Kilkenny: A near wreck with a semi and a lesson inspired by Leah & a harpist

This is post #14 of a blog series I’m writing including pictures of the recent amazing trip I took with our precious, beautiful daughter Leah. Here are posts:

#1, My daughter Leah and I went to Ireland,

#2, Ireland: Dreams Come True,

#3, We visited Bunratty Castle in Ireland,

#4, Bunratty Folk Park: the waterfall, the lamb, and the fairy village,

#5, The Gorgeous Cliffs of Moher,

#6, Galway Girl,

#7, Galway Girl, Part 2,

#8, Treacherous Corkscrew Hill,

#9, The ferry in Kerry County.

#10, Torc Waterfall, and

#11, Killorglin: flies, a spider, and a moving bed, and a French couple!

#12, Kenmare: Palm trees, a pub, and Irish coffee;

#13, Kilkenny: A harpist, a near wreck with a semi, and souvenirs

We took so many pictures with our phones that I need to break up the posts, to make it easier for you to read, as I know you live a busy, hectic life like mine and you don’t have lots of spare time!

I hope these blogs inspire and bless you. I thank my Lord Jesus Christ, who made this amazing opportunity and prayer possible.

Irish Quotes

“No description is possible. I can only say, go and see.”–Dinah Maria Craik

As Leah and I made our way to our last B & B in Ireland, I felt both thankful to God and so sad that we’d be leaving soon. I wanted to stay much longer. The next town we stayed in was Kilkenny.

trees and mountains
trees and mountains

We know for sure that Leah’s relatives on her dad Ray’s side originally came from Ireland. It is also possible that my own relatives from my dad’s side were, too. He has done a lot of genealogy work on both sides of our family.

I had done some research before traveling to Ireland and found the location of a castle that very strongly could have belonged to our family’s clan, if we indeed have Irish roots.

I wanted to visit this family’s fortress that is located in the remote countryside on a huge rock and built in the 9th century, but it would add an extra hour going to Kilkenny. Leah had not slept the night before in Kenmare, and was exhausted, so I decided not to do it this trip. It would be almost three hours long as it was. She slept much of the way in the car.

Sunset in Ireland
Sunset in Ireland

On the way there, I needed to go to the restroom and saw that the convenience store where I was stopping had that delicious Irish ice cream cones, which was even better. 

Ireland's delicious ice cream cone
Ireland’s delicious ice cream cone

Parking is often a problem in Ireland. I had pulled into the convenience store parking lot, and didn’t see any spaces, so I decided to pull out into the highway to my right and enter the parking lot to look for a space again. Driving in Ireland requires a mental shift, because you drive on the left side of the road, from the front right seat, which is opposite of what Americans do.

I looked to my left but didn’t look carefully enough to my right to see if any traffic was coming toward us, and just as I was about to pull out into the two-lane highway, a semi truck came barreling toward us (on my right). I literally felt wind from the truck and it moved my outside mirror!

It was a VERY close call. The semi almost hit us. If it had, I truly believe that Leah and I would be DEAD! GOD AND HIS ANGELS HAD PROTECTED US! Thank God no one was hurt!

an angel Image source: Google
an angel
Image source: Google

It badly shook me up. I found a parking space in the convenience store lot after that, and I sat a few minutes with my head on the steering wheel, thank God for His protection and literally shaking from fear. Leah was shaken, too.

The semi truck driver actually stopped his truck and came back to check on us as I went inside to use the restroom and buy an ice cream cone. Later, I drew a stick figure cartoon when writing a letter to my sister Maria, about Ireland’s ice cream cones solving any crisis. (I sometimes use humor to cope with life!)

plastic cone sign
plastic cone sign

I bought Leah a cold drink and she sat in the car, working on her tablet. I stood outside in the fresh air, taking a break and enjoying my cone, still thanking God for watching over us. One of the things I’d specifically asked my family and friend intercessors to pray for me traveling was that we would NOT get into any wrecks or be hurt in any way. God answers prayer! It’s important to get prayer cover every day, but especially when you are traveling!

