Sunday, May 31, 2015

Ireland Trip Part 7: Boyne Valley; New Grange (5,000 years old!)

Tom and Rob - and it was sunny out!
The New Grange Mound
On Thursday, May 7th, we had a private driving tour north of Dublin. The driver and host was Kieran Cathcart of
 http://www.tourdublin.ie. He is AMAZING. He took us to historic places that went back before the pyramids, some 5,000 years ago. Kieran was fun, personable, a walking encyclopedia of knowledge and history. It was like spending the day with an old friend and we had a good share of laughs, too.
  The first stop we went to was about 30 miles north of Dublin in a place called the Boyne Valley
Quartz wall outside the New Grange Mound

WHAT IS THE BOYNE VALLEY? - According to Tour Dublin, The Boyne Valley was home to some of the earliest settlements in Ireland due to its fertile land and access to the sea. The Boyne Valley includes old Newgrange passage tomb, the Hill of Tara, Oldbridge, Drogheda, and many more things. This blog will explore New Grange and we'll get to some of the others in the next blogs!
As a result there are some fantastic historical and archaeological sites of interest to be seen on your private tour of Newgrange. Some of the finest examples of early Megalithic passage tombs in Europe are to be found here. The Megalithic Passage Tomb at Newgrange was built about 3,200 BC.

WHAT DOES NEWGRANGE MEAN?  - The name "Newgrange" or New Grange, is relatively modern. The area around Newgrange was once part of the lands owned and farmed by the monks of Mellifont Abbey, and would have been known as a "grange".


The rebuilt entrance for visitors
 THE ANCIENT NEWGRANGE SITE - Newgrange (c 3,200 B.C.) is the best-known monument of the World Heritage Site of Brú na Bóinne, predating the ancient pyramids by 400 years and Stonehenge by 1,000.   The kidney shaped mound covers an area of over one acre and is surrounded by 97 kerbstones.


A look across the Boyne Valley
Tom behind the mound at hieroglyphics
The 19 meter (62 foot) long inner passage leads to a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof. The passage and chamber of Newgrange are illuminated by the winter solstice sunrise (Dec. 21) 
 WHAT HAPPENS?  - A shaft of sunlight shines through the roof box over the entrance and penetrates the passage to light up the chamber. The dramatic event lasts for 17 minutes at dawn from the 19th to the 23rd of December.
 
ENTRANCE AT NEWGRANGE -
At the entrance to Newgrange stands a highly-decorated stone.The carvings on the stone include a triple spiral motif which is found only at Newgrange and is repeated along the passage and again inside the chamber.It is unknown what the meaning of these carvings are. Newgrange is one of three passage tombs in The Boyne Valley, the others being Knowth and Dowth. In 1962, restoration work on the tomb began under the supervision of Professor Michael J O'Kelly. The structure was taken apart piece by piece and then reconstructed. This work continued until 1975. Newgrange has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and attracts 200,000 visitors per year.
INSIDE THE PASSAGEWAY - Photos were not allowed inside, so we're using a photo of the inside from http://www.tourdublin.ie.
   It was a very low entrance into the mound and the walls were tight. It is not for people who are claustrophobic.
Once you get inside there are three small chambers -one at the back of the mound and one on either side. All three of them have small hieroglyphic markings, like those that Tom is standing next to in this photo - taken BEHIND and outside the mound.
(Newgrange contains various examples of abstract Neolithic rock art carved onto it which provide decoration) 

Inside the mound- Credit: TourDublin.ie

HOW DID THEY BUILD IT?

Example of how massive stones were moved to build the mound
According to the info that we read, the people 5,000 years ago actually moved these massive several ton stones on the river and constructed ways to bring them to the top of a mountain to build this mound. Just thinking about the ingenuity is amazing.
Huts built by people of 5,000 years ago
   The blocks were possibly transported to the Newgrange site by sea and up the River Boyne by securing them to the underside of boats at low tide.

  
HOW WAS NEWGRANGE RE-DISCOVERED? -Newgrange was "rediscovered" in 1699. The landowner at the time, Charles Campbell, needed some stones and had instructed his labourers to carry some away from the cairn. It was at this time the entrance to the tomb was discovered.

