Scenes from Key West

IMG_5819Since we’re all having the coldest winter ever – it seems that many people who might have gone to Myrtle Beach or Hilton Head said “Forget that!” and headed to the Keys. We’ve never seen it so packed… or pricey!  Our favorite hotel was charging $$$550/night and our favorite B&B wanted $$500 so  – we developed new favorites!  – found an old style clean and quiet motel just two blocks from our  little beach bar with the beautiful sunset. We enjoyed the funky music and characters, as usual.  All our time is spent out of doors – soaking up the sun and the Key West vibe.

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Out of the ICE

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Icicles at home

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We skirted the continuing snow storms in the midAtlantic and even the South. Our normal meander along country roads wouldn’t work this time as the roads were choked with snow covered ice. So we stayed on the Interstates ( all well tended) and pulled into Flagler Beach after two days.

There we met the crew From American Huey 369 – John Walker and the gang who had retrieved a couple of Hueys to take back to the forthcoming American Huey Museum in Peru Indiana.  It was great to see our wonderful friends.  We found some delicious Minorcan chowder and a nice little Art Festival in Flagler Beach wich is still an “old Florida” beach town.

Then off to Miami where we attended a serious Art Festival in Coconut Grove with Doug and kids.

Our Next Stop was Marathon. Stone crab claws at our favorite sunset bar with our favorite Marathon Youngstown crowd. We visited Gordon and Cathy’s gorgeous new boat and will stop back there when we leave here….. Key West!

Across Ireland

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We left the western lake region and drove across the Isle. Looking online before we left  I had found the  Gleeson Townhouse  in Roscommon  which is about halfway to Dublin and a likely place for lunch.

My new “cousin” Eamonn welcomed us and taught me a little gaelic Irish. He and Mary are former teachers who now run a very successful restaurant, cafe and guesthouse.

Nearby we happened on a horse racing “Point to Point” event.  The Irish horses were glorious on a sunny day.

Our last night – of course we went out to the pubs where, not surprisingly, Ray played and sang a couple songs.

Landing in JFK we picked up the van and loved driving right thru NYC – no traffic – everyone out on a sunny afternoon. We stopped at Glen’s for a little supper and appreciated the beautiful fall colors still vibrant thru New Jersey and New York.   Nice to be home   :- )

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“dotted with silver”

“The angels dotted it with silver just to make the lakes so grand…..”

We’ve come to the west of Ireland where the lakes are so beautiful, the mountains so grand and the villages are like your dreams of Irish country life. Galway is doing well in Irelands economic crunch. You can tell by the traffic jams – the only we’ve encountered here. They’ve blocked off a pedestrian area of the downtown where the young people were jumpin’ & jivin’ on Halloween night.  We had fun with them then left the next day for the misty, mysterious cliffs of Moher and finally, another type of make believe … our stay at Ashford Castle.  Warm. welcoming and over the top spoiling. We explored the beautiful grounds and quaint village (site of “The Quiet Man” movie with John Wayne and Maureen Ohara which we watched late one night in our room)

The next day we traipsed out to Kylemore Abbey which Dale had recommended. Another WOW. Very interesting history  of a romantic couple who employed half the countryside during the potato famine years – paying twice the going rate to help the desperately poor tenants in western Ireland. Later a school for girls – both wealthy and poor run by nuns a few of whom still live there.

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Amazing drives through the beautiful lakes and mountains of Connemara.

MAUNTURK MOUNTAINS

MAUNTURK MOUNTAINS

Gleesons

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We know that the Gleesons came from Cappamore near Limerick.  Turns out there are two families – or one family divided – in Cappamorre  “on the Kyle” – a homestead on a hill above the village. Gary found one and some years later Gael & Glenna found the other.  It seems that both claimed alligiance, if not relation, to their American visitors.

Now one of them has been doing the family tree and I expect we’ll discover some interesting info on how Timothy, our great grandfather, who left the  farm and came to America in 1853,  is connected to the family still “at home”.

We had a wonderful time discovering and visiting with a great crowd of Gleesons however they may be related.

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The Emerald Isle

Sooo We’ve driven around and seen some fabulous sights. Our B&B experiences have been positive but not fantastic. The countyside is gorgeous and the towns are friendly. We have an ambitious route and the weather changes by the hour. Some of the shots are from our car  – not Vinnie but not bad.

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