Rediscovering Ireland: The Grave of William Butler Yeats, Drumcliffe.

Having satisfied our thirst for the outdoors, by visiting the Gleniff Horseshoe, we decided to stop off in Drumcliffe on our way back to Sligo. Drumcliffe, or Drumcliff as it is written in some places, graveyard is a famous landmark in Sligo. As many of you may know, and those of you who didn´t have probably guessed from the title, Irish poet W.B. Yeats chose this peaceful place as his final resting place.

imageThis stunning churchyard is located at the foot of the Benbulben mountain. The scenery there is striking, especially on a sunny day! Apart from the churchyard, and some gravestones, there is a lovely little tea house and craft shop located on the grounds. Just in case you feel a little hungry – the cakes did look amazing in the tea house! However, being celiac, I settled for just a coffee and a quick browse around the craft shop!

So, short and sweet, that was my trip to Drumcliffe.  It´s a sweet little village. However, if it weren´t for W.B. Yeats, I feel that it would go unnoticed. If you plan on doing the Gleniff Horseshoe, then this makes a lovely little stop off: either on the way there or coming back. Especially if you feel like a slice of cake and a warm cup of tea!

I’m going to leave you now with a poem from W.B. Yeats about Drumcliffe. Along with a few photos, unfortunately, due to storage problems on my camera, I have lost most of the photos that I took here that day. Hopefully, though, from the few I managed to retrieve from Facebook (thank god I decided to upload while I was there), you will get a feel for the place.

“Under bare Benbulben´s head

In Drumcliffe churchyard Yeats is laid.

An ancestor was the rector there

Long years ago, a church stands near,

By the road an ancient cross

No marble, no conventional phrase,

One limestone quarried near the spot

By his command these words are cut:

Cast a cold eye

On life, On death

Horseman, pass by!”

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Just a quick little note before I go. I have just managed to be featured on Expats Blog, a site which brings the expat community together, and I need your help.
My link is lacking some comments. If you have the time, and you enjoy my blog, please go to this site, vote for my blog and leave a little comment. It will only take a minute and I would really appreciate the support. Thanks very much.
http://www.expatsblog.com/blogs/6591/chasing-butterflies-sunshine-and-freedom

That´s it for today´s post. I hope you enjoyed reading about my adventure. Stay tuned for tomorrow´s post.

Hope you all are having a great day.

Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo

Rediscovering Ireland: The Gleniff Horseshoe.

First port of call when I arrived in Ireland was, Sligo. I had been there before, on a family holiday about twenty-two years ago, but, due to my age at the time, did not have much recollection of the area. However, one thing that had left a lasting impression on me was Benbulben. I remember being blown away at the immensity of this mountain. Especially considering how small I was back then.  So; I was excited to be in the area again and at the prospect of seeing Big Benbulben again.

Benbulben

Benbulben

When I found out that the first stop on my Irish adventure was going to be the Gleniff Horseshoe I really  couldn’t contain myself. It´s funny that it´s referred to as a horseshoe, it´s not a horseshoe at all, in reality it´s an eight kilometer loop of single lane road. However, whatever it may be, it most certainly is impressive. As you drive along the loop you´re surrounded by stunning views of the Tieve Baun, Truskmore, King´s, Benbulben and Benwiskin mountains.

So; off we set, picnic in tow, on our little adventure. We chose to start the loop at Benbulben. However, you don´t have to start there, you can actually start the loop at whichever point you prefer. At first sight, I was rendered speechless. As the sun beamed down on Benbulben´s head all I could do was stand there and soak up the beauty I was seeing. Eventually, once I snapped out of my love struck comma, I managed to take some photos.

Benbulben

Benbulben

Not quite ready to leave Benbulben behind just yet; my friend and I decided to set up a picnic by a stream we had seen under Benbulben´s head. And, let´s face it, after seeing such rugged beauty, we needed to refuel!