NEXT: Monasterboice: one of Ireland's best-known and oldest religious sites

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Dieting Columbus dachshund goes from obese to svelte /Our Dog Dieting Recommendation

We've volunteered with Dachshund and Weimaraner rescues now for about 7-8 years and it really gets to us when we see animals abused. We see all kinds of abuse- from overweight to totally starved dogs. In fact, recently a Weimaraner rescue  took in a male dog that was 27 pounds (they're supposed to be 75-100) who was chained outside most of his life. Sadly, it was too late for him and he passed shortly after coming to the rescue as his organs shut down.
  We are grateful for people who take in dogs like this formerly obese little guy and save their lives. 

***OUR SUGGESTION - We feed our dogs Rachel Ray DRY FOOD, the Grain free version. For Dachshunds who need to be around/under 20 lbs. We give them 1/3rd cup of dry kibble, 1 tablespoon of green beans (from a can) and a teaspoon of either wet Beneful food or wet Rachel ray food. - Our Dachshunds have lost several pounds and are both 18 lbs. (good weight for standards).  Of course, they should be walked at least 2 times daily, and for at least 20-25 minutes at a time. Exercise is very important!!


Rob and Tom

Dieting Columbus dachshund goes from obese to svelte





Once a wanton wiener dog, Dennis went on a diet and is now a happy shadow of his former self after losing more than 75 percent of his body weight.
Less than two years ago, Dennis weighed in at a whopping 56 pounds — about the size of four or five miniature dachshunds, which is what he is. A series of "before" photos show Dennis resting on rolls of fat, his head seemingly too little for his blob of a body. He couldn't take more than a few steps without being out of breath.
Then Brooke Burton adopted him from a relative who had fed him White Castle burgers, pizza and other human food, and didn't pay much attention to the dog's burgeoning belly.
Burton, a 26-year-old nursing student, recalls how emotional she became when she first saw Dennis in June 2013, and then persuaded her relative to give him up.
"Out comes Dennis, and I couldn't believe it," Burton says. "I wasn't even sure what breed of dog he was supposed to be because he was so large."
A much happier Dennis at 12 pounds
Burton put him on diet of dry dog food, plus lots of walks and affection. Now the 6-year-old wiener dog is a svelte 12 pounds and happily chasing squirrels in the backyard, playing fetch and bossing around the other three rescue dogs that live with him.
"In the beginning, you could tell he was very depressed, that he really didn't feel good at all," Burton says. "He didn't have much of a personality. After he lost weight, this bossy little demanding man popped out. He's into everything, he wants to play with everybody."
Dennis lost so much weight that he started tripping over the folds of excess skin that were left over and getting infections. He has had three surgeries at the Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center to get rid of it.
Dr. Kathleen Ham, the veterinary surgeon who performed the operations, says Dennis' story is a good lesson for pet owners who might feed their animals too much.
"We have an expression: food is not love," Ham says. "Most of what your pet wants from you is affection and attention."

 

 

Ireland Trip Part 6: Tom's Quote of the Day

Continuing our blog about our Ireland trip, Thursday, May 7th marked the day that 
we had an awesome private driving tour to the Boyne Valley, north of Dublin. We'll get to that tomorrow, because today is dedicated to a quote from my husband Tom.
   Tom and I laugh at things we say to each other often. Today was no different.
     We were eating breakfast at the Ross Hotel (in Dublin) and Tom said to me:
  "Rob, this bread it [really] hard. Do you want to eat it?
  Of course I looked at him and laughed and said "No, of course not!"

NEXT: IRELAND TRIP TO THE HISTORIC BOYNE VALLEY

Friday, May 29, 2015

Come to the MId-Atlantic Doxie Fest on Sat. May 30th, Belair, Maryland!

Come to the MId-Atlantic Doxie Fest - bring your dog (leashed).
NO CHARGE: No admission charge, but donations welcome to benefit Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue)
DATE: May 30, 2015
TIME: 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm
LOCATION: Harford County Equestrian Center
608 North Tollgate Road, Bel Air, Maryland, U.S.
BENEFITS Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue

Rob Gutro will be speaking at 12:15 pm about his book Pets and the Afterlife
JOIN THE FUN: An annual dachshund event featuring wiener dog races, tricks and costume contest, vendors. All proceeds to benefit Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue.
For more information, please email bmorewieners@gmail.com. 


Thursday, May 28, 2015

PART 2: Weekend with "Bear,:" Friends, Dogs and 3 Ghosts!

