Little Citizens of the World


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Springtime in Ireland

Since arriving back from Scotland, we’ve been so busy I can hardly make time for anything.  The weather has been just incredible, so there have been lots of walks, park days, farmers markets and sleepovers.  The thing is, I have so much to do and I’m putting it off so I can enjoy the sunshine.  Well, it will all get done in time.  For now, I’m going to enjoy this beautiful weather as much as I can!

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Fitzgerald Park

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The River Lee

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Bonnie Scotland

We’ve spent a short time in Scotland recently and, with the exception of the car breaking down on the motorway, it was lovely!  We took the ferry across from Belfast to Cairnryan.  It was very quiet onboard with hardly any cars.  About 2 hours later, we headed up the coast to our house in Ardrossan.  Our rental was gorgeous with massive 10ft by 15ft windows that looked out over the beach and distant Scottish islands.

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Ferry freight deck

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One of the seating areas and shop enterance

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The view from the sitting room on a rather blustery day

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Just gorgeous

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Saltcoats village

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While we were in Glasgow, we heard one of Sky and Sparrows teammates from their Irish dance class on Cape Cod had made it to Worlds and was in Glasgow that moment!  So I got in touch with the teacher and 3 days later, we were on the 6:30am train to Glasgow to cheer on the girls friend at the 2018 Irish Dance World Championships!

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Buchanan Street from the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

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Buchanan Street at 7am is beautifully silent

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Of course we had to have lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe!

We had an amazing day out in the city and, although the girls friend didn’t make call backs, she had a fantastic time and it was an amazing experience for everyone.

Back in Ardrossan, we spent most of our remaining time at the beach and driving around locally , checking out Ardrossan Castle, which was practically in our back garden, and walking down to the docks to watch the ferry come in from the Isle of Aran.

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Ardrossan Castle ruins

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Reflections of sunset on Saltcoats

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Goodnight Scotland

And so back to Cork we head, just in time for gorgeous spring weather.  We enjoyed our time in Scotland, and I hope to return there and see more of the country with the kids than just North Ayrshire.  Next time, I’d love to take them to Edinburgh and up into the Highlands a bit.  The viaduct from the Harry Potter films is pretty high on the list as well!


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Funderland!

My dear friend stopped by this afternoon and mentioned that there’s always a fair that comes to town at Easter called, Funderland.  She asked is we would be interested in going.  I thought, “sure we would, lets plan for it!”  “Ok, get your shoes.” she replied!

So I wasn’t prepared for that, in fact I had just finished coating my hair in coconut oil and clipping it on top of my head.  She offered to wait while I took a shower, but the kids looked so excited to run out the door that I just said, lets go!

It was about a 45 minute walk from the city to the fair grounds.  When we got close, you could see the biggest rides up over the buildings.  The kids were over the moon thrilled.  I was excited because I felt bad that they would miss the Ag Fair on the Vineyard this summer, which is tradition.  So here we were, at the gates of this beautiful fair and I was so relieved.

Everyone going on rides requires a bracelet and because it’s fairly pricey, I just got the kids bracelets.  The front of the fair grounds was mainly younger kids rides, but we’re not adventurous when it comes to rides, so carousels, Dumbo rides and those little cars that go round and round in a circle are just fine with us.

As we made our way through, there were big slides, obstacle courses, bumper cars and a medium sized roller coaster that was not too big but big enough to be awesome!  They also had fairground hot dogs, which I’m just going to believe were 100% organic beef, and we finished off the night with Hook A Duck for €3 a pop.

We spent about 4.5 hours there before walking back home.  It was an amazing, surprise day and we all had a fantastic time.

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This ride left one of mine in tears.  Bad call on my part.

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Some of the rides were wild!

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…And some were just our speed.

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A silly fun house

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This swing can be seem from over a mile away.

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Cobh, Ireland

Cobh is pronounced ‘cove’.  It was once known as Queenstown, in honour of Queen Victoria.  It was the last place many Irish left from when they came to America in the 1800’s.  It was also the last stop Titanic made when it set off on it’s maiden voyage.  2,206 people were onboard Titanic when she left the docks.  1,517 would never reach New York.

I was up at 4am to see if I could get my first sight of Ireland.  We were just coming up to the mouth of the harbour and you could clearly see the light at Roches Point.

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When I whispered to the kids that I could see Ireland, they actually jumped up out of bed and ran out onto the balcony with me, they were so excited!  I was so glad they were as excited as me, but also surprised as I figured I’d be trying to drag them out of bed in time to meet customs at the designated 6:40am time slot!

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The village of Cobh coming into view.

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By the time we were through customs, had some breakfast and got our luggage lined up in our room, it was about time that our friends were to be meeting us at the train station, literally right in front of the ship.  We went up onto the top decks and saw the 8:24 train just pulling in, and we could actually see the blue coat of the girls little friend, Sula (Soo-la), sitting in the window!

