The Books, Beasties, and Bronze Tarts of Dublin

Hey Everyone,

Thanks for bearing with the brief blog hiatus last week. Now, on with the show because, as promised a couple weeks ago, it’s time for Finn and I to set sail from Inishmore and dart off to Dublin.

By the way, you may be wondering how I managed to keep Finn McSpool from throwing a tantrum over being denied his weekly moment of glory on the Blogosphere last Saturday. Let me just sum it up in three words: sensory deprivation chamber. It worked so well, he still thinks it’s last week and that we’re right on schedule for our first day in Dublin. Oh, and by “sensory deprivation chamber” I mean “my desk drawer.”

Leaving Inishmore

As the picture below will show, we woke up at the crack of dawn to catch the early morning ferry from Inishmore back to Ros a Mhil where we would catch the shuttle that would take us to Galway where we would then catch the bus that would whisk us straight across the country to Dublin.

Our final Aran Island sunrise.

Thankfully, the Evil One had cleared out of Galway so there were far fewer hormonal pre-teens lurking around town, but in a few days we would learn we hadn’t fully escaped the Sheeran curse.

Hello Dublin!

The first order of business in Dublin wasn’t, as you might expect, grabbing a pint. It was finding our home away from home. Thankfully, the owner met us on an easy-to-find street corner because he then guided us along many twists and turns and, I do believe a few wormholes into alternate universes, to get to our little cottage.

After the long bus ride, Finn was eager to check in, as you can see….

Finn, we do have a key.

Now, Mr Husband and I, despite our bargain hunting ways, have stayed in some pretty cool vacation rentals, but this place took the prize for adorableness (is that a word?). The rental was one in a cluster of little red brick cottages that used to be the homes of the workers for Guinness Brewery. I can’t imagine raising a family in the wee space, but for a couple people and a Beastie, it was great. There was even a little garden and patio!

Meeting Finn’s Maker

After cramming some laundry into the washing machine, it was time to head a couple blocks over to meet up with the famous Helen of Crawcrafts Beasties.

But wait, there were all those twists and turns and wormholes, and all these red cottages look the same. Worried we’d never find our way back, I took a picture of what our little cul-de-sac looked like so we could find our way back (I suppose a trail of bread crumbs could have worked, but Finn might have eaten them all).

After being super helpful in assisting me with picking a place to stay, Helen was eager to see our disgustingly cute cottage. So, we did exactly what they tell you NOT to do and invited a stranger from the Internet into our (temporary) home.

Um, Finn, I’m not sure that’s how a door knocker works.

Helen turned out to not be an axe murderer (well, not on this day), and, as you’ll remember, soon after she arrived I was glad we’d gotten a place with two rooms because our Beastie numbers increased two hundred percent!!

Time for Sightseeing

Besides being an amazing maker of all things Beastie (seriously, check out her most recent work, it’s crazy amazing!), Helen happens to be a knower of all things Dublin (yes, knower is now a word) and has special powers to get frazzled Americans into a book lover’s dream location.

But before we headed to this book-filled wonderland, we got a whirlwind tour of our neighborhood full of tidbits of information and the sights of Dublin including the saucy statue of Molly Malone, known more correctly as The Tart with the Cart. Finn did his best to mimic her stoic, gazing-far-off-in-the-distance look.

molly malone, dublin, ireland

Then he found a more comfortable perch. The statue is now known as The Buxom Beauty with a Beastie, or The Finn-Infested Floozy. Take your pick.

molly malone, dublin, ireland

And Onto Those Books

As an alumnus of Trinity College (sooooo jealous!!), Helen has magic powers: she can get people into the Trinity College Library for free. Mr Husband and I later discovered another way to get into the library for free, but unless you’re quite fast and can play it cool, I don’t recommend it.

The library houses the illuminated manuscript, The Book of Kells, but to be honest unless you happen to be there on a day an amazing page is on display, it’s a tiny bit disappointing (if you’re interested in fancy books, I’ll share a better option with you in a couple weeks). For me though, the highlight was the library itself.

trinity college library, dublin, ireland

Honey, I’m home!

You’ve probably seen gobs of pictures of the Trinity College Library’s Long Room, which consists of two tall stories of books, books, and more books . Of course, with our own private tour guide, we learned the library used to only be one story, but they needed more room for more books and so threw another story onto the library.

trinity college library, dublin, ireland

Finn considered moving in here for the week.

Fun tidbit: When we got back to the cottage we noticed a picture on the wall that showed the interior of the library before the second story was added! I have to say the remodel was an impressive improvement.


