimistic that it would happen. We happened to find a really pretty gold baby bracelet. The store was able to engrave her name on the braclet also. It was not as expensive as we expected. Luckily it is expandable, so it can grow with her chubby wrists.
We were tired and hungry by the time we got back to the car and headed back to Dublin. My dad decided to go back over the Wicklow mountains instead of the M50 freeway, so we could enjoy the mountain scenery. We somehow lost our way and were driving for what seemed like hours on a tiny little mountain road. It seemed to go on forever and there were no signposts or houses in sight. The only consolation was that we passed several cars along the way. So we knew there was an end somewhere. The road was pretty smooth, but suddenly we would come to huge bumps and would bounce over them and we would all bounce up off our seats and hit our heads on the ceiling of the car. We finally saw the Dublin city in the distance and headed for home. It was 5pm when we arrived at my dad's house. My dad and I had to run to the store to pick up some groceries. I made curry tonight, which tasted wonderful. It was a long day, but we had a lot of fun and it was wonderful to revisit the places of my youth. The sea air was so fresh that I think we will all sleep very soundly tonight.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

More Pictures

The Liffey, main river through Dublin