Phil, Bear, Rob, Tom
This is part 2 of 2 of Touring Maryland and Annapolis with "Bear" - this blog includes friends and Ghosts!

  COOKOUT! - We had a little last-minute cookout (just 4 of us) when we heard our friend Phil was back from graduating from college and it provided a fun time for us all to talk with him and Scott (Bear).

 BIZARRE DESSERTS -   I made Key Lime Cookies and Blue and Red Velvet cake. Both something new, and both turned out pretty well.

  MEETING A CELEBRITY! - Scott is a big fan of our friend, comedienne and book author, Beth Kaufman (who wrote "Make Mine a Double... Mastectomy that Is!")
Beth is doing all kinds of projects, from shows to film and is so creative. So, we met her for coffee at Dunkin' Donuts (where else?).
Tom, Beth, Scott, Rob


Scott with Tyler, Franklin and Dolly


























DOGGONE FUN - Of course, our three canine kids took to Scott immediately, including Tyler (our black and tan Dachshund) that Scott calls "Ninja Puppy" because Tyler does agility
The Senate Chamber

TOUR OF THE THREE GHOSTS-   The Maryland State House in Annapolis is the oldest continually operational state house in America, According to Marylandghosttrackers.com, the old Senate chamber where George Washington resigned  his commission is said to be haunted.







William Cabel Bruce

    WHO IS  GHOST #1? - On our tour, we confirmed it. both Tom and I (Rob) got a strong sensation of a presence on the left side of the door as we walked in. We both felt it was a male ghost who was a Senator in the past (early 1900s). I knew it was a man in the early 1900s, who had grey hair, and I actually saw his profile. His last name began with "B" and I thought it may have sounded like burns, but it is in fact "Bruce." I checked the records on-line, and the man in the photo matches the image I saw. William Cabel Bruce (March 12, 1860 to May 9, 1946) was not only a Senator, but also a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer who represented the State of Maryland in the United States Senate from 1923 to 1929.
  I started coughing and felt tightness in the chest, like from smoking... got the sensation of emphysema. Ghosts will share pain of death like that. 
   The ghost is there because he was passionate about politics and writing down his experiences about them. He wants to continue to inspire people who visit the Senate to do the right thing, and record everything. For more info about him CLICK HERE.

Ghost #3, standing outside
    WHO IS GHOST #2? - When we walked down Maryland Avenue, there's a building that used to be an apartment and on the first floor housed an Audobon store (which is no longer there). In that first floor the ghost of a man that we sensed there before, still remains. He is short and stocky, wearing a raincoat and hat, circa 1930s.  We encountered him when we were doing an investigation with the Inspired Ghost Tracking group. 
   WHO IS GHOST #3? - At an old building that looks like it was a stable, there was a female ghost standing outside to the right of the door. She was murdered there. There was a sensation of terror and then severe pain in my head, as if she were hit over and over in the head. It was so intense that I had to walk away. I'm unsure who she was, but she was accosted by a man working the docks (likely late 1700s).  I'll have to research what that location was used for in the 1790s/1800s to figure out more.



FOR STORIES ABOUT OTHER ANNAPOLIS GHOSTS WE'VE ENCOUNTERED:
1) http://rob-tom-dolly-franklin.blogspot.com/2013/09/terri-visit-4-annapolis-ghostly.html


OUR PHOTO COLLECTION: https://youtu.be/qYcQUpC_GGc
(Thanks to Scott "Bear" Elliot for teaching Rob how to make this!) 


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

PART 1: Touring Annapolis With our Favorite "Bear"

Tom, Scott "Bear", Rob
      Our friend Scott "Bear" Elliott visited us over the past weekend and we took him on a tour of Annapolis and introduced him to a couple of our friends while here. "Bear" has his own video blog or "VLOG" if you will, in which he highlights things about bears, gay/lesbian issues, superheroes, travel and more.
     He made a great vlog about our tour (below) and said "What a beautiful and historic city Annapolis is. It is a must see if you find yourself in Maryland. Located off the Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis offers loads of fine dining location and a diverse range of shopping. If you are looking for the Geek side of this great city, you must visit Third Eye Comics! "
    BEAR'S VIDEO BLOG: http://thebearwithmeshow.blogspot.com/

   
NEXT:  Photos from Annapolis and 3 Ghosts!
(Ireland Trip Blog resumes in a couple of days)

VIDEO: https://youtu.be/1W80WIHhsJk

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Ireland Trip Part 5: Dublin's River Liffey, White House, Temple Bar

Ornamentation on Crattan Bridge over Liffey
This is the second half of our "Hop On / Hop Off Bus" tour of Dublin's highlights. Since we have pictures of these, we'll highlight the River Liffey, Dublin's Mini White House, Temple Bar.


