Friday, July 31, 2015

Ireland Trip #51: Visiting Ross Castle and a Soggy Adventure

Ross Castle
In part 51 of our (9 day ) Ireland trip blog, we're taking you on our soggy journey to Ross Castle in Killarney,  located in southwestern Ireland. 

What Ross Castle looked like in the 1400s
Castle Schematic for the architect (Tom)
OUR SOGGY ADVENTURE GETTING THERE - Ross Castle was about 2 miles walk from our downtown Killarney hotel, and since it was just overcast, we decided to try and walk instead of brave the roads and roundabouts. I (Rob) took an umbrella, but that would soon not matter. After a half mile of walking, rain started to come down quite heavily (and it was a small umbrella so we both barely fit under it). Then gusty winds flipped the umbrella inside out and broke several of the spokes. We turned around as the heavy rain continued and huddled under the broken umbrella, finally giving up on it when we were 5 minutes from the hotel. Fortunately, the rain eased but more was on the way. So, we walked to the car and drove over! 

Tom feeding ducks
Lots of ducks!
A SHORT VISIT- After parking the car, we enjoyed seeing the adjacent lake, which will be the setting for the ghost story in a moment. We took some pictures and went into the castle. That's where we were told by the one woman working in the admission counter that the ONLY tour guide had called in sick and there would be "No tours of the Ross Castle today." UGH. So, we made the best of it.

Closer view of the castle

LITTLE MUSEUM - Next to the admission window was a room with a small museum that had diagrams and displays explaining the castle's history so we lingered in there for a while. 

TOM'S QUOTE OF THE WEEK: As we were leaving I asked Tom to sum up our visit to Ross Castle. He said: "The wind, the rain, the clouds and the fooking tour is closed!"


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ireland Trip #50: Killarney, Ireland's Star Wars Connection!

This is the last blog (Blog #50) about our stay in Killarney, Ireland -and we learned about the town's connection to the
upcoming Star Wars film! 

STAR WARS CONNECTION! - In July, 2014, the cast and crew for the upcoming Star Wars movie arrived in Killarney, Ireland. Part of the movie was filmed on the remote Irish island called Skellig Michael, located off the Dingle Peninsula (that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean).   The island was closed off to tourists while scenes were shot, while an Irish navy ship stood by.  Read more in this article from the U.K. Daily Mail from July 2014.

Cast, crew, producers, directors on Skellig Michael island. Credit: UK Daily Mail

We learned about that when we walked through downtown Killarney and went in a tee-shirt shop called THE IRISH PUB SHOP. The owner told us that she and her partner were out near the Great Skelling Islands, just off the Ring of Kerry Peninsula, and saw the "new Star Wars" movie being filmed. The tee-shirt shop owners created a local tee shirt that had become a huge hit. It said "Skellig Wars" and it had a puffins (birds) on it (because only puffins continued to live on those islands).  

The shop owner told us that actor Mark Hamill came into the shop with his wife and their son and bought the tee-shirts. She said she never did get to meet Harrison Ford, though, because he had broken his foot during filming and had returned home. 
Tourist office in Killarney

If you want this unique Star Wars Tee Shirt, you can order them from:

GOOD DINING- If you travel there, you can get good fish and chips at "Allegro" - a very casual restaurant that has been around since 1980. Just know that there are more french fries than you'll be able to eat. 
Leah and Rob pose for a picture

MEDIUM IN THE TOURIST OFFICE! - We went to the "Tourist Office/Paddywagon Tours" store where I bought a great book about Irish ghosts. The woman behind the counter was extremely helpful. Her name was Leah and she asked about my interest in ghosts (since I was buying "Haunted Ireland"). I told her I am a medium and she got all excited because she "loves the Long Island Medium"! She had about 20 minutes of questions about how it is to get messages from ghosts and spirits. I gave her my card and we took a picture together. It was a nice way to wrap up our trip in Killarney. 


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Sign from Buzz's Spirit on his Birthday Week!

Spirits of humans or pets like to give us signs around birthdays, anniversaries and holidays, and they can do it in number of ways. Recently I posted a story about a friend who heard her and her late husband's song "Good morning Starshine" on the radio on the date of what would've been their 42nd anniversary. Music is one way spirits let us know they're still connected and still with us from time to time. 
Buzz provides physical proof he's around

SIGNS FROM SPIRITS - There are a lot of ways that spirits can let you know they are around you! Hearing their voice (human or animal); movement of things; smelling their favorite perfume, aftershave, or something related to them - like a cigar; finding coins - especially with a date that relates to them; hearing a song that was their favorite that you rarely hear; getting signs from things in nature like: birds, butterflies or other insects that behave oddly around you. Finding a flower that reminds you of them or seeing something in clouds, etc. Spirits will also lead us to someone that looks like them on a certain day, to remind us they are still connected. The trick is being aware of everything around you so you don't miss something!

