Posted by: mdmusingsie | June 12, 2022

Irish Crystal

When you think of Irish Crystal, the vast majority of people will think of Waterford Crystal. It’s one of the oldest in the country and has been through many closures, restarts, and changes.

There used to be many other crystal factories in Ireland, many of them spin-offs from Waterford. Some still survive today, though not all of the actual crystal is manufactured in Ireland, including Waterford who only make specialized, high-end pieces in the country.

Galway Crystal started around 1967 and, like Waterford, has had it’s fits and starts. It was purchased by Belleek (the pottery people) in 1997.  Another well known name around Ireland is Tipperary Crystal who are also still in businesses after forty years.

Tyrone was a contemporary of Waterford, back in the early days, and went through a number of transitions, but sadly closed in 2010. 

Cavan crystal is another company that has fallen by the wayside. I recently stayed at the Cavan Crystal Hotel which incorporates the former crystal showroom. It’s a lovely hotel with amazing staff. I booked a suite so I could do some concentrated writing without feeling claustrophobic and was treated to a gorgeous four-poster bed with separate dining area. One of the things I found most interesting was the thickness of the outer walls – over 3 feet thick (one 10 ½” notebook, 2 sheets of A4 lengthwise and a piece of A4 width-wise).  It would be quite the challenge to open those windows!

People no longer have display cabinets full of treasures like crystal and China, so companies have had to adapt their product lines to stay in business.

Most of these company keep it very tight lipped when it comes to stating where their pieces are actually produced. It certainly isn’t broadcast on their websites. Waterford does admit the practice during the factory tour.

If you’re looking for crystal actually made in Ireland, I did find a few companies, Connemara Celtic Crystal, Cork Crystal, and Dingle Crystal who actually make most or all of their pieces on the island. They don’t have massive stock or selection, but they are hand crafted pieces made in Ireland.

I own two pieces of Waterford Crystal, both were gifts. I also own Galway Crystal as well as a gorgeous vase from Connemara Celtic Crystal that I bought as my “welcome to Ireland” gift when I moved here.  

When possible and practical, I like to give gifts from Irish companies and have given gifts of Galway and Tipperary crystal to friends and family. Based on my research for this post, I now have a few more places I can look for Irish made gifts.

Posted by: mdmusingsie | December 1, 2021

Traveling Covid-Style – A Year+ On

After being cooped up for over a year I was keen to look at someone else’s four walls for a change.  Hospitality finally re-opened in August, the same month I received my vaccines.  It was still a little early in the year for me to travel – I prefer it when the kids have gone back to school.  Plus, with hotels and accommodation just reopening, there was bound to be a rush to book as many people were feeling the same need to get away.  International travel was still somewhat of a risky venture so more and more Irish were doing staycations.

Countless hours were spent searching for a place as everything I was interested in was already booked, even though I was looking at mid-September dates. I finally settled on a cottage in Killala, Co Mayo with a view of an inlet from the sea. 


A self-catering house appealed more than a hotel as I would have fewer people to interact with and wouldn’t feel cooped up in a hotel room.

For the most part, I stayed put, taking the time to work on writing projects, catch up on some of my personal development courses, and just relax.  I did sign up for a weaving workshop as I’ve always found weaving a fascinating process.  Due to the off-season, it was just me and the instructor.  We worked on table-top hand looms that were just a bit larger than an A4 (legal) size piece of paper.  I learned about warp and weft and we worked not only on different techniques but with different thicknesses of yarn to get different effects.  The end result was a wall hanging. As this was all experimental for me, the colours weren’t exactly what I would have chosen, had I been planning the piece in advance, but I think it turned out quite well for my first attempt.  It was a very enjoyable afternoon.

Dining out, like traveling, was still regulated.  My first restaurant visit in a year was to a pub in Killala. Masks are required to enter as well as proof of vaccinations.  Fortunately, we have an app in Ireland for our certification so we don’t have to worry about losing a small piece of paper.  Servers wore masks the whole time.

