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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Hiking an active volcano

Montagne Pelée 


(Mount / Mont  Pelée)

is an active volcano on the island of Martinique in the lesser Antilles (south eastern Caribbean).

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano


It is famous for the destruction of Sainte Pierre and the death of 30,000 people caused by an eruption in 1902 which was dubbed the

Worst volcanic disaster of the 20th century!


Edit: I just found this cool smithsonian site about the Global Volcanism Program and Pelée.  Click here to read more.


I’ll write more about the disaster when I share photos and stories from Saint-Pierre sometime later. This post is all about our lovely hike up to the top of the volcano.


Edit- sometime later I wrote another post about Saint-Pierre. Click here to check it out!

Also, I did another post about a few things around Fort-de-France. Click here to check that one out!


Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano


I know, when you think “active volcano” and see these photos, you’re wondering where is all the lava and magma!??!??  Mt Pelée is currently quiescent and is grown over with vegetation, but is suspected to erupt again in the future.




There are 3 different hikes up to the crater:

Desiles hike: from Macouba.  This is the longest and least-trodden trail

L’Aileron: from Morne Rouge. This is a relatively popular one and was recommended by this blogger

La Grande Savane: from Le Prêcheur. This is the trail we chose and is another popular option.


Mt Pelee hiking trail map


Mt Pelee hiking trail map


La Grande Savanne trail to the top of Montagne Pelée


On D10 just south of Le Prêcheur there is a sign to this Mt Pelee hike. Take the road inland; as most roads in Martinique, this one is very windy and narrow. The road ends at the sign above with a tiny parking area (not an obvious parking lot by any means).

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

There is a jeep road that continues to the right. I have no clue where this road goes. A few trail guides we found tell us to take this route as the beginning of the hike. However, there is a marked trail just to the right of the sign. Since 2 other groups of hikers took this trail before we set off, we decided to follow them up this trail.

The trail starts off easy enough, up a gentle incline, through trees, and even over a nice bridge! Note- this bridge is your only moment of almost flat walking! Every other moment of the hike is on an incline. Be in decent shape or you might get exhausted quickly (or just take your time and hike more slowly).

Martinique- hiking a volcano

A view looking down the mountain at the bridge.  This is very close to the entrance of the hike



The majority of the hike is out in the open sun, so


and be sure to reapply.

Two fair ladies hiking in the Martinique sun… and we even wore sunscreen… let me just say it was bad. I am not sharing photos of our awful sunburns.



I digress….back to the hike! Behold the beauty!

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

This looks like it belongs in the shire! I LOVE THE SHIRE! Thus, I love this hike.


Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

 We pretended that I was Frodo and my friend was Sam

We were delivering the ring to toss in the fires of Mt Doom

Luckily, we did not encounter Shelob nor any orcs



The hike in different parts has gravel, stairs, rocks, grass, and overall is very well maintained. Know that there are times that are more of a scramble (using hands and climbing up rocks). I’m quite certain this is the case for all of the hikes up to the top of Mt Pelée, so any folks wanting to brave the volcano should be active.



There is a lot of interesting and lovely vegetation to be found up here too:

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano


Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

I love this guy- he looks as though he belongs underwater!



Up to the crater

Once you arrive to the crater rim, there is a posted sign with multiple direction options. One of them looks as though it is straight up (and it is), but it leads directly to the shack structure.

From here, one can hike up to chinois, the summit- which is another hour or so round trip (from the shack).

Continuing around the back of the shack is a trail which continues the crater rim loop and will bring you back to the posted sign.

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano


On an extremely clear day, one can see to the neighboring islands, but clear days are very rare on the island.  We were lucky to not be engulfed in the cloud when we reached the crater rim. Though on the hike down, the cloud began rolling in:


Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano





The hike up to the crater rim should take 1.5-2 ish hours one direction.

The hike around the crater rim is said to take 2 or so hours.  Since I left my hiking partner at the crater rim trail “head,” I did not hike the full loop, but went straight up to the shack and came back- which took approximately an hour round trip.

The hike from the shack to Chinois- the summit- is said to take an hour+ round trip.


Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano



The hike was beautiful and exhausting. Our  legs were a bit shaky at the end of the hike.

We took the following day “off” and relaxed a bit to rest our tired legs and sunburnt necks. I highly recommend hiking at least up to the crater.  It is certainly an experience!


Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano



Would you like to see photos of another adventure?


Click here to learn about my hike through Partnachklamm- a beautiful gorge in Germany


Or click here to learn about my hike over the top of the O2 in London



Thank you for visiting, and as usual, please let me know if you have any questions about this trip or if you would like to know more about an area you are traveling to- I might have been there and can expedite a post for you!



  • Have you ever hiked a volcano? Would you like to?


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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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Love a Tree Day!

Were you aware that “Love a Tree Day” is a national holiday?


hug a tree you treehugger

Photograph taken in Portugal outside of Monserrate Palace



Well, it is!  It occurs every April 16th.


If you wanted to celebrate, you could look into making your backyard a certified wildlife habitat!


Or just see what the National Wildlife Federation has as suggestions for how to celebrate Love a Tree Day.


Or, check out my tree-inspired photo gallery below (I love me some trees)


tree path

Path of trees in Switzerland


 redwood tree

Redwood tree in California


tree copenhagen

Tree in a park in Copenhagen, Denmark


sun through the tree

 Sunlight through the tree branches in Big Sur, CA



Bonzai trees at EPCOT during Disney’s Flower and Garden Festival.

Click here for a link to the post.


cool tree

Red River Gorge, KY on a climbing adventure…. I just loved how this tree bended itself around the rock.


~cool tree

 Funky tree in Glendalough, Ireland.  

Click here for the first post on Glendalough… there are more to come!


UT tree

Cool dead tree in Zion National Park, UT


trees berlin wall

A forest painted on the Berlin wall


awesome tree house Florida Everglades

Cool climbing tree in a hostel in the Florida Everglades.


trees portugal

Sunlight through the trees outside of Castelo dos Mouros in Portugal


fall foliage

Autumn colors on the trees in Germany.

Click here for the post about Partnachklamm, the gorge where this photo was taken.




Or, visit my page on ways to celebrate Earth Day

(since trees and the earth go hand in hand)

earth day



All of the photos above were taken by me (well, except for the photos with me IN them, of course) on one of my random adventures.

If you would like to know more about any of these adventures and see more photographs, feel free to contact me or write in the comments and I will expedite a post on the topic you request!



  • Do you have any fantastic tree quotes or photos?  Please share them below!
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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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Partnachklamm- Beautiful Gorge in Germany


– is German for Partnach Gorge.  It’s an exceptionally beautiful gorge that I hiked through on a day trip from Munich.


beautiful partnachtklam


I took this trip with a group of 3 friends.  We had been touring together for a few months and had started calling ourselves “adventure team” since we always seem to find some sort of fun/odd adventure to go on.


statue in the gorge

The gorge is just northwest of Innsbruck and over the border into Germany.  We took a train from Munich to a small town called Garmisch-Partenkirchen.  The train was very easy to figure out and the prices were good.




To visit the official page for Partnachklamm, click here.  It IS a German page, so if you’d rather, visit the Wikipedia page here instead.


fall foliage


It was a beautiful early autumn day.  Slightly chilly with plenty of warmth when kissed by the sun.  A PERFECT day for hiking in a gorge in the woods.


Below is a video of the water inside the gorge (read on to the end for another video from above with the beautiful blue water).  Be warned- the water is LOUD!



But we can’t ONLY hike….. below is a series of Allison-in-silly-places photos for your enjoyment.


doorway to the gorge


silly hat


alli in a hobbit hole


planking in partnachklamm


There are a number of hiking trails to choose from- ones that go straight  down through the gorge, others that go up the hills and through the woods, over bridges and streams.  Plenty of choices for those with varying abilities and time allotments.


bridge falls



One last video for you all- a video of the water moving (the water is loud!  warning!).





I leave you all with this lovely view from above the gorge; the color of the water just amazes me.



gorge from above


Thank you for visiting- and remember, you can always subscribe from the menu on the right (on your laptop).


Want to see more posts of pretty places?  Visit my post about the Isle of Skye, Scotland


  • What is your favorite time of year to hike?  
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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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Friends, Romans, Countrymen- lend me your… uh… eyes…. and feast them upon this here BLOG for it shall be full of:

Tidbits from my travels,

portugal allison castle

photographs and stories of magical places  


-and of me doing silly things in magical places, 

music and fun instruments,

hammered dulcimer player allison


tasty things that I’ve discovered,

pass me a pint!

geeky inspirations,

star wars superhero cupcakes


recipes and DIY info,

whiskey whisky soup



tree-hugger and eco-friendly ideas

hug a tree you treehugger


- I might even talk about work!

camera concert allisonstadium outdoor 

And anything else you all inspire me to share! (feel free to comment or write me with suggestions!).  Honestly, a lot of my post choices will come from requests and comments.  I already have a list from friends asking me for travel advice!


When you come across things that look like links, but don’t lead you anywhere when you click on them, hover your mouse over them.  It’s just alternate text for a little bit of fun.  This is likely the only time I will mention it, so from now on, it’s just like fun easter eggs to find and enjoy.


All photography will be mine unless otherwise noted. For anything that requires research, a link to the page I gathered the information from will be available on the page somewhere.  Seriously, if I say something is a fact, or make a list of any sort, I promise to you I will do my research from the source and not just re-write a list that someone else wrote.  If you noticed I have erred in any way, please let me know!  

Thanks for joining!  Feel free to subscribe or send me post suggestions if you’d like! And until next time- stay inspired!

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