PHYSICAL SIGN FROM BUZZ-  During the last week in July, 2015, I received a visible sign from our late dog, Buzz Wyatt confirming that he's still around.  Buzz was born on July 29, 2004, and he passed on February 22, 2005. 
During the week of his birthday in 2015, I received his sign through one of his photos we have hanging in the house. The night before I realized it was a sign, I was the last one to go down the stairs (my hubby and the dogs were in bed), and the photo we have of Buzz was positioned correctly and was horizontal. 

I remember, because every night I look at Buzz's photo and those of our other late dog Sprite, my parents and our friend Ed's photos - all of which line the stairway. All of the photos were horizontal. 

Early the next morning I was the first one upstairs, as I had to get something in my home office (it was before the dogs got upstairs). No one had gone up or down stairs between the time I descended the previous night to the time I ascended the stairs early the next morning, however,  I noticed that out of all the photos on the wall, only Buzz's photo was at an extreme angle.

His photo is too high for any of our dogs to reach, and none of the other photos had been moved.
I realized that he was letting me know that 11 years later, he's still around (I sense him around anyway), but he wanted to provide physical proof.

Buzz on the cover of my book Pets and the Afterlife
For many more signs from Buzz, check out my book: 
To lose a pet means to lose a child. The love we share with our pets never dies, and the author proves our pets do communicate with us from the other side. Learn how dogs, cats, horses and some birds have the intelligence and ability to send signs to the living after they pass. Take comfort in knowing our pets are around us from time to time and recognize the signs they give. Learn how they wait for us when it’s our time, what a pet’s ashes can do, and the difference between ghosts and spirits. Learn how and why living pets can sense entities. Follow one of the author's dogs on a ghost investigation. Read how spirits of the author’s 2 dogs and dogs from three other mediums communicated with them from the other side. Read about spirit cats and how a ghostly dog rescued a girl. The author also volunteers for Dachshund and Weimaraner rescues and has several dogs. (Available on AMAZON.COM in paperback and E-book)  AMAZON  LINK:

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ireland Trip #49: A Weird Psychiatric Hospital and Personal Ghost Story

St. Finan's abandoned:
In our 49th blog entry (about  our 9 day trip to Ireland) we're going to tell you about an abandoned Psychiatric Hospital and personal ghost story we were told from someone we met.

ST. FINAN'S ABANDONED PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL MYSTERIES - Near our hotel in Killarney was an abandoned psychiatric hospital. According to the Irish Examiner newspaper, St. Finan’s had been in operation since 1852, when the first patients were admitted to the then Killarney District Lunatic Asylum.

POOR CONDITIONS - The Mental Health Commission  inspected the hospital in 2012 and said it was “beyond belief” service users were treated in such conditions with some detained against their will, according to the Irish Examiner.  The article said:
“Paint was peeling, plaster had fallen off the walls, there was mold in some areas, and the smell of urine in St Peter’s ward was strong.  It was closed down on September 25, 2012.
Another part of St. Finan's

HOSPITAL HISTORY - For the full story and history about St. Finan's, read the article from the Irish Examiner:

SOME WEIRD THINGS WE LEARNED - The narrow windows in this institution were the "lock up" wards. There were a number of deaths within the hospital that were never investigated. People that died in the hospital were just buried on site (somewhere) and nothing was ever investigated.  We were also told that there was just one psychiatrist for every 1,000 patients -so care was obviously poor
    With the mysterious deaths and burials that occurred in the hospital, there are bound to be ghosts walking around in there. Just looking at the building from the outside was creepy enough!
The side view of St. Finan's

A PERSONAL GHOST STORY -  The following story was told to us from a gentleman we met- and was really moving, so we thought we would share it. The man, whom we will call "James" told us that after his father passed away, he visited his mother at her home and went to mow her yard. He said the lawnmower belt broke and he felt that he was pushed to look in a certain place in his dad's shed. It was there he found a replacement! He felt that his dad influenced him and said that it's quite unusual for a lawnmower belt to be replaced. However, he dad bought one, and directed him to it!