After that, because I was so shaken up from the incident, I made several wrong turns and missed the highway going to Kilkenny. Leah became frustrated and said that she was just ready to go home and be in her own bed, and would be glad when she was not having to deal with me driving. This really hurt my feelings, but I realized it was stress-related.

By this time, we were both tense from the near-accident with the semi and tired from traveling. Be alert to fatigue, hunger, anxiety, and stress when you’re on a trip. The Waze app on my iPhone helped us so much to navigate in Ireland and not get lost (majorly!), but at times the road signs didn’t match what the GPS was saying, and I’d try to go by road signs instead. This would annoy Leah, who asked me why bother with the GPS if I wasn’t going to use it? Good point!

The GPS and road signs don't always match
The GPS and road signs don’t always match

Eventually we got to Kilkenny and we both calmed down when we were able to find a parking garage and a place to eat–this time, we opted for American food and ate cheeseburgers and fries!

Then we found our last B & B. When we first pulled up to the B & B, nobody was there. I had visions of us sleeping in our car the last night of our stay in Ireland and prayed silently, “Not now, God!” Another guest had parked his car in the lot, waiting, smoking a cigarette, and telling me that maybe the owner had the time to meet us wrong.

Then a few minutes later the hostess drove up in her car, smiling and waving at us. I sighed with relief! As usual, the place was beautiful and clean.

Our room had yellow curtains, comfortable quilts, pretty wall art, and was cheery. I was so thankful we stayed here the last night of our stay! The tea and chocolates that the hostess had waiting for us were a welcome refuge after a long drive. This was such a pretty B & B! 

One thing I loved doing at each B & B was taking a hot shower after our drive there and getting into my comfy pj’s! I think I only saw one bathtub our entire stay in Ireland!

Stone fence at Kilkenny B & B
Stone fence at Kilkenny B & B

 

Driveway at Kilkenny B & B
Driveway at Kilkenny B & B

 

Kilkenny B & B
Kilkenny B & B

 

Kilkenny B & B pretty red flowers
Kilkenny B & B pretty red flowers

 

The Kilkenny B & B had yellow curtains, quilts, and was cheery
The Kilkenny B & B had yellow curtains, quilts, and was cheery

 

Our beds at the Kilkenny B & B
Our beds at the Kilkenny B & B

 

pretty wall art at Kilkenny B & B
pretty wall art at Kilkenny B & B

 

Kilkenny B & B tea & chocolates
Kilkenny B & B tea & chocolates
I loved taking hot showers at B & B's after long drives
I loved taking hot showers at B & B’s after long drives

The B & B hostess looked at Leah when she met her and said to me, “She is so beautiful!” I smiled and agreed, “Yes, she is!” This blessed Leah and made her smile. She looked so cute in her dress and flip flops!

Leah at Kilkenny B & B
Leah at Kilkenny B & B

 

Leah in her blue raincoat--it brings out her blue eyes!
Leah in her blue raincoat–it brings out her blue eyes!

I’m glad we went to town first before the B & B. We parked in a garage and walked around the town square a bit, then ate our cheeseburgers and fries at the American restaurant. This was one of the hardest towns to find good parking, so you might locate parking on your GPS before going into town. You have to pay for the parking there, usually a pound or a couple of pounds. It’s best to have both coins and dollars on you at all times for parking expenses. I didn’t see any machines that take credit/debit cards.

town of Kilkenny
town of Kilkenny

 

Kilkenny coffee and deli shop
Kilkenny coffee and deli shop

The Kilkenny Castle looked interesting, but it was getting late. Leah was wearing a dress and flip flops and it was getting cold and windy, so we decided not to tour it this time. We needed to get to our B & B and do last minute packing before flying back to the United States the next morning. The castle was built in 1195 and was a symbol of Norman occupation. The garden has a fountain and beautiful flowers. 

