Thursday, March 31, 2016

Irish Pubs and Folklore 2016 Day 5 Cliffs of Moher, Galway Walk and Westport #cietours #ireland #TourismIreland #mycietour #cliffsofmoher

Ireland 2016
CIE Tour-Irish Pubs and Folklore
March 19-26, 2016

Wednesday March 23-Killarney, Cliffs of Moher, Galway Walking Tour and Westport
We're on vacation correct? So why an alarm at 5:30 a.m.? We have to catch a ferry across the River Shannon and unlike our coach, the ferry doesn't wait for late comers.

We pass my new mother ship-Kerry Gold Butter. I'll admit, I'm hooked and it's probably why I gained so much weight on this vacation! Thank you cows of Kerry!

We leave County Kerry and make our way into County Clare.  We pass the old rail bed of the notoriously late West Clare Railway. So notorious that a song was written about it: 

Unfortunately for our tour we received bad news-our boat trip out of Doolin for the Cliffs of Moher has been cancelled because of rough seas. DANG! This was one of the reason we booked this trip.

We traveled to Ireland in November 2014 and viewed the Cliffs of Moher from above, we were so looking forward to see them from below-oh well. We also visited the Aran Islands in November, who knew these islands were across the bay from the Cliffs so Moher (it was rainy and cloudy in November!)

Not on this trip, thankfully.

After wandering around the cliffs we travel to Doolin for some lunch at McGann's Pub. With 46 people on our coach we were smart to order ahead of time otherwise we'd never make it to Galway before sundown.

We pass through the famous town of Lisdonvarna, the home of the Matchmaking Festival!

We leave County Clare and enter County Galway. Last trip we fell in love with Galway, as I'm sure many people do. What a wonderful city. Today we'll be taking a walking tour of the city with a local archaeologist. He showed us the remnants of the walled city-in the local shopping mall!

We blast through town talking about the old buildings and new buskers.

Then it's back on the coach for our drive to Westport. We'll be staying two nights at The Wyatt Hotel.
We're booked into room 160 at the Wyatt Hotel in County Mayo. The first thing I notice when we enter the room is the smell of leather.

For dinner jay and I both choose the feta sald. Jay gets the chicken for his main dish and I go with the Irish Salmon. Jay goes Cheesecake for dessert and I pick ice cream.

Jay tries the Mescan Westporter Stout, which was quite good. After dinner Jay tried the O'Hara's Stout which was VERY good. Jay said after drinking the O'Haras going back to Guinness was like drinking water.

More images from Day 5:

Next up: Westport House, Achill Island!

Irish Pubs and Folklore
CIE Tours 2016
Day 3 March 21 Kilkenny,WaterfordBlarney, Killarney
March 19-26, 2016
Copyright ©2016 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy

Irish Pubs and Folklore 2016 Day 4 Dingle Peninsula, Sheep Dogs, Kate Kearney's Cottage #cietours #ireland #TourismIreland #mycietour #dinglepeninsula

Ireland 2016
CIE Tour-Irish Pubs and Folklore
March 19-26, 2016

Tuesday March 22-Killarney, Dingle Peninsula, Sheep Dogs and Kate Kearney's Cottage

Our coach heads to Killarney; we'll be staying at The International for two nights, room 220. Dennis tells us he'll be leaving us because his Gran had passed away so Michael will be driving us the rest of the week. Our dinner will be at 6:45 p.m., Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and we'll be leaving at 8:45 a.m. for our Dingle Peninsula adventure.

At dinner I try Tyrconnell Whiskey. A whiskey from the 1900s that was named after a horse that won a legendary race after being given 100 to 1 odds. The whiskey is made from 100% malted barley and fermented in copper pot stills. For dinner Jay and I both shoose the Irsh Salmon for our app.. Barley stew for Jay, pasta and herb sauce for me. For dessert I go BIG with the chocolate gateau and Jay tries the profiteroles (little cream puffs.)

Back up stairs, our hallway is filled with screaming children. Running up and down the hall and yelling. Completely out of control. I open the door and tell them to please be quiet, they settle down for a while-at least we got some sleep but not much.

We're up and at breakfast for 7:30 and on the coach at 8:45 a.m., well most of are. They are always a few stragglers.

We head up a hill to Aghadoe Heights with views of the  lakes and Reeks (mountains) for a group picture.

And we're off on our Wild Atlantic Drive. We make our way to Slea Head, with spectacular views of the Altantic Ocean, ancient "Beehive Huts." Micheal recommends we read "How The Irish Saved Civilization." The Romans avoided Ireland because they though of it as the land of winter-Hibernia-a place to hibernate. So it became an island of saints and scholars.

The movie "The Quiet Man" was filmed here.

Our first stop is the South Pole Inn, formerly owned by Antarctic explorer Tom Crean for an Irish Coffee and some storytelling of Crean's adventures.

We stop at a shop that is keeping the Ogham writing alive.

Next we meet a very colorful character, Gabriel Kavanagh and his sheep dogs. (Patrick Kavanagh penned the book "The Great Hunger" where he uncovers some of the myths about the Irish famine.)

Sailor is just a year old but his training as a sheep dog has already begun.

Back in Dingle we have time for lunch. We stop in at The Boatyard Restaurant and Bar. I get the open brown bread sandwich of Dingle crab meat and shrimp with a Bushmills Single malt and Jay goes for the seafood chowder and Guinness,

And it's back to Killarney for dinner of traditional food and music at Kate Kearney's Cottage. We get back to our hotel room to freshen up before dinner and see that the hotel manager has left us a bag of chocolate toffee as a written apology for the "banshee noise" (my phrase) the night before. Apparently the minors were unattended by parental units until 5 a.m.

Back on the coach and off to dinner with Trad and Dancing.

I have a couple of videos from the evening that I'll post soon to my YouTube channel:

Check out Joselyn from New Zealand!

Kate Kearney was a bootlegger. John will be our night home driver as Michael is approaching his hours. We'll leave the Cottage at 9:45 p.m.

I try the Yellow Spot 12 year single pot still Irish whiskey that has been aged in bourbob barrels then triple distilled-it was very good!

The band "Tuatha" performed: Barry, Mike and Donal.

Great fun! back to the hotel and set the alram for 5:30 a.m. we have a ferry to catch!

More images from Day 4:

Next up The Cliffs of Moher, Galway and Westport!

Irish Pubs and Folklore
CIE Tours 2016
Day 3 March 21 Kilkenny,WaterfordBlarney, Killarney
March 19-26, 2016
Copyright ©2016 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Weathersfield News March 30 #WeathersfieldVT #VT

Weathersfield News March 30, 2016
Nancy Nutile-McMenemy

I'm just back from a glorious week in Ireland. The Republic of Ireland is celebrating their centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising (Éirí Amach na Cásca), a rebellion against British rule,  lead by the Irish Republican Brotherhood: Patrick Pearse, Joseph Plunkett, Thomas Clarke, James Connolly, Seán MacDermott, Thomas MacDonagh and Éamonn Ceannt. This began their break from Britian. In April 1917, Sinn Féin was formed and in January 1919 the Irish declared their Independence and began a war with England. Everywhere we traveled, the Tri-Color (their flag of Orange, White and Green) was being flown proudly. (There are still six counties in Northern Ireland, they remain allied with the United Kingdom.)

 I'll be posting pictures on my website if you'd like to see a little of what I experienced on this trip to the Emerald Isle.

Back home and I hit the ground running.
Monday night I covered the Vermont Democrat Gubernatorial Candidates Forum, hosted by the Windsor Count Democrats at Damon Hall in Hartland. Matt Dunne, Sue Minter and Peter Galbraith attended.

More images form the forum:

Tuesday night, I saw an absolutely fantastic show-Johnny Clegg at the Lebanon Opera House. His son Jesse opened the show. The place was rocking!

More images from the show:

There are some great shows coming to Lebanon: Chris Isaak May 7; Bela Fleck and the Flecktones June 5; comedian Steven Wright June 11. Check their website for a listing including a couple of free shows:

Weathersfield School News: Our school will have many potions open for the FY17 School Year: Middle Level Science Teacher, Grades 5-8 Music Teacher, K-8, Including Band and Chorus Part Time Athletic Director Kindergarten Teacher Cook Cook's Assistant Regular Education Paraprofessional We hope to have several parents, students, staff, and faculty serve on the interview committees. If you are interested in serving on the committee, please call the school at 674-5400. If you are interested in applying, please send transcripts, three current letters of recommendation, letter of interest, Vermont license, and resume to: Dr. David Baker, WSESU Superintendent 105 Main St. -Suite 200 Windsor, VT 05089. April break is the week of Apr.11 -15.  April PTA Meeting-The WS PTA will hold their meeting on the Apr. 5, 6:15 p.m. in the AP Room. These meetings are open to the public. No April School Board Meeting. The next meeting will be held on May 9, 6:30 p.m. in the AP Room. WS Baseball-Due to a lack of sign-ups there will not be a 7/8 boys baseball team this spring.

Get Out And About
The Mountaintop in White River Junction Mar. 23-Apr. 9 A play by Katori Hall
directed by Carol Dunne call 802-291-9009 for tickets or online at:

The Truth About Long-Term Care Planning: What and Why in Hartland, Thursday Mar. 31, 4 p.m., Hartland Public Library, 153 Route 5. Mt. Ascutney Hospital case manager Betsy Burghardt gives talk. Sponsored by Aging in Hartland and the library. Free. 802-436-2473.

Pig Roast in Ascutney, Saturday, Apr. 2 5-7 p.m. (until it sells out) Prepared for you by the Ascutney Volunteer Fire Association at Martin Memorial Hall, 5259 Route 5. Menu includes: Applewood smoked pork, sauces, baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad, iced tea, lemonade, and dessert. Adults $10, Children (6-10) $5, and under 6 is free. To-Go meals will be available.

Free Intro to Bellydance Class in Claremont Monday Apr. 4 5:30 pm, upstairs from Granite State College at 31 Pleasant St (enter through the REAR of building).   In collaboration with Ahimsa Yoga. For parking drive past 31 Pleasant on your right and turn right at the end of the block (there is a sign for parking). For more information visit
April 5

"West to Alaska" in Claremont, Tuesday Apr. 5,:7 p.m., Fiske Free Library, 108 Broad St. Residents Lloyd and Penny Mann give a slideshow presentation on their journey through Alaska and the Yukon. Free. 603-542- 7017.

CLASSICOPIA in Hartland, Friday Apr. 8, 7:30 p.m., A fantastic four-hand program entitled "DEUTSCHLAND DUOS" featuring the exciting Weiser/Liston-Kraft Piano Duo, who brought the house down with their performance last fall.  This program includes works by Bach, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Moszkowski, Brahms, and more.  Damon Hall, tickets are $20 for adults and free for all children 18 and under.  Tickets are available at the door.  For more info, visit

Country Dance Series in Hartland, Saturday, Apr. 16: Adam Boyce – Yankee fiddler and caller of square dances popular from the 1930’s to 1950’s.

5th Annual Team Town Challenge in Ascutney, Saturday, Apr. 16 , 7 p.m. The Weathersfield Proctor Library will host the annual Team Town Challenge at the Weathersfield School in Ascutney. Get Your Team together and Sign up TODAY-4 Rounds of Questions-BREAK-4 Rounds of Questions. Ginger Wimberg will MC. Prizes also awarded for most team spirit and most funds raised. Door prizes too! Proceeds Benefit The Weathersfield Proctor Library Expansion Fund Donations for the Library Expansion Fund may be given at the door, and refreshments will be available. (802-674-2863)

Low Cost Cat Pay/Neuter Clinics in Springfield. Call Springfield Animal Hospital 802-885-3997 for an appointment. Clinic dates: Apr. 26, May 31, Aug. 16, Sept. 13, Oct. 11 and Dec. 13. Weathersfield residents are reimbursed for cost of surgery up to $50, limit three (3) cats. Please bring SNAP form (available at the Town Office.)

Weathersfield Food Shelf is now open in the 1879 School in Perkinsville every Thursday from 2-3 p.m.  during the winter season.  In the event of inclement weather contact Weathersfield Town Office, 674-2626,  for information.

Yoga Tuesday nights, Weathersfield Town Hall in Ascutney practice Sivananda & Flow Yoga with Charlotte McIntyre from 5:30-6:30 p.m.. For info visit  or  email Claremont, NH The Ahimsa Yoga Center is located at 140 North Street, across from Barnes Park. To find out more about Ahimsa, please visit

Valley Court Diversion Programs-Volunteer are needed in Weathersfield/Springfield areas to work with low level offenders in the community. The group meets once a month at the Springfield Police Department, your commitment will require about 3 hours a month. Training is provided. For more information please visit our website at or call Maureen at 802.281.5213.

Senior Exercise Program in Ascutney-FREE sponsored by RSPV- Wednesdays 10-11 a.m. in basement of Martin Memorial Hall, Route 5, Ascutney, VT. Classes are led by Geraldine Rudenfeldt. If interested call 674-5254 for more information.

Need to Find a Business in Weathersfield:

Have anything you want included in this news and events column-email Nancy at two weeks prior to your event.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Irish Pubs and Folklore 2016 Day 3 Waterford, Blarney, Killarney #cietours #ireland #TourismIreland #mycietour #waterford #blarneycastle

Ireland 2016
CIE Tour-Irish Pubs and Folklore
March 19-26, 2016

Monday March 21-Kilkenny to Waterford, Blarney Castle and Killarney
Slept like a log but Monday morning came too early at 6 a.m. A quick shower and our bags are outside our room at 7 a.m.. Breakfast at Savour's in the Ormonde and YES they had black and white pudding. Call me crazy but I really like black pudding.

And we're off at 8 a.m.. Our first stop is 45 minutes away, the town of Waterford and the obligatory stop at House of Waterford Crystal. I'm not really a shopper, so I'm not super thrilled about this tour but...
Waterford is the 5th largest city in Ireland with a population of about 50,000. It's also the oldest city. It was one of the Viking Cities along with Dublin, Wexford, Limmerick and Cork.

The coach drops us off in front of the House of Waterford; our tour of the famous glassware facility isn't scheduled for a half hour so Dennis, our guide/driver suggests shopping at The Hibernian Store. We opt out. Jay and I decided the hit the waterfront rather than shop or get coffee.

We pass the spot were this first Irish Tri-color flag was flown by Thomas Frances Meagher (he later became the acting Governor of Montana.) And see a plaque showing where King Richard II of England landed in 1394 at the head of the largest armada ever to sail into an Irish Port. We check out Reginald's Tower (the oldest building to use mortar.)

Reginald’s Tower is Waterford’s landmark monument and Ireland’s oldest civic building. It has been in continuous use for over 800 years. The first tower on the site was built by Vikings after 914 and formed the apex of the triangular settlement, an area known to this day as the Viking Triangle. Re-built by the Anglo Normans in the 12th century the top two floors were added in the 15th century. Until about 1700 the tower was the strong point of the medieval defensive walls that enclosed the city. The tower now houses an exhibition on Viking Waterford and is managed by the Office of Public Works.

Leaving the Viking history behind, we wander some of the side streets killing time.

Back at the House of Waterford, we are taken on a tour of the facility. We are shown each step the classic glassware takes from molten glass to personal engraving.
The tour ends in the showroom. And time for more shopping. 
We learned from Dennis that most Waterford crystal isn't made in Waterford anymore, it's imported so he told folks to ask before pruchasing.

Jay and I bust out of the showroom, and head up the hill to check out the other buildings in town. We discover a monument to Strongbow, who led the Norman Invasion of Ireland, commemorating his marriage in 1170 to
MacMurrough's daughter, Aoife MacMurrough (anglicized as "Eva".) And we pass by the Franciscan Friary Tower.

We head back down the hill quickly so as to not hold up the coach, which departs Waterford at 10:45 to make the two hour journey to Blarney. We have until 3:45 to explore Blarney Castle, the gardens and the Woolen Mills.

Jay and I decide to eat lunch first so we hit The Muskerry Arms and both order their "Best Fish and Chips in Town." Not sure if it's the best in town but it was pretty darn good.

We've been to Blarney Castle before in November of 2014-it was pouring rain that day, and we weren't super impressed with the castle and the whole "Kiss The Blarney Stone" thing-so we chose to walk around the gardens and maybe check out Blarney House-which wasn't open in November 2014 and wasn't open this trip either-dang!

We wandering the grounds and check out the lake, and the waterfalls and The Seven Sisters.
Just as the sun is coming out we have to get back on the coach for our 1.5 hour drive to Kilarney to the International Hotel right in the center of Killarney, where we'll be staying two nights.