Monday, July 27, 2015

Photos from Hannah & Jonghyun's Wedding 7-25-15

On Saturday, July 25, 2015 we attended the Wedding of Hannah and Jonghyun in Baltimore, Maryland. Tom worked with and befriended Hannah in one of the architectural firms he worked in about 5 years ago, before his present position. **CHECK OUT OUR PHOTOS IN THE GALLERY BELOW**

One of our favorite impromptu shots of Hannah and Jonghyun
THE WEDDING -    This was the first time either of us had attended a Korean wedding and it was beautiful, although we didn't understand a good part of it. It was all about the ceremony. Hannah looked stunning in her wedding dress and Jonghyun very handsome in his tux. Although we had not met him before, his fun sense of humor showed through. It was so obvious the two were made for each other.

Dan, Tom, Gretchen, Rob

Two of our other friends/Tom's former co-workers were there, too, Gretchen and Dan - and we had a wonderful time with them. 

RECEPTION - The reception was held in long hall in the church, where two long tables were decorated in white linens and flowers and all the guests had dinner. The bride and groom sate at the head table with the cake.The food was Korean, and it was the first time that either Tom or I had enjoyed it. 

The couple did a dance in the hall between the tables, and then came over and greeted everyone. It's such a wonderful feeling to see two people so happy in love. So, we gave them the advice we follow to make for a happy marriage, "Laugh every day, even when grumpy."

HANNAH'S ARTISTIC TALENT - In addition to being talented in the architectural field, Hannah is also an amazing artist. One day in Tom's office, Hannah noticed a picture of Dolly and Franklin on Tom's desktop and asked for a copy of the photo. About a week later, she presented Tom with a beautiful painting of Dolly and Franklin that looked just like the photo. We have the painting hanging up in our house and we love it. So, Hannah is always present.
IMAGE GALLERY: Click Here for all the photos! (OR CLICK THE PICTURE BELOW) 

Hannah & Jonghyun Wedding 7-26-15 Baltimore, MD



Sunday, July 26, 2015

Excellence in Dog Boarding: Cozy Canine Camp

Boarding your canine kids is always a scary thing, because you never know if they're going to be well-cared for, and looked after as you care for them. But we've been going to Cozy Canine Camp in Millersville, Maryland for 10 years and they're still the best at caring for dogs and cats.
   During our 9 day vacation to Ireland, we took our 10 year old Weimaraner, Dolly, and our 6 yea
Dolly and Tyler
r old dachshund, Tyler to Cozy Canine Camp for boarding. They're inseparable and have to be together at all times, which is not a problem for the camp. I brought pre-packaged food and treats, and wrote out their habits, etc.
  In the middle of our trip, I called Cozy Canine Camp from Ireland to check on our kids. The service was OUTSTANDING.
Jennifer answered and immediately knew the condition of both of our "kids." She told me that one had somewhat loose movements and was given something to correct it. They also kept an eye on Tyler, who was known to eat "stuff" he shouldn't eat and told us that they have always kept watch to ensure he didn't eat what he wasn't supposed to. -She filled me in on their sleep, eating and exercise habits, too.
  It's so comforting to know that our dogs are so well-cared for!  Jen also directed us to the facebook page where we saw their pictures.
 SO, if you live in Maryland, Cozy Canine Camp is a great place to board your dogs or bring them to daycare:

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Watch the Dog: PSA Urging Organ Donation

 Watch the Dog in this public service announcement. This is a: PSA Urging Organ Donation.
It will bring tears to your eyes (in a good way) and make you think.

The slam-dunk formula of animals and mortality wrings tears in a new public service announcement underscoring the importance of organ donation.
The PSA, titled "The Man And The Dog," was created by director Rodrigo Garcia Saiz for Argentina's liver transplant foundation, according to the advertising publication Little Black Book Online.
In the spot, an elderly man's four-legged friend is loyal to the very end -- and beyond. It's thought to be inspired by Hachiko, the legendarily loyal Japanese dog who waited at the train station for his master every day until he died.
Garcia Saiz, who's been called "one of the world’s leading Spanish language commercial directors" by Ad Week, has directed other hard-hitting PSAs worth viewing, including the distracted-driving spot "Discussion" and the anti-bullying spot "Playground."

