My somewhat quirky views as I gaze at the world around me!

Archive for June, 2013

MONDAY’S MAGICAL MOMENT: HA’PENNY BRIDGE, DUBLIN

HA'PENNY BRIDGE, DUBLIN

Prior to 1816, the only way to cross the River Liffey in Dublin, Ireland‘s capital city, was by one of 7 ferries.   Then, to replace the deteriorating ferries, this bridge was built and named the Wellington Bridge for the “Iron Duke” who was born on Merrion Street in Dublin.  (He, when asked about his Irish heritage,  famously replied “Just because one is born in a stable it does not make one a horse”.   Summons up his attitude to the Irish, huh?)

Although the name was officially changed to Liffey Bridge, it has always been known as the Ha’penny Bridge, which was the toll to cross the bridge….1 old halfpenny, which was collected at turnstiles on either end of the bridge.   Until 2000, when the Millenium Bridge was built,  this was the only pedestrian bridge across the River Liffey.  Studies in 2001 showed pedestrian traffic in excess of 27,000 people per day and also that critical repairs were needed.  The were carried out by Harland and Wolff of Belfast, the company which built the Titanic.

Currently, the main concern with the Ha’pennyBridge is the removal of the increasing number of “love locks” which are being attached to it and damaging the paint.  Love locks are padlocks upon which couples inscribe or paint their names, attach and lock to the bridge, then throw the keys into the Liffey as a symbol of their undying love and connectedness.  The Dublin City Council is now cutting these off on a weekly basis.

Copyright 2013                                    Mary Jane E Clark

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MONDAY’S MAGICAL MOMENT: ST. CANICE’S CATHEDRAL, KILKENNY

MONDAY’S MAGICAL MOMENT: ST. CANICE’S CATHEDRAL, KILKENNY.

MONDAY’S MAGICAL MOMENT: ST. CANICE’S CATHEDRAL, KILKENNY

ST CANICE'S, KILKENNY

This is St Canice’s Cathedral in Kilkenny City, which gave Kilkenny its name:  Cill Chainnigh or Canice’s Church.  St Canice lived from 520-599 and was a close friend of St Columcille or Columba, who founded the monastic settlement of Iona, where the famous illustrated manuscripts of the Gospels, The Book of Kells, were produced.   The church contains an absolutely fascinating “Stone of Enthronement”, the ancient Chair of St Kieran, on which the Bishops of Ossory are still enthroned.   Although originally a Roman Catholic church built in the 13th century (on the site of at least 3 previous churches, the earliest dating from the 6th century), following the English Reformation, it became an Anglican Church of Ireland.  The cathedral, at 75 yards long, is the second longest in Ireland.

The neighboring Round Tower dates from the 9th century  and was used for storage of treasures as well as a place of refuge from marauding Vikings.  100 feet tall it can be climbed, by appointment, up a series of interior ladders and provides a spectacular view of Kilkenny and the surrounding countryside.

Copyright 2013                        Mary Jane E Clark

MONDAY’S MAGICAL MOMENT: NAFPLIO, GREECE

NAFPLIO, GREECE

I had no idea that I would ever visit Nafplio (or even that it existed) but thanks to a general strike in Athens, this was the alternate port selected by the cruise line.  The early morning anchoring provided this stunning view of Bourtzi Castle (meaning “tower”).  The final reinforcements to it were completed  by the Venetians in 1473.  It has served as a fortress, housing for executioners, a hotel and now a tourist attraction.  Although I only saw it from a distance, it has lingered in my imagination.

Copyright 2013                        Mary Jane E Clark

 

MONDAY’S MAGICAL MOMENT: HOT AIR BALLOON

HOT AIR BALLOON

I had always wanted to ascend in a hot air balloon and, a few years ago, had the opportunity.  (I was in the one casting the shadow on the right hand side of photo.)  After a day’s delay because of high winds, the journey proved well worth the 4 a.m. check-in!  This is the Pleasant Valley in northern California, just east of Napa Valley.

Copyright 2013              Mary Jane E Clark

(To see the Irish version of Monday’s Magical Moment, please go to http://www.IrishCustomTours.com and click on BLOG)

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