Worrall Travel R's

Worrall Travel R's
Roz and Russ

Worrall Travel R's - Kicking the Bucket List

My photo

We are the Worrall Travel R's Roz and Russ Worrall. Our goal before we "kick the bucket" is to see as much of the world as we are able, learn about world cultures, experience making friends around the world, and share goodwill and what we learn with others. WE HOPE YOU JOIN US VIA THE BLOG ON OUR TRAVELS.

We started our world travels in 1969 in VW camper van in the USA, Canada, and Europe, but didn't actively blog about our travels until 2009 aboard our sailing vessel SV Worrall Wind, a 44 ft Nauticat Ketch.  On September 5, 2009 we left San Francisco and took a left at the Golden Gate to Explore the World.

From to Sea to Land
After almost 4 years of cruising Mexico and the South Pacific, we sold our beloved boat in Australia, 2013. The Worrall Travel R's are continuing our travels around by many other means of conveyance -boats,trains, planes, sometimes camels, elephants, rickshaws, and hot air balloons.. 

Russ is a retired engineer, optometrist, professor from U.C. Berkeley. Roz is a retired computer programmer/analyst, educator, (teacher, administrator, professional developer). 

Our Mantra:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ Mark Twain

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Dublin and Homeward Bound, August 9-12, WTRD 64-67

Customs House

Dublin and Homeward Bound, August 9-12, WTRD 64-67

Our last days on our 2018 Travels were in Dublin, Ireland.  We arrived late in the day on August 9.  

We enjoyed our time here as much as we could given that we are not really into big cities.  Our AirBnB accommodations were within a 15-20 minute walk to the downtown area from the two bedroom apartment.  We had our bedroom, private bath, and could use the kitchen and living area. 

We stayed with a delightful young refugee/immigrant couple originally from Venezuela, making ends meet by hosting travelers. They are starting a new life in Ireland having arrived here a few years ago with just their two suitcases, leaving friends and family behind, and with limited English language skills.  
Caro and Ren

Both are college graduates working temporarily in jobs unrelated to their professions.  There was no transitional assistance from the Irish government to help them get settled.  The couple are hopeful now that they have decided to stay in Ireland permanently that they will find jobs better suited to their training, and eventually help members of their family immigrate.    They have positive attitudes.  We admire their courage and spirit of adventure.

Our first full day on Friday, August 10, was to have a leisurely morning, then get a hop on hop off double-decker open air bus.  We hopped on the bus at 11:00 with our picnic lunch and stayed on until the end of the 90 minute tour in and about the city seeing the sights, hopping off only once where we had started.

Dublin Conference Center

The taller and more ornate entry staircase symbolized wealth and status.

Sculpture of Oscar Wilde "Be yourself, everyone else is taken."

We sat outside in the sometime sunny, sometime sprinkling weather enjoying the sights and eating our lunch.  Since we had not been here for 47 years, it was all "new" to us.  

When we finished the tour we walked back toward the the Harp Bridge,
sculptures of the famished, and the EPIC Emigration Experience and Irish Family History Center

Walking skeletons.

We planned to see both and bought one dual ticket as Russ is not so much into the research.

I wanted to start in the Research Cente, so Russ was on his own for a couple of hours browsing exhibits and the neighborhood, while  I conducted an electronic search for ancestors from Ireland until just before the center closed at 5:00 pm.  Interesting, but unfortunately, I already knew what I  previously known about  the Power and Flynn side of Russ's family, and the Flack side of my family.  The trails prior to 1840 are thin or have been destroyed by fire or politics. Sigh!  I guess some mysteries will never be solved.

The genealogy specialist who helped me, suggested examining baptismal records in the counties from where I think ancestors came, church by church.  He said I would have better luck with protestant records because  Catholic records  are apparently kept very private.  Hmmm? Don't think I'll be coming back to go church by church.  But I did get some links though and access to a data base for four weeks that might help with more online research.  We will need to come back tomorrow to see the Museum.

It is after 5:00, and we decide to walk into town to the Belvedere Hotel where we have dinner/show (Irish step dance and music) reservations at 7:00 pm.  We arrive early and relax in the bar with a drink.  Then we feast, sing, laugh, and celebrate Ireland by enjoying the music and dance.  

We hail a taxi, and get driven home by a Cameroon Immigrant.  He tells us how expensive Ireland has become, and while he is not a big fan of AirBnB that has driven land owners to gain more profit through short-term tourist rentals than, long-term local rentals reducing rental availability and rent upwards, he is happy to hear that we are staying with an immigrant family through AirBnB allowing them to earn additional income.

Saturday, August 11, 2018
Today at 2:30 we have pre-booked a tour of the Guinness Storehouse, so the rest of the day will have to sort itself out around that booking.  We think we can do it all in the morning and wind up at Guinness (saving the best for last),  but as it turns out we spend most of our morning packing for our departure tomorrow, and visiting a REPLICA of one the emigrant ships that transported people out of Ireland around noon, touring Guinness at 2:00, and returning to the EPIC late in the afternoon and staying until it closed at 7:00 pm.

Ship's Captain

Jeanie Johnston didn't lose a single passenger, in fact there was one gain.

Close proximity of people on these ships caused spread of infectious diseases.

 Most of the ships out of Ireland during this period were called "coffin" ships because so many people died along the way of disease and illness or the derelict ships sank.  The  Jeanie Johnston was one of the tall ships that never lost a person. Our tour lasted for an hour and was very interesting. If your ancestors came from Ireland in one of these ships, you come from a hardy, determined gene pool of survivors.

After our tour of the ship, we ate lunch in a local cafe then boarded the tram to Guinness.  We got there before our appointed time, but it didn't matter as the tour is basically self-guided and start times are basically monitoring the flow of tourists through the halls of Guinness history and brewing process.  With our online ticket though we bypassed a long line of people waiting to get in who had not pre-booked.

It's the Mountain Water...or is it the yeast, or perfect roasting of the hops?

We love the rich roasted tasted and the creamy head of  30 million bubbles in each pint. 

How to correctly pour a Guinness.

We wound are way through and up the massive structure, passing through exhibits, sculptures, videos, tasting and performance halls, until we reached the top level bar with great views of Dublin and a pint of Guinness.  What can I say? mmmmmm! Slainte! (To your health) in Irish/Gaelic.

As it turned out, we did save the best for last.  The EPIC Emigrant Experience, founded by Neville Isdell, former Chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company is definitely a 5 star must do in Dublin.  The underground storage caves, in close proximity to the Customs House and across from the docks, have been repurposed for this fascinating electronic experience that introduces visitors on a personal level with Irish people of the past.  

Each chamber is set up for visitors to stamp their passports as they exit to the next chamber.  

We really enjoyed the experience and it was a great way to bookend our 2018 journey to Europe.

When we returned to our accommodations, we visited with our hosts, ate some dinner, and turned in early.  We plan to leave at 5:30 am to return Avis car to Dublin airport and catch our flight home to San Francisco via Heathrow.

Sunday, August 12, 2018 - Homeward Bound

It's going to be a long day as we travel westward and chase the sun to California.  All of our travel went without a hitch.  We flew from Dublin to Heathrow on Air Lingus and from Heathrow to SFO on Virgin Airlines 787 the Queen Bee. 

 It was the first time we have flown either of these airlines, both were good.  We booked economy plus (premium) seats on Virgin and were treated very well during our trans Atlantic flight.  The seats were comfortable, the food was good, and I was able to binge watch three movies while Russ read and slept.  

We met one couple from Minnesota, traveling with us from Dublin to Heathrow and they were wondering what our reception was like as Americans on our travels in the UK given the adversarial/controversial nature of our current president and administration.   We told them that everywhere we went, we did not meet one person that held that against us, in fact all commiserated and sympathized with us.  They had spent a few days in Dublin and said that even in the few days they had been in Ireland, they felt safer than they did at home when discussing the state of America.

We arrived in SFO at 2:30, collected our luggage, bypassed the hoards at passport control with our Global Entry card, took the air train to the rental car terminal, settled ourselves in a right side drive vehicle again, and got into a freeway jam of stop and go all the way across the Bay Bridge.  We got a long, long look of the changing skyline of San Francisco, arriving on the east side of the bay about 5:00 pm!

Our geocache in Emeryville needed some maintenance, so we stopped by their to stretch our legs and reside a new cache, stopped just outside of Davis for dinner and some shopping for breakfast supplies.  We are struck by how dry and brown everything is.  When it happens gradually over the course of the spring to summer, we get used to it, but after being away from California all summer and in rainy green Scotland and Ireland, it is a stark contrast. We arrive home in Colfax by 8:30 and in our own bed by 9:30! Sleep after 25 hours awake is most welcome.

Our next adventure is Africa in 2019.  Until then, (or earlier if a serendipitous travel Comes our way), we are signing off.

All is Well with the Worrall Travel R's at Home in California.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Killarney to Killkenny via Old Head and Waterford, August 6-8, WTRD 61-63

Headlands near Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland
We have been traveling for two and a half months, having left California on May 21, spending two and a half weeks in Vermont then flying to Paris on June 7, 2018.  Now we are into the middle of the summer holidays here in Ireland, home of some of our ancestors of five generations ago.  On my side, I know of the Flacks (Northern Ireland), and on Russ's side the Flynns and Powers from counties Cork and Waterford, all who ultimately immigrated to California during the period of the Irish Potato Famine and the California Gold Rush in the mid 1800's. 

At the start, it seemed we had a long stretch of leisurely travel ahead of us.  Now there is a quickening as the days speed by, and we head north to Dublin and return to California this coming Sunday.  We are sad to leave behind the beautiful places we have been and the people who have become friends.  

On the other hand, we are looking forward to seeing family and friends at home, driving on the right side of the road, and emptying the suitcases.

Monday, August 6, 2018
Today is a National Holiday.  Everything is closed.  We've asked a couple of people what the holiday is all about and they aren't quite sure, but it seems the first Monday in August is always a holiday. 

We leave Killarney and drive through small towns as we drive southwest to County Cork and headlands near Kinsale.  One of the towns in Macroom, where we spy an old castle, and ATM, and stretch our legs bit in the nearly empty town.

Love the realistic mural on this blank wall.  Only the window with flowers is real.  Stones are painted on.

By 1:30 we have reached a golf course along the way that is open to visitors.  

Once a private estate, there is an old course that was originally six holes and now has 18 and a train to take golfers up the two steepest inclines to the upper course.  We spend a couple of hours here after assembling the remnants of golf clubs into two working sets.  There was a tournament this morning, but by the time we tee off, we are the only ones on the course.

Two small trains can carry a foursome up the track to the upper fairways.

Hole #8

A young family with a three year old daughter and 7 month old son is strolling through the course and takes our photo in front of the estate mansion.
I have found an orange golf ball in the bushes.  The three year old has found a white ball.  She likes the orange ball better, so we make a trade.

After our very leisurely game (nice when no one is behind you or in front of you), we continued to Old Head, a very old course that caters to wealthy (not us) and good golfers (again, not us).  We looked as we drove past to our 260 year old farm house on the headlands outside of Kinsale in the County Cork.  

We pass lovely beaches and little villages.

Our AirBnB host is renting the house and is a native to Ireland, but raised in New Jersey, now back in Ireland, currently working for Apple.  We only chat a few minutes while she shows us our room.  We will not see her again as she will leave early in the morning to travel to her work.

The house looks its age, but our room is clean and comfortable, and the view from the kitchen to the bay is beautiful.  

Our host says that this area of Ireland is always the sunniest.  We spend a delightful late afternoon at the Speckled Door Pub, eating dinner and watching families play on the law outside.  Gaggles of kids, either known to one another or not, expend their energy running about.  There are boys tossing one another about, girls playing with Barbie Dolls, and a co-ed group playing soccer, and parents enjoying other adult company as the kids run free.

We sip our Irish coffees and watch the sunset from the farm house.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The following morning, we head north to Killkenny through the "Viking" city of Waterford, also the home of Waterford Crystal.

 We discover that Russ''s third great grandfather James (John) William Powers is from Waterford County, and his third great grandmother Flynn is from Cork County.  Both immigrated to America and married a few years later settling in San Francisco.

Lovely smelling, fresh warm bread
We arrive in Killkenny late in the day.  Our host Helen welcomes us to her home within walking distance of the downtown area.  

Kilkenny is the oldest city in Ireland and has a fascinating history.  Helen recommends that we visit Kilkenny Castle, the churches of course, and the Medieval Mile Museum.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

We set off in the morning to visit the wonderful old town, 

the churches, 



the castle, 

and the Medieval Mile Museum
Story Telling Hisotorian/Docent, Patrick "PAT"

where we are enthusiastically told of the early history of Killkenny an the intrigue of the power struggle between the Merchant class city and the Irish Catholic Church.

One of the tales Pat regals us with is that of Alice Kyteler   (1263 – later than 1325) , born to Flemish family of merchants who came to Ireland.  The well connected Kyteler became a prominent business woman in Killkenny at a time women had no more worth than a cow.  She had four husbands, the last three who died under suspicious circumstances (arsenic poisoning).    

Killkenny was divided into two, first-of-its-time cities, the Merchant city in which Alice and the wealthy Anglo Saxon Merchants lived and ruled with secular jurisdiction, and Irish Town where the Bishop and the Irish lived, the traditional church dominated city.

There had long been a cold war between the merchants if Kilkenny and the church over this arrangement because the church and the bishop were not the center of wealth and power.  The Bishop wanted a share of the the rich wealth of the merchants through taxation and tithing of the merchants and to take control of the whole city.  

Alice Kyteler was such strong business woman and money lender to the wealthy merchants, they apparently overlooked the suspicious deaths of her three husbands.  A criminal case was not brought against Alice by the merchant jurisdiction, and the bishop had no authority for civil suits within the Merchant city.  If it had and Alice had been found guilty, she would have been sentenced, but her son would still have inherited his mother's wealth.

The Bishop was outraged and decided that the only way he could get his hands on this "evil" woman's money was to charge her with witchcraft.  Witches children could not inherit, but the church by ridding itself of a witch would. And the plot thickens from here.

In the end, Alice was charged, with witchcraft,  but managed to escape out of the country before taken into custody.  The Bishop so enraged, decided to take it out on here handmaid Petronella who was the first "witch" burned, after being flogged, tortured and confessing to being a witch.  This is the notorious first time a witch is accused and burned at the stake in Ireland.

As if this isn't a sad enough story of one person's plight, we end our day with an Audio visual tour of the Killkenny Work house, where thousand of hungry poor looked to for help during the potato famine.  Nearly 50 percent of the poor died not because of famine but because in their under nourished weakened conditions of close confinement with others, they suffered from cholera and other diseases that took their lives.

The tour starts off with two young brothers abandoned by their parents who set off for Australia and apparently couldn't take their children with them.  The boys went to the work house where they were accepted and eventually survived, one went to Australia and the other was never heard from or about again.  

It reminded me of what I know about the brother's Flack, William and James.  William, born in 1810 was my third great grandfather.  The brothers from Northern Irelnd. apparently "lost their parents" when they were young and went to live with their Aunt in England and later immigrated to America.  They came before the famine as William's first child Samuel was born in America in 1840, and my second great grandmother Angeline Flack Nye was born in 1842.

After our visit here in Ireland, we are motivated to learn more about our Irish connections.  
We celebrated our 49th wedding anniversary a day early in Kilkenny by attending dinner and show at the Kyteler's Inn and Pub (yes the pub that Alice owned).  

The show was filled with lively Irish Music, Tales, and patrons dancing.

After a lovely evening, we strolled back to our accommodations as the sun was setting.

Tomorrow we travel to Dublin.  When we were here in 1971 Dublin was a relatively small city.  We are looking forward to seeing the prosperous changes that have occurred here 47 years later.

All is Well with the Worrall Travel R's in Ireland.