"This blog is not necessarily for lovers of art, it includes a variety of topics and whatever. I'm a painter who likes to know what's really going on in the world today. So you might find anything from Shamrocks to Salmiakki mentioned here on my blog. There will of course be some boring, factual and informational posts, but I'll keep them to a minimum, I promise!

And I might get a bit nostalgic now and then.

So you have been warned!"

- Alan Hogan

Showing posts with label vacation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vacation. Show all posts

Thursday, July 3, 2014

From Clare to here

I just found this impressive video online today which I have to share. It shows the western part of County Clare off Ireland's west coast, featuring the village of Kilrush, Loop Head, the Bridges of Ross and the amazing Cliffs of Moher.

This video is made by Alan Magner Photography and should be watched in HD quality. It's a fine example of good photography and a nice slice of Ireland's natural beauty. This is one big thing I really miss about not living in Ireland anymore. While Finland has it's own unique natural beauty, it does not have the same geographical aspects that Ireland has to offer. Living within the landscape of another country can often remind a person of the beauty of another land which they once took for granted for so long. It's great to get back to Ireland whenever possible, and even greater if one is lucky enough to visit places such as those in this video. Being a Dubliner this isn't always possible as family visits always come first and holidays can often be too short. So it's always great to find such wonderful videos on the internet to remind us of Ireland's magnificent landscape, especially when living so far away.

Last summer I had a fantastic holiday in Ireland including the west coast. The weather was amazing and I got some great photo shots of my own. You can check out my photos by clicking on any of the links below.

Share this blog!

Thanks for reading my blog and please feel free to share it with any of your friends.

You can receive my blogposts direct to your email or facebook profile by pressing the follow button at NetworkedBlogs  and you are welcome to visit my art page on Facebook by clicking the 'Like' button under my signature below.

- Alan 


Monday, September 16, 2013

Tervetuloa Kilkenny!!!

This is the sixth and final blogpost looking back at my holiday adventures in Ireland, and this time it's all about Kilkenny
It's probably a name known to a lot of people worldwide for being a distinctive red-coloured beer of the same name. But there's a lot more to Kilkenny than just beer. For example, when I hear the name Kilkenny I immediately think of the black and amber colours of the county and the great history Kilkenny has in the sport of hurling. If you are not familiar with this sport here's a short video clip to give you an idea.

Not forgetting also that Kilkenny refers not only to a city in Ireland but also to an entire county. It was here that we set as our next destination having said farewell to beautiful Kinvara and the west of Ireland. It was also a chance for me to meet up with my brother and his young family who made the trip down from Dublin. We all arranged to stay at the same hotel for a night in Kilkenny. 

Before we reached Kilkenny city we decided to stop somewhere for dinner. A popular place to go eat in Ireland is the pub, where the food is usually very good and value for money. We had been sampling several pubs for their food during our trip and our next pub was one of the best we found. It was called Delaneys Bar in Clomantagh, County Kilkenny. The owner was very friendly and the food was fantastic!

(Click all photos to enlarge!)

Delaney's Bar and Restaurant, Clomantagh, County Kilkenny

Great food at Delaney's Bar!

Having had a good feed we drove straight towards our hotel in Kilkenny city and checked in. The hotel we stayed at was called the Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel and we were not disappointed.
We had a wonderful stay with a very comfortable and spacious room. Our Finnish friends were upgraded to a superior executive suite which was a nice surprise and we also received a big discount on parking. The hotel itself and it's facilities are without fault, and the cavery breakfast was delicious. What impressed me the most however was the way the staff treated us having arrived back late after a long day's stroll around the city. With the hotel's restaurant closed and their chef gone home for the evening, the manager and some staff prepared an inexpensive platter of pizza/chicken goujons/salad and chips for all of us (six adults and three children). Good customer service!

Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel

As I mentioned, we all had a nice stroll around the city. This isn't too difficult to do in that Kilkenny city feels more like a small town and most of what needs to be seen is condensed in a small area of space.
The main attraction and most famous landmark in the city has to be Kilkenny Castle, with it's wide open lawn and impressive gardens. The weather was fabulous yet again, so we had a nice walk around the castle grounds. It was a perfect escape from the noise and traffic outside the castle walls. My brother's kids were happy to find a kids play area nearby also. On our second day a few of us took a tour inside the castle. As we walked around inside, apart from all the wonderful art and interior features we were oddly impressed that they had free Wifi available, especially given the fact that the castle walls are extremely thick inside. A Finnish friend was also impressed by the greeting he received as we walked through one of the castle hallways. An old woman working as a guide kindly said hello and asked my friend where he was from. On his reply of "Finland" she then replied by saying "Tervetuloa!"(the Finnish for Welcome!). This was a bit special I thought. With so many tourists coming through this building every day, I only expected the lady to perhaps know greetings for the more common visitor languages, eg. French, German or Italian.   

Kilkenny Castle gardens

Entrance to Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle and lawn

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle

Walls of Kilkenny Castle overlooking the River Nore

The River Nore and John's Bridge in Kilkenny

Another way to get around Kilkenny is to take one of the small train tours like the one in the photo below. It's a fun way of getting around to see areas outside the city centre. On our little train trip we found more examples of Kilkenny's fine churches and we also got to catch a glimpse of the famous St.Francis Abbey Brewery.  

