Some old photos

Photos now are stored on phones – many will be lost without ever having been seen. I have boxes of photos. Here are some:

The Lambert cousins – all named – in Kilakee with Granny and Grandad. This photograph was taken when our Canadian cousins were home on a visit BUT it was not unusual for all the rest to gather in Kilakee on a Sunday. Bread and jam was a great filler for children who were sent “out to play” for the afternoon!
This photo of me on the lane in Kilakee – note the style!
Shay and I on our Wedding Day – I made the dress during that summer hoidays; fabric and Vogue pattern from Cassidy’s in O’Connell Street (specially ordered in as mam knew one of the salespersons). Dad and I bought the flowers in the Market the day before and Mam arranged them that night while curling my hair.
My 5th class from Weaves Square were the choir! I had taught them in 4th so they knew the hymns from the year before.
Local cabbie Jim Houlihan was our driver!
Here we are heading off to the reception in the Dublin Sports Hotel, Kilternan “where the stars stayed (Muhammad Ali, Sean Connery and Paul Newman to name a few)”. It was chosen by us as a wedding venue as Dad thought it was important that guests didnt have far to travel!

Glasgow for Strictly

I cannot believe that that the sixteenth season of Strictly Come Dancing has finished. Mam and I started watching Strictly in 2004, cheering Natasha Kaplinski and Brendan Cole to victory in that first series. The routines were very much of the dancing style she enjoyed, an extension of her old time dances in the hall in Crumlin. Year by year the dances became more involved and the final show dances tended towards gymnastic routines. I was unaware that “the live shows” started in 2008 but in more recent years when some of the stars brought their own shows to Ireland (Anton du Bek, Giovanni Pernice and Vincente Simone) I was niggled by the desire to see the larger cast perform live.

As the tour is British based, I needed to find an easy to reach location preferably serviced by “cheap” carrier Ryanair: Glasgow became my choice of destination and I booked the concert and flight tickets and accommodation.
I arrived in the Millenium Hotel in the iconic and historical Georges Square just in time for breakfast following which I headed for the Hop-on Hop-off tour of the city. It was lovely listening to the humorous stories of the city sites in the lilting Scottish accent.

View of Georges Square from Millenium Hotel


I was amazed at how many of the statues around the Square I knew: The famous “George” for whom the square was named is marked by his absence. He had died before his statue was placed on the central plinth and Sir Walter Scott who wrote many famous poems took his place. Also recognizable were Queen Vicoria, her consort Albert, Robbie Burns, Robert Peel, James Watt and Gladstone.


I was very impressed with the many murals about the city.
The Glasgow coat of arms is linked to the stories of Saint Mungo, the city’s patron saint. It contains a shield framed by two salmon having rings in their mouth. In the shield, you see the same fish, a tree, a bird and a bell.

Here is the bird that never flew
Here is the tree that never grew
Here is the bell that never rang
Here is the fish that never swam

St Mungo and the robin Mural

This verse refer to four stories that are told about Saint Mungo
The Bird: Saint Serf, a teacher of several children in Mungo’s youth had a robin (roodborstje) as a pet. Mungo, a good student, was disliked by his classmates who decided to kill the robin and blame Mungo. Mungo, however, miraculously restored life to the robin.
The Tree: Mungo fell asleep while charged with minding a fire in Saint Serf’s monastery. The fire went out and Mungo miraculaously restarted the fire without using only a nearby tree.

The Bell: the bell is thought to have been brought by Mungo from Rome. It was said to have been used in services and to mourn the deceased.
The Fish: The salmon and the ring relate to Queen Longuoreth’s affair with a young soldier and Mungo’s saving of the Queen. The Queen gave a ring (a present from her husband) to her secret lover. However, a servant informed the king of the affair. The King retrieved the ring when the young man fell asleep and threw it into the river Clyde. He then demanded that his wife show him the ring and when she failed denounced her and threw her into prison to await execution. In prison, she sent a messenger to Mungo asking for forgiveness and help. Mungo told the messenger to go fishing in the Clyde and to bring back the first fish he caught. It was a salmon, which on being cut open, contained the ring. It was immediately brought to the queen. When the King saw the ring he forgave his wife.

I always enjoyed Billy Connolly’s Glasgow stories of childhood life in the tenements of Glasgow and work the shipyards. It was particularly interesting on the tour to see the tribute the city paid to him on his 75th birthday – 3 giant muras were painted in his honour. The shipyards have now disappeared from the Tyneside- their only memory now is the giant crane.

Memory to the Clydebank Shipyards

I loved the story of Madeleine Smith and how her trial for the murder of her lover tied to the peculiarities of Glasgow justice system – findings of “Guilty”, “Not Guilty” and “Unproven”. Madeleine got off “Scot free” a term associated with the “unproven” verdict that a court can deliver.

Buchanan Street was a dream shopping area and I found some great bargains in the many sales- good sterling rate at the moment too!!! It was also great to visit Weatherspoon and cheer on the Scottish Rugby team to victory.

After a busy day, I put on the glad rags and headed to the SSE Arena for the Strictly Live Tour. The atmosphere was brilliant as over 80,000 fans gathered to cheer on their favourites from the show and to watch spectacular dance routines.

Strictly – Darcy Routine

My favourite group routine involved a ballet routine with Darcy Bussell. After an hour queuing in minus 6 degrees for a taxi back to the hotel I thought I was more than entitled to “A Glasgow Kiss” as a nightcap!

Some thoughts on travelling alone!

 “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” — Henry David Thoreau, author and poet

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As I scour travel pages in the media recently, I notice an increase in the number of solo holiday advertisements. However, judging by the reaction I get to a planned solo trip, for many it is still seen as an intimidating, venture. Top concerns, I suppose, are language, getting lost, falling ill (especially as one gets older!) and safety. And yet the benefits of solo travel are extensive.

“To travel is to take a journey into yourself.” — Danny Kaye, actor

“Independence” (which I value so much) is enhanced by solo travelling and, without the support of a fellow traveler, I find I’m more likely to push myself and further my resilience. Although I live alone (most of the time), travelling alone forces me to step outside my comfort zone. Tailoring trips to cater entirely to my own level of mobility allows me to be less of conscious of what I can’t do and pushes me to greater levels of independence. Naturally I miss the support of friends and family and often suffer some panic before departure, However, the boost to confidence is immense. 

“Travel brings power and love back into your life.” — Rumi, poet and scholar

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Traveling solo also requires me to challenge my need for others and experience and value just how helpful others can be. It’s amazing how far out of their way people will go when you request help — from simply “turning the map the right way round” to recommending places to visit and eat: looking for help makes it far more likely to develop friendships with locals or other tourists.

“As you move outside of your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frightening becomes your new normal.” — Robin S. Sharma, author and inspirational speaker