More Travel Tips for Ireland

Prior to departure from the United States for Ireland, our preparatory plan included tips for airfare, luggage, and moneyPlanning and budgeting in advance has allowed my family to experience the land of 100,000 welcomes without sacrifice. Once in Ireland, we had a focused itinerary with pre-paid tours, meals, accommodations and built-in down time. Here are a few more tips from our trip to Ireland…

PREPPING   Planning for our trip began eight months in advance by pouring over the internet, purchasing travel books, maps and questioning friends who had traveled to Ireland. We each decided upon a “must see” which, in turn, helped us plan an itinerary and determine transportation needs. We visited a travel agent once we knew what we wanted. We saved by purchasing tours online, giving us a focused itinerary at a discount.  Of course our tours included tourist hot spots:


Giant’s Causeway (& my reckless kids)

TRANSPORTATION   We splurged on a taxi from the airport to our first hotel, to a 6:30 AM tour bus stop and to the airport for a 5:30 AM departure.  But mostly we walked or used the local hop-on-off bus. As we left Dublin, we rented a van. Navigating out of the city was a white knuckle experience for our son-in-law. Opposite side steering wheel and street, roundabouts, passing on the left, very small roadways, cattle crossings, car parks with height restrictions (which meant finding on-street parking), a manual gear shift and Gaelic road signs took some getting used to. By mid-week he was a confident roundabout expert, questioning other driver’s qualifications. LOL.



FOOD   It goes without saying that hotel restaurants are more pricey. Our hotel accommodations included complimentary full Irish breakfasts. We mostly ate in the pubs; sometimes skipping a meal because we weren’t hungry. Guinness pie, Irish stew, shepherd pie, seafood gumbo and brown bread can be quite filling. Plus, there is no cover to listen to the trad musicians! Once we even ordered breakfast bags “to-go” and a lunch picnic basket. 

LAUNDRY   We brought light-weight, easy to pack travel clothes (i.e. Eddie Bauer, Columbia, Under Armor) in a carry-on and a backpack each, planning to wash our clothes mid-trip. We washed our clothing in the hotel sink and bathtub, hanging them in the shower to dry overnight. Mostly dry by morning, some items took two days to completely dry. One daughter chose an outdoor coin-operated launderette which charged €8 per pound. Hotels charged €2-3 for t-shirts and €5-9 for jeans. The differences were time and money… save money, spend time or spend money, save time. 

washing clothes

FÁILTE!   Welcome! The Irish are a friendly, out going people ready with clever wit and conversation and opinion.  We conversed and bantered easily in cosmopolitan Dublin, Belfast and Cork. On the western coast we had a little difficulty understanding the different dialects, idioms and county accents. Stíofán (SHTEE fawn), a truly friendly and happy Inis Oírr (Inisheer) bloke translated much of his island’s Gaelic for us, stating that the islanders only speak English for the tourists.  Wherever we went, no one seemed to mind when asked them to repeat themselves. They’d respond with a friendly, “So, where are you from?” and the conversation would begin. 

stephan_inis oirr

Friendly Stíofán of Inis Orr

All in all, what an experience to share with my family! We are back in the United States, tired and happy. I can’t wait to share about some of our experiences. Stay tuned!

Travel Tips for Ireland , part 1

Hope you have a good week! — Joanne


Travel Tips for Ireland

Ourselves, daughters, son-in-law and grandson are off to Ireland, the Land of 100,000 Welcomes! We’re celebrating life, family and our 37th anniversary; just to name a few. We did our homework on budgeting and travel tips…

AIRFARE  I truly despise flying international “economy” – but we are a party of seven ($$$). Since Ireland is not as far a distance from the United States east coast as some destinations, it was bearable. We saved quite a bit with airfare purchased with Wednesday departures.

LUGGAGE  We are traveling light.  Our daughters were slightly taken aback upon learning that we’d be traveling light with one carry-on and a backpack, each. No hairdryer? (Audible gasp). 😄This allowed us a quick Customs Check as we were able to skip the sleepy wait at baggage claim, avoid long taxi lines and (with Day 3 now upon us), happy that we’re not lugging around suitcases. We’ll need to visit a laundromat at the half point.


