Saturday, 16 May 2015

Something Quilty and Yet Another Trip

I make no apologies for having been on another little jaunt as I know people do love to travel vicariously (hope I've spelt that right).  The middle of April saw us taking the charabanc to the beautiful County Kerry in Ireland.   Our local coach company just happened to be running a trip to Killarney at the very time that we had been talking about wanting to visit some friends of ours who live beyond Tralee.  My days of driving long distances are coming to an end so if I can find someone else to do the driving I'm all for it.  Plus, we get a holiday into the bargain.  Result!  

 The two photos above are taken from Aghadoe Heights above Killarney and give an outstanding panorama of the beautiful Killarney Lakes.  We were so lucky with the weather and Paul, our driver, took full advantage to show us these views before he took us to our hotel.

On the free day Stewart and I took a local shuttle bus to the far side of these lakes and explored Muckross House and Abbey but more of that in a minute.

Our friends live out on Kerry Head and we hadn't seen them for nearly 10 years during which time my friend's husband had had a nasty stroke so it was lovely to see both of them after such a long time.  Peter has a nap in the afternoons so we were able to relax for a while in June's lovely conservatory while June plied me with wine.  As you can see I had a constant little companion, Ant, who took a shine to us.  I had wanted to take June a gift as it had been so long since we'd seen her and her life is taken up with looking after Peter so I made her a happy quilt, at least, the colours look happy.

A charm pack in my stash meant it went together quickly and I put a fleece back on it so it would be snuggly.  All the sashing and binding was done on the machine too so it was an easy make.  I'm happy to say June was delighted :-)  

Our time with June was all too short but it was lovely to have seen her and Peter at least.  We must try and get across there again before too long.

On the following day we caught a local Shuttle Bus and took ourselves off to Muckross House.   The shuttle bus is new since we were last in Killarney but it is a great innovation (I'm not sure whether the Jaunting Cars would agree) and suited our purposes for the day.  We had been on a jaunting car ride previously and I didn't feel up to it again as I was feeling a bit below par.  The bus was excellent though.  The driver kept us entertained and informed and was very relaxed as only the Irish can be about the itinerary and schedule.  He did make sure that we knew where to be and when.

Muckross House is a jewel in the crown of Killarney.  It sits in an idyllic position overlooking Muckross Lake and looked resplendent in the Spring sunshine.  (I sound like a travelogue!).
First stop was the new cafe complex for some refreshments.

How's that for a view?!

 It was quite a windy day and the cherry tree was shedding its petals like confetti.

 This beautiful old tree was colossal, the photos don't do it justice and its shapes were fascinating.

We had a lovely wander through the gardens and then ventured down to the lake shore.  The grounds were really busy but you wouldn't think it from the photos.

 This beautiful rhododendron bloom came floating by.

The water was making some beautiful patterns to inspire me.

Our next hop on the Shuttle Bus took us to neighbouring Muckross Abbey which proved to be a magical place.   You first see it as you walk down from the road,

The graveyard is still in use and has some interesting memorials and tombs.

Susan Lenz would enjoy a visit here.

The abbey itself is partially ruined but there is free access to the site, which is beautiful.

 This ancient yew tree grows up through the middle of the cloisters.  Yew trees are said to ward off evil and it must be doing its job as, on the day we visited, we saw no sign of 'the brown man' who is reported to haunt the site.

Apparently some have reported a spooky atmosphere but we felt only peace and calm throughout our visit to this beautiful building. 

Finally, (thank god, you're probably saying) it was time to travel back across Ireland via Adare and another abbey.

You're probably ready for a cup of tea now so I'll say tarrah for now.  If I can manage the technology I'm going to start a page for an online course I'm doing at Academy of Quilting with Elizabeth Barton on Working in a Series.  Watch this space!