Kilkenny Castle
Kilkenny Castle

 

Kilkenny Castle court
Kilkenny Castle court

 

Kilkenny Castle door
Kilkenny Castle door

 

Back of Kilkenny Castle
Back of Kilkenny Castle

 

statue at Kilkenny Castle
statue at Kilkenny Castle

 

fountain and beautiful flowers in garden at Kilkenny Castle
fountain and beautiful flowers in garden at Kilkenny Castle

As usual there were street musicians in town, such as a saxophone player and a harpist. As we passed the harpist, I quickly took a picture and suddenly Leah said, “You always do that.” I asked, “What?” She said, “You never stop and listen to the music. You just take pictures and go on.”

Leah is a musician, so of course she listens to music intently. But her remark about me surprised and convicted me. We need to pause, look, listen, and enjoy this life, especially with our loved ones. I stopped walking and listened with her to the harpist playing so beautifully.

I saw a mom and her kids and also two women sitting and chatting by the harpist. We all need friends in our lives! I’m so thankful and glad that my beautiful, precious daughters are also my friends!

Leah and I listening to harpist
Leah and I listening to harpist

 

two friends chatting and a mom & her kids
two friends chatting and a mom & her kids

 

saxophone player in Kilkenny
saxophone player in Kilkenny

Since Leah and I had bought souvenirs for family and friends, and had dirty laundry, we had to repack everything that night. I checked in for our flights online as Leah did her college homework. The next morning we’d have to get up early at 4:15 AM to be able to leave at 5 AM for the airport.

Unfortunately, we did not have time to explore Dublin. I would have liked to seen the Book of Kells, which is a beautifully illuminated Gospel book containing the four gospels, dating back to the 9th century. Maybe our next trip!

our backpacks & rollerboards for plane
our backpacks & rollerboards for plane

We’d have to get gas on the way and then refill the tank completely before turning in our car to the rental agency, or they charge you extra!

I knew we were also taking a major highway in Dublin, where we’d have to pay a toll. If you don’t pay the tolls in Ireland, you can be fined, sometimes pretty heavily. Leah and I never saw a sign where to pay the toll. She told me to ask about it when I refueled the car at a gas station, and I was able to pay the toll there–her prophetic gifting!

I was nervous about having a flat tire or getting lost on the way to the airport, and missing our international flight. I did take one wrong turn, but we quickly found out way back. There was no problem at all turning in the rental car.

Since we arrived at the airport at 7:10 AM, we had some time for me to buy the remaining souvenirs (duty-free) and for us to eat breakfast before catching our flight. I wanted to try an Irish coffee (with Bailey’s Irish cream) before I left Ireland!

Leah's egg Florentine at airport
Leah’s egg Florentine at airport

 

Leah having her coffee at the Dublin airport
Leah having her coffee at the Dublin airport

 

I finally got my Irish coffee and it was so good! At Dublin airport
I finally got my Irish coffee and it was so good! At Dublin airport

 

Dublin airport
Dublin airport

Be sure you have PLENTY of time to go through customs and security when you’re flying internationally! I thought we’d have enough time eating breakfast and getting our last souvenirs. In the customs’ line, I even asked an agent if we were going to make our flight okay and he looked at our plane tickets and said yes.

As soon as we got out of customs, another agent told us our plane had already taken off and we had missed our international flight! We were RUNNING to our gate to see if somehow we could make it, but we didn’t! I felt this was a good teaching moment for Leah how travel can really be sometimes!

God gave us favor. The gate agents told me that normally we’d have to pay EXTRA to change flights, but they were putting us on another plane for FREE. Thank God! This actually worked to our ADVANTAGE later, as it allowed us to make all US flights back to Kansas City, that I had been worried about due to the short time between catching flights!

Heading home on Aer Lingus (Ireland airlines)
Heading home on Aer Lingus (Ireland airlines)!

There wasn’t a lot of choices when I originally booked the return flights, but I got the best one even though it looked “iff” and prayed for God to work out things for us! He answered that prayer!

Leah's lime coke
Leah’s lime coke on plane

On the final flight back home to Kansas City, Leah put on her sleep mask and used her neck pillow that I had bought her to try to get some sleep. I felt so terrible for her as she was so exhausted. Then we had a drive in the car at the airport parking lot, that was over an hour long getting to our home!

