Hill trek in Lettermore

Ireland is blessed with numerous hiking trails, walks and path of varying degrees of difficulty. Early one morning last spring, our hosts at the lovely Bayview B and B in Lettermore suggested that Declan and I might be interested in a hike up Cnoc Leitir Moir. So off we went to the local corner store for some water and energy bars for the climb.

The slope is gradual but steady. The terrain is rocky with some low brush. Declan and I did the walk in sneakers and didn’t find it overly demanding (Declan is 6).

I would highly recommend this walk to anyone visiting the area. The exercise and the view are equally great.

Take a look at our trek below:

 

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Photo of the Day: On the Inca Trail, Peru

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Hikers on the 42km Inca Trail that leads from Cusco to Machu Picchu, Peru

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Brigit’s Garden, Galway, Ireland

Brigit’s Garden is the kind of place you just might overlook, unless you are into Celtic symbolism or botanical gardens…or both.

We had seen brochures for this destination in several B&Bs on our recent trip to the Connemara region of Ireland. It did look lovely, but it was when we discovered that they were holding an Easter Egg hunt – something that we knew would appeal to our 6 year old – that we decided to visit there on Easter Sunday of this year.

We were completely delighted with our decision!

We arrived early, with the intention of exploring the gardens before the egg-hunting crowds descended. The place was pretty quiet, which suited us just fine and gave the gardens a serene vibe.

At admission, our son was given some activities to guide us through the gardens and teach about both the Celtic mythology and the natural wonders of the area. We were told what time to return in order to participate in the hunt.

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The concept and design of Brigit’s Garden is based on the four seasons of the Celtic calendar: Samhain, Imbolc, Bealtaine and Lughnasa. There is a distinct garden area devoted to each season, with natural and man-made designs incorporated into the theme of the season. The card our son was given had questions to answer and activities to complete based on each garden, which he eagerly sought the answers to. It gave a framework for the meaning of the garden design and added meaning to the inherent beauty of the venue.

In addition to the four seasonal areas, Brigit’s Garden features a nature trail, which can easily be completed in a short time.

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Hanging out with the Easter bunny

Once we finished our walk through the enchanting site, we returned to participate in the Easter egg hunt. The staff provided clues that sent visitors to all areas of the gardens with questions to answer. Once children had completed their tasks, they visited with the Easter bunny and received some chocolates and flowers to plant in their own gardens.

All in all we spent a lovely and memorable morning at Brigit’s Garden. It was easy to find (good signage) and a convenient stopping-off point during our time in County Galway.

Although it was specifically their Easter activities that drew us there, we would highly recommend a visit to Brigit’s Garden on any fine weather day when in Galway.

 

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Photo of the Day: Rogers Cup Tennis, Toronto, Canada

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Federer waits to return a serve from Lopez at the Rogers Cup Tennis semi-finals in Toronto in 2014

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One More Reason to Travel (as if you needed one)

From Tuesday, July 29th’s Academica Top Ten, a daily publication of information and trends in post-secondary education:

Multicultural engagement found to be predictor of career success  

A growing body of evidence suggests that travel abroad can have myriad benefits, including enhanced career prospects. One study, led by French researcher William W Maddux, found that spending time in multicultural environments can help improve creativity as individuals are forced to adapt to a culturally diverse environment. It is believed that spending time abroad can help improve “cultural intelligence,” which is an increasingly valuable skill in a globalized setting. Another longitudinal study that Maddux performed with MBA students enrolled in a 10-month international program found that “multicultural engagement” was a predictor of subsequent career success. The research found that it was not simply enough to be exposed to a multicultural environment; those individuals who were psychologically engaged with these environments were more likely to reap the tangible professional benefits of traveling abroad. Ottawa Citizen

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Photo of the Day: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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View of the Parliament Buildings of Our Nation’s Capital under threatening skies from Gatineau (Hull) Quebec

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Hair Loss and Customs Lineups

 

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Our baby backpack was easy on the back, but sometimes hard on the head! Here at uShaka Marine World in Durban, South Africa

We loved our baby backpack. Once our son was hardy enough to sit upright in it, we took it everywhere with us. He was happy with his bird’s eye perch, we were happy to have him safely contained, and everyone was happy with the extra paid of hands the backpack afforded, especially when travelling. Especially when travelling with the gear that comes with bringing your young child with you.

There was one detriment, though, that no one could have foreseen. My son had easy access to his father when he wished to express the myriad of angst-related emotions experienced by toddlers on a regular basis.

More specifically, he chose to pull his father’s hair when he was overtired, irritated, or otherwise ‘over’ whatever kind of situation he found himself in.

After one overnight flight to London, we landed in Heathrow. Everyone was tired and feeling just a little cranky, especially when we saw the throngs of fellow travelers chock-a-block in the customs lineup ahead of us. With an inward sigh, we joined the queue.

Our son decided that he had had enough.

From his spot in the backpack, he started to fuss. His fussing turned into louder protests. And then, out of frustration, he started to pull his dad’s hair to express his annoyance at being kept in this backpack, after being contained on an airplane for many hours, when all he wanted was to sleep. Or to run around. Or both. Maybe.

Mortified, we tried to quiet him. We couldn’t let him down into the lineup, packed like sardines as we were as we inched towards the front of the line.

And then, the unthinkable happened.

We got bumped. To the front of the line.

A customs officer approached us. He said “sir, I fear that you will end up bald if we do not get you through this line.” He ushered us to the front, to our great relief (and the relief of our fellow captives passengers, to be sure).

Two minutes later, we were through customs and into the baggage area, where our son could run around a bit, finally unencumbered by the seemingly endless patience required for international travel.

We were a little sad when our son was finally too big to travel in the backpack. It was one of the best investments in gear we made as parents.

 

 

 

 

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