I started the day in Glasgow, Scotland and ended the day
having dinner at the oldest pub in Dublin, Ireland – The Brazen Head, which was
established in 1198 — some 813 years ago.
What a road and a time traveler I have become.
It was a full day of seeing the Scottish and Irish
Yesterday, which I think was Tuesday, we visited Edinburgh
and Edinburgh Castle, along with the now-retired
royal yatch Britannia that is
moored at the docks in Scotland where it was built in the 1950s.
I can’t begin to recall all the sights of the past two days.
I am sure it is stored in my head somewhere but I know there is not time,
space, or your interest for me to report it all here.
Yesterday to wrap up our trip to Scotland we visited the
Ledard Farm near Aberfoyle, in Trossachs National Park. It is a working third generation sheep
farm, raising Shetland sheep for wool as well as meat. But the family, headed
by Fergus Ledard has diversified into agro tourism as well.
In the MacGregor Barn built in 1604 they play host to
visitors offering not only a traditional Scottish meal of roast lamb, but
family members are also professional entertainers and have performed in many
parts of the world including North America. Fergus is part of the Kinlochard
Ceilidh Band. (Fergus Ledard was a winner at the International Plowing Match
held in Stirling Ontario last year.)
After a great meal, Fergus and his son Gregor and Fergus’s
wife (I didn’t catch her name) gave us a great musical performance, of
traditional Scottish songs with lots of audience participation.
Along with this barn being a storage building for wheat,
oats and barley (at one time over the years) Fergus also described how for
hundreds of years it was also used for parties and dances. It was even a
meeting place and drinking hall for Scottish warriors dating back to the time
of Rob Roy (18th century) who himself has been in the barn retelling
dinner in a barn on a farm that has been used for some type of social events
for nearly 500 years. (Rob Roy is considered a folk hero and an outlaw, who
later in life became a well-respected cattleman, known for his rustling
abilities…it was accepted in those days)
This morning (Wednesday) we crossed the Irish Sea by ferry
into Northern Ireland, and had a quick tour and brief stop around Belfast before heading to Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. To be honest, I didn’t
realize the Republic of Ireland (southern Ireland) was a different country than
Belfast or the County of Ulster in Northern Ireland. Ulster is still part of
the United Kingdom, and although it has it’s own council, still comes under the
British government in England. (That’s me pictured above in front of the Grand Opera House in Belfast).
The Republic of Ireland has it’s own separate administration
and is actually tied to the EU. Where Northern Ireland trades in pound sterling
and still uses all Imperial measures (miles, feet and weight in pounds and
ounces); southern Ireland trades in Euros and operates in metric like the rest
of the European Union. Northern Ireland is predominantly protestant and the
Republic of Ireland is predominately Catholic. I knew the protestants and
Catholics didn’t always get along, but I didn’t realize they were essentially
two separate countries. The two sides have only had a peace agreement for 14
Anyway, dinner at the Brazen Head in Dublin was great. I had
a blood pudding salad, traditional Irish beef stew, and apple pie for my
dinner. I highly recommend it as a place to visit on your next trip to Ireland.
Tomorrow we are off on a tour of Dublin and a visit to a
nearby loch (lake) and at some point we are suppose to visit Trinity College
and look at some old book (Book of Kells – 1500 years old New Testament ) but I
may pass that up for a bit of shopping. I can only handle so much culture and
information and my gauge has been running on red for a couple days.