More images from Kilkenny to Killarney:
More Travel images:

Next up The Dingle Peninsula!

Irish Pubs and Folklore
CIE Tours 2016
Day 3 March 21 Kilkenny,Waterford, Blarney, Killarney
March 19-26, 2016
Copyright ©2016 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy

Monday, March 28, 2016

Irish Pubs and Folklore 2016 Day 2 Dublin to Medieval Kilkenny #cietours #ireland #TourismIreland #mycietour #Guinness

Ireland 2016
CIE Tour-Irish Pubs and Folklore
March 19-26, 2016

Sunday March 20 Dublin to Kilkenny
During the night Saturday, we woke up around 10 p.m. Jay went down to the bar for a beer, he said it was hugely crowded but the hallways were extremely quiet. We finally got back to sleep and slept like the dead! Up at 6 a.m., breakfast at 7 a.m.

Nice breakfast in the Ballsbridge: fried tomatoes, mushrooms, eggs, toast, wild bacon (almost like Canadian bacon) cheeses, fruit but no black or white pudding :-{

Not much a view at this hotel but the room was quiet and comfortable-double bed with a single. The shower was good and very hot.
A lot of the hotels that popped up during the Celtic Tiger boom are being torn down and apartments are being built in their place. The locals say (about the Great Recession of 2008) "when America caught a cold, Ireland got pneumonia."

Our bags are packed and out the door at 7:15 a.m., we are to be on the bus for 8:45 a.m. We get to the lobby and holy cow there are a lot of people on tour with us. 46 to be exact! We've never been with such a large group before. The CIE tours assign seats on the bus and we do the math-we'll never get to the front of the bus before week's end. Oh well.

We pull up to Guinness Storehouse at St. James Gate; the most visited attraction in Ireland with Cliffs of Moher coming in second. On March 18, 2016 they say 10,000 visitors hit Guinness-their best day ever. For us we arrive at 9:20 and they aren't even open yet. We gather in the lobby and wait for the 9:30 opening. We've been on the self-guided tour before so we breeze through and head up to the Gravity Bar with it's 360 views of Dublin. We can see Croke Park where Bruce Springsteen will be playing in May.

Did you know the color of Guinness is not brown but ruby red?

Back on the bus, Dennis tells us a bit about the Irish economy. Their number one industry is pharmaceuticals, two-technology, three-tourism and four-agriculture, food, beer.

Leaving Dublin (Áth Cliath) we make our way to Kilkenny (Cill Chainnigh-Chuch of Chainnigh). Both are in the Province of Leinster. County Kilkenny has a population of about 95,000, Kilkenny about 25,000. Famous places include the Kilkenny Castle, Rothe House and Black Abbey.

Kilkenny is the smallest city in Ireland and it's also a medieval city. Kilkenny was a brewing center back in the 17th century. Smithwick's (pronounced Smit-icks) has a visitors center but they brew off site now.

Our coach arrives at the Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel on Ormonde Street; our rooms aren't ready so we head off to lunch in town.

We find a cute pub on a side street- The Rafter Dempsey's
We both get their Fish and Chips-very yummy. Heading back to the hotel we meet up with Pat, our guide for the afternoon. He's very entertaining, one might say goofy. But he seems knowledgeable of the town and it's history and folklore, including the tale of the Kyteler's Inn "witch."

We end up at Smithwick's for a brewery tour but this one is an "Experience" as the beer is no longer made at this facility.
They even have a hugely guarded vault with their proprietary yeast culture in it.

At the end of the tour you get to try three of their beers. Not my cup of tea. If I drink beer it's dark. But folks seemed to enjoy them.

Back at the hotel we freshen up for a 7 p.m. included dinner. I had melson, salmon and profiteroles; Jay had melon, chicken and cheesecake. Off to bed, bags outside our Room 315 for 7 a.m. Monday.

We'll be off for Killarney by way of Waterford and the obligatory stops at House of Waterford Crystal and Blarney Castle; we'll pass through Count Cork to the International Hotel right in the center of town.

More images from Guinness and Kilkenny:

Trip videos: 

More Travel images:

Irish Pubs and Folklore
CIE Tours 2016
Day 2 March 20 Dublin, Guinness Storehouse, Medieval Kilkenny
March 19-26, 2016
Copyright ©2016 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy