Thursday, July 2, 2015

Ireland Trip Part 32: Overnight at Dromoland Castle & "Nightwing"


Tom and Rob outside Dromoland
This is part 32 of our Ireland trip where we take you to Dromoland Castle and tell you about a guy that looked like a superhero there!
Dromoland is a former castle from the 5th century, updated, refurbished and turned into quite an elaborate Bed and Breakfast. It was here that our friend Anne Marie Clarke of Across the Pond Vacations made sure we stayed overnight. Not only did we stay there, but she got us the highest room in the tower, on the fifth floor and the most luxurious suite. It was really over the top!

Castle Entryway/Lobby




Dromoland Castle










WHAT IS DROMOLAND CASTLE? - It's a 5 star place for sure and it's located in a place called Newmarket-on-Fergus in County Clare, Ireland, in southwest Ireland. 
  There's an entirely new section of the castle with banquet halls for weddings. Of course we walked through all the hallways and explored. 
Our elaborate room on the 5th floor tower
   There's a fine dining restaurant and a cocktail bar, plus a drawing room that offers afternoon tea. Facilities at the luxury spa include an indoor pool, a sauna, a steam room and a whirlpool. There's a golf course and 2 tennis courts, horseback riding, a walking trail, fishing and clay shooting. The grounds are so extensive you can't see them all! For the website, go to: www.dromoland.ie/

CASTLE HISTORY- There were apparently three houses on the site, and building that stands today was finished in 1835. The first building constructed was likely the tower house built in the 15th or early 16th century where we stayed on the top floor. That building was built by Thomas, the son of Shane Mac Anerheny. Other families that lived there later include the O'Briens that we talked about from Bunratty Castle in a previous blog, and the McInerney family. The word "Dromoland" means "Hill of Litigation" according to the historian James Frost.
Hallway in the castle


"NIGHTWING" THE WAITER - One thing we did notice was that all of the
Dick Grayson as "Nightwing"
restaurant servers were men and they were ALL incredibly handsome. Either red-headed with green eyes and powerfully built, or black-haired-blue eyed. That made such a nice dining experience! In fact, being a superhero fan I couldn't help but notice one of the waiters looked exactly like "Nightwing" (Dick Grayson) who is the former Robin to Batman: Handsome, in his 20s, jet black hair, blue eyes, muscular build, and about 5'10". So I asked him if he knew who that was, and he didn't - so I explained that he's Batman's "Robin" all grown up and in a new identity. He was flattered. I learned that he had moved to Ireland from Romania.


 

NEXT: THE GHOST WE FOUND AT DROMOLAND CASTLE 


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ireland Trip Part 31: Tom's Funny Quote of the Week: Sorbet

This is part 31 of our Ireland Trip, and it's just Tom's Funny Quote of the Week! 

At dinner one night, Tom ordered a sorbet that came in what looked like "some kind of hard shell." While he was enjoying the sorbet, he broke a piece of it off and handed it to me to eat. So, I did. After I crunched on it, he asked "So, was that a cookie?" 

Tom's sorbet looked like this
Nice to know that your loving husband has you eat things to determine if they're edible (just like royalty at the time had their subjects eat the food to determine if there was poison in it first). :) 

NEXT: SLEEPING OVERNIGHT IN DROMOLAND CASTLE

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tom's Take: Next Challenge: The area of public accommodation



Today we're pausing from the Ireland trip so that Tom can share these important thoughts: 

Without a doubt, last Friday was a momentous day.  It happened to be our 6th wedding anniversary.  It coincided with the anniversary of two other significant SCOTUS decisions – the right of LGBT couples to privacy, and the right of gay couples to receive federal recognition (e.g., the right to inherit property without incurring a huge tax liability).  Now, it will be remembered as the day that LBGT couples were granted the freedom to marry the one they love.  We’ll see if someday in the future June 26th becomes some kind of officially recognized day because of these three monumental decisions rendered by the SCOTUS securing the rights of LGBTs.  But the fight is far from over.