MONEY  Before leaving home we made sure our credit and ATM cards would work abroad and purchased €300 before departing (for airport snacks and taxi). This way we’re not carrying around a large sum. We will pay as we go, avoiding bringing too much unusable pounds or euros back home.

Another budget-wise decision was to eat in the pubs. Oye! Out to bust the “Picky American” moniker we are willing to give everything (even black pudding) a try. 😬LOL.


seafood chowder

SITE-SEEING Taxis are an expensive way to site-see. Dublin has a guided  “hop on off” bus tour for €19 that is well worth the cost. We are getting an awesome experience by walking the local streets and slipping into small shops, bakeries and pubs. The locals are so friendly!


Saint Patrick’s

My hope is to timely journal our travels throughout Ireland via this blog throughout images and video. On my mobile. We’ll see. 😉

More Travel Tips for Ireland, part 2

Have a good week! – – Joanne 


TV Multimedia Console, Part 1

George and I spent the weekend helping our daughter and son-in-law build a TV-multimedia console.  Brianne and Brian found online plans that would suit their needs, but desired storage with more of a mid-century flair.


How to Specialist: How to Build a TV Stand

The inspiration choices were narrowed down. However, it still wasn’t quite what they had in mind. They didn’t want all the wiring and electronics exposed, but were concerned about enclosing heat-producing electronics.

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Snow on the Brain

Snow on the brain. Friday, students couldn’t concentrate with the 8″ to 15″ forecast of snow for the weekend.  I had the 5-year-old students measure varying snow depths on a meter stick. Their eyes! Most had never experienced a local snow. 

Weathermen foamed on about the upcoming blizzard; grocery store shelves emptied of breads, eggs, milk; everyone decided they needed gas – even though warned not to drive during the storm. My sister and I waited in the snow party line at the ABC (liquor) store. Snowmageddon.


Sunday afternoon. We’ve about binge-watched all that Netflix has to offer. I’ve sewed an entire quilt top. We’ve sweat pant-ed, hot cocoa-ed, fudge brownie-ed ourselves to the extreme. No school tomorrow; maybe not on Tuesday. 


I’m not complaining. I rather like sleeping in. Think I’ll make chili and cornbread tonight. Oh, yeah . . . I have a bottle of Bailey’s.


Stay warm! – – Joanne



Veterans Day for Students

Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on November 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and November 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938.  Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans–living or dead–but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime. —

Living in a military town you can’t go very far before stumbling upon one of the bases. The majority of students who attend my school has one (if not both) parent in the military.  So, per tradition, today the school student-body walked over to the Veteran’s Day Parade on Atlantic Avenue. 


Replica of the USS Alabama


Then and Now Uniforms


WWII Dispatch Rider – Indian or Harley-Davidson?


Honoring ALL Service Members


Homeland Security – A Little Levity


Airmen, Virginia Air National Guard, 203rd Red Horse Squadron suffered one of the worst peacetime loss of life in the Virginia National Guard since WWII in 2001

By far, my parade favorites are the high school marching bands with their boisterous renditions. 😀 I hope you enjoy this short collage of high school bands. There’s just something about hometown parades!


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Whether you commemorate Veterans Day, Armistice Day or Remembrance Sunday – thank you for your service.


With gratitude – – Joanne


source: Staff. “Veterans Day Facts.” A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 11 Nov. 2016.

Non-Event in Virginia

On Friday, October 7, my school held it’s annual fall mile run event on the boardwalk.  A front was moving in from the west, coinciding with winds from Hurricane Matthew, which was curving east and heading out into the Atlantic.  At least, that was what the National Hurricane Center and our local weathermen were predicting.  The skies looked ominous, but not atypical of local frontal storms.  The students ran their mile with the wind slowing their times.


something’s brewing



blowing sand forming ridges

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