The Town of Donegal and Donegal Castle

On our next leg of the journey, we explored the area between Dunlewey and the town of Donegal. We stayed close to the coast and followed N56, traveling through Dungloe, Lettermacaward and Bogagh on our way to our next B & B, Ardlenagh View B&B, which was a short distance from the town of Donegal. We stayed our third night and started our fourth day in Irelend in this wonderful town. After and good night sleep and fulfilling breakfast, we toured the Donegal Castle and stopped in a few of the local shops. Everyone we ran into so far on this trip was welcoming and extremely friendly.

Donegal Castle is a castle situated in the centre of Donegal Town in County Donegal in Ulster, Ireland. For most of the last two centuries, the majority of the buildings lay in ruins, but the castle was almost fully restored in the early 1990s.

The castle consists of a 15th-century rectangular keep with a later Jacobean style wing. The complex is sited on a bend in the River Eske, near the mouth of Donegal Bay, and is surrounded by a 17th-century boundary wall. There is a small gatehouse at its entrance mirroring the design of the keep. Most of the stonework was constructed from locally sourced limestone with some sandstone. The castle was the stronghold of the O’Donnell clan, Lords of Tír Conaill and one of the most powerful Gaelic families in Ireland from the 5th to the 16th centuries.

This was a fun filled day and one of the most memorable birthdays thus far! See you at our next stop.

County Donegal and the Old Dunlewey Church

After spending the morning hiking and taking in the sights of Glenveagh Castle and its grounds, we traveled the roads heading south to our next bed and breakfast and found many treasures along the way.

Not too far from Glenveugh National Park, near Gweedore in County Donegal lies a gem in ruins… The Old Church of Dunlewey. I could only imagine what beauty this church once held and would have loved to see the stained glass that adorned the windows. Constructed of white marble and blue quartzite, I am sure this building will stand for many years to come. It is a beautiful building and is a lasting memorial to a great love affair. That of James Russell, once the landlord of the Dunlewey estate in Donegal, and his wife Jane.

Nestled at the foot of Errigal (the hightest mountain in County Donegal) and overlooking the beautiful Poisoned Glen sits the beautiful ‘Old Church of Dunlewey’.

Jane Smith Russell had the church built as a memorial to her husband, James Russell, landlord of the Dunlewey Estate, who died on 2nd September 1848.  James Russell was laid to rest in a vault under the church floor.  The church was consecrated on 1st September 1853 as a Chapel of Ease to Tullaghabegley.  Tullaghabegley was the parish consisting of the present-day Gweedore and Cloughaneely parishes.

The church is built of white marble and blue quartzite which was quarried locally.  The supply of marble in the nearby quarry has now been depleted.  The red brick in the arches of the windows was produced locally.  Remnants of the brickfield are still visible near Oilean Ghrainne when the level of the lake is lowered.

Stop by and see Dan’s images if the Old Dunlewey Church: http://traun-photo.com/dan/dunlewey-church/

Glenveagh National Park, County Donegal

We would have loved to stay longer in Northern Ireland and will definitely be back one day. Onward to our next stop…  Ardlenagh View B&B  near the town of Donegal in the Republic of Ireland. There is much to see in County Donegal such as, Donegal Castle, Glenveagh, Slieve League (one of my favorite areas), the Atlantic Way, and many others. We made our way around the northwestern tip of the Republic of Ireland and stopped to see the sights that Glenveagh National Park has to offer.

Glenveagh Castle was built between 1870 and 1873 by Captain John George Adair. It stands within the boundaries of Glenveagh National Park, near both Churchill and Gweedore in County Donegal, Ireland. It is built in the Scottish Baronial style and consists of a four-story rectangular keep, surrounded by a garden, and a backdrop of some 40,000 plus acres of mountains, lakes, glens, and woods complete with a herd of red deer. The Irish Gleann Bheatha (Bheithe) translates into English as “Glen of the Birch Trees”.

One could easily spend the day exploring Glenveagh National Park. There are many hiking paths to take in the beauty of this remote wilderness.  We didn’t have much time to spend in the park, but wanted to see the castle and the surrounding garden.

See you at our next stop! Cheers!

The Dark Hedges

Dan and I had the opportunity to visit Ireland a few years ago and I am finally getting around to working on the numerous albums that were created during our visit.  Revisiting these images (there are thousands of them) has been a treat but has made me miss Ireland even more 😉 What can I say about Ireland? It was a magical experience. The people were friendly, the lodging and hospitality was perfect and the beauty of this country is just stunning, absolutely stunning. I cannot wait for the day that we return as there is so much more for us to explore.

We stayed at this lovely bed and breakfast the first two nights we were in Ireland. The owners of this beautiful home (Kilmail Country Chalet) were wonderful hosts, the lodging was extremely comfortable, and the food was AMAZING! We chose this particular bed and breakfast because if their close vicinity to Giants Causeway and The Dark Hedges (The Kingsroad). We were lucky enough to visit the Dark Hedges twice during our stay. After a brief hail shower in the morning of the second day, we headed out to photograph this national treasure again. The comments noted below and the image of the delicious traditional Irish breakfast was taken from Dan’s blog:

The beech tree-line road is one of the most photographed natural landmarks on the island of Ireland.  This tourist attraction recently achieved global prominence after it appeared on the hit HBO series Game of Thrones.  In January 2016, Storm Gertrude damaged several of the 200+ year old trees.  The site is still a vision to behold, but it is a fraction of what it once was; only 90 of the approximately 150 trees remain standing.