THE RIVER LIFFEY -  The River Liffey is the river that flows from west to east through Downtown Dublin.  According to Britannica.com,  it flows in a generally northwesterly direction from its source to the Lackan Reservoir,. It then flows eastward through the city of Dublin, in which it is extensively canalized and bordered with quays. It empties into Dublin Bay, an arm of the Irish Sea,  Because it separates north Dublin from the rest of Dublin, you get great views from the various bridges that span it.


LOTS OF GAY FLAGS FLYING - With the Marriage Referendum that happened on May 22, there were a lot of flags flying rainbow colors to show support for passing it and allowing gay marriages to be legally recognized. It was nice to see, and it surprised us.


THE DUBLIN MINI WHITE HOUSE -  This is located in Phoenix Park (see yesterday's blog) . The miniature White House is also known as "The Aras." According to Ireland.com:  “The Áras was built by the banker and architect Nathaniel ‘Nat’ Clements. In April 1751, Nat Phoenix Park, overseeing the deer sanctuary established by the Great Duke of Ormonde nearly a century earlier.”
The Mini White House
was appointed Chief Ranger and Master of Game for
   It was under this title that Clements built what was then known as Ranger’s Lodge. This, as Turtle tells us, “became home to the British Viceroy and is now Áras an Uachtaráin – the residence of the President of Ireland.”

THE TEMPLE BAR AND NEIGHBORHOOD-
Temple Bar is an area on the south bank of the River Liffey in central Dublin. It's a big area for nightlife. In fact, there's actually a bar named "Temple Bar" there and we took a selfie in front of it. (You can See a LIVE WEBCAM of the outside of the bar here: http://www.earthcam.com/world/ireland/dublin/?cam=templebar) 
TYING IN THE LIFFEY AND THE TEMPLE BAR AREA: 
Back when Dublin was young, the Liffey was necessary for commerce. A sandbar jutted out into the river and was used as a pier for unloading the ships. This sandbar was owned by a guy whose last name was "Temple" and thus became known as "Temple's Bar." Later, the sandbar disappeared, the banks of the Liffey were walled, the "s" was dropped and the area of pubs frequented by tourists became known as Temple Bar.

THE HISTORY OF THE TEMPLE BAR AREA:
The historic name of the district was not Temple Bar but St. Andrews Parish. It was a suburb of medieval (Anglo-saxon) Dublin, located outside the city walls, but it fell into disuse beginning in the 1300s because the land was exposed to attacks by the native Irish. The land was redeveloped again in the 1600s, to create gardens for the houses of wealthy English families.  Today, there's a lot of businesses in the "Temple Bar" area (which was most likely named after an area in London). The   Irish Photography Centre  Irish Film Institute, Gaiety School of Acting, IBAT College Dublin, Irish Stock Exchange and the Central Bank of Ireland are all there, too.

painting in the restaurant
DINNER - As we mentioned in a previous blog, dinners were expensive. However, we stopped in a restaurant for a sandwich that had a "vote for gay marriage" sign on it. The food was okay, lots of green stuff (maybe spinach?) I didn't recognize, though. We did like the painting as we walked through the front door, though, and the owner and cook (a one man place) was a big muscular guy, so the scenery was good. :)

Restaurant where we dined

NEXT: (on May 30th's blog): ROAD TRIP TO A 5,000 YEAR OLD HISTORIC SITE!




Monday, May 25, 2015

Transporting "Harry" the Dachshund for Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue

Harry now in his new foster home
On Saturday evening, May 23, we worked another dog rescue transport for Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue.     

We transported Harry the black and tan/dapple, 6 year old dachshund from White Marsh, MD to foster mom, April, southeast of  Washington, DC. Rescue transports cover 60 miles and people that do them either live on one end or the other, or in the middle. Either way, it requires several hours to do them. Our was a 3 1/2 hour trip.

