A Travellerspoint blog

Southern Ireland.

Peter and I outside Kilkenny Castle. - Ireland

Peter and I outside Kilkenny Castle. - Ireland

Ireland.

I travelled to Southern Ireland in August 2004 with my husband and two close friends that we used to holiday with a lot. Our friends brought their car over with them so we drove around. Our friends had more time than us so they started their holiday in Northern Ireland visiting Belfast and the County Antrim coastline, which they told us was stunningly beautiful. Another place we must get to some time. We joined them in the airport at Dublin which we flew to using Ryan Air. Our original plan had been to stay for a couple of nights in Dublin, but instead, because it was cheaper and quieter, we ended up staying a couple of nights in Skerries. Skerries is a fishing town with a long sandy beach located about 31KM north of Dublin. We had a look around the town on our first day and next day travelled into Dublin stopping at various coastal towns we liked the look of on the way. One of the places we stopped at was Howth. Howth had a wonderful harbour which looked out towards a large island and an old ruined church. Dublin was an interesting city, but I do not feel we had sufficient time to see it properly another place to be revisited. We spent some of our time here on an organized tour known as The Rebellion Walk which tells the story of the 1916 Easter Rising. It was a very interesting and informative walk. On the walk I remember visiting St Stephen's Green and the Post Office building. Later in the day we visited Dublin Castle, Trinity College, Christ Church Cathedral and the River Liffey.

The next part of our holiday involved us travelling down to Cork and staying there for a couple of nights. We went via Clonmel which we had a quick look at. Cork was a pleasant, relaxed place with great pubs. Each evening we visited the pub that was providing live music. The atmosphere of a real Irish pub is wonderful and puts fake Irish pubs all over the world to shame. We also visited Cork's historic gaol and drove to Kinsale and Cobh. Cobh was a beautiful place. It was the last port of call of the Titanic. After leaving Cork we visited Kilkenny and on the way there stopped off at the Rock of Cashel to visit its wonderful historic remains. Our time in Kilkenny was too short to do it full justice. I just remember visiting its lovely castle.

Skerries.

Skerries is a seaside town about 31KM north of Dublin. Its name comes from the Irish word for rocks. We used Skerries as a base from which to visit Dublin and the coastline near Dublin. Skerries was a pleasant place with a very long sandy beach. It also had an old stone tower and some windmills. It felt like an old-fashioned, traditional type of seaside resort. The sort of place I remember as a child and forever associate with sand, sea, buckets and spades, candy floss, fish and chips and donkey rides on the beach.

Our friends at the beach, Skerries. - Ireland

Our friends at the beach, Skerries. - Ireland

The beach, Skerries. - Ireland

The beach, Skerries. - Ireland

Howth Harbour.

We stopped off in Howth on our drive into Dublin because we were impressed by its beautiful harbour. It was filled with lots and lots of boats. Opposite the harbour there is an unihabited island known as Ireland's Eye. Apparently Howth has a castle, but we did not have time to visit it.

Howth and Ireland's Eye. - Ireland

Howth and Ireland's Eye. - Ireland

Howth Harbour. - Ireland

Howth Harbour. - Ireland

Howth's Ruined Church.

As well as having an impressive harbour Howth also had a lovely old ruined church. The church is called Saint Mary's Abbey Church and is located on Abbey Street. The church was founded by the St.Lawrences family in the early 1200s. This church is the burial place of Christopher St.Lawrence, 1st Baron of Howth and Christopher St.Lawrence, 7th Baron of Howth.

Ruined church in Howth. - Ireland

Ruined church in Howth. - Ireland

Dublin.

Dublin is Ireland's capital and its largest city. We did not really have long enough to do full justice to Dublin, so I think a future visit is called for. We spent a couple of hours on a guided walk Rebellion Walk which told the story of the 1916 Easter Rising. This was interesting and worthwhile. We also visited Dublin Castle, Trinity College, the River Liffey and Christchurch Cathedral. Directions: At the east coast of Ireland. You can't miss is, it's the biggest city around.

Dublin Castle. - Ireland

Dublin Castle. - Ireland

Peter outside Trinity college, Dublin. - Ireland

Peter outside Trinity college, Dublin. - Ireland

Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin. - Ireland

Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin. - Ireland

Clonmel.

We just stopped briefly in Clonmel on our drive down to Cork. Clonmel means honey vale. It is the largest town in County Tipperary in Ireland. It is situated on the banks of the River Suir. We looked at the river, the old bridge and an old building called the main guard which dates from 1810. Bulmers cider is brewed in Clonmel.

The Main Guard, Clonmel. - Ireland

The Main Guard, Clonmel. - Ireland

Peter in Clonmel. - Ireland

Peter in Clonmel. - Ireland

Clonmel. - Ireland

Clonmel. - Ireland

Cork.

We stayed in Cork for a couple of nights. My main memory is of its pubs. We went to a different pub every night always choosing the one with live music and it was really good fun. All the pubs had a great atmosphere. Also remember visiting An Bodhran Bar on Oliver Plunkett Street which had Thin Lizzy memorabilia all over the walls, Cork is on the River Lee. The city has lots of bridges across the river. While in Cork we visited Cork gaol and Fitzgerald Park in the rain. We enjoyed crossing the shaky bridge into the park. Directions: On hill overlooking the City of Cork.

Irish pubs are great. This one's in Cork. - Ireland

Irish pubs are great. This one's in Cork. - Ireland

Cork Gaol. - Ireland

Cork Gaol. - Ireland

River Lee. - Ireland

River Lee. - Ireland

Shaky Bridge. - Ireland

Shaky Bridge. - Ireland

Cobh.

One of the most beautiful places we visited in Ireland was Cobh a port city close to Cork. Cobh is filled with colourful houses and its skyline is dominated by St Colman's Cathedral, the tallest church in Ireland. Cobh has experienced several maritime tragedies. In 1915 the Lusitania was torpedoed by the Germans near Cobh. 1,200 people lost their lives in this tragic event. Many of them are buried in a churchyard in Cobh. A monument in the centre of town commemorates this terrible event. Cobh was also the last port of call of the Titanic before it struck an iceberg and sunk in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. There is a bar in town called after the ill-fated liner. Directions: Cobh Railway Station, Cobh, County Cork. Open 7 days.

Titanic Bar, Cobh. - Ireland

Titanic Bar, Cobh. - Ireland

Titanic Bar, Cobh. - Ireland

Titanic Bar, Cobh. - Ireland

Cobh Town Hall. - Ireland

Cobh Town Hall. - Ireland

The Commodore Hotel, Cobh. - Ireland

The Commodore Hotel, Cobh. - Ireland

Monument to Victims of the Lusitania. - Ireland

Monument to Victims of the Lusitania. - Ireland

The Rock of Cashel.

Another very beautiful place we visited on this trip was the Rock of Cashel. According to legend the Rock of Cashel was formed when St. Patrick banished Satan from a cave and converted the Kings of Munster to Christianity. The Rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several centuries. Most of the current buildings at the Rock of Cashel date from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The oldest building is the round tower which is ninety feet high and dates from around 1100. Cormac's Chapel was once the chapel of King Cormac Mac Carthaigh. It dates from 1127. The Cathedral of Cashel was built between 1235 and 1270. The Rock of Cashel was attacked by Cromwell in 1647. Its religious buildings were desecrated and around three thousand of its occupants were slaughtered.

The Rock of Cashel - Ireland

The Rock of Cashel - Ireland

View from The Rock of Cashel - Ireland

View from The Rock of Cashel - Ireland

The magnificent Rock of Cashel. - Ireland

The magnificent Rock of Cashel. - Ireland

Peter at The Rock of Cashel - Ireland

Peter at The Rock of Cashel - Ireland

Kilkenny.

Our last night before leaving Ireland was spent in Kilkenny. Our stay here was short, but we did manage to visit the beautiful Kilkenny Castle. Kilkenny Castle stands dramatically on the River Nore. The original castle was built for William Marshal, 4th Earl of Pembroke at the beginning of the thirteenth century. Kilkenny Castle later became home to the rich and powerful Butler family who lived here for almost six hundred years. Directions: This is the entrance to Kilkenny Castle. The tour here is well worth the time!

Kilkenny Castle - Ireland

Kilkenny Castle - Ireland

Kilkenny Castle - Ireland

Kilkenny Castle - Ireland

Kilkenny Castle - Ireland

Kilkenny Castle - Ireland

Posted by irenevt 07:38 Archived in Ireland Comments (3)

Romantic Jersey, Channel Islands.

sunny

Romantic Jersey. - Jersey

Romantic Jersey. - Jersey

Jersey.

Normally we return to the UK from Hong Kong for several weeks in the summer. We spend two or three weeks travelling round different parts of Europe and the rest visiting family and friends in the UK. In 2004 we had to sort out and sell my mother-in-law's house, so we needed to spend a long time in the Midlands. Instead of travelling for a couple of weeks round Europe, we could just manage a few days in Jersey. Neither of us had ever been to the Channel Islands before and we had often wanted to go. We made it a two centre holiday beginning with a couple of nights in St Helier and then a couple of nights in Bonne Nuit Bay. We liked both places. St Helier was more convenient for bus travel, because to travel anywhere from Bonne Nuit Bay, we had to first take a bus to St Helier then catch a bus to the place we wanted to visit. However, Bonne Nuit Bay had fantastic coastal scenery which made up for any other drawbacks, plus our hotel there had a pool while the one in St Helier did not. As well as travelling around by bus, we also did quite a lot of walking which was a great way to enjoy much of the lovely scenery. During our stay we visited St Helier, St Aubins, Corbiere Lighthouse, St Ouen's Bay, Bonne Nuit Bay, Bouley Bay, Mount Orgueil Castle in Gorey, Grosnez Castle, the Lavendar Farm, the devil's statue in the devil's hole and Grouville Parish Church.

Our holiday was blessed with lovely sunny weather. We found the scenery on Jersey very beautiful and the way of life peaceful and relaxed. One of our favourite memories was a bus trip we took on a rather crowded local bus. The driver would not drive because a child was sitting while an adult was standing. Actually the child was very polite about giving up her seat. The same driver then turned into an improntu tour guide telling all the passengers about sights they were passing and making jokes about them. Such as when we passed a field with seagulls resting in it, he insisted the seagulls had been planted there and would later be harvested and trained to steal tourists' ice-cream cones. Jersey ice-cream by the way is delicious, but those gulls really are evil.

St Helier.

St Helier is the capital of Jersey and its biggest town. It is located on the southern side of the island in St Aubin's Bay. The town is named after Saint Helier; Jersey’s earliest and most important saint. He lived and preached on Jersey in the 8th Century. St Helier has a busy harbour and marina, a beach, a castle that's surrounded by the sea at high tide, several statues and Liberation Square. The castle in the sea is St Elizabeth's Castle. It is built on a rocky islet in St Aubin's Bay. At low tide you can walk out to it. At high tide it is surrounded by the sea. It is possible to take a vehicle there and back at both low and high tide, but we just walked both ways and made sure we paid attention to the tide information which was posted up. It was quite interesting to watch the tide come in. Elizabeth Castle has an interesting history. It contains the Hermitage where St Helier lived around 550 A.D. It was also once home to Sir Walter Raleigh. He was Governor of Jersey from 1600 until 1603. Elizabeth Castle was built as Jersey's main defensive structure after Castle Mont Orgueil in Gorey was considered too vulnerable to attack by gunpowder. Castle Mont Orgueil was supposed to be dismantled and its materials used to build Elizabeth Castle. Fortunately, Walter Raleigh put a stop to this and Castle Mont Orgueil survived. Charles II hid from the roundheads at Elizabeth Castle during the English Civil War. Liberation Square was developed in 1995 to mark the 50th Anniversary of Jersey's Liberation from German Occupation during World War II. Jersey was liberated by British forces on May 9th 1945. During the occupation the islanders had undergone terrible hardships. At the centre of Liberation Square is a sculpture depicting a group of people holding the Union Jack and celebrating their freedom. This sculpture was created by Philip Jackson. The sculpture is in the centre of a fountain with 12 water jets; one for each parish of Jersey. To the north of Liberation Square stands the Pomme D’Or Hotel. This building was used by the Nazis as their Headquarters during the German Occupation. There is also a statue of Queen Victoria in St Helier. She visited the Island twice during her reign and found it very beautiful. The statue of her was erected in 1887 to celebrate her Golden Jubilee. It is located in a small park near the Grand Hotel. Another odd statue was that of a toad on one of the main streets.

Elizabeth Castle. - Jersey

Elizabeth Castle. - Jersey

Elizabeth Castle. - Jersey

Elizabeth Castle. - Jersey

Toad Statue. - Jersey

Toad Statue. - Jersey

Queen Victoria Statue. - Jersey

Queen Victoria Statue. - Jersey

Liberation Square. - Jersey

Liberation Square. - Jersey

St Helier's Marina. - Jersey

St Helier's Marina. - Jersey

St Aubin's.

We walked along the coast from St Helier to St Aubin's. There is a long stretch of beach on the way. St Aubin's is a very pretty place with a fort in the water, a beach and lots of restaurants and cafes. On the walk there we passed an amazing sand sculpture. St Aubin's began life as a fishing village. The bay at St Aubin's is dominated by Saint Aubin's Fort. This fort is on an island you can walk to at low tide, but at high tide it is surrounded by the sea. St Aubin's Fort was built in the 1540s to protect the harbour of St Aubin's. We then walked along the railway walk from St Aubin's to La Corbiere to see its famous lighthouse.

St Aubin's. - Jersey

St Aubin's. - Jersey

St Aubin's. - Jersey

St Aubin's. - Jersey

St Aubin's Fort. - Jersey

St Aubin's Fort. - Jersey

St Aubin's Fort. - Jersey

St Aubin's Fort. - Jersey

Railway Walk. - Jersey

Railway Walk. - Jersey

Amazing Sand Sculpture. - Jersey

Amazing Sand Sculpture. - Jersey

La Corbiere.

We walked along the route of the old railway from St Aubin's to La Corbiere with its beautiful lighthouse. La Corbiere Lighthouse is located in southwestern Jersey. It was designed by Sir John Coode and was completed in 1874. It is located on an island you can walk to at low tide, but it becomes completely cut off at high tide. A buzzer sound warns you when to get off the walkway linking the lighthouse to the shore as the tide is coming in. There was a plaque commemorating Peter Edwin Larbalestier, assistant keeper of the lighthouse, who was drowned on the 28th of May 1946, while trying to rescue a visitor cut off by the incoming tide. La Corbiere Lighthouse is 19m or 62 ft high and its lamp stands 36m or 119 ft above high water spring tides. The light from La Corbiere Lighthouse can be seen up to 18 miles away on a clear night. The lighthouse itself is beautiful and so is the rugged rocky coastline that surrounds it. There are some watchtowers dating from the German occupation located on the cliffs around La Corbiere.

La Corbiere Lighthouse. - Jersey

La Corbiere Lighthouse. - Jersey

La Corbiere Lighthouse. - Jersey

La Corbiere Lighthouse. - Jersey

St Ouen's Bay.

Near La Corbiere Lighthouse is St Ouen's Bay. There is a long stretch of beach here. This area is popular with surfers but is dangerous for swimmers due to strong currents. In the middle of the bay surrounded by water twice a day stands La Rocco Tower. This tower dates from the 1800s. It consists of a fortified central tower with a large surrounding gun platform. La Rocco Tower was once part of Jersey's extensive coastal defence system. The Jersey Pearl was located in this area, too.This is a family business devoted to making pearl jewellery.

Tower at St Ouen's Bay. - Jersey

Tower at St Ouen's Bay. - Jersey

La Rocco Tower, St Ouen's Bay. - Jerseey.

La Rocco Tower, St Ouen's Bay. - Jerseey.

Coastal Scenery and Watchtower. - Jersey

Coastal Scenery and Watchtower. - Jersey

St Ouen's Bay. - Jersey

St Ouen's Bay. - Jersey

The Jersey Pearl. - Jersey

The Jersey Pearl. - Jersey

Bonne Nuit Bay.

After a couple of nights in St Helier we moved to Le Cheval Roc Hotel in Bonne Nuit Bay. Bonne Nuit Bay is located on the north coast of Jersey. Bonne Nuit has a small fishing harbour, beach and beach cafe. The coastal scenery here is lovely and we walked from Bonne Nuit Bay to Bouley Bay along the coastal paths. Bonne Nuit Bay is connected to St Helier by the number 4 bus. Bonne Nuit Bay takes its name from its sheltered harbour where sailors could moore and be guaranteed a good night's sleep safe from rough seas. Le Cheval Roc was a comfortable hotel with a lovely outdoor swmming pool. The hotel's name originates from a local legend. One upon a time a beautiful young girl called Anne Marie went for a stroll along the beach at Bonne Nuit. A lonely old sea sprite saw her and decided to take her as his bride, but he knew she would never accept him as she loved another. His name was William. The next day to his astonishment William found a magnificent white stallion in his stable. He longed to ride it, but warned in a dream that the stallion meant to harm him, he first picked some mistletoe to protect him from evil. Next day as William rode the white stallion across Bonne Nuit Beach towards Anne Marie the stallion, which was really the sea sprite in disguise, suddenly charged towards the sea. William realised the stallion meant to drown him and he frantically began to strike it with the mistletoe. The stallion went rigid and turned to stone the cheval roc. One of the rocks in Bonne Nuit Bay is supposed to look like a horse. La Crete Fort is located on a headland in Bonne Nuit Bay. It was built to guard against a suspected French invasion of the island.

Bonne Nuit Bay. - Jersey

Bonne Nuit Bay. - Jersey

Bonne Nuit Bay. - Jersey

Bonne Nuit Bay. - Jersey

Bonne Nuit Bay. - Jersey

Bonne Nuit Bay. - Jersey

Bonne Nuit Bay. - Jersey

Bonne Nuit Bay. - Jersey

At the Cheval Roc Hotel.. - Jersey

At the Cheval Roc Hotel.. - Jersey

At the Cheval Roc Hotel. - Jersey

At the Cheval Roc Hotel. - Jersey

Bouley Bay.

We walked along the coastal path from Bonne Nuit Bay to Bouley Bay passing by La Crete Fort built to repel suspected invasions by the French.
The coastal path is stunning with beautiful views over the surrounding cliffs and sea. In July it was purple with heather. Take care though; it can be slippy; at one point my husband almost slipped over the edge while taking a photo and was saved by a bramble bush. This area was once notorious for smuggling. The smugglers would lure ships onto the rocks, kill their crew and plunder their cargo which they could hide in various caves. To prevent people witnessing their illegal night time deeds, the smugglers spread a legend about a giant black dog that wandered the cliffs at night attacking any wanderers unfortunate enough to cross its path. This dog is known as the black dog of Bouley Bay. The dog was rumoured to have red devil eyes as big as saucers. It dragged a huge chain which its victims would hear before they saw the beast. The dog did no actual bodily harm to its victims, but it ran circles around them driving them mad with fear. Now a sight or sound of the dog is believed to mean a severe storm is coming. We visited on a sunny day so did not encounter the beast, but the cliffs are atmospheric and I would not like to wander them alone late in the evening!!! There was a pub named after the black dog in Bouley Bay. It has a little statue of the dog. We had a pleasant drink there. Bouley Bay has a beach. We swam here and I also enjoyed a tasty fresh crab sandwich from its cafe. There is a centre for scuba diving at Bouley Bay.

My husband showing off his bramble scratches. - Jersey

My husband showing off his bramble scratches. - Jersey

La Crete Fort. - Jersey

La Crete Fort. - Jersey

La Crete Fort. - Jersey

La Crete Fort. - Jersey

Bouley Bay. - Jersey

Bouley Bay. - Jersey

Coastal Scenery. - Jersey

Coastal Scenery. - Jersey

Coastal Scenery. - Jersey

Coastal Scenery. - Jersey

Orgueil Castle, Gorey.

Gorey is situated on the east coast of Jersey. You can get there on bus 1,1A or 1B from St Helier. Gorey is a little fishing village dominated by the Castle of Mont Orguiel. The Village of Gorey began to develop early in the 19th century as hundreds of oyster fishermen moved to Jersey from the south east coast of England. At its height around 2,500 people were employed in the oyster fishing industry here and rows of fisherman's cottages were built to house them. Severe over-fishing brought about the industry's decline and for a while boat building took over as the new industry. Mont Orgueil Castle towers over the Village of Gorey. It was built on a headland surrounded on three sides by water. Its purpose was to repel attacks from France. It is on the headland of Jersey which is closest to mainland France. The castle is first mentioned around 1212. When gun powder was invented Mont Orgueil Castle was considered indefensible and a new castle was built in St Helier which was easier to defend Elizabeth Castle. The original plan was to dismantle Mont Orgueil Castle and use the stones to build Elizabeth Castle. Fortunately this plan was vetoed by Sir Walter Raleigh who was then governor of Jersey. He thought it would be a pity to destroy Castle Mont Orgueil. When its importance as a castle declined, Mont Orgueil Castle was used as a prison the only prison on Jersey at the time until the end of the seventeenth century. The castle and village are very beautiful and I would strongly recommend a visit here. The Devil in Jersey.

Gorey Harbour - Jersey

Gorey Harbour - Jersey

Gorey. - Jersey

Gorey. - Jersey

Mont Orguiel Castle. - Jersey

Mont Orguiel Castle. - Jersey

Mont Orguiel Castle. - Jersey

Mont Orguiel Castle. - Jersey

Devil’s Hole Review.

The Devil’s Hole is a natural crater in a cliff. It measures about 100ft across and plunges 200ft down. It was created by the sea gradually eroding the roof of a cave. After a shipwreck in 1851 a ship's figurehead was washed up right into the Devil's Hole. The figurehead was a statue of a man, but the statue was placed inside the Devil's Hole and horns were added to his head to turn him into the devil. The original wooden statue has since deteriorated; the present one is made of metal. It's quite eerie to see the statue standing all alone in its pond. The scenery around this area is lovely.

Devil Statue. - Jersey

Devil Statue. - Jersey

The Devil's Hole. - Jersey

The Devil's Hole. - Jersey

Devil's Hole. - Jersey

Devil's Hole. - Jersey

The Ruins of Grosnez Castle.

Grosnez Castle is located on a headland on the northwest of Jersey. Grosnez means Gray Headland. The castle which is now in ruins is thought to have been built in the 14th century to provide shelter for the local farmers in the event of attacks from France. We got there on bus number 8 from St Helier. When we boarded the bus, we asked the driver if his bus went to the castle and he told us it was not a castle, just a few rocks, not worth going to and we would only be disappointed when we got there. We went anyway and when he called us to get off at the castle, he repeated that we were wasting our time and would just hate the place. In fact we might as well not even bother getting off and should just return to St Helier with him. We got off anyway. We were unsurprisingly not expecting much from the castle but in fact really liked it. All right the castle itself does just consist of a few ruins but it is surrounded by beautiful coastal scenery and was in no respect disappointing. Also we almost had the area to ourselves, probably no-one else made it past the bus driver!! There are concrete steps at the rear of Grosnez Castle that go down to a small automated signal station. There are wonderful coastal views from the platform.

Grosnez Castle. - Jersey

Grosnez Castle. - Jersey

Grosnez Castle. - Jersey

Grosnez Castle. - Jersey

Dramatic Coastal Scenery. - Jersey

Dramatic Coastal Scenery. - Jersey

Dramatic Coastal Scenery. - Jersey

Dramatic Coastal Scenery. - Jersey

Nearby coastal scenery. - Jersey

Nearby coastal scenery. - Jersey

The Jersey Lavender Farm.

I'm very fond of flowers and Jersey with its hours of sunlight is famous for them. We enjoyed a visit to the colourful Jersey Lavender Farm with its lovely fields of highly scented light blue lavender. You can get here from St Helier on bus number 12A or bus number 15. The Jersey Lavender Farm is a family run business. It was started in 1983 when the parents of the current owner, Alastair Christie, inherited a disused dairy farm. They decided to grow lavender on the farm as it was a perfect crop for the soil in this area. The Jersey Lavender Farm grows, harvests and distills lavender to produce lavender essential oil. They also grow rosemary, eucalyptus, bay laurel and cypress and distill their oils, too. There was a lovely cafe and gift shop here.

The Jersey Lavendar Farm. - Jersey

The Jersey Lavendar Farm. - Jersey

The Jersey Lavendar Farm. - Jersey

The Jersey Lavendar Farm. - Jersey

The Jersey Lavendar Farm. - Jersey

The Jersey Lavendar Farm. - Jersey

The Jersey Lavendar Farm. - Jersey

The Jersey Lavendar Farm. - Jersey

Grouville Parish Church.

We kept passing this lovely church on the bus as we travelled back and forth to Bonne Nuit Bay, so decided to get off and investigate it. Grouville Parish Church is dedicated to St Martin of Tours. He is known as the Soldier Saint. His Saint’s day is 11th November Remembrance Day. The church dates from the 11th century. The churchyard contains a memorial to the British grenadiers who died attacking the French at La Rocque during the invasion of 1781. We wandered around the churchyard and encountered some people trying to locate their ancestors' graves. We had a very pleasant meal in a pub not far from the church.

Grouville Parish Church. - Jersey

Grouville Parish Church. - Jersey

Grouville Parish Church. - Jersey

Grouville Parish Church. - Jersey

Posted by irenevt 06:52 Archived in Jersey Comments (5)

Luxembourg

A view over Luxembourg. - Luxembourg

A view over Luxembourg. - Luxembourg

Luxembourg.

I have been to Luxembourg only once and that visit was many years ago and short. This page will be of no help whatsoever to anyone planning a visit to Luxembourg now; it is purely for me to record my own travel history and add my travel photos to. Visiting Luxembourg sparked an interest in us for visiting all the tiny countries in Europe. We have not got far with this plan, so far we have only managed the Vatican and Liechtenstein. On our to do list we still have Andorra, Monaco and San Marino. (We have now been to Monaco,too.) Luxembourg City is the capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. It is located at the confluence of the Alzette and Pétrusse Rivers in southern Luxembourg.

A Brief History.

In Ancient Roman times a fortified tower stood at the crossroads of two roads at the site of present day Luxembourg City. Later in 963, Siegfried I of the Ardennes built his castle, Lucilinburhuc, here. Over time houses, markets and churches were built near the castle. In 1443, Philip the Good of Burgundy conquered Luxembourg. Luxembourg over the following centuries came under the control of Burgundy, Spain, Austria, France and Prussia among others. In 1890, Grand Duke William III died with no male heirs and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg passed to Grand Duke Adolphe. This was the start of Luxembourg's existence as an independent country.

Luxembourg - Luxembourg

Luxembourg - Luxembourg

Geography.

Luxembourg City is located on a sort of plateau which is divided up by gorges hollowed out by the Alzette and Pétrusse rivers. We started off in the high area and walked down into the gorges. The gorges are crossed by many bridges and viaducts.

Luxembourg - Luxembourg

Luxembourg - Luxembourg

My memories of Luxembourg are as follows. We arrived there at the main railway station after taking a train from Brussels. We spent a long time looking for accommodation as everything was either full or out of our price range we had very little money in those days. The accommodation we eventually found was utterly horrible but all we could afford. The bed had a variety of old musty smelling blankets on it. It had not been aired for a considerable period of time. The toilet upstairs had a leak and water was pouring down from the floor above us into a bucket placed just outside our door. We could hear it splashing down all night. I had nightmares about drowning during the short and restless sleep I had. The time we spent sightseeing was short but enjoyable. We looked over the city's gorges from several of its bridges. We also walked down into the gorges for a quick
look around. After our night in Luxembourg, `we left by train for Strasbourg.

Luxembourg - Luxembourg

Luxembourg - Luxembourg

"Getting to Luxembourg"

Luxembourg City has one railway station. Its railway is connected to the German, Belgian and French railway networks. There are connections from here to Paris, Strasbourg, Basel and Zürich. Luxembourg has an international airport Luxembourg Findel International Airport which is located about 6 kilometres from Luxembourg City. Buses run from the airport to Luxembourg City.

Luxembourg viewed from the valley. - Luxembourg

Luxembourg viewed from the valley. - Luxembourg

Posted by irenevt 00:31 Archived in Luxembourg Comments (1)

The Netherlands.

Rembrandt Square - Amsterdam

Rembrandt Square - Amsterdam

The Netherlands.

I've only been to the Netherlands once and that was in 1986. I had been working as an au pair in Finland and at the end of my contract had intended to fly back to the U.K. but my boyfriend (now my husband) suggested we travelled back together by train. It was the start of many wonderful travelling adventures together.

We travelled from Helsinki to Stockholm in Sweden; travelled down to Helsinbors in the south of Sweden, then crossed to Denmark. In Denmark we visited Helsinore and stayed three nights in Copenhagen. From Copenhagen we travelled to Hamburg where we spent a day then left by overnight train to Amsterdam. We stayed in a small hotel in Amsterdam for one night before travelling to the Hook of Holland and taking a ferry to Harwich. I have no idea why we have never made it back to the Netherlands. We both enjoyed our visit to Amsterdam and hopefully will make it back some time.

From this trip I remember the following things. We arrived at Amsterdam Centraal Station. We found a place to stay. We saw the Royal Palace, lots of canals, the Sex Museum and the flower market. We also went on a boat tour of Amsterdam which was a bit of a disaster for me. The problem was I had only had a couple of hours sleep on a train from Hamburg the night before. We decided, though we had very little money, to spend a substantial amount of it on a canal cruise. Before we got on the boat we bought rolls, cheese, cold meat and grolsch lagers and had a picnic in the park. It was a very hot day; the lack of sleep, heat and lager made me drowsy. I remember getting on the tour boat and an announcement that welcomed us onboard, next thing I knew the announcement was about a wailing tower from which women waved their husbands or sons off to sea, unsure if and when they would ever see them again. Then we were thanked for joining the cruise and told to get off. I was outraged because as far as I was concerned I had just got on. But no .... I had got on and instantly fallen into a deep sleep. Peter had nudged me, shaken me, slapped me, punched me, but nothing would wake me up. I missed the whole tour and Peter was furious about the waste of money that involved. Ooops!

The other thing I remember is that we had our first ever Indonesian meal here. Neither of us knew anything about Indonesian food, so we were very excited about this. I just picked a name I liked the sound of and to my bitter disappointment ended up with a plate of fried rice with a fried egg on top. I guess it must have been nasi goreng but for some reason this one had no satay or prawn crackers just rice and egg. The most boring meal ever. I cannot remember what Peter had but it was a lot more exciting than mine. Overall we had an enjoyable time in Amsterdam. I remember tall, narrow gabled buildings lining canals, boats and bridges and bicycles.

Canals.

One of the most enjoyable things to do in Amsterdam was simply to stroll along the sides of some of the canals. From here it is possible to view some lovely buildings, lots of canal boats and bridges. A fun way to pass the time.

Canals - Amsterdam

Canals - Amsterdam

Canal, Amsterdam. - Amsterdam

Canal, Amsterdam. - Amsterdam

Different Beers.

The Dutch brew some very good beers. The most famous ones are Grolsch, with its wonderful resealable bottle, Heineken and Amstel. Looking through the few photos my husband had of our trip to Amsterdam, I found a lovely picture of some Amstel being delivered by horse drawn carriage.

Different Beers

Different Beers

Flowers.

The Netherlands is strongly associated with flowers and visiting the flower fields in spring is another item on my to do list. During our trip to Amsterdam we enjoyed taking a stroll through the lovely flower market.

Flowers - Amsterdam

Flowers - Amsterdam

Bridges.

Apparently Amsterdam has more than one thousand two hundred bridges. These come in all shapes and sizes so they make a good photo themselves as well as being good vantage points from which to take photos.

Bridge in Amsterdam. - Amsterdam

Bridge in Amsterdam. - Amsterdam

Bridge in Amsterdam. - Amsterdam

Bridge in Amsterdam. - Amsterdam

Canals, boats and bridges. - Amsterdam

Canals, boats and bridges. - Amsterdam

Posted by irenevt 00:07 Archived in Netherlands Comments (3)

Belgium.

Statue in Bruges. - Belgium

Statue in Bruges. - Belgium

Belgium.

Today the beautiful little Belgian girl in my primary three class, Victoria, left my school to return to Belgium, so it seems like a good day to write my Belgium page. I have visited Belgium three times, not counting the times I've just passed through and spent a couple of hours. Visit one was on the 13th of March 1987. I know the exact date because it was exactly one week after the Zeebrugge ferry disaster in which 193 people drowned. I had told my sister I was going to Belgium and she was only half-listening and got confused about the date of my journey and the port I was sailing to and was convinced that I had been killed on the 6th of March 1987. I was not, in fact, even sailing to Zeebrugge but to Ostend and I was visiting for a day having collected tokens for a trip from Dover to Ostend for a pound from the Mirror or Sun newspapers. Since my departure point was Glasgow my day trip really covered more than two days. Overnight bus to London, travel on to Dover, early morning crossing, late ferry back, overnight back up. I would not have the stamina to travel like that now, but I was young then. It was a freezing cold day and we had a quick look at Ostend, then took a train to Bruges. I felt we had made a wonderful discovery a beautiful, historical town and not a tourist in sight. I did not realize this was just due to the weather. After spending several hours in Bruges, we returned to Ostend. It was so cold we bought a quarter bottle of brandy to swig in an attempt to stay warm. We had very little money and went to a cafe and ate Croque Monsieur trying to eat as slowly as possible so we could stay inside and thaw out. Apart from the weather, it was a great trip.

Visit two.

I don't remember the year. It was the late 1980's or early 1990's and we were making our way to Austria by train. We stopped over in Brussels, Liege, Luxembourg and Strasbourg. In Brussels we stayed in a cheap hotel near the station. We arrived quite late and were travelling onwards next day, so only really saw the city centre: the Grand Place, the Manneken Pis. Then we travelled on to Liege. I only have two photos of Liege. I remember a lovely park with a swan filled pond and climbing up lots of steps to see the view over the town. We stayed overnight in a cheap hotel near the station again.

Visit three.

Visit three was in 2003 and we travelled with two friends. It was August and Brussels was not all that busy. Most of the population were on holiday. We managed to get a lovely hotel with an indoor swimming pool pretty cheaply. We explored the centre of Brussels plus went further afield to visit the Atomium. We also used Brussels as a base for a day trip to Bruges. I told our friends that it was an undiscovered historical gem, but in fact it was swarming with tourists. We did a day trip to Antwerp also extremely busy and a day trip to Ypres where we took a tour of the World War 1 battlefields. This was an excellent tour very, very moving and sad.

Here are some of the places we have visited in Belgium.

Brussels City Centre.

On our last visit to Brussels one of the things we enjoyed was just wandering the streets and having leisurely meals in outdoor restaurants. I, of course, tried mussels and frites with mayonnaise and lots and lots of wonderful beers, not to mention excellent chocolate. The Grand Place is the main square of Brussels. Most of the buildings here are in the same architectural style and date from the seventeenth century. The buildings here have highly ornate facades and many are topped with statues. During our visit there was a flower market in the centre of the square which added to the beauty of the scene. Near the Grand Place is the Manneken Pis the famous little boy peeing. The Manneken Pis is the symbol of Brussels and, in fact, the whole of Belgium. He has his own outfits and these are changed frequently for different events and occasions. The Manneken Pis was designed by Hiëronymus Duquesnoy the Elder in 1618. The statue is located on the corner of Rue de l'Etuve and Rue des Grands Carmes. The statue has been stolen frequently and the current statue dates from just 1965. There are several legends about this statue. One is the story of the two year old Duke Godfrey III of Leuven. In 1142 the troops loyal to this two year old were battling against the troops of the Berthouts. Duke Godfrey III of Leuven';s troops put the baby duke in a basket and hung the basket in a tree. The baby duke urinated on the troops of the Berthouts in the midst of the battle which they eventually lost. Another legend claims that in the 14th century, Brussels was attacked by a foreign power who laid siege to the city. The attackers decided to place explosives at the city walls. A little boy named Julianske saw the besiegers lighting the explosives and he urinated on the burning fuse saving the city. A third legend states that a visitor to the city lost his infant son and after a frantic search found him near the statue's present location peeing. He gifted the statue to Brussels as a thank you for getting his son back unharmed. We also visited Jeanneke Pis. This is a statue of a little girl peeing. She is located not far from the Manneken Pis on the Impasse de la Fidélité or Fidelity Alley. Jeanneke Pis is not as famous as the Manneken Pis. It is a fairly new statue. It was commissioned by Denis Adrien Debouvrie and was first displayed in 1987.

The Royal Palace. - Belgium

The Royal Palace. - Belgium

The Grand Place, Brussels. - Belgium

The Grand Place, Brussels. - Belgium

Brussels - City Centre.

Brussels - City Centre.

Brussels - City Centre.

Brussels - City Centre.

Brussels - City Centre.

Brussels - City Centre.

Excellent Meal.

Excellent Meal.

Belgian icons- the atomium

The Atomium is located in Heysel and is well worth a visit as it is quite unique. It was originally constructed for Expo '58, the 1958 World Fair which took place in Brussels. It was designed by engineer André Waterkeyn and architects André and Jean Polak. The atomium is 102 m tall. Its nine spheres are connected so that they form the shape of an atom magnified 165 billion times. The atomium has a variety of weird and wonderful exhibitions inside it and there are great views from the top sphere. We could see the famous Heysel Stadium from there. The Heysel Stadium Disaster occurred here on May 29th 1985. Thirtynine fans were crushed to death before the start of the 1985 European Cup Final between Juventus and Liverpool. Outside the atomium was one of those wandering cow sculptures we keep encountering Zurich was full of them when we went there.

Belgian icons - the atomium

Belgian icons - the atomium

Belgian icons - the atomium

Belgian icons - the atomium

Belgian icons - the atomium

Belgian icons - the atomium

Ostend.

Ostend is a city located in Western Flanders. We travelled here by ferry from Dover on a freezing cold March day. On our visit we walked along the front looking at the boats. Later we took a train to Brugesa journey of around just 15 minutes. We then came back to Ostend for dinner. I believe there is a beach here, but we did not investigate this as it was freezing when we visited. We also did not really look at any particular sights just strolled around the town and ate there. It is a pleasant place and would be enjoyed on a warmer day.

Ostend

Ostend

Bruges.

We have been fortunate enough to visit Bruges twice. Once on a freezing cold spring day when we had it largely to ourselves and once in summer when it was a hub of touristic activity. After our first visit I really believed we had found an undiscovered historic town free of tourists and told my friends that on our next visit. Then we arrived and discovered how wrong I was. Crowded or not, Bruges is wonderful. It is a historic city with lots of canals, gateways, churches. On our summer visit we took a canal boat tour and visited an antique market. Bruges has an attractive town hall, a main square and lots of beautiful old buildings. After all our sightseeing we enjoyed refreshing beers on the main square.

One of the sights I liked in Bruges was the fountain in t Zand public square. Markets are sometimes held in this square. The t Zand fountain has 4 separate sculptures created by husband and wife Stefaan De Puydt and Livia Canestraro. The sculptures are: a mermaid reclining on land reclaimed from the sea; a group of cyclists including characters from local folklore; a group of fishermen from the port of Zeebrugge; four bathing ladies who represent the four main cities in Flanders: Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent and Kotriejk. My main Belgium page picture is the bathing ladies and the cyclists are one of the photos on this tip. I enjoyed this fountain because it is unusual and fun.

Bruges

Bruges

Bruges

Bruges

Bruges

Bruges

Bruges

Bruges

Bruges

Bruges

Liege.

Liege is a town on the Meuse River. It is not far from Belgium's borders with Germany and The Netherlands. It is the birthplace of the Emperor Charlemagne. In more recent times it was also the birthplace of writer George Simenon. We spent some time strolling along the river area and crossing the bridges there. We visited a large park with ponds, statues and lots of swans. We climbed up lots of steep steps to the citadel to see the view over the city.
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Liege

Liege

Liege

Liege

Antwerp.

Antwerp is a beautiful historical city. It is the second largest city in Belgium and is located on the Scheldt River. Antwerp is a port and is famous for diamonds. Antwerp gets its name from a local legend. Long ago a terrible giant called Antigoon lived near the Scheldt River. Whenever anyone tried to cross the river, they had to pay him a toll. If they refused to pay, the fearsome giant severed their hand and hurled it into the river. One day a brave young hero named Brabo wanted to cross the river. When the giant appeared to exact his toll, Brabo fought and killed him. He cut off the dead giant's hand and threw it in the river. Antwerp comes from the Dutch words for hand and throw. On the day we visited, Antwerp was astonishingly crowded. I'm not sure if this is just normal or if there was a special event going on. The main square was the busiest part. This square is filled with beautiful historical buildings. It also has a colourful town hall and a famous statue of the hero Brabo. After exploring the centre, we walked to the castle on the river. Nowadays this castle is Antwerp's Maritime Museum. Antwerp is an interesting place to visit with a pleasant, bustling atmosphere.

Antwerp

Antwerp

Antwerp

Antwerp

Antwerp

Antwerp

Antwerp

Antwerp

Antwerp

Antwerp

Ypres.

I am not generally keen on taking organized tours, preferring where possible to do things on my own, but one of the friends we were travelling with strongly advocated doing a guided tour of the World War I battlefields around Ypres. This proved to be a wise choice for two reasons: one we did not have our own transport and the sights were widely dispersed; two the guide's historical knowledge was invaluable and brought what we were looking at to life. On our tour we visited trenches on the former front line, a war museum and a war cemetery. We had no idea before how little ground was taken in advancing the front line and at such a cost in human life. The war museum with its horrific photos brought home the horrors of war. For example there was a photo of woodlands and yes there was mud, debris and shell craters on the ground, but the full horror of the scene did not register till you notice part of a human leg which has been blown off and is hanging in a tree. The war cemeteries here are also poignant with their endless matching nondescript graves. So many dead that burying them is what's important not preparing their grave. My grandfather fought in Belgium in the First World War. He was lucky and survived uninjured. His brother lost both his legs and spent much of the rest of his life in hospital.I still remember taking the Erskine ferry across to Erskine Hospital to visit him when I was a child. A visit to Ypres and its surroundings is historically fascinating and deepy moving. In some places the famous Flanders poppies were growing on the now silent battlefields.

Ypres

Ypres

Ypres

Ypres

Ypres

Ypres

Ypres

Ypres

Ypres

Ypres

Posted by irenevt 23:14 Archived in Belgium Comments (3)

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