An example of the next hurdle in equality

In between the tears welling up in my eyes, as I watched the commentary on last week’s historic decision, it seems the next apparent fight for equality for the LGBT community to take up will be in the area of public accommodation – in other words, the right for LGBT individuals to receive service from a business operating in the marketplace without being discriminated against.  Many people on the right believe they indeed have the right to turn down service to gay people because it violates their “religious freedom.” 

While you’re never going to overcome such stupidity with reason, I’m not so sure the answer is to clog up the courts with lawsuits.  Rather, I’m advocating that we should let market forces determine whether or not a business owner should be allowed to remain a bigot and stay in business.  I mean, at fifty-cough years old, I’ve gotten so used to being discriminated against, that I’m getting more adept at just shrugging it off.  I mean, I’d rather just take my money to the next guy rather than stand my ground and confront an ignorant closed minded individual. 

Remember these signs?
 For example, last fall Rob and I needed a new car.  After doing our due diligence, we drove to Apple Ford in Columbia.  Right away, I detected that we were getting the brush off.  So we went to Koons Ford in Annapolis.  A totally different buying experience.  In the end, Koons got our business, Apple did not.  So eventually when enough stories like this leak out, bigoted businesses will close up without the need to drag the offenders into court.

Another example.  When my sister and I were growing up, my parents took us to Rehoboth Beach for vacation.  I still remember seeing the signs posted on hotels and motels: “We rent rooms to families only” as a way to deter gays from even bothering.  Today, gays have pretty much overrun the whole town.  So I suspect that in the short run at least, we will see an uptick in the anti-gay sentiment as very vocal sore losers are paraded in front of a microphone for comment.   

Their rhetoric is going to sting, no doubt, but we just need to push through the ignorance to get to a better place.
As President Obama said in his statement last Friday, this was a win not just the LGBT community, but for America as we begin to witness a new generation of Americans starting to reshape the country into the image that they want, and we see the old die off.    

Monday, June 29, 2015

Ireland Trip Part 30: Bunratty Folk Park &The Farmhouse Fun!

The fun farmhouse baker and Rob
This part 30 of our Ireland Trip where we will walk you through Bunratty Folk Park where we had some "farmhouse fun."
  Bunratty Castle sits in the park which consists of buildings from the time of the castle, (15th century) that recreates shops owned by certain craftspeople of the time. Basically, we'll walk you through history.

GOLDENVALE FARMHOUSE FUN!
Goldenvale Farmhouse
  The farmhouse was actually a small house with a big kitchen. When we walked into the kitchen, there was a woman working there, baking soda bread. She was talking with two other tourists so we walked around the edges of the room. Tom was trying to avoid her attention, and she noticed, so she said loudly to him "Are you right in there, sir?"  
Wisteria
(I was wondering if she thought he wasn't "right in the head!" LOL).  Tom looked at her oddly. She then looked at me and said "Would you like to try a piece of Irish Soda Bread I just made? There are several pieces with butter here." I told her that I'd prefer a plain piece - and she left the room and came back with one!  
  We talked about food, Ireland, and dogs. She was a big dog lover and has two dogs. She was a lot of fun and really made the walk through Bunratty Folk Park very memorable for us. 
A tradesman's cottage
  As a side note, her fiesty-ness reminded us of our friend Mom F. in Maine, so when we were talking with her, we were waiting for her to call us "two old gits" (Like Mom F. does!).
A 19th century house








Boy looking at his foot statue
BOY LOOKING AT FOOT STATUE- Sometimes the oddest things will catch your attention. I caught Tom taking a picture of a small marble statue of a boy looking at his foot.