After our lovely relaxing picnic it was time to continue the journey. We drove along, stopping here and there when something took our fancy, until we reached the remains of Bartye´s Mill. We parked up here and decided to explore the forest that has been developed through the land. To me, this forest was like a mini horseshoe within the Horseshoe itself. It really was something special. Such a mix of landscapes, textures and beauty.

 

Having completed the walk we found ourselves back in the car heading towards the Magic Hill and Diarmuid and Grainne´s cave. Amazing. I honestly thought nothing could compare to Benbulben but, I was wrong. As we continued uphill this mass of mountains appeared before us. It was like something out of The Lord of the Rings.

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At one point on our journey, the mountains were so imposing that it seemed as though they had shallowed the road and that our only option would be to drive through them.

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Then; the magic came into play. We had heard about this magic hill. A hill where, according to people in the area, a car can “magically” drive itself uphill. Crazy. Not being brave enough we didn´t try it. However, I´m starting to wish we had; just out of curiosity!

 

So; there you have it, the second post in my series: Rediscovering Ireland. Picnics, mountains, caves and magical hills. What more could you want from a drive? If you ever find yourself in Sligo then I highly recommend doing this drive.

That´s it for today´s post. I hope you enjoyed reading about my adventure. Stay tuned for tomorrow´s post.

Hope you all are having a great day.

Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo

 

Rediscovering Ireland: Introduction

So, those of you who read my posts regularly will know that I was lucky enough to get back to Ireland on holidays this Easter. It´s shocking to think that it´s been almost four years since I last stepped foot in my beloved birth country. However, this, as with everything, has some advantages. Those advantages being that if you´ve been away from a place for so long, when you do go back, it´s like seeing it through fresh eyes, you fall in love with the place all over again. Everything, that you sometimes take for granted while living in a place, is now that little bit more special than before.

Galway

Galway

I had been so busy over the last four years, settling in and falling in love with Spain, that I had almost forgotten just how special Ireland truly is. While that statement is quite shameful to admit, especially seeing as Irish people are known for their pride in their country, it´s  true.
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That said, when my plane landed in Dublin airport, I was full of excitement and anticipation. Greeted by my friends and a rough plan of what was to come I was thrilled to be on Irish soil once again. I have to say my friends are what made this trip for me. They ensured that I got to experience as much as I could while I was home. I´m so grateful for that, with their help I managed to have a jam-packed holiday. So, if you´re reading this, thank you so much!
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That said; due to the vast quantity of places I managed to fit into my trip home, I´ve decided to make my trip home into a series. A post a day on the highlights from my trip. I know that I could have tried to fit them all into one post but I feel that each place merits its own post. Also, I think, if I had chosen to write just one post, it would have ended up being too long. I mean we all know how much I love to talk: being brief is just not something that would work for me. But, I suppose, I wouldn´t be Irish otherwise, would I?
So; I´ve decided to call this series, as the title of this post might suggest: rediscovering Ireland. Not a very original title, I know, but that is exactly what this trip was for me. Seeing Ireland in a new light.
So all that remains in this introductory post is to tell you what to expect over the next number of days. So here it is:
Post two: Rediscovering Ireland: The Gleniff Horseshoe.
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Post three: Rediscovering Ireland: William Butler Yeats Grave.
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Post four: Rediscovering Ireland: Knocknarea.
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Post five: Rediscovering Ireland: Coney Island.
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Post six: Rediscovering Ireland: Strandhill.
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Post seven: Rediscovering Ireland: Eagles Flying.
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Post eight: Rediscovering Ireland: Kylemore Abbey.
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Post nine: Rediscovering Ireland: Kilcooley Abbey.
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So, there you have it. A little taste of what´s to come over the next number of days. I hope you´ll enjoy it as much as I did while I was there!
Hope you all are having a great day.

Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo

Alcoy: The City of Bridges.

It´s funny how things work out sometimes. We all make plans and, some of us, even go as far as making bucket lists. I´m most certainly one of those people. I make lists for everything. Lists of work goals, lists of life goals, lists of things I want to do and places I want to see. Some of these lists being easy to accomplish while others, hmm, let´s just say: debatable.