Fortunately Leah and I both were able to catch up on sleep the week after we arrived home in the states. This pic below shows how tired she was, asleep on the final plane, but she had lots of fun and so did I!

What an amazing trip to Ireland. Thank You, Jesus! My heart is overflowing with gratitude that You answer prayer and make our big dreams come true!

Leah asleep on plane coming home
Leah asleep on plane coming home

In my next post in this Ireland Blog Series, I’ll share pics of the beautiful Saint Mary’s Cathedral and a few others, and wrapping up this blog series on our trip to Ireland. Stay tuned!

On plane, arriving home in Kansas City, MO
On plane, arriving home in Kansas City, MO
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Ladies’ View: A break for coffee and chocolate

This is post #13 of a blog series I’m writing including pictures of the recent amazing trip I took with our precious, beautiful daughter Leah. Here are posts:

#1, My daughter Leah and I went to Ireland,

#2, Ireland: Dreams Come True,

#3, We visited Bunratty Castle in Ireland,

#4, Bunratty Folk Park: the waterfall, the lamb, and the fairy village,

#5, The Gorgeous Cliffs of Moher,

#6, Galway Girl,

#7, Galway Girl, Part 2,

#8, Treacherous Corkscrew Hill,

#9, The ferry in Kerry County.

#10, Torc Waterfall, and

#11, Killorglin: flies, a spider, and a moving bed, and a French couple!

#12, Kenmare: Palm trees, a pub, and Irish coffee.

We took so many pictures with our phones that I need to break up the posts, to make it easier for you to read, as I know you live a busy, hectic life like mine and you don’t have lots of spare time!

I hope these blogs inspire and bless you. I thank my Lord Jesus Christ, who made this amazing opportunity and prayer possible.

Irish Quotes

“Ireland is where strange tales begin and happy endings are possible.”–Charles Haughey

After a long journey, we need to stop and rest. Even Jesus, the Son of God, had to rest at times. Leah and I found the perfect spot when reaching Ladies’ View, a scenic view on the Ring of Kerry, in the Killarney National Park. The name comes from the admiration of the view given by Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting during their 1861 visit. 

As I drove through treacherous mountain curves to Kenmare, it rained a little but the sun came out and we saw a beautiful rainbow.

a rainbow in Ireland
a rainbow in Ireland

This made me smile as I had prayed before going on this trip that it would not heavily rain, but if it did ever rain for God to give me a rainbow as a sign of His promises and His presence with us. 

 “I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth.” (Genesis 9:13, NLT)

The mountains were gorgeous but it was a little scary driving through them. Cars were flying around the curves, but around each corner there was another breathtakingly beautiful view. Pictures simply don’t do the beauty in Ireland justice. 

mountains on the way to Kenmare
mountains on the way to Kenmare

 

mountains in national park
mountains in national park

 

mountain lake
mountain lake

 

unique trees in mountains
unique trees in mountains

In Ireland as you are driving, you have to watch for sheep, goats, cows, and other animals on the side of the highway and roads. Leah and I saw one lone sheep and a lone goat on the highway as we drove, and I slowed down to take a pic. We also saw a funny sign, “Adopt a Sheep.”

Adopt a Sheep sign on highway
Adopt a Sheep sign on highway

 

mountain highway in the rain
mountain highway in the rain

 

lone sheep by the mountain highway
lone sheep by the mountain highway

After driving up and down the steep mountains, Ladies’ View Industries was a welcome place to stop and relax for a bit, to have chocolate and coffee and browse their little shop for souvenirs, such as wool scarves and clothing, postcards, soft toy sheep, and other cute items!

Leah ordered an iced caramel latte and I got a hot latte. They had scones, chocolate, and other goodies. We shared chocolate fudge with walnut, which was delicious. The tables had pretty, fresh flowers on them, such a nice, elegant touch!

