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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Bunratty Folk Park: the waterfall, the lamb, & the fairy village

This is post #4 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, and #3, We visited Bunratty Castle in Ireland.

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.

“Ireland was a place for the renewal of hope and I still see it like that.”–Daniel Day-Lewis

Me at Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
Me at Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

My heart is aching to go back to Ireland! My and our daughter Leah’s vacation there was just too short! I believe I’ll go back again one day and am already praying about this!

Bunratty Folk Park tea shop
Bunratty Folk Park Tea Room

Before Leah and I visited Bunratty Castle in Ireland, we walked around Bunratty Folk Park, which is right by it. It’s a quaint little village filled with rural, primitive homes and shops, reminiscent of the 19th Century.

The first place we saw was the Tea Room, where visitors were drinking tea and enjoying scones. The scones in Ireland are delicious! They are light, fluffy, and sweet, reminding me of a combination between a biscuit and a little cake. They’re often served with butter and jams.

scones
scones

The houses and buildings in Bunratty Folk Park are recreated and furnished as they would have appeared at that time according to their social standing, from the poorest one-room house to Bunratty House, a Georgian residence of the last family who occupied Bunratty Castle. Leah seemed especially interested in the poor one-room house, which had a sign hanging on it outside that the servant worked for 80 days for the landlord on the land, renting the house, and after that he owned the house. Most of the houses were simple and plain, with a thatched roof. 

Leah reading sign at One-room house in village
Leah reading sign at one-room house in village

Several of the houses had chickens or other animals in the yard or nearby, such as goat, pigs, and chickens. Each family had to provide for their own needs in food, clothing, and supplies. I took a pic of the pig for our red-headed granddaughter Violet, who adores pigs!

Our beautiful red-headed granddaughter Violet
Our beautiful red-headed granddaughter Violet

I love sheep and was happy to get a pic of this one lone lamb grazing in a pasture. It reminded me of how Jesus is the Good Shepherd who loves His sheep and takes care of them, something God has been speaking to me much about the last several years. Jesus talked about the Good Shepherd leaving the 99 to go after the one lost lamb. (Matthew 18:12) My song for this year which has this theme is Reckless Love by Cory Asbury

Leah liked the two Irish wolfhounds, although they were sleeping when we looked at them. Historically, the wolfhound was a dog that only nobles could own and was taken up by the British during their rule in Ireland. It’s been adopted as a symbol by the national rugby league team and the Irish Rugby Football Union.

I took a pic of these pigs for Violet!
I took a pic of these pigs for Violet!

 

a lamb grazing in a pasture
a lamb grazing in a pasture

 

Irish wolfhounds
Irish wolfhounds

 

Black chicken and duck in village
Black chicken and duck in village

Although I couldn’t wait to drive to the Cliffs of Moher (one of the main reasons I wanted to see Ireland), I’m so happy that Leah and I walked around this village in the cool, peaceful outdoors. Leah loves nature like me, and I felt this time ministered to her soul.

Bunratty Folk Park
The path in the village at Bunratty Folk Park

The houses were quite primitive, decorated with old furniture like tables, beds, and hope chests and a few kitchen items.

bed & hope chest
bed & hope chest

 

kitchen cupboard with dishes
kitchen cupboard with dishes

 

house table & pitcher
house table & pitcher

I could hardly believe we were walking around in Ireland; it felt surreal! It is so green, just like you’ve heard and imagined. One of the first things we saw in the village was a small but beautiful waterfall. I love waterfalls, so this really blessed me!

village waterfall
village waterfall

 

me by village waterfall
me by village waterfall

Another cool thing we saw in the village was a water mill, which is a mill that uses hydropower. It is a structure that uses a water wheel or water turbine to drive a mechanical process such as milling (grinding), rolling, or hammering.

village windmill
village windmill

 

windmill wheel
windmill wheel

 

windmill water
windmill water

At one house, there was a marble scuplture that was so pretty of the Virgin Mary and child Jesus.

marble statue in village
marble statue in village

The village also had a pretty church. 

village church
village church

 

church in village
church in village

 

ornate wooden pews in church
ornate wooden pews in church

 

stone floor in church
stone floor in church

 

church door
church door

 

church baptismal
church baptismal

 

podium where the priest stands
podium where the priest stands

Bunratty Folk Park also had a quaint fairy village for children. Ireland is well known for “lucky” four-leaf clovers, a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, leprechauns, fairies, ghost stories, and other folklore. While I believe much of this is demonic in nature, Leah and I both thought the fairy door in a tree was cute.

At the big mushroom park, a mom was taking pics of her children. Afterward she said to them, “Fabulous pic! Wow!” Her little boy ran off saying like a parrot, “Oh wow, wow, wow!” Both Leah and I laughed.

sign for fairy village
sign for fairy village

 

fairy door in a tree

 

cute play area where little boy said, "Oh wow, wow, wow!"
cute play area where little boy said, “Oh wow, wow, wow!”