I cooked simple fare for the most part, as the cottage had a fully equipped kitchen, so the only other restaurant I visited was on the way home at one of those petrol/food/convenience store service stations.  To eat inside the fast food restaurant also required proof of vaccination. 

While I was in line at the checkout of the convenience store I noticed boxes of Dunkin’ Donuts.  I did a double take as I wasn’t sure if it was a knock-off or whether the company had really come to Ireland, since I hadn’t heard anything on the news.  In the spirit of research, I did purchase a box and when I was home, did a web search.  It turns out it is the same company as in America, but they don’t have any formal shops – they just sell the boxes at certain shops.  If only I could find a company that makes old fashioned (sour cream) donuts (with chocolate frosting) – I do miss those the most. 

The next wave of Covid seemed to be picking up pace, so I decided to get in another break in case there was another lockdown.

This time I chose a hotel, partly because they were having a double loyalty points promotion, and partly because I didn’t want to have to cook.  In November I booked a suite, hoping to have extra room so it didn’t feel so claustrophobic as some hotel rooms can be. It also had a view of the River Shannon, and I love being near water.


Although billed as a two room suite, the second “room” was really an entry closet/dressing area and not really functional as a work area. Fortunately, the main room was bigger than a standard room so I didn’t feel quite so hemmed in. Masks and vaccine certificates were still required for dinning.

Sightseeing wasn’t really part of either trip as I have been limiting my contacts. I’m probably more cautious than some people, but I also have underlying health issues that could make a bout of Covid more serious. My main goals were change of scenery, relaxation, and some quality writing time.

As the new variant blossoms like a aggressive weed, further travels are unlikely until Spring.

Posted by: mdmusingsie | March 17, 2021

One Year On

Another St. Patrick’s Day rolls around and the pubs are still closed.  There will be no masses gathered for parades or empty beer bottles clogging the gutters of Temple Bar.

Who would have thought one year later we’d still be in lockdown.  Except for a brief period in summer and a couple weeks in December, Ireland continues to be in high level lockdown.  We don’t have the medical facilities to cope with the huge numbers of sick people that Covid-19 has wrought.

Am I sick of not being able to travel more than 5 km and spend my days staring at the same four walls?  You betcha!  However, I’m grateful to live in a 3 bedroom home instead of a studio or one bedroom apartments, so I can change the scenery a bit more than some.  I’m grateful I still have a job and can work from home.  I’m grateful that I, my family, and closest friends have avoided the worst of Covid-19.  I’m grateful the vaccines are out and more and more people are being vaccinated every day (though more slowly in Ireland than places like the UK or US).

Am I anxious to finally get this behind me?  Of course, as I’m sure many of you are as well.  But it’s not over yet, not even if you’ve been vaccinated (you may not get sick but there is still a chance you can pass it along to others). 

If I have to put up with restrictions for another 6 months or even a year, I will.  Too many people are still dying around the world, around the country, and possibly even around your neighborhood.  I don’t want someone’s death on my conscience, so I will continue to follow the rules, wear my (uncomfortable) mask, and limit where I go.  With the vaccines, it does appear the end is in sight, but there is no need to rush. 

It’s been challenging being creative during this time, mostly because I work all day in the same room where I write and craft, so when I’m finished working for the day, I want out of that room.  The odd poem still pops into my head and I’ve been editing some short stories and recently, after a four year hiatus, started another round of editing on my first novel.  I’ve painted a few pictures and have a few in the works.  In a world still being ravaged by Covid-19, I whipped up these little Covid Clovers to send a little good luck around the world. One rough and ready, the other more refined. The leaves close, but not touching, yet the heart still beats.

Stay safe, stay well, and remember those who are in serious circumstances than most of us are, even with the restrictions.