  Harry was given up to the  rescue from his famlly in the northeastern U.S. because, once again, a family with a toddler was nipped by the dog. Toddlers should NEVER be left unattended with dogs. They pull, pole and hit dogs - and if you were a dog, wouldn't you nip the little troublemakers,too? Of course. So, instead of working with the toddler, people dump and abandon a dog that's been growing up with them for 6 years. (Can you tell this makes us mad?!!!)

Rob and Harry on the road
IT TAKES A VILLAGE AND COORDINATION - People from New England through New Jersey and Maryland who transported him to us - so we could take him to his foster mom, had nothing but great things to say about him.  It takes a lot of people working together to transport a dog from one place to another. All transporters have to share contact info and pick a place to rendezvous. Katie W. coordinates these runs every weekend from central Virginia and plans the times and routes, and shares the information.  The transporters for Harry's journey include:  Victoria, Linda, Gabrielle, Mark, Renee, Gerri and Mike, Rob and Tom.


  Here are some of the comments we saw from the other transporters: 

Tom and Harrry on the road
Leg 2 is already on the road. Running 20 minutes ahead of schedule at this time. Harry is a total LOVE...just so precious! Taryn had Harry equipped with the seatbelt buckle harness which is awesome and is perfect for Harry as he loves to look out the window and has enough slack to do that safely so thank you Taryn!  Victoria C.

He was the best boy! Such a sweetheart! He is going to make some family very happy.Renee

Just transferred Harry to Rob & Tom. He was a sweetheart the entire ride Paw printsSmiling face with smiling eyes Gerri and Mike

Have Harry and are on our way to MD. Holy cow is he a sweetie! Gerri and Mike

NOTE FROM HIS NEW FOSTER MOM APRIL -  I would like to say thank you to everyone that helped harry today. He is a sweet Lil thing. He took a real liking to my son and me off the bat.  

WHAT IS NEXT FOR HARRY?  - Harry's foster mom April will take Harry to the vet, get him updated on shots, and get him a dental cleaning and freshen his breath. Harry's foster mom will also take note of her personality, habits, training, etc. Once Harry is all vetted, he'll be on the Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue Website and will be available for adoption. Look for Harry on www.c2cdr.org by the first or second week of June.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Ireland Trip Part 4: Dublin's Hop On Hop Off Bus City Highlights Tour

Hop On / Hop Off Bus
Continuing our first day in Dublin (May 5th)- we took a Hop on / Hop off bus tour around the city to get a feel for interesting places.
  Our friend Anne Marie Clarke of Across the Pond Vacations (specializing in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland) put the trip package together for us, and included this tour- These bus tours are really helpful in a new city. This blog will provide some highlights in Dublin, and we'll explore some of them in more depth in later blogs. SO, come along for the ride!

THE HOP ON / HOP OFF BUS- These buses are really handy for getting a feel for bigger cities rather than smaller towns, and was mandatory for Dublin. You can get off at any of the 24 stops in Dublin and back on again (just keep your receipt) at any stop - and do it often and all day long.

The O'Connell Monument

O'CONNELL STREET and the MONUMENT - O'Connell Street (in Gaelic, it's known as Sráid Uí Chonaill) is Dublin's main thoroughfare and runs north to south from Trinity College south of the River Liffey over O'Connell Bridge to Parnell Square, north of of the river. 
  In the 17th Century, the street was called "Drogheda Street."
Bus stop!
  If you're wondering what a "Drogheda" is- I believe it's a Gaelic word. It means "bridge of the ford" and is the name of an industrial and port town 56 km (35 mi) north of Dublin.
     That's the street that you'll find the O'Connell Monument, the memorial to Daniel O'Connell, the 19th-century nationalist. We'll learn more about him in later blogs. 

KILMAINHAM GAOL (JAIL) -

Once a jail this is now a museum run by the Office of Public Works, an agency of the Government of Ireland. It is located in the city at Inchicore Rd, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, Ireland.  This jail opened in 1796 and closed in 1924. It offers a panoramic insight into some of the most profound, disturbing and inspirational themes of modern Irish history. Leaders of the rebellions of 1798, 1803, 1848, 1867 and 1916 were detained here. 
NOTE: THIS IS WHERE THE EXECUTION SCENES WERE FILMED FOR THE "TUDORS" TV SERIES

REPORTS OF GHOSTS - Although we didn't get off the bus and go inside the Gaol, I knew it was haunted. I could feel that there were a lot of paranormal things happening inside. So, when we got home I checked out http://www.hauntedrooms.co.uk/kilmainham-gaol.

