3 Weeks in Scotland and Ireland

Old Aug 3rd, 2017, 04:53 AM
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Paulg - On the shallower side of possible commentary I want to echo what you said about Google Maps. Generally google makes me nervous - I am pretty sure they know what I am going to do before I do it. But their maps are simply amazing. Even in countries I have not used them in the kids report how good they are.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2017, 07:11 AM
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Very nice report. It's obvious you spent time researching this trip. I also noticed you were able to incorporate some history into both your Scotland and Ireland tours. I often find visitors who are only concerned with the sightseeing, visual aspects of a trip and learn nothing about it's history. I was impressed with all the hiking but remembered when our family was much younger, we did the same. A great trip and wonderful experience for your family. Again, thanks for sharing.

BTW, too bad you missed the Book of Kells it really is much more than an old book but, then, what you didn't see, you won't miss.. Maybe next time.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2017, 11:38 AM
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xcountry, yes, not to belabor the point, but I swear by it (though we still purchase and keep a paper map handy everywhere we go just to go old school every once in a while).

historytraveler, thanks for the nice comments. And you could say over-researching, but I'm an electrical engineer so I plead engineering insanity. I didn't mean to come across so negative about the Book. I got a less-than-glowing review from my co-worker of the process to get in to see the Book, and after having done that for the Crown Jewels in the Edinburgh Castle, I guess I just decided it wouldn't be at the top of the list. And yes, next time. I'm already working on the mental list things we'd do next time we are in either country.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2017, 11:45 AM
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I can easily understand you giving it a miss. I'm a history person and have for years read about the Book of Kells , so approaching it from a different perspective. I am not at all good at standing in line. In fact, I usually refuse to do so and, with kids in tow, I might well have given it a miss or sent those not interested to the nearest ice cream parlor. I also believe in saving something for next time, a reason to return.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2017, 12:18 PM
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I am just reading this and enjoying reliving some of my own trip to Scotland along with yours. We also stayed at the Invernairne guest house, which was really lovely with a great location. I agree that the indoor exhibits at Culloden are extremely well done. I also thought Castle Urquhart was spectacular and spent quite a bit of time exploring the large grounds and extensive ruins, with a bagpiper for a sound track.

We took the woodland walk at the Glen Coe visitor center, which I thought was pleasant (I can't really hike), and had a great talk with a ranger there. We also stayed at the Clachaig Inn, which had an aura of a hikers' refuge but with many more types of whisky.

The ferry to Inchmahome Priory is certainly a casual affair, and my friend was afraid nobody was going to show up to get us, but somebody did.

And I have recently had occasion to reflect on the scenery in Scotland as being among the most spectacular I have encountered in my travels, with the Isle of Skye being high on the list.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2017, 03:46 PM
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thanks for sharing your wonderful journey with us! I enjoyed every minute of traveling with your family.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2017, 06:12 PM
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Nikki, glad we could share some experiences. I love reading others' trip reports for months after our trip so that I can see what other people did. Then it's on to planning the next trip on Fodors.

irishface, my pleasure, glad you enjoyed it. Until next time ...
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Old Aug 3rd, 2017, 07:38 PM
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Bookmarking for later...
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Old Aug 7th, 2017, 03:22 PM
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Great report, thanks for taking the time to write it up.

I was laughing reading about saving the morning toast for the ducks. In Ireland, even when we would tell the servers @ B&B's that we didn't need so much toast, they would still bring out half a loaf. My girls would wrap it up for the ducks...and they are in their mid-twenties now, they still do that.

And seek out playgrounds...and ice cream at every stop. Only difference is they now have their own money to treat on occasion. The oldest is an Army Doctor...still a kid in my eyes .
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Old Aug 8th, 2017, 06:24 AM
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bdokeefe, too funny. Yes, it sounds like we are both raising new generations of duck feeders. And you are correct that the amount of toast served in UK B&Bs could feed the entire world's population of ducks.
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Old Aug 8th, 2017, 07:20 AM
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May I make a suggestion? If your daughter is serious about bagpipes, she really needs lessons, but I'm not sure what their availability is in Austin. To get started I would recommend "The How To Manual for learning to Play the Great Highland Bagpipe" by Pipe Major Archie Cairns. It comes with a CD and a Practice chanter which all pipers need. You might find it on Amazon, but it is readily available from Scotts Highland Services in London, Ontario. Pipe Major Cairns was in charge of military piping for all of Canada and was an exceptional teacher. If you need any other info, just ask!!

Loving your report.
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Old Aug 8th, 2017, 09:07 AM
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jane, thanks for the great suggestion. Isabel is serious at heart, but as a junior in HS taking all advanced classes and marching band, which runs from July through November (oh, and having a boyfriend) she has zero time for it right now. I'm hoping she gets a chance to play with it some more after marching band season is over. She actually already got a practice chanter over a year ago, but the book and CD sounds like a great gift idea!

Surprisingly, there are quite a few opportunities for bagpipe lessons in and around Austin. Everyone loves a good piper.
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Old Aug 10th, 2017, 07:51 AM
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You're welcome paulg. I get how busy kids can be in their high school years. I am a drummer in a Pipe Band, but am taking piping lessons. (DH is a piper) I definitely should have started MUCH sooner instead of waiting until my 70's! I have taken it on, mostly to keep my mind functioning for longer. If I ever get to play, it will be a bonus. I was in a class last year with two high school boys who quickly outstripped me, but I am plodding along at my own pace. Maybe your DD could find a weekend seminar to try it out. Whatever happens, I wish her well. We have made amazing friendships in the piping community
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Old Aug 10th, 2017, 08:34 AM
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jane, did you start the bagpipes in your 70's?

I have never played an instrument and can't read music, but the bagpipes have a certain appeal. How difficult are they?
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Old Aug 10th, 2017, 10:25 AM
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Did you by any chance drop into any charity shops? I love to explore cultures by what they discard, and maybe pick up a few well loved sweaters in the bargain!
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Old Aug 11th, 2017, 05:14 AM
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>

Yes, sugarmaple, I was a late bloomer! (having started out as a snare drummer in my 50's). Pipes are a difficult instrument. There are only nine notes, but many embellishments that are necessary to separate the notes in a tune. One learns on a practice chanter and then progresses to actual pipes which require a significant physical effort, especially at first. DH is 82 and has played for about 25 years. He is in very good physical shape because of playing pipes. For the older player it is more of a challenge to get your fingers to develop the muscle memory needed to play and then there is the memorization of the music.
I think if you go in with the attitude that you will give it your best, and are not intimidated by younger players, you would enjoy it. I think you live near me. If you want to discuss try me at rampant3 at hotmail.
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