Co. Mayo & The Co. Sligo Phenomenon!
Our tour of Ireland continues, month by month. In February we travelled to Co. Donegal and this month, we travelled to Co. Mayo. I won’t blame you, if like me you immediately envision a bottle of Helmans Mayonnaise upon hearing the name of the county.
Anyway, Newport was our destination, a small town located on the west coast of Ireland, the ancestral home of the late Grace Kelly. There are accounts of Grace visiting Newport and wandering the streets, conversing with the locals. She purchased the home her grandfather had resided in, with the intention of turning it into a holiday home. Sadly, she died a few years later and the house was forgotten about, falling into disrepair.
Now we can’t have a holiday without visiting a stately home. This time, we visited the beautiful Westport House, located in the town of Westport.
This beautiful stately home was built in 1650, on the foundations of one of the many castle’s that the pirate queen of Connacht, Grace O’Malley owned. Colonel John Browne and his wife Maud Burke, Grace O’Malley’s great-great-granddaughter were the first residents of this magnificent house.
Sadly the house having been the ancestral home for the Browne family for several hundred years was sold in January to a local family. The new owners have plans to invest 50 million euro in the property which can only have a positive outcome.
As you can see from the servants bell pull system of the downstairs rooms, there are quite a few rooms.
There are over thirty rooms in total, that you can see into in the house but my favourite room was definitely the ladies parlour.
When we visited, the morning sun poured in through the window, bathing the room in a warm and inviting light. The choice of floral fabrics and carpets, gave the room a very feminine look.
This was the room the women would entertain visitors in and also where the lady of the house would meet with the servants, to plan the day to day running of her home.
Now, on to the next part of my title. On our way to and from Co. Mayo, we passed through the county of Sligo. While on the N16, passing some pretty spectacular and breath taking scenery. In the Glencar area, we came across this amazing phenomenon of a triquetra in the middle of a forest.
When I came back, I decided to do a bit of research on the area and discovered that the spectacular view was a private venture planted in the mid ’80s by the McCabe Family. They planted the whole hill known as ‘Tormór’ which included the Celtic design of the triquetra / Trinity Knot with Japanese Larch on Sitka Spruce.
Amazing, don’t you think!
Until the next leg of our Journey (Co. Kildare in April).
Rear Window – Alternative Ending
My husband was out today, so I had the day and the remote control all to myself. Being at somewhat of a loose end, I decided to boot up Netflix and watch a movie.
I love old movies, especially ones set in the 1950s. It was an era of when men were men and women were women. With that in mind, I decided to watch Rear Window with the handsome James Stewart and the stunning Grace Kelly.
I think that most people have probably seen this movie. If you haven’t, what have you being doing with your life???
The story begins with James Stewart’s character L. B. Jefferies (being stuck in a full leg plaster cast), gazing out the rear window of his apartment, watching all the comings and goings of his neighbours.
For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, I won’t divulge the whole plot. Now, there is a scene in the movie, when L.B. Jefferies girlfriend Lisa Freemont (played by Grace Kelly) decides to investigate the suspicious goings on of one of Jeff’s neighbours. In this scene she and Jeff’s nurse are supposed to be checking out something in the safe confines of the shared garden below but Lisa decides that she wants to take things a little further than planned. Poor Jeff, stuck in a wheelchair, watches in horror as Lisa scales the fire escape ladders and begins to search the suspect’s apartment .
Being that this moving is set in the 1950s, an era when husband’s supposedly ruled the roost. Don’t you think that Lisa would have had consequences for putting herself in such terrible danger?
I know if I were writing this story, it wouldn’t have ended the way it did. It would have ended with Lisa getting her bottom well and truly roasted by Jeff because she chose to put herself in mortal danger and then being held lovingly afterwards, while he desperately tried to convince himself that she was truly safe and unharmed (except for the warm butt, of course).
Is My Husband Trying To Tell Me Something?
I hope that everyone had a lovely Valentine’s day and were treated by their partners with wonderful gifts of chocolates, flowers or meals out. Maybe some of you were fortunate enough to have been bought all three.
As well as buying me lovely gifts of make-up and a new handbag, my husband bought me these two books.
For the life of me, I really can’t think of any reason why he would purchase them for me :-D.
The Far Reach of Fifty Shades
I thought I would share with you all, a rather amusing story that I heard in work the other day.
Whilst a work colleague waited in line at our local Post Office, a lady in front of him went up to the counter.
“How much would it cost to send a parcel to Zimbabwe?” asked the lady.
“It would depend on the size and weight of the parcel,” answered the clerk. “What is it you want to send?”
“Okay, are they paperback or hardbacks?” she then asked .
“I have them with me,” said the lady.
“Okay! If you set them on the scales, I should be able to give you an idea of how much it would cost.”
The lady proceeded to set her bundle of five books on the scales. Whilst three of the book spines were facing the clerk, two of them were facing the people in the cue. Much to my colleagues surprise, the two books were Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker.
How wonderfully refreshing it is to know, that ladies all over the world enjoy a good erotic romance.
At the weekend, my husband and I treated ourselves to a short weekend break in County Donegal.
We have both lived in Ireland all our lives and sadly have to admit there is still a lot of our beautiful country that we haven’t seen.
