Category Archives: 2014 Ireland /Scotland Trip

Winter Solstice 2016

The Winter Solstice has come and gone for 2016, but I wanted to share a photo of the famous Irish landmark: Newgrange during the winter solstice at dawn. newgrange-sunrise

Tickets for this special couple of days are selected by random lottery. I’ve never been lucky enough to get selected, and I’ve not been able to visit Ireland during the 3-4 days surrounding the winter solstice.

Some interesting facts about Newgrange: It was built during the Neolithic period, around 3200 BC, making it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. The site consists of a large circular mound with an inner stone passageway and chambers. The mound has a retaining wall at the front, made mostly of white quartz cobblestones, and is ringed by engraved kerbstones. Many of the larger stones of Newgrange are covered in megalithic art. Its entrance is aligned with the rising sun on the winter solstice, when sunlight shines through a ‘roofbox’ and floods the inner chamber. It is the most famous monument within the Neolithic Brú na Bóinne complex, alongside the similar passage tomb mounds of Knowth and Dowth, and as such is a part of the Brú na Bóinne UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Newgrange plays a large role in my novel, The Keepers of Éire. After each murder, the killer places the human victim’s body propped against the Entrance Stone at Newgrange. Check out the Entrance Stone.20140722-183723-67043575.jpg

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 980 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 16 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Filed under 2011 The Keepers of Éire Trip, 2014 Ireland /Scotland Trip, Writing

Edinburgh-last day

For my last full day in Scotland, I hung out with velociraptors, thistles and needle pointers, dragons at a palace and Grayfriars Bobby. I started the day finding a real gem of a sgian dubh (dagger). Then I learned about how Scotland (and Earth) was formed and changed since the Big Bang at Our Dynamic Earth.

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Then I checked out the Scottish Parliment. A major vote is coming up in September for Scotland, yet I went to view the 160 panel Great Tapestry of Scotland-fabulous! I even added some stitching to a panel that will be presented to Parliment.

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Next, I visited the Palace of Holyroodhouse -where the royal family resides when they come to Edinburgh. And, I found dragons.

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I touched Grayfriars Bobby’s nose (it is rumored that the Skye Terrier lay by his human’s gravesite for 14 years until he himself died in 1872 -now that’s loyalty).

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And I wrapped up my day with dessert and a pint, or two, of St. Andrews Smooth at the Balmoral Hotel. Wow, what fun I’ve had.

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Tomorrow I head back to Dublin for one last afternoon and evening, then I fly back home. The time has gone quickly, but I’ve reconnected with some wonderful people and made new friends along the way.
I am blessed to be able to experience some parts of the lands of my ancestors. Slainte.

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Edinburgh

I spent the day in Edinburgh visiting the Castle (which is getting ready for the Military Tattoo).

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Here I am at the line of cannons.

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And some dragons.

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The castle is built on top of an extinct volcano, and easy to see why it was built here. The castle is solid rock fortress.

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I finished the day with an early supper at the Witchery. Also, check out the street I’m staying.

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I’m going to visit the Palace at Holyroodhouse tomorrow.

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Inverness, Culloden, Clava Cairns, Ruthven Barracks, Pitlochry, & Edinburgh

The morning started with a book giveaway and send off from my Inverness lodging- the Atherstone Guesthouse.

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We headed out to Culloden Battlefield where in 1746, Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobites lost their battle.

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Next, the Clava Cairns (this will be one of the locations the Caledonian dragons will harness the earth magic in book 2 of my Keeper series). Grayson came along to show the way into the cairns.

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Ruthven Barracks rounded out our morning.

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We stopped in Pitlochry for lunch and whisky tasting. Guess where I ate lunch?

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I’ll close out this post with our tour guide Bill (also my guide 3 years ago) from Real Scottish Journeys. He was quite supportive of my writing endeavor when last I was here, so…look for Bill in the next book.

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Eilean Donan, Loch Ness, and Inverness

We left the Isle of Skye and crossed the bridge to the most photographed castle in Scotland, Eilean Donan. And no wonder, it may be small, but quite beautiful.

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We had a wee tour.

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I found dragons!

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Then we were off to find Nessie in Loch Ness.

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And a quick stop to see Urquhart Castle before stopping for the night in Inverness.

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Lost Fairy Glen photos

The Fairies invaded my last post and stole the photos (snaps) of their glen. Here they are.

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Even Grayson climbed to the top of the fairy castle with me after we traversed the wishing spiral and left a token.

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Here are some snaps of the mystical landscape along with our rainy weather.

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Our last stop of the day was a hike to the lighthouse that stood at the farthest westerly point in Scotland.

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The sun is peaking through the clouds this morning as the tour leaves Skye.

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