According to that website, here are the reports of ghostly activity in the gaol:

  • Lights often turn themselves on and off in the prison’s chapel
  • Unseen forces pushing people over
  • Phantom footsteps
  • Children pause in sheer fright refusing to step inside the jail
  • Psychics have picked up on an evil presence around the chapel balcony
  • Feeling of being watched
  • Unexplained bangs, and voices
A typical street of houses in Dublin
PHOENIX PARK AND THE DUBLIN ZOO - Another stop on the bus tour was Phoenix Park and the Dublin Zoo. According to the Park's website, "The Phoenix Park was established in 1662 by one of Ireland’s most illustrious viceroys, James Butler, Duke of Ormond, on behalf of King Charles II. A herd of  Fallow Deer has lived in the Park since the 1660's when they were introduced by the Duke of Ormond.  The Phoenix Park is a sanctuary for many mammals and birds and a wide range of wildlife habitats are to be found in the park.  The Victorian People's Flower Gardens located close to the Parkgate Street entrance, comprise an area of  9 hectares (22 acres) and, were re-opened in 1864." 
Wellington Monument in Phoenix Park





WELLINGTON MONUMENT - The Wellington Monument is an obelisk in Phoenix Park.  It was built to commemorate the victories of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. Wellington was called "The Iron Duke," and was a British politician and general, possibly born in Dublin or Meath county. 


NEXT: MORE HIGHLIGHTS IN DUBLIN: THE RIVER LIFFEY, THE DUBLIN WHITE HOUSE, TEMPLE BAR

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Ireland Trip Part 3: Dublin: St. George's Arcade/Comics/Equality Mural/ EQUALITY WINNING

St. George's Arcade
It's Day 1 of our trip to Ireland and we stayed in Dublin. After waking from a nap, we explored a little of the city on foot before taking a bus tour. You'll read about the bus tour tomorrow. In this blog you'll learn about George's Street Arcade and some other cool things.

**SPECIAL NOTE: Today, May 23rd, Ireland is still counting the votes, but with about 60% counted, 71% of Irelanders voted YES to AMENDING the country's constitution to include gay marriage. (Sadly, the U.S. has a LONG way to go).  According to the IRISH TIMES TODAY, "Not only has Ireland has agreed to same-sex marriage, it has done so in a louder voice than many could have imagined, carried on the back of a remarkable turnout and an engagement by younger people not seen in years. The campaign became about more than just same-sex marriage. It became a debate about the place of the gay community in Irish society and the country’s acceptance of it."  VOTERS HAVE BASICALLY SAID, "WELCOME TO IRELAND, WHERE EVERYONE IS EQUAL AND WE WON'T BE BULLIED BY RELIGION TO HATE OTHERS." (The Catholic church was a large part of the "No" campaign). 
(In the words of Betty Bowers - "How embarrassing! Quaint Ireland shows backwards America what it’s like to WANT equality for all citizens, rather than being forced by courts to be fair to them.")

   ABOUT DUBLIN - Dublin is about 44 square miles. It's a very busy city (the busiest in Ireland and is the capital of the Republic of Ireland. It's located on Ireland’s east coast at the mouth of the River Liffey. 
  The first thing we noticed on the map is that the River Liffey runs from west to east, dissecting "northern Dublin" from the rest of Dublin. About 2/3rds of the city's attractions are on the south side but we explored both! 
  Dublin's medieval buildings include 13th-century Dublin Castle and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, founded in 1191. The Temple Bar is south of the river and is one of countless pubs. It's a central attraction, although we didn't go inside. Dublin has a lot of "buskers" or street performers (and we learned that there's a new law preventing them from using speakers). There's a lot of shopping areas, and we even found a mall there, too.


Shops in St. George's Arcade
ST GEORGE'S ARCADE - This is a shopping center on South Great George's Street in Dublin. It is a Victorian style red-bricked indoor market of stalls and stores. It opened in 1881 as the South City Markets. There are a lot of vendors in here selling things from wool (of course) scarves and sweaters to food, to paintings, pictures, jewelry and more.A Previous visitor shot a 3 minute video and posted it on YouTube, if you want a walking tour through it. It's exactly what we saw! (Just click here)

LUNCHTIME! - As I mentioned in an earlier blog, the cost of food in Ireland is expensive, so we went to a nearby supermarket, got pre-packaged sandwiches and bottles of iced tea and had a cheap and tasty lunch.