There was also a pretty flower garden in the village. This reminded me a little of The Secret Garden, a book and a movie that we read and watched when I homeschooled Leah when she was younger, that she enjoyed. Homeschooling our kids has given me some of my most precious, sweetest memories, especially when we went on fun field trips.

I’m so glad I was able to go on this trip to Ireland with Leah and make more good memories!

garden in the village
garden in the village

 

village garden flowers
village garden flowers

I don’t know what these red flowers are named, but Leah and I both thought they were unique and beautiful. The garden also had sunflowers, some of my favorite flowers. Each time I see flowers, I think of my beautiful daughter Heather. Heather’s name comes from a beautiful, purple-blue flower that covers hills and is found widely in Europe.

unique red flowers
unique red flowers

 

red flowers
red flowers

 

I love sunflowers!
I love sunflowers!

In my next post in this Ireland Blog Series, I’ll share about our visit to the Cliffs of Moher–the highlight of the trip for Leah and me both. Be sure to check out the beautiful pics!

Leah at the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
Leah at the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
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Road trip to see a waterfall

Springfield waterfall
Springfield waterfall

Recently I went on a spontaneous overnight road-trip to see a waterfall while my husband Ray drove to Texas to visit his widowed mom Judy and to do chores around the house that she needed done. I LOVE waterfalls and it’s on my bucket list to visit some sites this summer, at least in Missouri and Kansas.

Speaker Rochelle Valasek
Speaker/author Rochelle Valasek
a.k.a. my friend “Shelley”

.For the last several years, I’ve been wanting so much to visit my friend Shelley (Rochelle Valasek), but it would have been much more expensive to ride the train from Lee’s Summit, MO, to Nashville, TN, where she lives and stay several days there at a hotel.

Ray was a little more open-minded to me traveling somewhere here in Missouri and staying overnight at a hotel...that is, after I begged, pleaded, and threatened his life (not really. I did have a few tears that he was going to get to go somewhere, and I’d be stuck at home, bored!)

 I took what I could get, because the man holds tightly to his wallet! To be fair, he’s often paid for me going places, but that doesn’t mean he exactly likes it!

Springfield is only a few hours from where I live, so the morning (the SECOND!) Ray left for Texas, I took off driving as fast as I could within the legal speed limits before he changed his mind, drinking my big water bottle and practically shouting, “Whoo hoo!” out the window all the way down the highway, K-Love radio blaring, and me singing (off-key). I do love to travel!

 God answered my prayers for clear, sunny weather, instead of the perpetual rain Missouri  had been having. (I intently dislike driving in rain, snow, or ice!)

Since I’d never driven there alone, I used GPS on my new iPhone 7 (my dinosaur iPhone 4 just DIED, so I had to get a new phone!) and had printed out directions, just in case I needed a back-up! (GPS isn’t always right.)

 “If you don’t know where you are going, any road can take you there.”–Lewis Carroll, Alice In Wonderland

me in the car
me in the car, ready for the road!

My plan was to go to the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden first  (by the Botanical Garden), and then maybe visit other waterfalls in Missouri (which didn’t happen, as I explain later).

yellow daylilies
yellow daylilies

When you arrive, you come to the Botanical Garden first. It has beautiful flowers, trees, and shrubs, including a grafted cutting from the oldest cultivated fruit tree in North America, the Endicott Pear. Presumably brought from England, it was planted in Danvers, Massachusetts between 1632 and 1649.

I didn’t write down the names of the flowers, but maybe you can identify them. Pictures can’t do its beauty justice. I especially loved the purple lavender and the quaint sundial.

 A Latin phrase says of the sundial: “Dona præsentis cape lætus horæ [ac linque severe]. (Take the gifts of this hour.)”

oldest pear tree
oldest pear tree

 

white flowers
white flowers–I believed these are called “snowdrops” flowers

 

lavender
lavender

 

sea holly
sea holly

 

rock garden
rock garden

 

sundial
sundial

Past the Botanical Garden and the Butterfly House (which I’ll cover in another post–something really cool happened there to me!) is a beautiful waterfall, which was the point of my trip. It is man-made, but still beautiful and peaceful.

Botanical Garden Waterfall
Botanical Garden waterfall

There are chairs and little tables here to relax. When I attempted to take a “selfie” picture by the waterfall, a young woman who was sitting in one of the chairs apparently mistakenly thought I was taking HER picture! She got up, leaving in a huff. Oh well, more peace and quiet for me! (I did feel a little bad!)

tables & chairs by waterfall
tables & chairs by waterfall

I stayed here awhile, just admiring it, listening to the sound of the waterfalls, and thanking God for being able to see it–an answered prayer.

me by the Botanical Garden waterfall
me by the Botanical Garden waterfall

 

falls
falls

Then I went on to see the Japanese Stroll Garden, which is in another section (about half a mile from the visitor’s center. It was hot, so I drove there!)

