Monday, 28 January 2013

The Emerald Isle - Week One

After two years of waiting, planning and dreaming, I've finally touched Irish soil. I don't know what it was, but I honestly didn't believe I would make it. Don't know what my destination was if I didn't believe it to be Ireland.

But of course, when those Irish accents reached my ears and I took my first breath of icy Dublin air, it finally struck. And to admit I was a little giddy would be an understatement. I wonder if the customs guards took note of the starry eyed woman walking through the terminal? Perhaps, they're used to it.

Now, let me say, first and foremost, that I love Australia. But I'm sorry, Australia, I think you might have a contender for my heart.

Dublin was magical. Whilst the hostel we were staying in wasn't paradise, the streets that surrounded it were. Now, for all you big city people (particularly those in Australia and the US), try and imagine a city where you can see the horizon. There are no skyscapers here. The buildings all range between four and six stories high. The buildings are those beautiful georgian terrace houses. The city is wonderful, clean and magical. And to be completely honest, I love the weather. It rains on occassion, but there is nothing more refreshing than waking up in the morning and walking out into the crisp Dublin air.

Now, there is something you should know; there is no such thing as a quiet bar in Dublin. Perhaps it is the traditional music festival that it on this week that is bring the locals out, but I can not express my amazement. So many people and an atmosphere to match the lively, inclusive music. Don't let your heritage stop you, join in with the locals. They love it! And so will you.


Whilst in Dublin, I visited some of it's historical site. One of them being the Trinity College Library where the book of Kells is kept. Now, for all you book lovers, I know how much you are going to want to replicate these staircases in your own study.

The book of Kells exhibit was amazing and the celtic art beautiful. Unfortunately, cameras aren't allowed so I can't share the moments of awe with you.
Now, you have an excuse to see them yourself :)

Now, my next confession about Ireland is that Guiness has to be the best tasting beer I've ever had. And yet, I still don't like it. If you're a fan of beer, definitely have yourself carted to the distillery in Dublin - you can do so in style as I did by horse and cart. Otherwise, take yourself to the Jameson Whiskey Distillery as my tastebuds wish I had. :)

Other great sights to see are the Dublin Museum and Dublin Castle (of which I only saw the outside of). And let's not forget the Ha'Penny Bridge where you can take some beautiful photo's of the Liffey River and my personal favourite, the traditional bar located in the Temple Bar District.

Now, on my third day we wandered out of the city to Bru Na Boinne and Tara Hill. Two magical celtic/Irish historical sites which generate an energy you can only understand if felt. The Irish countryside is lush and breathtaking, the perfect bed for it's intriguing history.
If you are a lover of history, particularly Celtic history, get yourself to these sites. You will not regret it wind and rain aside.

For the day, we travelled to Howth (pronounced Hoat which was difficult for us to get our heads around), a small fishing village on the outskirts of Dublin. There, we visited Howth castle, a tomb and St Mary's Abbey. My sister and I wondered the surrounding hills like Coleridge and Wordsworth, submerging ourselve in nature before heading back to the bustling streets of Dublin.

From Dublin, I was bound for Kilkenny where I stayed in a quaint Georgian hostel situated in the town's centre. The fire place and comfy lounge definitely made  the living room the perfect spot to do some writing.

Kilkenny is a peaceful town, somewhere that can lessen the ache you feel for the streets of Dublin. If you ever come here, be sure to check out all the sights. The Abbey is well-intact and the locals are friendly, as the Irish are believed to be.

Kilkenny Castle is a dream and if I had the money, I would have made an offer for it. The castle was a great inspiration for a historical romance that has been begging me to be written. Perhaps it will be my new project once the ending of Fixing Fences is finally written.

Here's a picture of Kilkenny Castle:

From Kilkenny, we made our way to Cork, where admittedly, the accents make it all most impossible to understand the locals. The accents of Ireland are diverse, each region differing from the other. On of the most famous is the Cork accent and if your a fan of  the Irish comedian Tommy Teirnan, you will be familiar with his hilarious, if not accurate portrayal of the Cork accent.

Last night, I listened to some of the locals sing and today we made a day trip to Blarney Castle. In comparison to the beautiful and mostly sunny day we had yesterday, the weather was miserable with the exception of two minutes where the sun bathed Blarney castle in a pale white glow. However, despite a fear of heights, the rain and the gale force winds threatening to blow us off the top of the castle, we made our way to the top and bravely leant over the side of Blarney Castle to plant a kiss on the Blarney stone. It was such an exhilarating moment and I beg you all to experience it if you ever find yourself in a county nearby.

Here's a picture of me kissing the stone. :)

Well, that's if for the first week of my big adventure. I could continue on with all the details, but I think I might have already filled you in on the best. To all my readers, I can't wait to share the rest of my travels with you. There is so much more to come and much much more to share.



Saturday, 12 January 2013

Bon Voyage!

Bon Voyage!

In just eight days I will be saying goodbye to this sunburnt country and taking a big jet plane to the Emerald Isle itself, finally travelling along with my beloved fictional characters!
And I want to share my travels with you. :)
Over the next six weeks I will blog weekly about my travels and share my experience of backpacking in the UK. As my first big trip overseas, I'm pretty excited!
I hope to share some of my favourite moments with you all and maybe, you'll get hit with the travel bug too.

Photo: Glendalough in County Wicklow will still your mind, inspire your heart and fill your soul. People have been visiting the 'valley of the two lakes' for thousands of years.
So jump on up to the right-hand side of this page and follow along. Can't wait to share my tales of the evergreen hills of Ireland, the rugged highlands of Scotland and the bustling city of London!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

A New Year!

Well, it's finally over. 2012 has come and gone and what a year it was. This year I've had my first conference, finished my second novel, started a third, started my blog, made so many valuable friends and despite not achieving all my goals, I'm happy with my accomplishments.

I still have yet to recieve my first contract, but as they say, 'good things come to those who wait'. Perfection and success take time. So this year, I'll be continuing my writing and my aspirations. No one ever said it would be easy and if it was, it might not be as fun without the challenge of pushing yourself to produce your very best.

Another thing I didn't accomplish was finishing Fixing Fences this month. But I'm not disappointed as much I can not wait to finish this novel and share it. You can't force the muse or the words. The words must come from the heart and I'm a believer in there being a place and time for everything, in fate. So I've set myself some more goals, keeping all of my old ones.

This year, I will finish Fixing Fences and plot my next two novel. I then plan to write the third novel in my Irish series and have one of my novels contracted. If I finish my series, I'll have even more to celebrate.

I think it's important to sit back and look back on the year. You shouldn't dwell on the pitfalls - though helpful some may be in the future - but focus on the positives. For me, it's what I've achieved so far and what I can achieve that keep me going. You need that constant motivation.

So look back on last year and think about all you have achieved. Whether it be finishing a new novel, achieving better feedback or something more personal, remember them and celebrate them.

Well, here's me wishing everyone all the best in the new year. I wish you all good health, success and inspiration.

Happy reading/writing!