So; you may be wondering; what´s this got to do with Alcoy? Well; simple. When I first moved to mainland Spain, four years ago now, I was bright eyed, bushy tailed and eager to get to know my new country. I sat down with a pen, my much loved notebook and a map. I started making a list of places I wanted to visit within a two hour radius of where I was living. A realistic bucket list, or at least, that´s what I thought at the time.

Made the connection yet? Yes, I knew you would. One of the lovely places that was lucky enough to make it into my trusty notebook, and onto that glorious list, was Alcoy. Sadly though, I didn´t get to see it before I moved to Córdoba.

That said; once I moved back here, to Murcia, I dragged out that little list, which, by then, had started to gather a thick layer of dust. I vowed to myself there and then to start ticking these places off my list. So; I thought – why not share my experience with all of you?

Enough rambling, onto Alcoy.
Alcoy

When I first heard of Alcoy I was immediately intrigued by it. First of all, because the guidebooks I had read had referred to it as “The real Spain”, quite a bold statement if you ask me. And, secondly, because of its nickname: the City of Bridges. Having been there I can see what the guidebooks meant.

The minute you enter Alcoy you are faced with a mass of Bridges. Alcoy, being a town with many furrowed cliffs and steep drops, needs these bridges due to the natural lie of the land. Some of the bridges date back to the 17th century. Apart from their functional uses, such as providing access to both the industries which border the River Riquer and the more modern parts of the town, they are structurally stunning.

So; apart from the bridges, what has Alcoy got to offer? And, more importantly, why has it been referred to as “The real Spain”? That, I believe, is due to the evident remains of the cultures that once occupied this town. The Moors occupied Alcoy from the tenth to the thirteenth century. Their imprint has remained throughout the centuries and, quite strangely, the Moorish ruins lie beneath the modern day town. It seems that from the fifteenth century, when Alcoy came to prominence and its military might was invaluable to the Alicante region, that Alcoy began to construct a new town. I would imagine, as I haven´t read much on this, that the purpose for this was to accommodate the growth of the town. However, nowadays the town that lies below is not functional and all that remains are ruins. While it is a shame to see a mass of ruins lying below the town, it does add a touch of quirkiness.

Today, Alcoy is a lovely town. As you walk through the streets you get a sense of pride from its inhabitants. One thing that struck me as I walked around was the people. They were all dressed so well and each and every one of them was so friendly. I particularly loved Plaza España as not only was it surrounded by classic architecture but it seemed to be a meeting spot for some of its locals. It was filled with a buzz between the people congregated in the central square and the little shops which had brought their products out onto the street to make shopping a much more inviting experience.


I also loved the little parks that were dotted around this quaint town. They were filled with people and animals and, overall, were pleasant places to visit.

So; the only question that remains is: Is Alcoy worth a visit? Most certainly. Alcoy is a unique town with lots to see. It makes a refreshing change to the busier international holiday resorts in the area. This inland little hub is surrounded by mountains which serve as a backdrop to every street. The natural lie of the land itself is visually pleasing and the numerous bridges and viaduct are spectacular. Alcoy offers something a little different and its people are so welcoming and traditional that it´s a delight to spend time there. While Alcoy may not be everyone´s cup of tea, it´s most certainly a place that can be appreciated by all: especially if you´re keen on history!

I hope that you enjoyed reading about my little  trip and that you´ve all had a fantastic weekend.
Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo

Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge: Shadows

So, having had two weeks off from my blog, I´m having what you might call: withdrawal symptoms. I´ve a longing to catch up on everything I´ve missed while I was away – an impossible mission but I can only try.
Truth be told; I´m looking forward to this weekend when I´ll have the time to sit down and catch up on some of my favourite blogs, check out some of my new followers and catch up on some posts. It´s crazy, I´m so driven to get my blog back up and running but struggle to find the time during the week! So; all I can say is roll on this weekend.
As I was scrolling through my reader last night, when I should have really been sleeping, I saw Cee´s Fun Photo Challenge and I loved it. So; I decided to try to fit it in. I´m new to Cee´s Fun Challenge. I´ve seen lots of entries on blogs I follow and have been fascinated by the creativity of this challenge but haven´t been brave enough to actually enter myself.
That said, time to bite the bullet, get over my fear and enter the challenge. After all, as the title suggests, it is only for fun! So enough of my rambling and onto the challenge. I´m only putting forward three photos in this weeks challenge, all of which were taken on my holiday in Ireland, I decided baby steps were the best way forward!
So, here you have it – my humble entry into this weeks challenge. I hope you enjoy it!

So, there you have it, my humble entry into the challenge this week. If you liked it and would like to see some more, or you would  simply like to enter the challenge yourself,  then click here to be brought to the challenge page.

Hope you all are having a great day.

Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo

Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top

So, as you may have noticed, I disappeared for two weeks. Don´t worry, I´m not flaking on my blog, I have no intention of going anywhere. However, I was on holidays. I had hoped to have better access to the internet while I was away but, sadly, that was not the case. I was living off the limited service that my phone provided me with. So; lesson learned – next time I decide to go on holidays I´ll schedule my posts to publish in my absence. What can I say? I was naïve: forgive me!

That said, having missed the weekly challenge last week, I was eager to get this one in on time. I was quite excited when I saw the challenge. I managed to fit in a lot of hill walking on my little trip to Ireland. I feel that this challenge allows me to show off the beautiful landscape that I was lucky enough to see on my trip, while also serving as a little warm up to the posts to come.

So; all that´s left to say is – enjoy!

 

So, there you have it, my humble entry into the weekly challenge this week. If you liked it, and would like to see some more, check out these entries:

http://thewritemight.me/2014/04/19/weekly-photo-challenge-on-top/

http://wisemonkeysabroad.com/2014/04/18/weekly-photo-challenge-on-top/

https://solaner.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/the-daily-post-on-top/

http://ordibild.com/2014/04/19/on-top/

http://esengasvoice.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/weekly-photo-challenge-on-top/

http://shoot2blog.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/weekly-photo-challenge-on-top/

Or click here to be brought to the challenge page.

Hope you all are having a great day.

Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Thresholds

The weekly challenge this week is an interesting one, depending on the interpretation you choose to take on it, and it is also one that I can easily relate to.

This year, for me, was one in which I experienced a few of life´s major thresholds. All of which were natural transitions of live, waves (or in some cases tidal waves) of change that we all have to ride on at some point. These waves of change bring up so many emotions that you never knew you could have. Emotions such as hope, anticipation, fear, uncertainty and apprehension.

However, whatever emotions these changes stir up, one thing is for sure: change is necessary. It alters our paths and, while sometimes we may begrudge it at first, the sooner we learn to roll with it, the better.

As I stand at a pivotal threshold in my life; one in which I learn to accept and embrace the changes that have occurred, I can´t help but smile. That´s the great thing about thresholds – as you learn to put your best foot forward, learn to take the plunge in the right direction – you slowly begin to leave your loss, your fear and the past behind you. The unknown awaits you, whether it´s good or bad, and that´s exciting.

So, here´s to stepping over that threshold. Here´s to the change that awaits us. Here´s to the thresholds that lead us to discovery, awareness and awakening. And here´s to having the courage to walk through that door.

So, with that said, here are my offerings for the weekly photo challenge. I hope you like them and my interpretation of the theme. Enjoy.


So, there you have it, my humble entry into the weekly challenge this week. If you liked it, and would like to see some more, check out these entries:

1. http://ubecute.com/2014/04/05/thresholds/

2. http://theeternaltraveller.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/weekly-photo-challenge-threshold/

3. http://mhdriver.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/weekly-photo-challenge-threshold/

4. http://sued51too.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/weekly-photo-challenge-threshold-ii/

5. http://shoot2blog.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/weekly-photo-challenge-threshold/

Or click here to be brought to the challenge page.

Hope you all are having a great day.

Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo