Lisbon and tour of Christ the King Monument, June 25, 2016

Today we took the train to Lisbon, ferry across the Tagus River and the bus up the hill to Christ the King Monument/Sanctuary, built to resemble the one in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! Above and below are panoramic views from the top of the monument (the water is the River Tagus).  Across the river is Lisbon, and the monument is in Setubal, Portugal. Above and below (in distance) shows the leaning marina tower at the entrance of the shipyard where Orontes II is located awaiting her new mast!!  From my internet reading, it appears that Portugal usually keeps a contingency of 3 submarines since WWII.  There are presently 2 listed in the Lisbon Naval Base at this time. Apparently this one is now out of service in Setubal! The Dom Fernando II e Gloria is a wooden-hulled, 50 gun frigate.  She was launched in 1843 and active until 1878 after traveling more than 100,000 miles.  She was destroyed by fire in 1963, but restored in 1990 as a museum ship.  We then ferried back over to Lisbon to enjoy a wonderful dinner while watching an Irish soccer match in an Irish pub!  What a beautiful day seeing this iconic landmark in Portugal!

Day 31, Touring Dublin, June 21, 2016

Today we spent the day touring Dublin! Above is the Custom House, a neoclassical 18th century building, and below is the Spire of Dublin, also titled the Monument of Light, a stainless steel, pin-like monument 120 meters (394 feet) high.  It replaced the Nelson’s Pillar after the 1966 bombing by IRA members. Above and below, the General Post Office on O’Connell Street, completed in 1818. Above is the O’Connell Monument, memorial to Daniel O’Connell, the 19th century nationalist leader.  The monument stands at the entrance to the street named after him, which is Dublin’s main thoroughfare at 50-54 yards wide. The River Liffey Trinity College, founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, is one of the 7 ancient universities of Britain and Ireland, as well as Ireland’s oldest. Above the Campanile, a bell tower, sitting prominently near the middle of Trinity College and one of its most iconic landmarks.  Superstition and college tradition states that any student passing beneath the campanile when the bells toll will fail their exams, causing some to never pass underneath until they graduate! Above is Trinity College Chapel, completed in 1798.     Above and below are pics of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, dating from 1220 AD.  It is the Anglican National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland.

Above is the Memorial Tree for those whom have died and below is the spiral staircase leading to the Cathedral organ.  The city of Dublin can trace its origin back more than 1000 years!  Above and below are part of the walls and gates, some raised by the Ostmen starting in the 9th century. Finally, Steve gets to HIS ultimate destination in Dublin!!  LOL!!  Guinness Brewing was started over 250 years ago!  Thank goodness we made it in time!  Above and below are panoramic views of Dublin from the Gravity Bar at the top of Guinness Storehouse!!  Above is Phoenix Park, the largest park in Europe at 1,760 acres.  It houses the residence of the Irish president and Dublin Zoo. Our last thatched roof in Ireland!!  What a wonderful holiday in the British Isles!  We had a fabulous time and enjoyed our time with friends and new experiences!!

June 22, we flew out of Dublin airport back to Lisbon and Orontes II!  HOME AGAIN!      We enjoyed the Gaelic language on the signs but never tried to learn this language!

Day 30, Belfast and the Titanic, June 20, 2016

Today we took the train to Belfast! We arrived in Belfast and started walking!! We crossed the River Lagan to get to the Titanic Exhibition!  Continuing on our walk to the the Titanic Quarter, East Belfast, the world’s largest Titanic attraction.  It is built on the shipyard site where the RMS Titanic was built.  The angular building itself resembles the ships prows and stands 126 feet high, the same height as the Titanic’s hull.  As the facade is covered in silver anodized aluminum shards, the locals nicknamed the building, “The Iceberg”. We are standing inside the lines of where the Titanic was built!  I am where one of the 4 smoke stacks would have stood on deck. Above is the Albert Memorial Clock tower in Queen’s Square, Belfast, completed in 1869. Below are pics of Belfast City Hall, completed in 1906, built of Portland stone with a copper-dome.  Queen Victoria stands at the front entrance. We ate a late lunch at the Crown Saloon, Great Victoria Street, one of Northern Ireland’s popular pubs, renovated in 1885.

We then headed back to Dublin on the train!

Day 27, Tours and Fastnet Rock, June 17, 2016

Today, Nick drove us to their other home in Baltimore, Ireland (views below from and of his front porch).  Then we walked up to a beacon, enjoying the countryside! Grandma Pat and Cory, couldn’t pass up chia head, without thinking of YOU!!  Love ya!! Then we took Nick’s rib, (BIG dinghy), out for a tour of nearby islands, inlets, lunch (a pint, of course) and tour around Fastnet Rock!! Fastnet Rock, a small islet in the Atlantic Ocean, is 13 kilometers (8 miles) from the mainland and 4 miles SW from Cape Clear Island.  It is the most southerly point of Ireland and 177 feet high.  Many legends have formed around this famous landmark, due to storms, shipwrecks, and the tragic events of the RORC Fastnet Race in 1979.  Nick gave us a unique experience to motor around such a landmark with sunshine and great weather!  We even saw some seals around the rocks!  A memorial monument to honor those lost during the Fastnet Race of 1979 on Cape Clear Above is the 1800’s lighthouse on Cape Clear Island that preceded the Fastnet Rock lighthouse. Then back to Baltimore for the “Pirate’s Party”!!

Our last night in Baltimore was a treat!  Thanks, Nick and Jan!!


Day 26, Touring with Nick, June 16, 2016

Today is one of our tours with Nick!  We started in Kinsale, bought a Irish made Merino sweater for Steve’s mom, then drove around beautiful Ireland.

The closest Steve got to a golf course in Ireland!!

We visited Ballinspittle Grotto, which received international attention in 1985, when inhabitants claimed the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary moved spontaneously and repetitively.

A beautiful sunset at the end of another great day!




Day 25, Tour of Cork, Ireland, June 15, 2016

What a great opportunity to be with true Irish in Cork!  We met Nick, Donal, Mike and Joxer on the yacht, “Jasmine” in Horta, Azores, when they rafted up next to “Orontes II”.  What a blast!  When they offered to show us around Cork, we could not pass it up!!  Cork, founded in 6th century AD, is the 3rd most populated metro area in Ireland, exceeding 300,000.  Cork is built on the River Lee, one of the world’s largest natural harbors.        Donal started by touring us around Cork, The Royal Yacht Club, Cobh, and surrounding areas.  He was a great tour guide!

What a wonderful experience!  Donal took us to the Royal Cork Yacht Club, the world’s  oldest yacht club founded in 1720.

Above is part of Patrick Street, Cork’s main shopping street.

St. Colman’s Catholic Church or Cobh Cathedral of the diocese of Cloyne, a neo-gothic style built in 1868, overlooks Cork Harbor, in Cobh, Ireland.   A carillon of 49 bells was built in 1916, one of the largest carillons in Europe.

We enjoyed a wonderful lunch above with Donal, then drove around some more!

After a great tour, we enjoyed a delicious steak dinner at Nick and Jan’s.



Day 23, Drive to Glasgow, Scotland, June 13, 2016

Today, we head to Glasgow, Scotland.  Another beautiful drive!

Once we got to Glasgow, we had a terrific evening!  While touring Scotland AND reading Facebook, I discovered that a very special PA (Physician Assistant) friend was also visiting the area with her fiancé, John and was about one day ahead of us!  Erin and I had met on our Ohio University mission trip to Kenya in 2011.  We arranged dinner in Glasgow and were thrilled to catch up again after 4 1/2 years!


We met an Oran Mor, formerly Kelvinside Parish Church, Gaelic for “great melody of life”, in the heart of Glasgow’s West End.  A unique location for a surprise get-together!!

Glasgow, only a short visit, but very special one!