Glendalough- 40 shades of green

They say Ireland has 40 shades of green.  Well, that is certainly true.  It’s not called “the emerald isle” for nothing!


I realized I never finished sharing with you all the photographs from my day trip to Glendalough.  This post focuses on the trees, lakes, and natural beauty of the area.


If you didn’t catch it, visit the first post about Glendalough by clicking here; featuring the monastery and graveyard area of St. Kevin.

The second post is here and explains a bit about the Irish round tower (which can also be seen in the photograph below:


Dogs will be shot- they scare the sheep.  Glendalough- Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland

The Irish round tower and the monastery site can be seen in the distance



A walk through 40 shades of green


I went on a small group half day tour; we had a nice time and a knowledgable guide.  The tour was through day tours unplugged. You can learn more by clicking here. I enjoy going on small group tours because I like getting to know the other people on the tour. A lot of the time, there are other single travelers and it’s nice for all of us to exchange travel stories and ideas of what to do next. One of the girls from this trip and I went out for dinner afterwards to the winding stair in Dublin- very good food!


One of the lovely things about this trip is that we actually had free time on our own to hike and visit whatever we wanted at our own pace, rather than following the guide the entire walk. The guide gave us a tour and great information when we were in the monastery, but then set us off on our own and just gave us a time by which to return.

Below are a few photographs through the greenery:

40 shades of green- Glendalough- Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland

I used this photograph when making the “turn people into trees” post:

Ram daas tree quote

Glendalough- Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland

waterfall in Glendalough- Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland

40 shades of green Glendalough- Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland

Glendalough- Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland

Glendalough- Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland




Upper Lake

Glendalough- Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland


Glendalough- Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland

I love this tree! 

Glendalough- Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland




Upper lake is where a scene from the movie PS I love you was filmed. You can see a fraction of the moment in the trailer below at 1:20




After the nice walk to upper lake, we had to make it back to the van in time to depart.  We wandered past a few fields of sheep…


Sheep! Glendalough- Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland


…and one very interesting sign …

Dogs will be shot- they scare the sheep.  Glendalough- Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland


Yes, this sign was serious. Do not be that tourist that brings your obnoxious, yippy dog around the sheep- it’s their home.




That’s all there is to see of Glendalough.  It was a lovely trip and I’m glad I made the last-minute decision to go!


I hope you’ve enjoyed exploring with me.  If you’d like to visit some other places with me, why not click one of the links below?

Isle of Skye, Scotland- a magical island

the Isle of Skye has oodles of cliffs!


Partnachklamm- a breathtaking gorge in Germany

beautiful partnachtklam



  • If you’d like to know more about any particular area, please let me know below.  I’ve traveled a lot, and if I have been there, I will expedite a post for you!
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Glendalough- Irish Round Tower


Irish Round Tower


glendaloch cross + tower


Often called a gothic tower, this one was built in the 11th century and sits 30.5 meters (100 feet) tall.  It can be found in the early medieval monastic settlement founded by St. Kevin in Glendalough.


Glendalough (pronounced “Glenn-dah-loch”), is part of the Wicklow Mountains National Park outside of Dublin, Ireland.

To see more of the monastic settlement and graveyard area, click here.


glendaloch tower

 Note the “window” near the bottom.

 This is actually the main -and only- door to the tower and is located about 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) from the base.


(the following story is roughly summarized from the tour company video below) :

As you may know, the Vikings had a lot of interest in the Celtic Isles and have raided this area a bit “back in the day.” Round towers were built as a place to hide from the Vikings, and the doorway was built to high up so that the Vikings could not get in.  You can learn more by watching this video by Viator:



~~ ~~ ~~ THIS IS FALSE ~~ ~~ ~~


There are a number of stories about the creation of the towers.  The one above, is actually told by a number of tour guides.  IT DOESN’T EVEN MAKE SENSE!  Aren’t the Vikings smart enough to figure out how to get in that doorway if they wanted to?  Or they could set the wooden door on fire and smoke out/kill everyone who was “hiding” in the tower.

Yes, the towers were often used as lookout or bell towers, but the doorway was built that high up -oh I don’t know- perhaps because the tower is freaking tall and built with little to no foundation!  If there were a door big hole in the bottom portion of the tower, it would be much less structurally secure.

Also, the towers were the libraries, the record-keeping rooms, and the keeper of all things important.  Having the door so high up meant that the tower would be much less likely to flood, and everything kept on the first floor (now 3.5m up) would be dry and happy.


glendaloch cross and tower 2. Ireland

 The tower is constructed of mica-slate and granite


glendaloch pretty cross and tower

Just look at the detail on that cross!  Beautiful!


Thank you for visiting and learning a little about the round tower and the monastery in Glendalough.



Love Ireland?  Click here to check out my post about St. Paddy’s Day (and learn why it’s “St. Paddy” and not “St. Patty”)



  •  Have you heard any other incorrect stories about the use of the round towers?  Or would you like to make one up? :)
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Turn People into Trees

Ram daas tree quote



When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees.
And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight,
and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever.
And you look at the tree and you allow it.
You appreciate it.
You see why it is the way it is.
You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way.
And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree.
The minute you get near humans, you lose all that.
And you are constantly saying “You’re too this, or I’m too this.”
That judging mind comes in.
And so I practice turning people into trees.
Which means appreciating them just the way they are.

- Ram Dass




I read this quote today and loved it so much I added it to a photograph for easy sharing.


So often we judge ourselves, each other, celebrities, people on the internet, friends, families, lovers, people we don’t even know, people we haven’t even ever seen in person….

Even just little judgements- on our own figure, on our friend’s nose, on our family member’s way of talking, on some celebrity’s kiss…. whether the judgement be “good” or “bad”…. they’re unnecessary and unhelpful to us as people, as humans, as spiritual beings.

Just let them be. Allow them to be.

Sometimes I just need a reminder of that, and assuming I’m not the only one in this boat, I wanted to share the love with all of you.


Thank you for being.






The quote is from Ram Dass, an American contemporary spiritual teacher.


To see the full context and some more insight, click here.


The photograph was taken by me in Glendalough, in Wicklow Mountains National Park, Ireland.  Click here to read the first post about Glendalough (and know there are more to come eventually).



  • Practice turning people into trees- which means appreciating them just the way they are.
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Glendalough- Monastery


means “the valley of two glens” in Irish (Gaelic).  From Gleann Dá Loch and pronounced as such (Glen da loch).


I’ve since added two other posts about this area:

Click here to read more about the Irish Round Tower.

Click here to see more of the natural beauty of the surrounding area and the lakes. 40 Shades of Green indeed!


glendaloch pretty cross


This post is dedicated to the monastery, ruins, and graveyard. Eventually, I’ll also get around to writing a post about the gothic tower inside the monastery as well.

glendaloch graveyard. County Wicklow, Ireland. National Park


I visited this lovely place on a half day trip from Dublin.  It is located in County Wicklow, Ireland (slightly southwest of Dublin). To get here, one would need a vehicle –or a guided tour– as public transportation does not come out this way.


I really enjoyed being able to take some time and get out of the city to see a bit of Ireland’s natural beauty. The entire trip did not take too long (I didn’t want to sit in a vehicle for hours that day…. I didn’t have the patience for it), and we traveled through a few different parts of one of Ireland’s National Parks. It’s something I recommend doing if you have the time!



glendaloch graveyard Ireland celtic cross


On this same trip, I was able to do a little walking around Glendalough, so there will be a post about the natural beauty and lakes of the valley (this area was used in filming various movies, including P.S. I Love You and Braveheart)… someday.


We were also able to visit the Guinness family estate (including a lake that looks like a proper Guinness pint and the bridge from the movie P.S. I Love You)


glendaloch entrance Ireland

Walking through the entrance to the monastery is like walking through a portal to another world.



glendaloch cross

Note the cross on the bottom right of this photo, etched on the large rock slab.  It is easily missed on many tours to this location and this cross shape has been traced back to here and is known as the Glendalough Cross.



Glendalough Glendaloch ruins. Wicklow National Park. Ireland.

Ruins within the monastic walls are still quite beautiful today.  This area would have been the pulpit.



glendaloch graveyard Ireland celtic


…. to be continued…. eventually :)



Though if you would like to see some other cool celtic places, why not check out The Isle of Skye if you haven’t already?



  • Am I the only one who loves all celtic things?
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7 things you should drink INSTEAD OF green beer

Green beer is generally food coloring poured into the cheapest beer the pub has on tap. Bad idea guys!! Because quite honestly, green beer is [expletive deleted]! Why would you even consider drinking that [expletive deleted] when there are soooo many other fantastic Irish choices??!!?  Friends don’t let friends drink green beer.


If you’re not sure what to drink, here is some inspiration for you:


1. Guinness

guinness tap at academy st james's gate

Guinness is an Irish staple.  It’s a tasty, dark pint of goodness.  (and if you haven’t yet, click here to learn 14 Guinness facts!)

There are some fantastic Irish stouts made by other brewers too!  Check out O’Hara’s, Murphy’s, and Beamish to start.

Dark and rich, stouts may not be the best choice for everyone. No worries- read on to find other fantastic Irish drinks.


2. Jameson


jameson barrel

I personally find Jameson to be quite lovely.  I prefer the smooth taste of Jameson (and most Irish whiskeys) to the peat of Scotch whisky or the smoke of American Whiskey/Bourbon.

But let’s not just limit it to Jameson.  There are plenty of other awesome Irish whiskeys out there to try: Bushmills, Tullamore Dew, and Teeling – just to name a few.


Though it’s fantastic neat, on the rocks, or with just a splash of water, feel free to try some of these whiskey cocktails to spice things up:

from and


Whiskey Ginger= whiskey + ginger (served with lime)

Irish redhead= whiskey + grenadine + Sprite + lemon and lime juice.

Manhattan= whiskey + sweet vermouth + bitters.

Or get other ideas here



3. Cider

Magners Cider

photo from

Ireland has a number of fantastic ciders too! Magners, Bulmers, and Kelly’s are the most famous, but there are a number of small/craft ciders to try as well (such as Stonewell)!

This is a great idea if you’re not a beer drinker or if you need a gluten-free option, as most ciders are sans-gluten!



4. Any other awesome Irish beer

irish craft beer festival

I went to craft beer festival recently in Dublin (by recently, I mean a few days ago). It was pretty awesome.

If you have not yet tried the app Untappd, and you’re a craft beer guru, I recommend it! It’s like facebook for beer!  You can even friend me by searching for museinitiative :)

Keep on the lookout for a number of fantastic beers made my smaller Irish breweries such as Trouble Brewing, Eight Degrees, Metalman, and Galway Hooker.



5. Shamrock Shake!

shamrock shake recipe alcoholic

Alcoholic Shamrock Shake image from

Not just for kids anymore (was it ever?  I think not)!  Visit this page (click here) to learn how to make your own alcoholic shamrock shake!



6. Irish Coffee

The original recipe as per Joseph Sheridan:

Cream as rich as an Irish brogue;
coffee as strong as a friendly hand;
sugar sweet as the tongue of a rogue;
and whiskey smooth as the wit of the land.

Visit this page to learn more about Irish coffee and how to make it!


If it seems too complicated for you, you can always make the “poor man’s Irish coffee” (which is not like Irish coffee really- but it’s still yummy) by adding some Bailey’s Irish cream to your coffee.



7. Irish Car Bomb

irish car bombs because bartenders love when you puke on them


These are definitely not my favorite, but some people swear by them…. so here’s to you:

Traditional Irish Car Bomb

  • 3/4 pint Guinness stout
  • 1/2 shot Bailey’s Irish cream
  • 1/2 shot Jameson Irish whiskey

Add the Bailey’s and Jameson to a shot glass, layering the Bailey’s on the bottom. Pour the Guinness into a pint glass or beer mug 3/4 of the way full and let settle. Drop the shot glass into the Guinness and chug. If you don’t drink it fast enough it will curdle and increasingly taste worse.



Or- Any drink whatsoever…

Seriously guys, it’s St. Paddy’s day- go drink what you like (even if it doesn’t include alcohol)! Gather up a fantastic group of mates (friends), wear something green, find the best Irish pub you have around, and just enjoy the festivities.  Have fun and may the luck of the Irish be with you!


I know I missed posting this prior to the weekend; I apologize and I hope you didn’t indulge too much in the green beer.



(“cheers” in Irish.  If you want to learn some more Irish phrases or get some ideas for fun things to do for your workplace on St. Paddy’s Day, click here!)


  • Do you have a favorite Irish drink or a St. Paddy’s day drink tradition that you would like to share?
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14 facts about Guinness

14 guinness facts


In hono(u)r of St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to share some great facts about Guinness as well as some photos I took from my visit to the Guinness Storehouse at St. James’s Gate in Dublin, Ireland. Learning is fun (especially when learning about alcohol)!


1. Guinness is good for you!

  •  Studies show that Guinness might actually be good for you.  Participants in the study who were given a pint of Guinness a day showed reduced clotting in their blood, which could help prevent a heart attack.


2. Give blood, receive Guinness! (ok, not anymore… but history is cool)

  • Guinness is very high in Iron and Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), and in Ireland it has been given to blood donors, post-operative patients, and pregnant women. The hops used in Guinness has been said to prevent excessive calcium build-up as in kidney stones.


guinness bottles at the academy


3. Guinness is low in calories!


4. The perfect Guinness has two pours.

  • Click here to learn how to pour the perfect pint- or go to St James’s Gate where you can learn how to pour the perfect Guinness by the masters themselves!  Below is a photo of me passing my Guinness “exam;” scroll further down to see my certificate!


guinness proper pour dublin


5. Guinness cannot be hurried.

  • A number of “FACTS ABOUT GUINNESS” posts say that the amount of time to pour the proper pint of guinness is 119.5 seconds.  However, that is simply the amount of time Guinness recommends you allow the first pour to settle.  If ever you order a pint of Guinness, expect it to take a while (if they are pouring properly).


6. If you’re not near a proper pub, you can still pour yourself a proper Guinness at home.

  • It’s arguably not as good, but follow these recommendations from Guinness for pouring at home:
  • GUINNESS® Extra Stout (bottle) – Pour into glass or drink directly from bottle.
  • GUINNESS® Foreign Extra Stout (bottle) – Pour into glass or drink directly from bottle.
  • Draught GUINNESS® (can) – Pour into glass.
  • Draught GUINNESS® (bottle) – Drink straight from bottle.


proper pour certificate


7. Guinness is not actually black

  • Often called “the black stuff,” Guinness is not really black.  The coloring comes from roasted barley, which gives Guinness a dark ruby hue.  It can be seen when looking at a light source through a pint of Guinness


8. The St James’s Gate Brewery will be around a looooooong time.

  • Arthur Guinness leased St James’s Gate Brewery for 9,000 years.  9,000 years!! The lease was signed on the 31st of December 1759.  Do the math, kids! That brings us to the year 10,759. (Though this is a cool fact, the family has since purchased the land outright).

 Arthur Guinness signature


9. The majority of Guinness breweries are located in … ::drumroll:: …    AFRICA!

  • Guinness owns 5 breweries in 5 countries around the world. These are in: Ireland (Dublin), Malaysia, and three in Africa – Nigeria, Ghana, and Cameroon.  Overall, however, Guinness is brewed in approximately 50 countries by other breweries.


10. Guinness, though thick and tasty, does not contain oatmeal 

  • There is a slight misconception that Guinness contains oatmeal.  It does not. The ingredients are barley, hops, water, and yeast.


horse at st james's gate dublin


11. Ten (10) million glasses of Guinness are enjoyed every day around the world


12. Guinness and the Irish government share a symbol- the Harp

  • The ancient Irish Harp symbol was first used as a symbol for Guinness and only later adopted by the Irish Government as the official government symbol.  The two are identical except that the Guinness harp faces left while the government harp faces right.



guinness tap


13. The Irish drink a lot of Guinness

  • (See?  I told you that you would likely know a number of these facts!) Almost 1 in 2 pints consumed in Ireland every day is a pint of Guinness.


14. Guinness is an aphrodisiac!?

  • Guinness is known as an aphrodisiac and is advertised as such in Nigeria. “It makes me feel powerful,” says 46-year-old Adegbite, “If I have three stouts, my wife knows she had better watch out. I have energy in my body.”


dublin view from sky bar

Gravity Bar is the highest bar in Dublin located 46 meters off the ground.



Side note: If you find you can never remember how to spell ‘Guinness’ correctly, here’s a hint for you: A person should always have TWO pints- just one would never do.  Thus, there are TWO of each consonant in question.  GuiNNeSS. Also, the “G” is always capitalized out of reverence/name.


pass me a pint!

 Sources for the facts are all linked somewhere on this page- mostly, the Guinness FAQ site.


  • Which fact was the most surprising to you?  Do you know of any random tidbits that you would like to share about Guinness?
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