Friday, July 24, 2015

Ireland Trip 48: Ghostly Soldiers and a Sign from Sprite's Spirit

Rob in the town of Dingle
This is part 48 of our Ireland Trip through the Dingle Peninsula, and from the title "A Sign from Our Dog Sprite's Spirit and Ghostly Soldiers" you're likely wondering what those things have to do with each other. Well, they're both about how pets and people communicate from the afterlife. It seems that the Dingle Peninsula had lots of paranormal stuff going on, and none of it was in any tour book. Here's the story:

TRULEE'S WINDMILL - We met back up with Gerard, our driver, and he drove us about 35 miles through the town of Trulee, home of the last surviving windmill on the Dingle Peninsula. He said that next to the windmill is a culvert that used to be used by ships that would bring in dry goods from the Atlantic Ocean. 

We continued heading back toward the hotel and that's when Gerard told us about a local ghost story that has been responsible for a number of deaths caused when drivers were caught by surprise. 

Ghostly soldiers crossing the road
Route N22
GHOSTLY SOLDIERS - Between the town of Trulee and Farranfore, we drove through a place called "Brennen's Glen." Gerard told us that in this stretch of road there were a lot of single car fatalities. He said that over the last 60 years many accidents occurred, and the people who survived all had the same story: That a band of soldiers were marching across the road as the drivers tried to swerve to avoid them. There were a lot of cars that apparently went off the road and crashed into trees. No one has any idea who the soldiers are or why they were marching on that particular road. I couldn't find anything on the internet about soldiers on the Dingle Peninsula or hauntings there that involve soldiers.
mountain sheep

SPRITE'S BUTTERFLY- When our 16 1/2 year old Dachshund Sprite passed on July 8, 2013, the next day he sent us a yellow and black butterfly. We rarely see them, as odd as that may sound. There really are just not a lot of butterflies where we live. However, spirits can also convey messages anywhere in the world. This was one of those instances. What's also interesting is that during our entire trip to Ireland we didn't see one butterfly.

Route N22
While we were walking around the town of Dingle, we went in a bunch of shops. For some reason, I was thinking of Sprite. We were drawn to one shop called "the Dolphin Store" for some reason, although it only appeared to have jewelry inside (and we're not big on jewelry). We went inside and the first thing we saw was a small ceramic yellow and black butterfly.  As I've said before, when it comes to spirits, there are no coincidences. We were nudged in that shop, even though we have no interest in jewelry- only to get an acknowledgement from Sprite that he's still around us.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ireland Trip Part 47: A Ghostly Woman In the Mulcahy Shop

A ghostly woman
This is part 47 of our Ireland trip and we are taking you on a walk through the town of Dingle in western Ireland. In this quaint little town (that existed since the medieval period) I (Rob) sensed several ghosts in various buildings.As someone who can see, hear, feel and sense people who passed, it's always an adventure going into old buildings. Of course, we don't like to tell people that we sense a ghost in their shop unless we think they may want to know.  In this next shop we entered, there was another ghost with a history. The shop belonged to a clothing designer. We call this "Ghost In the Mulcahy Shop."

The Lisbeth Mulcahy Shop is a studio and retail outlet  of one of Ireland's best known designer/weavers and tapestry artists. The sweaters, scarves and woven products were absolutely beautiful there. There were two floors to the shop, and the first floor was mostly retail, while the second floor was a place where things were designed and made. 

A GHOSTLY WOMAN ON THE SECOND FLOOR - After walking around the first floor of the shop we ventured to the second floor. It was there that I  sensed the ghost of a woman looking out the back window.  The female ghost explained to me that she had a feeling of dread looking out into the backyard. Although when she lived there when it was a residence, it was just a small backyard . 

HER MESSAGE - She told me that before she passed, she suffered from some illness that made her sweat and get chills, a flu-like illness. She kept standing there staring out the back window with her back to me. She was wearing a night gown of sorts. It was likely from the early 20th century. She kept telling me she was cold and had chills. I asked her why she was still there and she said she was "waiting for the doctor." 

This ghost wasn't a bad entity, she was just eternally waiting for a doctor that would never come. I believe the doctor did come, but he came after she passed away. 

As I was about to tell her to go into the light, several people came up the stairs and walked near me. By that time, Tom had gone downstairs, so I descended the stairs to follow. While going downstairs I mentally told the ghost that she died and needed to move on. I hope she did.

NEXT: A Sign from Our Dog Sprite and Ghostly Soldiers

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Ireland Trip 46: Eating "Pi" and Meeting an Art Gallery Ghost!

Tom finds his name on the sidewalk in Dingle
This is the 46th entry in our Ireland Trip from May (yes, still stretching 9 days out - but just highlighting little things one at a time. It's better than blogging about irritating things, right?). This blog continues our trip in western Ireland's Dingle Peninsula when we went to the actual town called "Dingle" for lunch and a walk around the small town. We call it "Eating "Pi" and Meeting an Art Gallery Ghost!"