Sub-City Comics
Tom and Rob in Dublin
SUB-CITY COMICS!  - One of the first stores that caught my (Rob) eye was Sub-City Comics on Dame Street in Dublin. Of course, I had to go inside. Since I've been reading and collecting comics since 1974, I picked up a couple there. The store was loaded with graphic novels, new comics and all kinds of toys. It was a great way (for me) to start our trip to Ireland.




The Marriage Equality Mural in Dublin (defaced)
THE MARRIAGE EQUALITY MURAL One of the things that Tom learned about before we went to Dublin was a marriage equality mural on the side of a downtown building. We weren't sure where it was located, but it turned out to be around the corner from the Comics Shop.
  The enormous four-story mural of two men embracing by Irish illustrator and street artist Joe Caslin went up overnight on April 11th on South Great Georges Street in downtown Dublin, meant to be a "poignant representation of same-sex love in the city" ahead of the Irish marriage referendum on May 22. However, by the time we saw it, the conservative right-wing nuts had destroyed part of it. SIGH.
  To see what it looked like, CLICK HERE.

NEXT: A HOP ON - HOP OFF BUS TOUR OF DUBLIN HIGHLIGHTS 








Friday, May 22, 2015

Ireland Trip Part 2: Dublin Part 1: Panti Bliss & Ireland votes today on Marriage Equality

Vote yes for marriage equality
On our very first day in Dublin, Ireland, we kicked off our trip by meeting a world-famous figure named Panti Bliss, who stands for marriage equality around the world.

It's not a coincidence that I'm posting this blog today, because today, MAY 22  is the day that Ireland votes to amend their constitution to include Marriage Equality for gay marriages. When we were there, there were "VOTE YES" (and vote "no") signs everywhere.  It was very exciting.

   It was also sad that the same kind of crazy conservatives exist there that try to squelch rights. However, the Irish People don't listen to them and are FED UP with the institution of church after all the sex scandals there.  As a result, churches have a lot less attendees and no more political power (AS it should be everywhere). So, the people of Ireland are voting on equality, and are not being influenced by a divisive religion (Can you tell we're fed up with organized religion who get into politics in the U.S.?)

Tom, Rory (Panti) O'Neill, Rob at PantiBar
The PantiBar in Dublin
WE MET THE WORLD-FAMOUS PANTI BLISS!  One of the first things we did when we arrived in Dublin (after our nap at the hotel) was to go to the bar owned by Rory O'Neill, also known by his stage name as Panti Bliss. Panti, is a drag queen and gay rights activist from Ballinrobe, County Mayo, Ireland. In November 2007, he opened the self-titled 'Pantibar' in Dublin. 'Panti' is short for 'Pandora Panti Bliss] Panti danced on stage in Japan with Cyndi Lauper during her 1994 Twelve Deadly Cyns Tour, has hosted talk shows, been in theatre productions, radio, film and won several awards. He's world famous.  He has given famous talks around the world about gay rights and marriage equality and will REALLY make you pay attention. Click here for more info.
Pantibliss poster

AMAZING TALK FROM IRELAND'S FORMER PRESIDENT ABOUT VOTING FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY 
  On Monday, May 18, Mary McAleese, Former President of Ireland  gave in incredible speech: "Why My Family is Voting YES to Marriage Equality."   She needs to give this talk to the U.S. Congress. As an intelligent politician she clearly and concisely outlines why marriage equality should be and how marriage has grown from the past. 
 She cites:

 - Did you know women were not allowed to own property in the past? 

 - Did you know that women were considered property?
 - Did you know it was okay for a husband to rape his wife? 
 - Did you know it wasn't until 1968 in the U.S. that people of different races could marry?
YES. Marriage has grown and changed.  It needs to continue growing and changing to respect all citizens.
This level-headed, clear, factual talk separates church and state, and provides all reasons why gay marriage should be a reality everywhere. 
  Take the 24 minutes to watch, or just LISTEN to it. It is eye-opening. If you didn't understand the need for marriage equality before, you'll understand it now. 
  VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7laFwqGIvE 

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