.All Trips / Asia / Sri Lanka

Gal Vihara, Sri Lanka

00 Gal Vihara (2)

One of the most amazing sites in Sri Lanka is the Gal Vihara, which is located within the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  I thought the Gal Vihara was unusual and interesting enough to warrant a more detailed blog.   During my last visit I spent a full hour here, studying and photographing details of the carvings and just watching people.   
This has long been a site of Buddhist worship and teaching.  Gal Vihara (meaning ‘Rock Temple’) is an amazing collection of beautifully sculpted Buddha images carved from a massive granite boulder.  The scope of the carvings and their beautiful detail never cease to amaze me.  Hard to imagine the time it …

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Europe / Ireland

National Museum of Ireland: Archaeology, Dublin

026 Dublin National Museum of Ireland Archaeology — The Tara Brooch, 8th century, Meath Co

Today we’ll pay a visit to the Museum of Ireland: Archaeology, situated on Kildare Street.  The Archaeology Museum is housed in an elegant dome-capped building designed by Thomas Newenham Deane and his son, Thomas Manly Deane, and was opened in 1890.  There are thousands of items on exhibit in the museum (from a collection of more than 2 million artifacts) outlining the unfolding history and treasures of Ireland, a country so very rich in history (less so in treasure).  Despite the extensive collection, the museum is well organized.  It’s easy to navigate and fun to explore.  You’ll need at least a half day for an introductory visit — much longer if you want to linger and thoroughly study the things …

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.All Trips / Europe / Ireland

A Visit to Ireland: Part 11) Newgrange and Knowth

Newgrange 2013-010

The combination of its natural beauty and fascinating archaeological record (chronicling the country’s long history) makes Ireland a compelling place to visit.  There are many fabulous places to see when visiting Ireland, each seeming better than the last one you stopped at.  I think the most fascinating place we visited on the Emerald Isle — surpassing even the fabulous Dingle peninsula — was Brú na Bóinne.  This place is truly unique and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Situated just an hour’s drive north of Dublin, it’s home to the most ancient structures I’ve ever been in and is well worth going out of your way to see.

Specifically I’m talking specifically about visiting Newgrange and Knowth, two sites in a complex …

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.All Trips / Europe / Ireland

A Visit to Ireland: Part 6) Exploring the Dingle Peninsula

Dingle Peninsula

One of the highlights of any visit to Ireland is a chance to explore the Dingle Peninsula.  While it’s only half as large as the Ivernaugh peninsula (Ring of Kerry), it’s packed with beautiful views and interesting things to see.  This peninsula is a rocky place with steep mountains, rugged cliffs, ancient stone fences, beehive huts and other archaeological treasures, and lovely islands just offshore.   Using Dingle Town as your base, you can very leisurely drive around the peninsula in a day.  The peninsula features Gaelic signs and you’re like to hear local people using the Irish language.
Because the peninsula’s road is very narrow, you’ll be spared the large tour bus traffic of the Ring …

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