Onward to Dublin and Wales!


By Mary Jo

Having had Tea on a Bus in London and flown a Spitfire simulator near Dover, it was time to cruise along to new territory.  Our next was Dublin in the Republic of Ireland, where we chose an excursion to the Jameson Distillery.  Founded in 1780 in Dublin, Jameson is the best selling Irish whiskey in the world.  The main distillery is in Cork, but the original production facility is in Dublin and hosts many tours.

We had a delightfully entertaining young guide who took us through the facility.  When talking about early transportation, he asked if anyone knew what an ostler was. I immediately said, “Horses!”  He told me that I was the first person ever to give the right answer, though clearly any historical romance reader would probably know that. <G>

The tour ended with a tasting which is always a feature when one visits a place that produces alcohol.  But even though my characters often knock back brandy when their nerves need steadying, I really, really dislike the taste of spirits so I was very wary when I took small sips of each of the three whiskey variations we were served.  I don’t care if it is triple distilled and very smooth, I still feel like a cat being served vinegar: Pffft!

The tour was fun, though and we had a colorful rush hour drive back to the ship following the Liffey River.  It was a lovely sunny day and showed Dublin at its best. (I’m glad we’ve visited Ireland in the past because there is so much to see!!!)

Next up was the Isle of Anglesey, a sizable island off the northwest corner of Wales. I have some familiarity with the southern coast of Wales (and even set Thunder and Roses there) but the north country was new to me.  Anglesey has one of the highest proportions of people who speak Welsh in Wales, and it also contains the world’s first major suspension bridge.

Designed and built by the famous engineer Thomas Telford, it was completed in 1826 and to connect the island of Anglesey with mainland Wales. (Telford was known as the Colossus of Roads because of his many successful engineering projects.)  The bridge was vital for allowing cattle to be moved to the mainland rather than possibly drowning if they were driven across the turbulent Menai Strait.  This is the bridge, still in use almost two hundred years after it was built.

Anglesey is also home to the village with the famously long name of Lllanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, which means The church of St Mary at the pool of the white hazels near the fierce whirlpool and the church of St Tysilio of the red cave.”

According to both our guide and Wikipedia, the long name was supposedly contrived in 1869 as an early publicity stunt to give the local railway station the longest name of any station in Britain.

The stunt worked, too.  Many people have heard of this famously long name, though few of us can pronounce it. <G>  Our guide grew up nearby and said that local kids competed to see who could say the name most quickly. Click here for the correct pronunciation, and good luck with it!

The James Pringle Weavers shop looked like a small souvenir and tea emporium, but it turned out to be very large and had a wide range of general household goods as well as touristy items like this splendid little dragon.  They also had whole baskets of fuzzy little lambs in different designs.  Naturally I had to bring one home. <G> Meet Saren at the top of the post. The name is Welsh for Star. She’s dazzling the other little lambs who live here!

I hope you enjoyed this brief visit to Dublin and  Anglesey.  Next we head for Liverpool and points north!

Mary Jo

24 thoughts on “Onward to Dublin and Wales!”

  1. I have seen your newsletter where you first introduced the fluffy Seren. I hope you enjoyed you visit to Anglesey, also known as Ynys Mon the mother of Wales.

    • Susan, for some reason WordPress ate the comment I left earlier. I didn’t know about the name Ynys Mon, but it goes with the high percentage of Welsh speakers. Seren sends you a fluffy hug!

  2. Sounds like you had a lovely and fun trip. Thanks for sharing. Love the photo of the little lamb…what a cutie! Interesting bit about the Telford bridge in Anglesey.
    The moniker Colossus of Roads tickled me! Very clever!
    Is Anglesey where General Uxbridge(later Maquis of Anglesey) of Waterloo fame was from?
    Thanks for including the video on how to pronounce that long village name..that was interesting and fun! She was a good teacher…now if I can only remember it! 🙂 I love gow places get their names.

    • Thanks for your reply, Mary Jo. An interesting place to have a family seat I would think. Is the Island very large?
      Well…among them they Uxbridge ran off with Wellington’s sis in law (they
      eventually married) it wasquite a scandal at the time, But evidently didn’t harm Uxbridge’s military career and he and Wellington became good friend later in life!
      Makes for an i teresting story, though….

      • Jane, it’s something like the 7th largest island in the British Isles so it’s a good size. As a romantic, I’ve loved the story of Lord Uxbridge and Wellington’s sil because it has a happy (if scandalous) ending, which isn’t always the case in the real life Regency.

  3. Lovely post Mary Jo. Pity you didn’t have longer in Dublin. There are some great museums and galleries there and the craic is mighty in the pubs at night 🙂

    • Teresa, luckily I’ve spent a couple of weeks in Ireland at earlier times so I’ve seen the Book of Kells and had chances to experience much more of your country–but never enough!

      • The Book of Kells really is beautiful! My eldest girl went to Trinity College for her degree. She brought me in one day when I was visiting her so I was lucky, didn’t have to queue to see it which can take quite a while!!

  4. The Jamesons Distillery in Dublin! My mom and I went there for a tour and a dinner event with entertainment in 2012! It was so cool! I’m not much of a drinker either, but I enjoyed the complimentary cocktail – Jamesons on ice. ( I wasn’t driving.)

    The entertainment included Celtic music and step dancing. They also talked about how Celtic music contributed to American country music. They sang the old John Denver hit “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, and that’s when I got homesick. We only had 1 more day in Ireland though, so I dealt with it.

    We wanted to go to the Guinness Brewery also, but out time was limited, and we had to choose 1.

  5. Your journey sounds wonderful! And you’re right – I would have known what an ostler was as well As for that long Welsh name, my father had learned it as a child for some reason (I never discovered why, although he did have some Welsh ancestors) and still remembered how to pronounce it many years later. It always made us kids laugh. I look forward to hearing more about your travels!

  6. I’m enjoying details and photos from your trip, Mary Jo, and feel similarly about most liquor. I’m curious as to the size of Saren; she is definitely a charming souvenir!

  7. Another great installment. I mostly drink wine but I do enjoy a good Irish whiskey. I like Jameson but my go to brand came from a Word Wench recommendation- Writer Tears. So smooth & relaxing- Enjoy with a good book!


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