I thought we’d left all signs of critters behind on Inishmore, but Helen informed us that there were stables near our humble abode and not to be surprised if we see kids racing in pony-drawn carts on weekend evenings. She wasn’t wrong. One evening we did see a few rascals trotting their cart and pony down a nearby thoroughfare, and sights like this weren’t uncommon…

The only traffic noise we heard from the cottage was the sound of horses’ hooves!

And that is Dublin Day One! What do you think? Next week, Finn will be back with a tour of some ancient wonders and I’ll be back next Wednesday with a little bit of writing-related housekeeping, updates, and an announcement. Hope to see you then!!

Oh, and please please PLEASE be sure to take a minute to vote in Round Two of my book cover survey, if you haven’t done so already. The results are painfully close so every vote matters!!!

Book Cover Survey….VOTE NOW!!!!


Learning to Count and Giant Beehives: Final Day on Inishmore

You don’t go to Ireland expecting fabulous weather, but our first full day on Inishmore (which you can read about here and here) brought AMAZING weather. So amazing that Mr Husband managed to get a sunburn on his cheeks to match the saddle sores on his, um, well, other cheeks.

Unfortunately, our weather luck didn’t hold and we woke up the next day — our last full day on the island — to clouds and rain. Not the weather conditions you want to see when your main mode of transportation is a bicycle.

Still, I wasn’t exactly eager to get back in the saddle. In addition to my own pair of raw lower cheeks, I was now sporting a knee was showing off the full effects of Killer’s attack. Continue reading

More More Inishmore: Rocky Temples and Traffic Donkeys

Ireland really is a land of mystery. After all, where else can one day last two weeks (on Earth, that is)? Last week we ditched Finn McSpool sometime in the early afternoon at Inishmore’s Poll na bPeist (aka “Wormhole”). Now, it’s time to hop back on Killer (that would be Killer the Attack Bike for anyone who missed last week’s post) and finish out the day with (sigh) more cycling, more Aran Island sites and scenery, a bit of gang activity, and some trouble with the local law enforcement.

Time for Tea…And Photos

After getting lost on our way back to the bikes from the Wormhole, it was time to pedal back to the B&B for a little tea break and to soothe our saddle sores (let me tell you, those rental bike seats are not friendly to the butt skin). The way back included plenty of stops to capture island scenery such as this….

And this… Continue reading

Finn Learns the True Nature of Evil in Ireland

Don’t get me wrong with that post title. The Irish aren’t the evil ones. The majority are, in fact, helpful, welcoming, and able to talk circles around you. However, they aren’t always good at keeping evil Englishmen off their island.

This inability of the Irish Border Control to recognize evil was true in the past and led to a lot of strife for the Emerald Isle. As we’ll soon discover, some of that evil-induced strife continues today.

With our trip to Kinsale having taken up most of a day, Finn McSpool, Mr Husband, and I only had one more day to endure in Cork (and by that I mean, one more day to spend as much time  away from Mr. Weirdo’s AirB&B as possible) before we caught the Citylink bus to Galway for our next adventure and an encounter with evil.

Unfortunately, this malevolent encounter turned out not to be our first for this vacation, nor would it be our last.

Besides a spin around the Crawford Art Gallery, a linger over a coffee at the English Market, and a wander along the river, we wasted a good amount of time in an Aldi we stumbled upon. Since there’s few things more fascinating to me than non-American grocery stores, this was a great way to kill time. And Finn even found a bag of snacks made just for him…

Notice that monster on the bag of “Creepies” is a ginger? That should have been a sign of the evil to come. Continue reading

kinsale, ireland, charles fort

Finn McSpool: Star of Kinsale’s Charles Fort

War, huh, good god, what’s it good for?” The next line is supposed to be “Absolutely nothin‘” but war is actually good for one thing (at least in Kinsale, Ireland, anyway): fascinating architecture to explore.

After Finn’s self-discovery/holy revival in Cork, I thought we better get out of town to let things settle down. Since Kinsale is an easy bus ride away — and since Mr Husband and I made a little error last time we were there (more on that in a sec) — we grabbed Finn and headed for the bus station.

Now, if you want quaint, Kinsale is your kind of place! This bayside town sits on the southern coast (southeast, to be exact) of Ireland and is about 28 km straight south of Cork. The town itself is a tourist mecca due to its colorful shop fronts and status as foodie central.

But we weren’t there for the food. We were there to explore Charles Fort. First though, we had to get to the fort. As usual, Finn took up his napping position in the backpack while Mr Husband and I trudged 3 km uphill to the site. But the views along the way were amazing! Continue reading