It was also here that Tom found his name written on the sidewalk- and we have no idea why! 
 DINGLE TOWN - Okay, if you have a twisted mind, it's a funny name for a town. However, this is a serious blog. :)  Dingle is a town in County Kerry, Ireland. In fact, it's the ONLY town on the Dingle Peninsula, it sits on the Atlantic coast, about 71 kilometers northwest of Killarney (where we stayed at a hotel).  Dingle is situated in a Gaeltacht region. It's also about 50 km from the town of Tralee, where we saw Ireland's last working windmill. 
"Pie - Pi" Cafe and Tea Room

EATING "PI" - We stopped at a quaint breakfast/lunch restaurant on the second floor of a house in downtown Dingle. The restaurant is called "The Pi II Cafe" and we enjoyed tea and delicious raspberry scones for lunch (yes, we don't eat much). They even had "Cafe Americano" which is basically their strong, strong coffee watered down

ART GALLERY GHOST - Being a medium, it's always interesting to walk into a older building because you never know who is going to be there (in addition to the living). I (Rob) walked into the Greenlane Gallery and said hello to the woman working behind the desk.

The Greenlane Gallery is situated in the town of Dingle in West Kerry, Ireland. It was established in 1992 by Susan Callery. The gallery exhibition space encompasses three floors of an historical house situated on Holy Ground. - See more at:
Inside the Pie-pi cafe
As I walked into the back room (there was a front room facing the main street and a back room facing a courtyard), I sensed the ghost of a man looking out the back window (the Gallery Exhibition Space). 

He was an older man and said that he lived there. It was sometime in the late 1700s and 1800s. He told me that he was a farmer who worked the land. He lived there in that vicinity his entire life. He had large ears and a big nose, and had a red beard peppered with grey, and he had red hair. He said that he died there in 1843 at the age of 52, so he was born in 1791. 

The Greenlane Gallery- home of the male ghost

It was at that time that the woman at the Gallery's front desk asked if I needed something or wanted to see one of the paintings. I was startled and realized that I had been standing staring at the ghost of the man. I said "no thank you" and it broke my connection to the ghost, who faded away. I left the store and went to find Tom who was in another shop. I wanted to go back and ask the shop keeper if she's had any paranormal activity, but we didn't have a chance as the shop keeper got busy with a customer when we walked by again (and I didn't want to scare the customer by asking about a ghost). 

BUILDING HISTORY - While writing this blog, 2 months later, I checked out the store's website that provided an explanation of why there's a lot of ghostly energy in the building.  The website said: "The Greenlane Gallery is situated in the town of Dingle in West Kerry, Ireland. It was established in 1992 by Susan Callery. The gallery exhibition space encompasses three floors of an historical house situated on Holy Ground, a street that has been inhabited since Medieval times and was named after the holes in the ground that were used in the tanning of leather hides.
    The Greenlane showcases some of the most vibrant and distinctive creative talent from Ireland and abroad with work ranging from Fine Art to Applied Art and Jewellry.

 NEXT: Another Ghost In the Mulcahy Shop

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ireland Trip Part 45: What's a Kilmakedar?

In this 45th blog of our Ireland trip, we're still on the Dingle Peninsula (okay, so there was a lot to see there). In this blog we'll explore the ruins of Kilmakedar. Tom took special note of the architecture and took several pictures of the walls, columns and doorways... so we're sharing those here for those who also appreciate the architecture! 

Front of the church ruins
ornate carvings
Gerard (our tour guide), Tom and another tourist at the front door
About the church
WHAT IS KILMAKEDAR?-  It is the ruins of an ancient romanesque church that we visited. says: "This Early Christian and later Medieval site is spread over 10 acres. It is thought to have been founded by St Maolcethair, a local saint. At the center of this area is the 12th century Hiberno-Romanesque Church. The church has a Nave and Chancel (added later).  The church is thought to have been modeled on Cormac's Chapel at Cashel and there are many similarities. The church like Cormacs Chapel is one of a number of stone-roofed churches in Ireland. The first thing to look out for are the three finials sticking up above the gables"

A rounded window
Another sign in case you missed the first one!
A big Ogham Stone in the cemetery
ARCHITECTURAL DOORWAY NOTE - Access to the church is through a gorgeous inclined romanesque doorway. It has three orders and a round head with a projecting hood made from red and green stone. The green keystone. (Where Tom is standing in the doorway).


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.

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