Ladies' View Industries
Ladies’ View Industries

 

Leah's and my lattes' at Ladies' View shop
Leah’s and my lattes’ at Ladies’ View shop

 

my latte at table with pretty, fresh flowers
my latte at table with pretty, fresh flowers

 

scones, chocolate, and other goodies
scones, chocolate, and other goodies

 

different types of fudge
different types of fudge

I love coffee and drink it every morning. I also love the smells, sights, and sounds of coffee shops, and think it might be fun to work in one. At home, in the morning after I get ready and cook my cheese omelette, I enjoy “coffee with God,” having that first cup of coffee as I pray and read the Bible. Then at work, I make coffee for the second smaller one! I even have a sign on my bookshelf at work, “But first coffee.”

employees in coffee shop
employees in coffee shop

We looked out the amazing scenery at Ladies’ View for awhile, then went on our way and stopped at another scenic view, this time with mountains and a lake.

gorgeous mountain and lake in Killarney National Park
gorgeous mountain and lake in Killarney National Park

 

scenic view of mountain & lake in national park
scenic view of mountain & lake in national park

 

mountains, Killarney National Park
mountains, Killarney National Park

 

Leah, Killarney National Park mountains by lake
Leah, Killarney National Park mountains by lake

It was raining softly. The area had huge mountain boulders, that Leah began to climb. Since she was wearing flip flops, I was so afraid that Leah was going to slip, fall, and hurt herself. She was very amused, taking a picture of herself with me in the background, admonishing her to be careful. Thank God she did NOT fall. The picture is funny now!

me telling Leah to be careful climbing the wet rocks in her flip flops
Leah is funny–but she needs to listen! Me in the background, telling her to be careful climbing the wet rocks in her flip flops

As you drive through Ireland, you see stone walls on sides of the roads and highways, a variety of homes with thatched roofs, and so many castles and castle ruins (you can even take a castle tour, attend castle meal feasts, and stay in castles overnight). The sights are interesting, so make sure you have lots of room on your camera or phone to take pics and videos!

stone walls on the side of highway
stone walls on the side of highway

 

home with thatched roof
home with thatched roof

 

you see castles and ruins all over Ireland
you see castles and ruins all over Ireland

In my next post in this Ireland blog series, I’ll share about our last B & B in Kilkenny, where we listened to a woman playing an electric harp on the sidewalk and Leah shared a lesson of truth with me which convicted me. LISTEN TO YOUR CHILDREN’s HEARTS! We also had a near miss with a semi-truck when I stopped at a convenience store for ice cream! God protected us! Stay tuned!

Green Irish hills
Green Irish hills

 

My beautiful, precious daughter Leah. I love her so much!
My beautiful, precious daughter Leah with her souvenir necklace from Ireland. I love her so much!

 

 

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Torc Waterfall

This is post #10 of a blog series I’m writing including pictures of the recent amazing trip I took with our precious, beautiful daughter Leah. Here are posts:

#1, My daughter Leah and I went to Ireland,

#2, Ireland: Dreams Come True,

#3, We visited Bunratty Castle in Ireland,

#4, Bunratty Folk Park: the waterfall, the lamb, and the fairy village,

#5, The Gorgeous Cliffs of Moher,

#6, Galway Girl,

#7, Galway Girl, Part 2,

#8, Treacherous Corkscrew Hill, and

#9, The ferry in Kerry County.

We took so many pictures with our phones that I need to break up the posts, to make it easier for you to read, as I know you live a busy, hectic life like mine and you don’t have lots of spare time!

I hope these blogs inspire and bless you. I thank my Lord Jesus Christ, who made this amazing opportunity and prayer possible.

Torc Waterfalls, Killarney National Park
Torc Waterfalls, Killarney National Park

The two main things I wanted to see in Ireland were the breathtakingly gorgeous Cliffs of Moher and Torc Waterfall in Killarney National Park. The park is south and west of the town of Killarney and it has 26,000 acres. You could spend several days there and never see it all! It is an expanse of rugged mountainous country, which includes the McGillycuddy’s Reeks, the highest mountain range in Ireland rising to a height of over 1000 metres. At the foot of these mountains are the world famous lakes of Killarney.

Leah and I took several hours to visit the park. We were amazed by the canopy of tall trees, the lakes, and the blue-purple mountains. We had a very peaceful time here.

trees in Killarney National Park
trees in Killarney National Park

 

Killarney National Park trees
Killarney National Park trees

 

Killarney Lake
Killarney Lake

 

Killarney National Park mountains
Killarney National Park mountains

 

beautiful park mountains
beautiful park mountains

You can either walk, rent a bike, or ride (for what seemed to be an expensive fee) in what is called a “jaunting cart” with a horse and buggy to Torc Waterfall. The horses were pretty.

jaunting cart
jaunting cart

The falls are about 2.5 kilometres from the car entrance to Muckross House, which is a huge, Tudor-style mansion built in 1843 by the British architect William Burn for Henry Author Herbert and his wife, the watercolourist, Mary Balfour Herbert. It has 65 rooms and in 1932, latter owners William Bourn and his wife, their daughter Victoria and her husband Arthur Rose Vincent presented it and its 11,000 acres estate to Ireland.

Muckross House
Muckross House

 

Tudor-style Muckross House
Tudor-style Muckross House

There’s lots of trails for easy walking or even difficult hiking trails in the park. There are also shuttle buses servicing the area and boat trips/tours.

Leah walking on a trail in Killarney National Park
Leah walking on a trail in Killarney National Park

Leah thought it looked fun to ride a bike, but it’s been years since I’ve ridden one and I didn’t want to take a chance on falling and hurting myself (or her hurting herself!). So we walked, which is good exercise anyway.

Initially, as we approached the area of Torc Waterfall, we saw a sign which read “Torc Waterfall” by a huge rock and a bridge. I thought it looked small, but it was still beautiful and we took pics by it. 

rock & bridge
rock & bridge

 

Leah by waterfall
Leah by waterfall

 

me by waterfall
me by waterfall

 

small waterfall
small waterfall

 

small waterfall in Killarney National Park
small waterfall in Killarney National Park

 

waterfall stream
waterfall stream over rocks

 

waterfall stream
waterfall stream

By the small waterfall, there is a restroom facility and I went in, while Leah stayed outdoors by the small falls. As she waited, suddenly she heard the sound of a violin playing! Leah plays the violin and, intrigued, she walked around the corner to see where the sound was coming from. There was a pretty, red-headed woman in a long gown playing the violin by the waterfall–how quaint! Leah gave her a tip for playing.

pretty, red-headed violinist by Torc Waterfall
pretty, red-headed violinist by Torc Waterfall

Leah looked ahead and saw much bigger falls–the REAL Torc Waterfalls! As I came out of the restroom, she motioned for me to come and see her discovery. As she saw my happy face looking at the beautiful falls, she asked, “Aren’t you glad we didn’t go back yet?” (I had told her after I used the restroom, we should turn back.) I said yes, smiling big.

We both stood and admired the waterfalls for awhile and took pics. I love waterfalls!

The waterfalls are about 20 meters high, and at their best after rainfall.

“And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps.”–Revelation 14:2

The real Torc Waterfalls
The real Torc Waterfalls

 

Torc Waterfalls, Killarney National Park
Torc Waterfalls, Killarney National Park

 

Leah by Torc Waterfalls
Leah by Torc Waterfalls

 

me by Torc Waterfalls
me by Torc Waterfalls

 

beautiful Torc Waterfalls, Killarney National Park
beautiful Torc Waterfalls, Killarney National Park

 

On the way walking back from the waterfalls, Leah and I saw a pretty, lone deer in a field. We stood and watched it a few minutes.

The Killarney National Park is home to Red Deer, Japanese sika deer, Irish hare, fox, otter, mink, badgers, Bank voles, Pine marten, Lesser horseshoe bats, fish and lamphrey, many species of birds including the Greenland white-fronted goose, reptiles, the rare Northern Emerald dragonfly, the purple hairstreak butterfly, and many other types of fauna.

deer in field
deer in field

“He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, And sets me on my high places.”–2 Samuel 22:34

In my next post in this Ireland Blog series, I’ll share about seeing the fun town of Killarney, and the beautiful, pristine white B & B which was the only place I did NOT want to stay in Ireland, so stay tuned!

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