NEXT: Ireland Trip Part 31: Tom's Funny Quote of the Week
 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Serious Note about Some (Awful) Dog Rescuers

     Since Marriage Equality became a reality on Friday in the U.S., there have been a number of incredibly hateful people posting things even on DOG RESCUE facebook pages who have put up rainbow colors to show support and congratulate all people for being equal.
   It astounds me of how hateful religions have made people - and yes, I know that some religions and churches accept marriage equality. The vitriol spewed by people who claim to be "religious" and "godly" is astounding. From nasty posts of self-proclaimed church-goers" to former Arkansas governor Huckabee who is rabid in his rants to deny and overthrow the Supreme Court.
  Right now, more laws in conservative states are being drawn up to block services to gay people under the guise of "Religious Freedom." In 31 states people can still be fired for being gay. So, there's a long way to go.
  To keep this short and come full-circle,  there is no place for hatred of anyone in dog rescue. We have been working in dog rescue for many years and we don't discriminate against any dog! So why should anyone discriminate against any person?
 People can learn a lot from dogs- because dogs love EVERYONE!

Video tour! Crusoe the Dachshund Goes to Europe

We love Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund!  He looks (and acts) like our Tyler. His parents come up with the greatest costumes for him (like the running Mickey Mouse outfit you may have seen him in). Earlier this year, he went to Europe with his parents and Crusoe had his own adventures!
Crusoe comes from the award winning blog at http://celebritydachshund.com - which details all his antics, exploits, and adventures in photo, story, video format.   Find more of Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund's travels in his new book available at http://celebritydachshund.com/book
  Meanwhile, enjoy Crusoe's vacation!!! (Our vacation blog resumes tomorrow).

Crusoe the Dachshund Goes to Europe - 2015 Full Video 

VIDEO: https://youtu.be/K4KLVCBx1jU

 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Physical World Catches Up with Spiritual World #LoveWins


Yesterday, in the U.S., the physical world finally caught up with the spiritual world. Love won. Love is the only emotion that really matters in this life and the next life.
    Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage is the law of the land for all 50 U.S. States and U.S. Territories. Finally, the U.S joins so many other progressive countries who understand that all people are created equal and deserve the same legal protections, rights and security. Before today, gay people who were married in one state could not visit their dying spouse in a hospital in another state. One friend of ours could not even claim his husband's body and had to call in an estranged relative not seen in 20 years. How horrible. That's all changed now.
Places around the U.S. lit in rainbow colors to celebrate equality on 6-26-15

     As a medium, I can tell you that that just as people in SPIRIT are all equal, so should all people be equal in the physical world. 
  For those who don't believe in equal treatment of others, no matter what their race, color, creed, non-religion, class, sexuality, social status, etc. you will understand that once your physical life is over and you transition to ghost or spirit, you will realize that we are, in fact, all the same. 
   If you have dislike in your heart for gay people, then get to know a gay person and show them patience, understanding and love. Gay people don't hate all straight people, so straight people should not hate all gay people. If you think that being gay is a choice, try to remember when you decided to be straight. You didn't- and neither did they.
   We all deserve the same opportunities, rights and protections in this life as we get in the next life. If you don't understand that now and you think you are better than others and deserve more than others, you may learn it the hard way in the afterlife- being trapped on Earth as a ghost, never to see your family and friends in spirit. 
  So, don't make that mistake. Instead, celebrate that others now have the same opportunities and protections. For in spirit, love is the only power that matters. In the physical, love should also be the only "power" that matters. So be loving, accepting and welcoming to people who are unlike you. We are all here together. Celebrate this day that people are now more equal. 
   After all, if there is one thing that is important in life and the afterlife, it's love. Today, #LoveWins and hatred loses. It should be that way every day.

Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

Great Books by our friends

Great Books by our friends
Check out these great books (yeah, Rob's are in there, too)

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next

Podcast of Rob's 50 min. interview on Paranormal Filler Radio 7/13/14

Article on Rob's books in Baltimore Gay Life

Writer Jen Vance interviewed Rob about his books and abilities and published an article about him in Baltimore Gay Life newspaper in Nov. 2013. (It's on the 2nd to last page). LINK: