Sunday, October 30, 2022

Ireland Geotracks

Here's a map of where we went in Ireland. I didn't capture the last day's drive back to Dublin.

I used my old Motorola Moto X and GPS Logger app.

Zoom in and you can really see some details.

Sunday, October 23, 2022


Our hotel, Cheval Old Town Chambers, was in the middle of the Royal Mile connecting Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. When you walked out the front door, you were in the middle of the Scottish Bourbon Street!

From one end to the other of the Royal Mile were shops, restaurants, street performers, medieval landmarks, everything!

We started our time there with a great walking tour by John Mowbray. It was tailored just for us particularly considering the 2 girls and the several senior citizens. We covered some of the Royal Mile near our hotel and then proceeded down the hill to the Old Town.

Grassmarket has a open air market and more shops and restaurants. John shared all the backstories on the sites along the way, e.g. The Last Drop and Maggie Dickson. Then to Victoria Street.

One of the most interesting sites was Greyfriars Kirkyard (cemetery). There were several graves there related to the Harry Potter story and "Greyfriars Bobby." Bobby was a dog who sat guard at his owner's grave for 14 years.

We weren't able to visit Holyrood Palace as there was a royal in residence and visitors weren't allowed. Maybe next time.

From our hotel, Edinburgh Castle is UPHILL to get there and then more UPHILL inside.

The one thing I wanted to see in the castle was the Coronation Stone. My first viewing of it was under the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey in 1990. In 1996, the British Government returned the stone to Scotland. It was taken to Edinburgh Castle where it is now kept with the Scottish Crown Jewels. Then when I visited Westminster Abbey in 2003, it was no longer under the Coronation Chair. So I wanted to close the circle and see the Coronation Stone in its new home.

I checked that box. Unfortunately you couldn't take photos there so you'll have to take my word for it.

Around the corner and down the hill from Old Town Chambers is Cockburn Street. There are pharmacies (drug stores), pubs, and best of all gelato shops. We spent a lot of time on Cockburn Street.

There's WAY more information on my daughter's post.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Cheval Old Town Chambers

So much of our trip was a semi-repeat of previous trips to Ireland that we wanted to add another country. Why not Scotland? After all, it's nearby.

Pretty much knowing nothing of Scotland we decided to just focus on Edinburgh.

John Mowbray met us at the Edinburgh airport and transported us to Cheval Old Town Chambers. Talk about being in the MIDDLE of everything. We were at the mid-point of the Royal Mile. If we could have just put a pin in a map as to where we wanted to stay, that would have been it.

As noted earlier, we had started planning this trip in 2018 for 2019. From 2018 to 2022, the Old Town Chambers has changed hands but the staff and facility were unchanged. Oh, it had been renovated so it was very fresh and up to date.

Old Town Chambers is a collection of buildings with walkways between them. These walkways traverse welcoming open areas, one with a nice restaurant/bar. The interior hallways wander up and down and around inside the buildings. My son-in-law said that being the architect for those buildings would either be fun or a nightmare.

We had two 2-bedroom suites each with 2 baths, a den, and a laundry area. They were just across the hall from one another. They were incredible accommodations with a staff to match.

You can tell from this photo of the elevator panel that that part of Edinburgh is quite hilly.

Sunday, October 09, 2022

John Mowbray Executive Travel & Tours

With all the golf tournaments in Scotland during the time we visited Edinburgh, we had trouble arranging airport transfers and tours. John Mowbray Executive Travel & Tours bent over backwards to serve us. He met our group of 7 at the airport and had a van large enough for our American-sized luggage! He had even tracked our flight and realized that we were going to be late arriving.

The next morning he met us at nearby Deacon Brodies Tavern for a walking tour. When he saw our group included 2 children he immediately changed his agenda to include more Harry Potter sites. Miraculously, he organized the walk to be mostly downhill! Seriously, he arranged the steep steps to be taken downhill and the uphill stretches to be on gentle slopes.

The anecdotes he shared during the visit to Greyfriars Kirkyard cemetery kept both the young and old entertained.

Sunday, October 02, 2022

Off to Scotland

After a couple of nights at Ashford Castle, we took all the tires that would hold air and headed back to Dublin.

We had pre-paid for fuel and coasted into the Dublin airport with about 1 liter remaining. The Transport used diesel and the typical cost in Ireland was $8.26 per gallon.

Enterprise didn't blink at what was left of the Transport and even reimbursed us for the replacement tire.

We took Ryanair from Dublin to Edinburgh. For all the hoops that Ryanair imposes on you to buy a ticket, the airport experience was typical airline. Their check-in area was well staffed and moved quickly. Of course, the flight was late but every flight we took was late.

Seven of us flew from Dublin to Edinburgh for a fraction of what we paid per person for Memphis to Dublin.

The Irish airport security (think US TSA) was disorganized and the only difficult clearance we had on the trip.

In spite of the UK's leaving the EU, there was no security, immigration, nor customs for our Ireland to Scotland flight upon our arrival in Edinburgh.