The Storied British Isles – in pictures

We were lucky enough to spend 10 days this month exploring Dublin, Howth, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Belfast and Carrickfergus  (Northern Ireland) and Carlingford, Ireland. Here are some pictures of things that struck my fancy along the way. I was fascinated with the sheep for some reason, and the miles of stone fences dividing the fields. So much history, so many stories, such beautiful, lush green countryside … We found Dublin to be very expensive compared to the other places, and Edinburgh was our favourite city – the Portobello district is very like the Beaches in Toronto (but with much older houses/buildings). We encountered a few transplanted Canadians, including one woman who grew up in Montreal and had just opened Edinburgh’s first Montreal-style bagel cafe. I love to travel, but home is good, too:)

very cool piece of art at Guinness – the bottom is carved wood and the foam is embroidered fabric.

a job we thought Liam might enjoy – taste tester for Guinness – every day at 10:00 am

Dublin music shop

Molly Malone selling cockles and mussels on the streets of Dublin

Dublin was pretty much shut down upon our arrival due to Hurricane Ophelia – more of a windy day than a hurricane, but schools, banks, etc. were closed for 2 days.

I got to enjoy the balmy weather with some swans and unzip my pant legs:)













My best imitation of a book thief – behind me is a book cage in Marsh’s Library, the oldest public library in Ireland. They would lock people inside to prevent book thievery. Apparently Bram Stoker wrote part of Dracula in this ancient library.

I went for the blond…

Christ Church, Dublin

Church ruins in Howth, Ireland – we did not contact Mrs. O’Rourke about getting the key…

Found this guy at The Beatles’ Story museum in Liverpool

and these guys strolling along the Liverpool waterfront in the rain.







Strawberry Fields Forever – the gate is in front of what used to be a Salvation Army children’s home. They’re now fundraising 10M pounds to recreate it as a training hub for young people with learning disabilities.










Scottish music in the 21st century

Saw some truly amazing buskers – Mary Had a Little Lamb, I think


This castle dominates the Edinburgh skyline, plunging up out of the rock face






Old Town part of Edinburgh – very much like Quebec City, and lots of French restaurants, etc.

Arthur’s Seat (Edinburgh) – we climbed up the treacherous rocky side and went down the easy, grassy slopes.

Proof that we made it to the top of Arthur’s Seat (and just about blew off once we’d arrived)

And at the bottom, we chatted with this guy and his two imported Nova Scotia duck tollers – he told us his Canadian-born mother had four interviews before being allowed to purchase the first one as the breeders want to ensure the breed’s purity.

The Scott Monument, Edinburgh, Scotland – you could climb up a narrow staircase, but we opted out.

Warm and welcoming children’s section of the Waterstones Book Shop in Edinburgh.

Saw various political statements on our travels…

Scottish Storytelling Festival, where we heard some tall tales and someone playing the harmonium.

Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland – gorgeous campus

and lots of uniformed students everywhere.

Gorgeous staircase in The Linen Library, Belfast.

And this interesting sign on the front door of the Linen Library (and elsewhere).

Belfast version of Dollarama

Vintage train station in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland (surely you know the song?) (Performed here by Charlotte Church) The train/bus system is truly amazing.


Downtown Carlingford

Channelling my inner Heidi in Carlingford, Ireland, a charming medieval village, my favourite place on the trip.

“The Irish Lads” didn’t start playing until after the soccer match ended at 10:00 pm on a Tuesday night. Everyone sang along!

Warming myself by a coal fire at Taaffe’s Pub, Carlingford (circa 1600)





  10 comments for “The Storied British Isles – in pictures

  1. erachelcooper
    October 30, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Lovely! Thanks for sharing those photos and your comments, Jan. It looks like a wonderful visit.

    • November 5, 2017 at 6:47 pm

      Hi, Rachel – thanks for saying hi! Hope you’re well and doing lots of writing these days!

  2. October 31, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    Looks like you had a wonderful time, hitting so many great places. Don’t you just love the history? So cool that you visited Liverpool as well. I need to go to Ireland!

    • November 5, 2017 at 6:48 pm

      If we go back to the UK, we’ll stick to the villages – they’re always more interesting than the cities, it seems. But first time around, you feel like you have to see the highlights:)

  3. mirkabreen
    October 31, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    My son is working in Ireland right now, but has sent no photos… Yours did nicely in his stead. 😉

    • November 5, 2017 at 6:49 pm

      Well, they’re not the most beautiful of pics, but strange things catch my eye sometimes. Maybe you’ll get to pay him a visit…

  4. November 5, 2017 at 9:41 pm

    Some really great photos, Jan. I enjoyed seeing them. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your trip in December.

    • November 6, 2017 at 12:49 pm

      Well, what I can remember of it by then:)

  5. November 8, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    Wow! Amazing scenery and history… I’m going to have add Ireland and Liverpool to my vacation wish list! Thanks for sharing.

    • November 9, 2017 at 5:49 pm

      Hi, Barbara – yup, so many interesting (and old) places to visit in the world! Good to have a wish list. I hope to go back and explore more of rural Scotland and Ireland one day.

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