Norm’s Thursday Doors : Cahir Castle

Cahir Castle, Co Tipperary

Old door at Cahir Castle

My doors this week look like they have seen better days, and they probably have, as they come from the 12th century Cahir Castle in Cahir, Co Tipperary.    Nevertheless it is a very well preserved castle, with guided tours and if you are ever in the area it is well worth a visit.   Below is another of the internal doors.

Cahir Castle, Co Tipperary

Check out some more doors at Norm’s place here

The Budapest bars that would be illegal anywhere else

A great foodie post about Budapest, if you are thinking of visiting, these places sound fantastic


Szimpla was Budapest's first ruin pub Szimpla was Budapest’s first ruin pub

I remember the thought that flashed through my mind when I walked into my first ruin pub in Budapest.

This is an OH&S disaster, you would never see this in Sydney, or London, or possibly anywhere else for that matter!

That’s because ruin pubs, as the name suggests, lie within dilapidated shells of abandoned buildings. They predominantly sit in the old Jewish quarter which was left to decay after WWII. In any other city there would be a wrecking ball around the corner, but in Budapest some inspired drinkers decided they might be good for something and slowly they have turned into drinking and party meccas.

instant_1 The owl at Instant looks over the crowd protectively if not a little weirdly

This neighbourhood now includes dozens of ruin pubs, all characterised by flea market furniture, psychedelic interiors and an intense feeling you’ve just fallen down the rabbit hole.

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Tuesdays of Texture : Week 27

Prague Praha

Charles Bridge, Prague

Charles Bridge in Prague, one of the oldest bridges there, was commissioned in 1357, and has 30 baroque statues along the length of the bridge, depicting all different people and events.   This bridge is visited by everyone that comes to Prague,and is the main thoroughfare linking both sides of the river.   Be prepared in high tourist season to be jostled and pushed along by the thousands of people on the bridge, all trying to get close to the different statues.

Charles Bridge, Prague

Charles Bridge, Prague

You can click on this link to see a list of the statues on the bridge.

Check out more posts in the Tuesdays of Texture series over on Narami’s blog

Wordless Wednesday : The Elephant Comes to Town

Colourful display in Clonakilty, West Cork

The Silent City, Mdina

Mdina, Malta

Mdina, Malta

Welcome to the Silent City, this is the old walled city of Mdina in Malta.  Mdina is the old capital of Malta, and its origins can be traced back to 1500 BC.   It has also been called the Noble City, and is called the Silent City as practically no cars are allowed within its walls, the only exceptions are the traders that operate within the walls, and brides getting married within the city.

entrance gates of Mdina

entrance gates of Mdina

The only entrance into the city is through the gates shown above, and if you don’t fancy walking around, you can be taken over the bridge and through the gates by horse and carriage.

Travel by horse and carriage

Travel by horse and carriage




Impressive palaces line its narrow shady streets,  and Mdina is one of Europe’s finest examples of an ancient walled city, with a mix of medieval and baroque architecture.

Stroll alongthe narrow streets

Stroll along the narrow streets

Also within the walls is an impressive cathedral, and a beautiful Baroque church (there are so many Baroque churches in Malta, and they are all spectacular), and some lovely old restaurants and converted palaces.

The Cathedral, Mdina

The Cathedral, Mdina


2015-02-21 11.48.02While we were there, we also visited the Mdina Dungeons, “Malta’s only Museum of Crime and Punishment” and I must say that I definitely did NOT enjoy the more gruesome scenes there – the flyer says “Ancient history blended with startling realism will reveal stories too dramatic to be believed”…the sights and the sounds were pretty scary, and the cruelty shown by the Romans, the Arabs, and even the Knights of old was all pretty gory stuff and was very well presented and realistic.  Is it someplace you would like to visit?

Get down to the Dungeons

Get down to the Dungeons

Malta is a beautiful, small country, with many places to explore, and it’s easy to get around and to see all these wonderful old buildings full of history.

Linked to Jo’s Monday Walk

Views of Venice from a Height

Venice is a wonderful city, full of great old buildings, churches, castles, spires, an architectural dream – all criss crossed with canals and marvellous bridges.    More than 60 000 people visit Venice each day, and this number is more than the entire local  population of  Venice.

Everywhere one goes, especially in summer, there are many people, all wanting to see the beautiful buildings, and there is a lot to see in a small area.

Many of the tourists inVenice come here by cruise ship.   The big ships dock very close to the old part of Venice, and this is an increasing worry for environmentalists ,and bodies such as UNESCO claim that the big cruise ships cause tides that damage the foundations of the old buildings, and cause pollution.   On the other hand, the cruise ships say that they are conscious of the fragile nature of the old city,and are committed to protecting the environment, as well as contributing to the economy of Venice.

Venice needs tourists, which the cruise ships bring in, and a compromise has to be found that will keep the tourists coming to visit this beautiful historic city.   The authorities realise this, and have recently put a cap on the number of cruise ships allowed into Venice port each day, and plans are underway for the bigger ships to dock at another nearby port.

We were fortunate to leave on a cruise ship from Venice recently, on the day we left the port, there were 2 other ships tied up beside ours, and as we slowly made our way out of the port we had a fantastic view of all the iconic buildings like the Doges Palace and St Marks Square, and the many church spires on the skyline, along with the beautiful bridges over the canals.


Romeo, Romeo!

William Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet, a tragedy about two young lovers from opposing noble families, the House of Capulet (Juliet’s family)  and the house of Montague, of which Romeo was a son.   Both houses were sworn enemies of each other, so when Romeo and Juliet fell in love the families were not pleased, and they did everything in their power to stop the romance, and it all ends in tragedy.   You can read a synopsis of the story here if you are not familiar with it.  The original Romeo and Juliet and their families date back to the 13th century.

Oddly enough, though Shakespeare based the story in Verona, where the two families lived, and also wrote ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’ he had never visited Verona.  The original story of the star crossed lovers was written by Dante Aligheiri (The Divine Comedy), in the 13th century, this was translated into English from Italian and is said to have given Shakespeare the idea for the play.

We visited Verona recently, and one of the most visited attractions there is Juliet’s Balcony, where, according to Shakespeare, Romeo climbed up to visit her in her room.   That may be poetic licence, as our guide told us that  balconies didn’t exist at the time that the original star crossed lovers did.    However, anything for a good story, and there is now a balcony attached to the old house, and outside the house is a statue of Juliet.   Tradition is that if you touch the right arm of Juliet, you will have a long life with success in love, and therefore everyone likes to touch Juliet, either on the arm or other places!


Wordless Wednesday : Welcome to Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris


The One Word Photo Challenge this week is to show a photo that means ‘Carry’.   Here is one I like, its a jaunting car in Killarney National Park, taking tourists through the park to admire the beautiful scenery.

Being carried along to view the scenery

Being carried along to view the scenery

Head on over to Sue’s blog to see more posts in this theme

By Hook or By Crook

Hook Head Lighthouse in County Wexford is one of the oldest lighthouses in Ireland.   It is about 800 years old, and still looking remarkably well for such an old bird, though I am sure some major renovations and updating have been done over the years.    If you get there during opening times (which unfortunately we didn’t) you can get a guided tour, and climb the 115 steps to the top, for a great view and an insight into the workings.    There are guided tours, military re-enactments and of course friendly ghost tours – what would an old building be without it’s friendly ghost!

The phrase  ‘By Hook or By Crook‘ is said to have its origins in this part of the world, and when Cromwell invaded Ireland, he had his sights on Loftus Hall, which lies between Hook Lighthouse and the village of Crook, and the story goes that he wanted this place ‘by hook or by crook (by any means possible)

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