The Japanese Stroll Garden was so peaceful and pretty. It includes well-manicured landscaping, winding paths, three small lakes, koi (goldfish), a ceremonial teahouse, a moon bridge, and a meditation garden.

Japanese Stroll Garden Springfield, MO
Japanese Stroll Garden
Springfield, MO

The Botanical Garden is free, but the Japanese Stroll Garden costs $3. You are free to take pictures and videos to capture its beauty.

It was hot, so if you go now and during the summer to early fall, be sure to take or buy some water. They do offer some drinks and snacks when you pay to go into the Japanese Stroll Garden. I sat here a minute to rest and drink my water.

me with water
me with water

At the entrance are little signs, “Please stay on the path.” This is so that visitors won’t disturb the garden’s beauty, and there can also be ticks in the trees and bushes which might get on you. The signs made me think of how we as believers need to stay on God’s path and purpose for our lives.

 

Stay on God's path for your life
Stay on God’s path for your life!

 

meditation garden
meditation garden

 

Beautiful landscaping
beautiful landscaping

 

Japanese writing
Japanese writing

There were brooks in the Japanese garden, which had small, more natural waterfalls. I enjoyed looking and listening to these. It seemed extra peaceful in these spots. 

brook with natural waterfall
brook with natural waterfall

 

me with the pretty flowers
me with the pretty flowers

 

purple iris
purple iris

As I walked around the garden, looking at the trees and flowers and hearing birds, I thought, “It’d be wild if I saw a red male cardinal here.”

Beside the eagle and dove, it is my favorite bird and a special sign to me of God’s love and presence in my life. Then suddenly, I saw both a male and female cardinal. The male even seemed to follow me around! God is so amazing and good!

To me, it was like a little kiss from God, letting me know He was right there with me in the garden, even as He was with Adam and Eve at the beginning of Creation.

The tea house and its interior were interesting in their design and plainness (but pretty). The tea house is a space used for tea ceremony gatherings, one of Japan’s 3 classical arts of refinement, along with flower arrangements and incense appreciation

The tea house was originally designed by Zen monks seeking simplicity and tranquility, and a place for poetically-inspired aesthetic pursuits, when the country was in chaos with wars and uprisings. (source: Wikipedia)

Right beside the tea house was a green-brown pond, where I saw a male and female mallard duck, another one of my fave birds. I stood there taking pictures of them and watching them.

mallard ducks
mallard ducks

 

tea house
tea house

 

tea house interior
tea house interior

Although the waterfalls in the Japanese Stroll Garden were man-made, they were so beautiful. I didn’t know any waterfalls would be in here, so it was a double blessing from God!

Japanese Stroll Garden Waterfall
Japanese Stroll Garden Waterfall

As I was leaving, I noticed a Japanese family entering the garden. It amused me a little, so I quickly snapped a picture of them. The little Japanese girl was so cute!

Japanese kids
Japanese kids

After I left the garden, I was famished and found a Mexican restaurant to eat lunch, for my chips and salsa and chicken taco (being a salsa magnet and God was smiling on me!). After I ate, I asked the owner of the restaurant if there were any hotels nearby. She said yes, right around the corner. To my delight, the Day’s Inn was clean, safe, and an even lower price than I had figured for a hotel room! More favor from God!

I went back to the hotel room to cool off, journal and relax for awhile. I need to find this Jarritos orange soda Mexican restaurants sell; it is delicious. 

chips & salsa after the garden!
chips & salsa after the garden!

Then I went shopping at Bass Pro Shop across the street from the hotel, where I saw more (man-made) waterfalls, live alligators that I thought were fake at first, one of the biggest polar bears ever shot, and I bought some chocolate fudge. (Yes, I ate the whole thing–eventually!)

alligators
alligators

 

polar bear
polar bear

 

chocolate fudge---yum!
chocolate fudge—yum!

As I was leaving the Bass Pro shop, there was a sudden, bad thunderstorm, so I went through the Chic Fil A drive-through and ate supper [safely] in my hotel room. This storm in Springfield and the area I was planning to head for the next waterfall was the reason I had to cut my trip unexpectedly short (as well as a very sore throat! Boo hiss!)

Chic Fil A
Chic Fil A

I will blog more this week about this trip and the next waterfall I saw locally, so stay tuned!

I had so much fun on this trip seeing the waterfalls and the beautiful gardens, and can’t wait to see more waterfalls this summer.

What is on your bucket list to do this summer? Leave your comments below!

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