Monday, November 29, 2010

Not So Grim

I'm at Heathrow Airport getting ready for the trip back to Washington.  Things got a little better after my last post.  Once I accepted the fact that this would be the most expensive vacation EVER, I found some peace.

We stayed an extra day in London.  Attended a beautiful high Mass at Westminster Cathedral.  It had a large choir (men and boys), a partial Latin liturgy, incense, the works.  It was very nice.

Then, since a day without shopping is like a day without sunshine, we went shopping at Harrods.  Massive store, packed with people, a woman singing opera to people on escalators and a huckster selling the Vegimax, who was the spitting image of Eric Idle.

Finally, we went to the British Museum.  saw the Rosetta Stone, again, and an exhibit on the Books of the Dead from Egypt.

Maybe I'll post on everything that happened since Kilmainham Gaol, but I can't promise.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Our flight from Dublin to London was canceled causing us to miss our flight from London to Washington.  I had used precious upgrade certificates for that flight, so we would have been traveling business class.  Because the Dublin flight was not booked with the London flight, United takes no responsibility for missing the flight, meaning I will likely have to pay a substantial amount of money to change the flight and we will be put back in coach.

I am deeply depressed and not in the mood for further blogging about this trip.  I hope the Muse comes back so I can describe our extraordinary visits to Belfast, Derry and, most especially, Rathlin Island.

For now, just can't.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Kilmainham Gaol

It is interesting that Ireland's modern political history is best told in a horrific prison.  Kilmainham Gaol is a powerful symbol of the struggles of the Irish people.  Architecturally, it resembles the prison in The Shawshank Redemption. Unforgiving stones and steel.  Our tour guide was a burly, passionate Irishman with a full beard who talked non-stop for almost an hour and a half in a presentation that was rich with fact, anecdote and drama.  For instance, here's a picture of the altar where Joseph Plunkett, one of the leaders of the 1916 uprising, married his beloved, 3 hours before he was executed by firing squad.  His bride lived to her 70's and never remarried.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dinner with the Saunders and Murphys

We had a delightful dinner with our friends, the Saunders and Murphys.  The Saunders are effectively our benefactors in the two times we've visited Ireland as a family, generously donating their car to us for our travels and, on our first trip, lodging.  The Murphys are friends of the Saunders' whose son, Liam, did a short exchange program in Washington.

It was a lively dinner, full of laughter and goodwill.  The restaurant was The Winding Stair, which is right off the Ha' Penny Bridge.  It was an unpretentious place with excellent food.  I would definitely go back.

Dublin - Reconnecting with Danny

Traveling to Dublin was uneventful. A nice benefit of the European Union, we breezed through Customs.  What we arrived to was unusual, though, a driving hail storm.  Standing in the taxi line, the hailstones were clattering on the overhang.  Within a short time, it turned to rain, more typical Irish weather.

We stayed at the Ashling Hotel, a recommendation of a friend in Dublin.  While it was a Best Western, apparently Best Western is a more upscale brand in Ireland that it is in the U.S.  It was a very nice, seemingly business hotel.  Clean with attentive staff.

Monday, November 22, 2010

London - A Short Visit

Boy, that was quick.

Preparing to leave a whirlwind visit to London.  So quick, there was no time to blog.

Here are the highlights:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Visiting London

Starting my second on a family vacation to London and Ireland. Cold and overcast, but excited about the day. Heading down to Sunday morning service at St. Martin in the Fields.

-- Post From My iPad

Saturday, November 13, 2010


The right wing never sleeps and is relentless in its non-stop battle against the poor. Even in the Catholic Church, an institution inspired by Jesus for whom the poor and marginalized were his paramount concern, has internal critics who attack programs for the poor. Contrary to Jesus' explicit teaching, they would sacrifice the needs of the poor in order to protect against supposedly violations of Church doctrine on homosexuality, on which subject Jesus said exactly nothing.

Here's a piece in the HuffPost about attacks on a program for the poor being conducted by the Catholic Bishops conference.

The hypocrisy is apparent in this quote by the leader of the mob trying to end the program.

Deal Hudson, who directs the conservative website Inside Catholic, said the CCHD's reforms might eliminate funding errors if they are doggedly implemented, but said a more systemic problem remains.

"The groups they are dealing with, community organizing groups, are 100 percent committed members of the political left. That's just a fact," said Hudson, a former adviser to the Republican National Committee and former President George W. Bush.

Hudson strongly denied that politics play any role in his concern about CCHD, but said leftist groups nearly always conflict with Catholic doctrine on issues like gay rights and abortion.
Check out the full story.

Hat tip to David Durkin.

-- Post From My iPhone