Ireland and Scotland... A family Adventure!

This summer we went on another epic adventure... this time to Ireland and Scotland! There was a little bit of work thrown in as I would LOVE to bring a group to Ireland next year but not too much, cause a girl needs vacation! The first half of the trip my husband and I spent on our own... we met up with the girl for the second half (she was already in Ireland on a leadership program).

This trip had us stay in 9 different lodgings, we were in a fancy hotel on a lake, a crappy air bnb, a lovely bed and breakfast, a seaside cottage,  a guesthouse, a tower in a University, a quaint inn, a chain hotel (for a night), and finally a castle! I wasn't ready to come home... though I really really missed my bed. It turns out that I love my mattress more than any other mattress in the land!

Day #1: Landing in Shannon Ireland, through Ennis to Miltown Malbay
We wandered around Ennis a bit on our way north and ran into a restored abbey that stole our hearts...
Day #2: The Burren, Cliffs of Moher, Poulnabrone Dolmen (a BIG day!)
I LOVE THE BURREN (and its crazy rock walls!!!!)
Tiny baby wildflowers everywhere... next time we are spending all day here!
My honey took us on an adventure that resulted with me a tiny bit stuck at the top of a wall....
Poulnabrune Dolmen... my first real life Dolmen.... it wasn't as exciting as I thought it would be
(i.e. there was no time travel)...
The day ended with an epic hike along the Cliffs of Moher... we found an alternate parking lot that kept us away from the hoards of tourists and made the hike delightful!
Day #3: Driving to Killarney via the Dingle Peninsula

We scampered up to O'Connor's Pass on our way around the Dingle Peninsula... a fun driving day that included the best Rhubarb Crisp I have ever eaten with an Irish Coffee (no photo, it is in my belly!)
And then we landed at our Schwanky hotel, the Lake Hotel in Killarney, where we had a hot tub in our room that over looked a 12th century castle... this was our view... it was a good stay! (and we should have a knitting retreat here!)
Day #4: Killarney Biking Adventure (no car day!)
Even though we live in the land of waterfalls... we still bike and hike to see them!

This ancient tree growing in the Cloister at MuckRoss Abbey clearly has some stories to tell...
Day #5: Driving to Kinsale
This drive took us right past Timoleague Friary, which was a completely intriguing abbey ruin.
This sign was outside the Fishy Fishy.... kinda tickled our funny bone!
(There we had THE BEST FISH STEW... and I didn't take a photo of it, cause I'm not a food blogger : )! )
Day #6: Kinsale to Cork to Maynouth to pick up the girl!
After really good coffee and crepes in Kinsale my honey took me to Hedgehog Fibres for a tour... that was awesome!
(and I got yarn!)
And then we drove north to Maynouth, and stopped by the Rock of Cashel... we wandered around the restored castle for a bit, but really fell in love with the decrepit abbey in the valley below!
Days #7 - 9: Reunited and onto Edinburgh
Fringe Festival was on while we were in Edinburgh... which made wandering around quite amusing!
We escaped the rain for a few hours and had high tea at the Signet Library.... YUM!
The rooflines in Edinburgh were phenomenal... I needed more time in this city!
Day #10: Driving to Plockton through the Highlands
Eileen Donan Castle... Scotland's most photographed castle... gorgeous but crawling with tourists, so we took a photo (like a tourist and drove on!)
Day #11: Plockton

A tiny village on Loch Carron called Plockton, with Palm Trees and seal watching and rain and really good beer!
Day #12: Driving to Inverness
At Loch Ness... have you seen my Nessie?
Day #13: Back to Ireland and North to Portstewart (this town has great ice cream... just sayin!)

Day #14: Giant's Causeway
A day full of hiking... and fish and chips (and more ice cream)!
Day #15: Back to Dublin for a last night in a Castle and then home! (ok, we really need to have a knitting retreat here too!)
Sheep on the way back...
So, yeah... that was quite an adventure, we definitely made some memories! I didn't run into as much knitting and knitting culture as I thought I would... I saw alot of "fake" aran sweaters in tourist shops and some yarn, but not much I couldn't get here. I did find all UK yarns in Kathy's Knits in Edinburgh, and I was too busy petting them to take photos. I did get to meet up with Jo and Mica from Edinburgh Yarn Fest and with Ysolda, and I forgot to take pics of those visits as well!

I am intrigued and definitely want to go back to the west coast of Ireland and go north from Shannon to Donegal (and go to the Aran Islands which we couldn't make it to this trip.) And I am definitely going to Edinburgh Yarn Fest in 2018! I want to be in that city when it is filthy with knitters!


200th Pattern Party (and the next MKAL!!!)

(sorry, I'm excited!!!!!)

It is time for the next Mystery KAL, which just happens to be my 200th pattern on Ravelry. I've called it Ducenti, which means 200 in Latin, cause I like to be obvious like that! The pre-clue is up on Ravelry with all the yarn/gauge/optional bead info you need!

The first clue comes out Sept 18th, and I decided that since this is such a big milestone it was time to hold a very rare for me pattern sale

Join in on the Ducenti MKAL (by purchasing the pattern) and get 25% off ALL Nelkin Designs Ravelry patterns! This discount will automatically be taken off at checkout, no coupon code needed! Discount ends when the first clue is released on Sept 18th!

We are having a celebration KAL in my Ravelry group to keep everyone busy until the MKAL starts... I got some pretty good yarny prizes while I was traveling this summer and will be awarding them during the KAL... details on that here.

This is a little odd to say, but I think Ducenti is one of the prettiest most interesting shawls I have ever made, I literally gasped when it came off the blocking board, it is bold and unusual and I completely adore it.

Oh, and for those of you who are hoping for more vacation photos... I'm planning a post, there are a TON to go through, I have a few pretty special shots I can't wait to share.


Reading List: Summer 2016

We are headed on a family travel adventure to Ireland and Scotland and I've had a great time building a summer reading list for myself! I have a feeling a few of you are reading/listening more than usual and might have some other ideas for me as well!

On my Shelf:
  • Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks- #1 best seller in Northern Ireland Travel Guides... the dude makes a drunken bet to hitchhike around Ireland with  a fridge... I had to get it! Gonna crack into it on the plane!
  • Raven Black (Shetland Island Mysteries Book 1) by Ann Cleeves- Jill made me promise I'd read these... we aren't going to Shetland on this trip, but I might as well be prepared for a future one! Plus, once I finish I can watch Shetland on PBS, right?
  • A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman- I liked the reviews I read... I bought it... I think that is all I know!!
    Just Finished:
    • My Brilliant Friend: Neapolitan Novels, Book One by Elena Ferrante- Historical Fiction set in Italy in the 1950's... I feel mixed about this, I finished it which means I didn't dislike it, but it also didn't totally spin me in its web.
    • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes- Don't judge... everyone needs a little trash in their lives!
    • The Moonlit Garden by Corina Bomann- NO idea how I stumbled across this gem but I really enjoyed it. There was history, mystery and a little love! Perfect bedtime reading : )!
    •  The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova- 26 hours of vampires and historical fiction... need I say more?
    • City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg- I've been listening to this on and off, something about it is a little too close to home (tortured teens and young adults in NYC in the mid-80's)... I like it but get depressed everytime I listen to it!
    • The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood- I heard I am going to like the second book in this series even more than I liked the first one? How is that possible?
    • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert- I am not a "self-help" reader and avoided this book on creativity like the plague, but I have to say I am really glad I listened to it.... I pretty much agreed with 90% of what Elizabth said, and therefor felt validated and great about myself, isn't that what a self help book is all about?
    • Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood- Like 12 people told me to listen to Oryx and Crake this spring.... THEY WERE SO RIGHT! Already onto book #2! Taking them slow as the story line is so good and I don't want it to ever be over!
    • Power of One by Bryce Courtenay- a friend suggested this as her favorite book of all time, I'm not sure it's my favorite, but it is up there! The girl and I listened together and were able to discuss, which made it even more interesting.
    • Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari- this book taught me what Tinder is, and why I don't need it!
      Knitlandia Book Around Update: The book is onto the 5th reader.... and is making its way around the world, I believe it is about to leave the US and go to Belgium and Chile! Kinda awesome, right? I might suggest a book around with Round Ireland with a Fridge... let's see if I love it first!

      Also, can someone remind me next year to not schedule vacation right when the peach tree ripens?

      What are you reading/watching/listening too?  I know I'm going to blow through this list and be looking for more! Let's help keep each other entertained!