The Castle Express, Kilkenny

St.Mary's Cathedral, Kilkenny

St.Canice's Cathedral, Kilkenny

Kilkenny City Town Hall

After our trip around the city it was time for ice-cream and sweets from Kitty's Cabin sweet shop. This is an old style sweet shop which isn't something I frequent everyday. They had a huge selection of sweets, some old favorites and some new ones with crazy flavours! I decided I had to fill up my pockets with a few bags to take back to Finland. Let's just call it a bad case of Wonkavision!

Kieran Street, Kilkenny

One last thing I must mention about my short visit to Kilkenny was a piece of street-art I discovered. It was situated at an empty building plot on Kieran street in the heart of the city. The title of the artwork was 'Alice', but it featured images of a woman called Dame Alice Kyteler, the first woman in all of Europe to be tried by the Church for crimes of witch craft. The whole piece created by artist Mick Minogue was cleverly presented and very eye-catching to passers by. To view the full artwork and read some more about Mick Minogue, simply go to my next blogpost by clicking here or the image below.

Mick Minogue Made This!

Dame Alice Kyteler by Mick Minogue

Share this blog!

This is part 6 of a set of 'Ireland' travel posts here on my blog. Click on the destinations below to read the rest!

Thanks for reading my blog and please feel free to share it with any of your friends.

You can receive my blogposts direct to your email or facebook profile by pressing the follow button at NetworkedBlogs  and you are welcome to visit my art page on Facebook by clicking the 'Like' button under my signature below.

- Alan 


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Postcard from Kinvara

... And so to part two of my Irish summer holiday recollections. This time a look at the village of Kinvara in County Galway on Ireland's west coast. This was to be our basecamp as planned back in Finland since way back in January beforehand. I even mentioned my plans to Irish radio presenter Hector Ó hEochagáin on his breakfast show to warn him I was coming over! 

Kinvara can be found on the map below just south of Galway city in the centre of the picture. The village name can also be spelt Kinvarra as on the map here, but please don't ask me why!
After driving non-stop from Dublin it was nice to stretch the legs and find our pre-booked accommodation. And we were not disappointed!

Click on image to enlarge

View of Kinvara harbour with the Burren hills behind in the distance.
Our house rental is in the centre of this photo.
Click on image to enlarge

Nice living space with all mod cons and free wi-fi! 
Click on image to enlarge

Hawthorn / Fushia House Rentals
Click on image to enlarge

This was our home for three hot days and nights (that's something you don't hear too often in Ireland!).  It got so warm that the asphalt on the roads started to melt. Unusual weather for Ireland, but always welcome. We prebooked our accommodation at the Hawthorn home rental after we booked our flights back in Finland. 

Patio view of the harbour

Patio view with free parking

The tide comes in!

The tide goes out!

Kinvara Garda Station (Police)

Watching the sun set at a nearby beach

Old ruins close to Kinvara

A boat

A wall

A closed Pub???

For some reason P.J.Flatley's pub seemed to be closed while we were in Kinvara. I heard about a cellar bar there which interested me. But a visit wasn't to be had!  
Luckily there's no shortage of bars and pubs in this small village, and over our short stay I got to visit a few of them. We got to hear some traditional Irish music in a pub called Connollys. Even though it's a pub aimed at the tourist trade, it came with a decent pint and prices weren't a rip-off like so many other tourist pubs. We also popped our heads into a pub called Conole's, but skipped having a drink as it lacked any atmosphere whatsoever. Instead we headed up the street to Tullys Bar which was just what I was looking for. A normal bar with a tv and music playing in the background. It also had a pool-table and friendly staff behind the bar. I wouldn't call Tullys a tourist pub, but it's a good place to meet and chat with the friendly locals. I couldn't have found a nicer place even though some dog ran off with the cue-ball in his mouth! 
A decent pint of Guinness also.... mighty!!!

Good Morning Kinvara! Maidin mhaith!!

After a pleasant Guinness-fuelled sleep it was great to open my bedroom window to the smell of the sea. I've done this on occasions in Finland also, but it's never the same. It's a completely different experience. The sea looks and smells very different with salty water and seaweed everywhere.

Kinvara, Co.Galway

During our time in Kinvara we used the facilities in our house rental as often as we could. I got to cook a full-Irish breakfast to my Finnish guests which was hard work but fun. I then watched as they all tried to figure out how a typical Irish heating and shower system works, which was even funnier! Yep, some things are different in Ireland.

We did get to sample some of Kinvara's restaurants and pub-grub, the best being served at the Merriman Hotel where the staff were excellent.

Using Kinvara as a base on the westcoast we also travelled to nearby Doolin in County Clare, driving through the Burren and visiting the Cliffs of Moher. We also took a boat-trip over to the Aran Islands as well as driving around the Connemara loop. But I'm gonna write about that on my next blogpost.
Before leaving the west coast and heading to the city of Kilkenny we visited Kinvara's main tourist attraction Dunguaire Castle.

Dunguaire Castle, Kinvara, Co.Galway

Check out this program from the BBC here which shows more scenes from Ireland's west coast as well as some interesting bits of history. Might be a good idea to go full screen for this one!

Share this blog!

This is part 6 of a set of 'Ireland' travel posts here on my blog. Click on the destinations below to read the rest!

Share this blog!

Thanks for reading my blog and please feel free to share it with any of your friends.

You can receive my blogposts direct to your email or facebook profile by pressing the follow button at NetworkedBlogs  and you are welcome to visit my art page on Facebook by clicking the 'Like' button under my signature below.

- Alan 


There was an error in this gadget

The Art Garage, Finland

The Art Garage, Finland
Click this banner to visit my website!