In deference to one of my readers who pointed out these aren’t Shamrocks because they have 4 leaves, I didn’t actually call them Shamrocks. However, I did link them with St. Patrick’s Day which should, in theory, be a Shamrock (reference between the paintings and the holiday have been corrected), but then again, if you really want to get technical (and I’m not looking to start an international incident), St. Patrick was Welsh by birth and I’m a Pagan. So let’s keep things light and go with the spirit of goodwill in which they were intended.

PS – here’s an update on the state of my keyboard one year on, too – four letters totally gone and many fading fast.

Posted by: mdmusingsie | August 15, 2020

Traveling Covid-style

The four walls had been closing and a couple of stressful weeks at work had me longing to go somewhere, anywhere different.

After debating between Sligo and Galway, Galway won. Not so much because it’s one of my favourite places, but the hotels in Sligo were booking up too quickly, almost forcing my hand.

The stress of the job steered me towards a spa hotel and I found myself at The Twelve Hotel in Barna, a few miles west of Galway City.

In one sense, I was lucky.  It was the Galway Races week and there wouldn’t have been a hotel room available within 30 km of the place if it hadn’t been for Covid-19 and the races being held without an audience.  That didn’t seem stop people from flocking to Galway and the vicinity.

Having made good time on the motorway, I stopped at a services exit for a quick lunch.  These services stops normally contain a petrol station, a convenience store, and a variety of restaurants.  This particular wayside stop was jam packed with people.  Less than half were wearing masks, despite it being somewhat compulsory (the legislation around who would be responsible for policing the wearing of masks yet to be decided – shop owners didn’t want the responsibility and there aren’t enough Guarda to be stationed at every shop).  Galway traffic was as bad as ever and I arrived at the hotel just after the earliest check in time.

While waiting to check in I heard the hotel was now fully booked, and restaurant reservations for non-hotel guests were at a premium.  I wasn’t the only one having four-wall-syndrome.

My room was quite spacious with nice hardwood floors instead of carpet (a plus in my book).  There was a small balcony looking out over the parking lot.  Not the view I was hoping for but there actually way a small green area, and as I reminded myself, at least I had a view of four different walls for a few days.


I made my usual call to the front desk for an additional sheet.  Top sheets are nearly unheard of in hotels or B&Bs here.  I had to repeat my reason for the extra sheet, duvets are too warm, both to the desk staff and the young woman who delivered the sheet.  I’m quite warm blooded and sleep primarily under just a sheet all year round.  I think they both thought I was touched in the head.

Dinner at the hotel pub was interesting.  Of course tables have to be farther apart, but I’m pretty sure my neighbor to the left was closer than 1 metre.  All hotel staff wore face coverings – except the maitre d’ who wore a face shield, the rest wore masks.  After wearing a mask for shopping, I’m thinking about leaning towards the face shield – it may not fog up my glasses the way masks do.

To avoid having to clean menus or continually print new ones, they had a system where they placed a picture frame on the table with three QR codes – one for the food, one for drinks, and one for wine.  Point the camera on your phone and it turns into a link that opens in a browser.  As unusual as it was, I decided that most people in this day and age would have a cell phone and know how to use the QR codes. I was wrong on this account, at dinner the next day I saw a young couple (20’s) struggling to make it work. They were given a paper menu.  The children’s menu was also on paper but it came with puzzles and areas to colour (crayons, communal or otherwise, no longer provided).

After taking my order the waiter asked for my name and phone number.  No, he wasn’t trying to chat me up (I’m old enough to probably be his granny).  It’s part of the new restaurant regulations.  One person at the table has to give a name and contact number in case Covid-19 cases are discovered amongst other guests or staff from the same time period.  If you’re a hotel guest, room number was a sufficient substitute.  There was a fine dining restaurant at the hotel, but I’m more of a pub-grub person – I’m not interested in pretentious food.

Barna is a small village about 5km from Galway City (in traffic that’s about a 20 min drive).  It’s definitely a holiday-maker’s stop with plenty of accommodation and restaurants and light on shops.  The hotel sits on the main road between Galway and Connemara/Clifden and there is plenty of traffic all day long.  I was grateful my room didn’t face the street.

I booked a spa treatment as a gift to my body for all the stress it had been undergoing.  Both the masseuse and I had to wear masks.  Although it was a relaxing back, leg, and foot massage, it wasn’t what I had originally requested.  I had thought I was booking a leg and foot massage with a pedicure. I suppose I could have complained, but I did enjoy the treatment, even if I didn’t get my pedicure.  Note to self to clarify the treatment before it begins in the future.

Besides a walk around town (10-15 minutes max), I did make a trip to An Spidéal (or Spiddal in English) where they have a craft village.  Unfortunately only about half of the craft shops were open.  On the way back I stopped at Furbo beach – I miss being that close to the ocean.


Not the grand vacation I had planned for 2020 (I had hoped to get to the US at least once if not twice), it was a therapeutic getaway that toned down my stress level and left me feeling able to face my own four walls again.

Posted by: mdmusingsie | May 29, 2020

Tidings and Trivia

It continues to be a strange world as countries go from shrinking into a bud to starting to bloom again and hoping the pollen doesn’t re-spread, forcing us back underground.

With travel limited to the local grocery store recently, only expanding to hardware stores and garden centres this week, there’s little to report on exploring the country.

But there’s always something to bring a bright spot to the day.  Recently, it was the appearance of two “Horton Hears a Who” flowers in my front yard (that weren’t there last year).  I know they have a scientific name, but not one that I seem to want to recall.  With no Bloom garden festival this year, this is as close as it getsFlower2_smFlower1_sm.

I didn’t try and talk to the residents of Whoville (I haven’t been in lockdown, starved for human company THAT long).  Besides, we need to save those hospital beds, even the ones in the psych ward, for Covid and other more serious illnesses.

Oddly enough, “Horton Hears a Who” was on TV in the last week (reminding me to create this post).

If you’re feeling shut in, bored, and listless, have a look around.  You’d be surprised at the interesting things you can find right outside your door that you hadn’t noticed before.


On the trivia side, which key do you think is used the most on the keyboard?  On my nearly new (only since working from home in mid-March) external keyboard that I’m using because the keyboard on my laptop does not have the “push” effect I rely on for accurate typing, I have worn off the sticker on the most used key.  Can you spot it?


The I’s have it!  A few on its coattails are E, R, and T which I’ve worn off the keyboard in the office – at least it took me about 5 years to wear those off, not 10 weeks.  Since I’m a touch typer, I don’t need to see the letters, but when one of my co-workers was helping me solve a problem one time he complained about the missing letter markings as he visual-types.

So maybe that will help you on your next pub quiz when they ask for some of the most frequently used keys on the keyboard (results may vary by country/language).

Posted by: mdmusingsie | April 4, 2020

Hope Springs Eternal

To paraphrase Charles Dickens, ‘it is the best of times; it is the worst of times.’  It is certainly a time that most of us have never experienced before.

We are self-isolating, cocooning, hibernating, social distancing, quarantining and many other new and old terms for avoiding social interaction – in person anyway.

My mother mentioned the polio epidemic in the 1940’s in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, when beaches and movie theatres were closed, children were not allowed on buses or in public parks or playgrounds, and school opening was delayed.  Not too dissimilar to what is happening today, but on a grander scale.

That epidemic came and went and this one will too.   It will become something you tell your children, grand-children, and even great grandchildren.

In this time in-between, when we might find ourselves caught up in the numbers and the walls begin to shrink around us, it’s important to ‘always look on the bright side of life’ (I can’t help but think of Monty Python – if you’re running out of current movies to watch, visit or re-visit some of the older ones).

It’s sometimes the small things that lift us up and brighten our days.  The other day I noticed my Christmas cactus was starting to sprout flowers (this was the end of March).  Now it’s in bloom.  It’s the time of year when many flora and fauna start to bloom, but I consider a cactus that is designed to bloom in winter and suddenly sprouts in March a blessing and a sign of hope.  There are more of them all around if you just take a moment to look.