As I’ve mentioned before, I am a bit of an afternoon tea fan and anytime we are away, we usually try to find somewhere that serves it. While searching through local places to visit, we came across the café attached to Glenveagh Castle. If you ever find yourself in Ireland, go see the castle, it is well worth the visit.
The castle which was originally built as a hunting lodge in the 19th Century is located within the vast grounds of Glenveagh National Park. Over the years, it has had a number of owners but the most notable have all been American.
Under the ownership of Henry Plumer McIlhenny – the third and final owner, the house saw many famous visitors, including the actors Greta Garbo, Clarke Gable, Charlie Chaplin, Rosemary Clooney and Marilyn Monroe. The famous American violinist Yeheudi Menuin was also a guest (the locals having difficulty pronouncing his name referred to him as Hugh McMinn).
Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures of the inside 🙁 but if you click here, it should take you to a number of images of the interior of the castle. The room with the pale blue walls was the room Greta Garbo stayed in, when she visited during the summer months.
As well as the amazing castle, the gardens that surround it are spectacular and the tea house which was what lead us to the venue, serves delicious scones and cakes, yummm!
I think I will definitely have to use this magical venue in a future book.
A Big Thank You
Firstly, a very Happy New Year to you all. I know I’m a bit late but you know what they say, better late than never.
Now that our lives have returned to some semblance of normality, I would like to this opportunity to thank all those people who offered support and kind words in what was probably one of the most difficult times of my life.
Special thanks have to go to my fellow authors, Vanessa Brooks and Carole Archer and to two lovely ladies Carol and Kat. All these wonderful people kept me going with encouraing emails, letting me know that I was in their thoughts.
Just before things went pear shaped, I had successfully found another publisher to take ‘A Legal Education’ and was about to start the editing phase. I have since checked with them that they were still interesed and I am happy to report that this is the case. So very shortly I will begin the editing process.
Best Christmas Present Ever!!!
I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas and like myself are enjoying a few days well earned, time off work.
Now as I mentioned in the title, this Christmas I got the best Christmas present I have ever received and am every likely to receive. As you know, in August my husband was diagnosed with Lymphoma. This was a devastating shock as it seemed to come out of nowhere.
Following six cycles of chemo therapy every two weeks which he took surprisingly well, he had to wait a further six weeks for the chemo to leave his body before he could have his scan. So six weeks to the day after his last chemo, we made the journey into Belfast, to the Royal Victoria Hospital to have it done.
One week later on 22 December, we attended Antrim Hospital to meet with the consultant to get the results. We had to wait an nerve wrecking hour in the waiting area (because they were running behind), before we got to see him. We both sat down on the chairs in his office and he asked my husband how he was, while he scanned in the barcode on his file, to pull up his information. While he looked through the results of the scan, my husband and I squeezed each others hands tightly, waiting to hear the results that would determine what kind of Christmas we would have. Well, I am delighted to report that the scan came back clear and he is now in remission. As I’ve mentioned before,
Best Christmas Present Ever!!!
I know it has been a while since I last did a post but I promise I have a very good reason.
In late July my husband was admitted to hospital with what they thought was an abscess in his upper thigh. Following a short stay and surgery to drain it, at which biopsies were taken, he was discharged from hospital. A week later, he was readmitted as it appeared that the abscess had filled again.
This time dermatology were brought on board and a different diagnosis was discussed. Just when we thought we were getting somewhere, another department was brought on board, Haematology. As I lost my mum to Leukaemia, the Haematology Department were people I was quite familiar with and alarm bells started to go off in my head.
My worst fears were confirmed whenever my husband was given a diagnosis of Cancer (Aniplastic Large Cell Lymphoma). Whenever you hear the words Cancer the next thing you want to hear is Stage 1 and early.
I was devastated with the news and so frightened that I was going to loose him that my sister had to come stay with me (I really don’t know how I would have coped without her). She had to continually drum into my head that he was going to be okay and even now I am still so worried.
A week after his diagnosis, he had his first Chemotherapy in the hospital and two days later I got him home. It was a very emotional time for us both. I can honestly say that I can count on one hand the times we have been apart in our 19 years of marriage, so simple things like being able to say goodnight face to face rather than by text were wonderful.
He has been exceptionally lucky with the Chemo, other than the inevitable hair loss, he has escaped the side effects rightly. A grumbly tummy and a little fatigue are the height of his symptoms. In fact because he has been tolerating the Chemo so well, he has been able to have the cycles every 2 weeks instead of the usual 3 weekly.
This coming Thursday is the final in his planned 6 cycles and depending on whether or not he has to have Radiotherapy, 6 weeks after that he will have a scan to determine whether or not the Chemo has been successful.
Today is our wedding anniversary and I hope to have many, many more with him.
I promise I’ll keep you posted once I have more news.
Hyperion Legacy Update!
Just a quick update! The Hyperion Legacy books have disappeared for a short spell, while they get a much needed re-vamp. As well as receiving new covers, titles and blurbs, we will get the chance to fix all those annoying little errors that escaped our attention the first time.
In the meantime, I am busy working my way through the third book in the series which I hope will be released later this year.
I promise I will keep you informed of any updates whenever they are available.