We had two opportunities to shoot this natural wonder.  Our first view of this natural marvel was the morning of day 2 of our trip after a hearty traditional Irish breakfast while we waiting out a brief storm where a wee bit of hail fell.   When we arrived at The Dark Hedges it was everything but dark.  The sky was bright and full of clouds; the remnants of the earlier hail shower still lingering.  The harsh sun cast deep and heavy shadows.  You can easily see the gaps that Storm Gertrude made in some of these images, 

Kilmail Country Chalet Breakfast
Kilmail Country Chalet Breakfast

More of Dan’s work can be seen at www.traun-photo/dan/.com

Here are my images of the Dark Hedges from two different days – Enjoy!

Georgetown, TX

Georgetown TX, is located 25 miles north of Austin and is home to the most beautiful town squares in the state.  At one time, a cattle trail named, “The Shawnee” led thousands upon thousands of cattle through the heart of this small town to the rail centers in Kansas and Missouri.  Today, Georgetown is home to one of the best preserved Victorian and Pre-WW1 downtown historic districts, with The Beaux-Arts Williamson County Courthouse, built in 1911, as its centerpiece.

The establishment of Southwestern University in 1873 contributed to the town’s growth and is located about ½ mile from the historic downtown area.  This private, four-year, undergraduate college that encompases 700 acres, was founded in 1840.  Southwestern claims to be the first university in Texas and in 2015, the university celebrated its 175th Anniversary!  The main campus is organized around a central academic mall formed by a semi-circular grassy area bounded by a pedestrian walkway and academic buildings and is absolutely breathtaking… I was completely impressed by the historical value and what this college has to offer its students.

Notable Buildings:

The Roy and Lillie Cullen Building (formerly called the Administration Building) was built in 1898. The Cullen Building currently houses the administration, business office, alumni relations, and classrooms. Throughout various times in its history, it has also housed the campus auditorium, gymnasium, chapel, and library.

CullenOld

Southwestern University Special Collections
http://www.southwestern.edu/about/tour.php

The Lois Perkins Chapel was built in 1950 and includes an Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ and stunning stained glass windows.

Mood-Bridwell Hall, originally a men’s dormitory, was completed in 1908 and currently houses classrooms, faculty offices, a computer lab, the Debbie Ellis Writing Center, and an indoor atrium.

men_of_mood_ Bridwell Hall 1910

Southwestern University Special Collections
http://www.southwestern.edu/about/tour.php

Thank you Megan and Brian for the wonderful tour of this amazing city!

Custer State Park, SD

Since the early 1900’s, Custer State Park is home to an abundance of wildlife and spectacular views.  Spanning 71,000 acres, the park is rich in history and provides its visitors with countless adventures.  Dan and I traveled the road that encompasses Custer State Park many times during our travels; however, my favorite is an 18-mile stretch called “Wildlife Loop Road” which is rich in wildlife such as Big Horn Sheep, Elk, Pronghorn, Prairie Dogs, and much, much, more.

Wildlife Loop

Custer State Park “Wildlife Loop Road” Map

One of the most famous attractions in Custer State Park is the free-roaming Bison herds.  Dan and I were in the right area at the right time and were able to observe a round-up as they were moving a herd from one area of the park to another.  The sight of hundreds of Bison coming at you was exhilarating!  Instantly, we parked the car and opened the sunroof where I could poke my camera outside for the wonderful photo opportunity…  Such amazing creatures.

My favorite part of Custer State Park are the “Begging Burros”.  The Burros roaming the park today are descendants of the pack animals once used to trek visitors to Harney Peak Summit.  Full of character, they gain the attention of the visitors that travel in the park (both inside and outside of cars). The Burros mostly inhabit one area of the park where a herd of about 50 will try to obtain food, sometimes even causing traffic jams as they block the road.  Of course, I would always recommend using caution when encountering the herd, but I am amazed and entertained every time I see them.

Custer State Park-DAN_5863-5863

If ever in South Dakota, make sure Custer State Park is on your list of places to visit!

A Time to Love

After leaving the Badlands, Dan and I (along with Tindra) spent the next few days in and around Custer, SD.  This was Tindra’s last trip with us and we were so grateful that we had this time with her. The magical views of the Black Hills National Forest never do get old.  The Black Hills get their name from the Lakota Sioux, “Paha Sapa”, meaning the hills are black. From a distance, the hills of this area do appear black due to the towering Ponderosa Pine forest; however, up close, these forests are teeming with color.

Needles Highway is another favorite of mine. Completed in 1922, the highway is named after the needle-like granite rock formations that were carved over many years by erosion.  Such beauty is found in this area and surprises are noticed around every turn.

We camped out for the week, but decided to move into a log cabin when a snow storm hit the area leaving 3-4” of the fluffy white stuff.  The snow blanketed the Pines in the Black Hills creating a peacefulness that I will never forget…  A Time to Love.