Blarney Castle, Republic of Ireland

Blarney Castle sits north of Cork in the southern part of Ireland, its most famous for the Blarney stone which if kissed give you the gift of the gab! The castle is situated on an impressive estate where the entrance fee was part of our tour costs with Busabout / Shamrocker Adventures and we arrived early in order to beat the crowds (mainly tours with older clientele).

Blarney Castle, the Jewel of Southern Ireland Castles

There is a queue to enter the castle and kiss the blarney stone, to give an idea when we arrived it took 35 minutes for us to make our way (causally) through the castle up to the stone. However once we left I noted the line to kiss the stone extended well past a 2 hour mark, so early is essential to avoid a morning in queue and there is plenty of other things to see.

The main attraction… no not the sign!

The castle itself is quite a fascinating structure, while the walk up is enjoyable (yes lots of stairs and tight spaces) they have off shoots into the various rooms used by staff when it was a functional castle. Its a good idea if you can spare a few minutes to check out a few nooks and crannies as they are unique but also give you a bit of breathing room from the line of eager rock smootchers.

The Famous Blarney Stone – and protective rails and attendant.

Now if you don’t want to actually kiss the rock (I for instance did not) its still worth the climb for the amazing views of the grounds.

The poison gardens on the grounds is worth a wander around, if you are into botany or want to notch up your survivalist belt on which plants not to eat this is the place to do it.

A had a good giggle over how some of the plants were in tiny protected. Mandrake, Wolsbane, Nightshade… all deadly and in little cages; however, Cannabis (Marijuana) is kept in a playground sized bubble! Priorities…

Those yellow flowers looked so tasty!

On last glance back at the castle… through a rock… oh Ireland is the Emerald Island, but also the land of unique rocks.

Everyone has to get this photo… including me.

Central Park, New York City, NY

Central Park, New York City, NY

After attending a morning AGM business meeting, Adell and I were free to do some more exploring. Central Park was nearby so, although we were now dressed more in business attire than in vacationing attire, we visited many of the walkways in the southern section of Central Park. Business footwear is not as kind to my feet anymore :-). Continue reading

Trying out a new (old) lens: Nikkor-H 28mm f3.5

Snow on Ottawa RIver at Dick Bell Park

Nikkor-H 28mm f3.5: I purchased another vintage lens today.  It has definitely seen better days and has lots of wear but it still works, so I will find a place for it in my bag on those days when I don`t want to carry around the much newer, larger zoom lenses. Some days, I expect  that this small, old, much lighter and less obtrusive MF lens will be just what I need.
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Upper Canada Village, Morrisburg, Ontario – a second visit.

Upper Canada Village, Morrisburg, Ontario – a second visit.
Driving from Ottawa to the Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg, Ontario, Jeremy and I opted to take the more leisurely route along the shores of the St. Lawrence River. Jeremy and I formed the Flickr Ottawa group of two for this outing. Weather conditions and last minute Christmas commitments had whittled the group size down quickly.

We found Mr. And Mrs. Claus in a parking lot in Cardinal, Ontario. A jolly couple, but apparently Santa wasn’t sure where he had parked his reindeer. They seemed confident that their transportation would be found, so off Jeremy and I went to see the lights of Upper Canada Village.
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More gingerbread creations – Upper Canada Village, Morrisburg, Ontario

More gingerbread creations from our visit to the opening night of the “Alight at Night” display at Upper Canada Village, Morrisburg, Ontario (November 27th, 2010)

The winning entry roamed away from the more traditional gingerbread house theme and created a Santa’s toolbox that looked like real varnished wood until you got up really close to it. Excellent use of icing colours and 3D texturing made the final product look very convincing and certainly impressed the judges as well as the public.
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2010 Gingerbread Competition – Upper Canada Village, Morrisburg, Ontario

2010 Gingerbread Competition – Upper Canada Village, Morrisburg, Ontario

In addition to the fantastic light display outside, there was also a great display of entries to the 2nd annual Gingerbread competition inside of the Crysler Hall. The competition rules were fairly simple – maximum size of base was 2 ft by 2ft, commercial kits couldn’t be used, food ingredients only (i.e. no styrofoam, wood , plastic or metal supports or framing), and gingerbread being the primary building ingredient.
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A few more “Alight at Night” images from Upper Canada Village, Morrisburg, Ontario

A few more “Alight at Night” images from Upper Canada Village, Morrisburg, Ontario

For previous selection of images see Christmas Lights – Upper Canada Village, Morrisburg, Ontario


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Christmas Lights – Upper Canada Village, Morrisburg, Ontario

Christmas Lights 2010 – Upper Canada Village, Morrisburg, Ontario

My wife and I traveled down to Upper Canada Village near Morrisburg, Ontario for the opening night (November 27th) of the Alight At Night Festival at Upper Canada Village. (LOCATION) No snow on the ground yet but I am sure that that will arrive any day now.  Temperature was about -3C and only a light breeze was blowing, so wandering around the well illuminated streets made for a pleasant evening.


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