When they got to the gate, we shouted down to them, and they looked around but didn’t look up at the ship. So we counted to three and altogether yelled “SULA!!” and they saw us!  We all waved like crazy, then hurried down to get our bags and disembark.  It took 15 minutes for someone to come get our luggage, which felt like forever.  The girls were so bulked up with their fleece and down coats, etc that they waited on the balcony.  Finally, we were off the ship and it was hugs all around.  Ahhh, welcome home!

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“You can go to Heaven if you want, I’d rather stay in Bermuda.” ~Mark Twain

Our first, and only, stop on this cruise is to Bermuda.  We’ve never been there before, so we were very excited about it.  I had gone on Google Maps to find out what the terminal looked like, and it was a gorgeous spot for photos of the girls.  I had it all planned out, the walking trail around the town and then back on the ship for late lunch.  The night before we arrived, I got the program for the next day in our door slot and realised I’d been googling Grand Bahama!!

Even though I was a bit disappointed by the difference in port (the port on Grand Bahama is picture perfect), it still was very lovely.  It was a little overcast and there was a tiny breeze, but it was perfect for pants and a tshirt.  I had, however, planned on getting good Christmas pictures while there so, unfortunately, every photo I took has the girls faces front and center.  Really, there wasn’t that much to photograph unless we had taken the bus out of the port area and into the town, so you’re not missing much.

We didn’t do any shore excursions, we just spent a few hours walking around the town.  The port area is pretty small and the Clocktower Mall is really the only place to visit.  We went in there and bought a few little souvenirs, then walked back to the ship along a different path.  It was a nice day out and a cute little port town.

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Map on the wharf

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Walking back to the ship past the Clocktower Mall.  You can still see the line in Sparrows hair from when I dyed it blue, when they went to see DanTDM last month!

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Beautiful Pandanus Palm

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This is the only place I was able to get a photo of the whole ship!

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Ready to sail away.  Goodbye Bermuda!


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March Madness

It’s been crazy around here lately!  We’re getting ready for our cruise back to Ireland, getting our house completely packed up so we can rent it, trying to get a rental in Ireland, and preparing for a feis (an Irish dance competition. pronounced – fesh).

I’m pretty OCD about everything, so I’ve been non stop for the last 3 months.  I’m exhausted!

There was a slight problem, when the cruise consultant noticed the girls passports would expire before the ship left.  I knew it was 2017, but that seemed so far away!  So I had to rush both applications because we were requesting special permission from customs to get off the ship in Ireland, rather than complete the cruise and disembark in another country.  We were approved, that was a huge relief.  The cruise terminal is directly across from the Cobh Heritage Center, and only about 20 minutes from Cork City, where we’ll be staying.  It would have been so stressful (and extremely expensive) if we had to disembark elsewhere and travel across other countries to get back to where we had been only days earlier!

As for our house, I had always planned on using it as a summer rental, fully furnished and ready to go.  After thinking about it and going over and over it, I decided it would be too much to monitor from outside the US.  Although I would have used a property manager, who’s to say things wouldn’t be missed or broken and then what do you do?  Especially when the turnover is weekly.  It was too much for me to think about.  So I’ve decided to rent out on a yearly basis, which will be less money, but a lot easier on my nerves.

Year round rentals are unfurnished, so I’ve been furiously trying to get everything packed back up.  We’ve been here less than a year, and  I can’t believe how much crap I have!  Where did it all come from?  I’ve purchased some industrial shelving for the basement, and lots of storage totes.  In fact, I placed an order for what I thought was a reasonable amount of totes back in January.  Then I placed another order for the same amount.  Then another!  Finally, I went to the store and bought 3 times what I had been ordering.  I think I’ll have enough smaller sized totes, but I’m probably going to need at least 5 or 6 more 50 gallon totes for bedding and towels.  We love pillows in our family, so yeah, we’re gonna need more totes!

We’ve just, in the last few days, not only been accepted for a rental house in Ireland, but it’s in the neighbourhood of my dreams!   I can’t tell you how difficult it is to find something in this area.  Openings are very, very rare.  When I was speaking with the letting agent, he mentioned he had spent summers on Martha’s Vineyard, and when he heard it was my home town, he said he wanted to help me out if he could.  Everyone had been so kind to him when he was there, he wanted to give back.  Serendipity.

Sky and Sparrow, who have been Irish dancing for a few years now, are dancing several times a week this month as we celebrate our Irishness with the insanity that is March Madness.  It’s like St. Patrick’s Day every weekend around here!  Lots of pubs, hotels, etc are having celebrations and what’s an Irish party without Irish dancers!

They also had their final American feis this month.  They did great, there were medals all around and I’m so proud of their hard work.  From now on, they’ll be feisin’ in Ireland!

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