Maybe you haven’t yet noticed, but the air is cleaner around the world with fewer planes, trains and automobiles out and about.  Maybe, deep down, Mother Earth needed a break from us.

We will get through this if we all work together. Too many will die, which is tragic, but many more will live, survive, and thrive.

Keep your distance; it’s only for a while.  Stay in touch via electronic means – everything from the (now) old fashioned telephone to cell phones, Skype, Facetime, Zoom or other voice and video tools; email, social media, and even a hand written post card or letter.

Support local businesses that are open now and will re-open when they can.  Support your local artists, musicians, dancers, actors, sports teams – the big budget acts can already take care of themselves.

Thank the nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals putting their lives on the line each and every day as this event unfolds.

Thank the store clerks, truck drivers, growers, farmers, all those who are also risking their lives to make sure we have food on the table and enough toilet paper in the bathroom (and knock off the hoarding!).

If you plan on donating to charities make sure they are reputable.  Billions of dollars were raised for events like 9/11, most of which never made it to the victims.

Remember that a rainbow can’t happen without rain.



Posted by: mdmusingsie | March 17, 2020

Historic Paddy’s Day

It’s a day for the wearin’ o’ the green, whether you have Irish heritage or only wish you did.  This day is normally celebrated with parades, rivers being dyed green, buildings having green lights shown upon them, and of course green beer.

This year, the pubs in Ireland are closed.  Yes, you heard that right – all the pubs are closed.  So are schools, universities, and day care centers – all by government decree. Restaurants are likely to follow soon (I wonder if that includes pizza deliveries?).

There will be no St. Patrick’s parades in Ireland, they’ve all been cancelled along with concerts, theatres (plays/musical), sporting events and any gatherings over 100 people indoors and over 500 outdoors, which includes church services.

This may all be happening in your town, city, state, or country.  The Coronavirus (Covid-19) has got the world by the short hairs.

People are panic buying (72 rolls of toilet paper, really?), enough pasta to last a few years (did you remember to buy the sauces to go with it?), and bucket loads of cleaning products (do you plan on squirting Lysol/Dettol/(insert your country’s favorite germ killing product here) on anyone/anything that comes near your door?

A co-worker told me he saw a woman purchase 5 boxes of garlic.  I believe this is a flu-like virus, not a vampire invasion.

I went to the pharmacy yesterday to pick up some allergy meds.  Now, I live in a relatively small town and this pharmacy is on the small side – maybe a dozen people could squish in on a good day (including staff), but only one person at a time was allowed in the shop – the rest of us queued outside, mostly standing the requested 1 metre (3ft) apart.

Are you contributing to the fear by stockpiling enough supplies to get you through an apocalypse?  Are you in a panic that you’ve either lost your job or may lose your job as more businesses close?  If that happens will you lose your house?  Can you productively work with the children home from school?

Maybe it’s time to take a step back.

Viruses and other diseases latch on to healthy cells and seek to destroy or weaken them.  Covid-19 has taken ordinary, healthy in body (and mostly in mind) people and turned them into fear mongering lunatics.  It seems hell bent on destroying large sections of the world economy.

Is the fear and panic feeding the virus and making it stronger?

Instead of projecting your fear out into the world, why not send out some love.  Send a message to the virus – call it prayer if that fits your spiritual modality.  Say, thank you, Covid-19 (no, I’ve not lost my marbles, please hear me out).  Thank you for pointing out the deficiencies in the assorted global health systems and health related supply chains.  Thank you for showing just how many people can productively work from home – particularly for employers who once frowned on the practice. Thank you for all the people who, instead of jumping on the fear bandwagon, have blossomed into their kindest selves – people who are delivering supplies to the elderly and infirm who either can’t get out or it’s too high risk to get out; the people who are checking on their neighbors and elderly relatives; the people who are helping travelers get home as they become stranded on cruise ships and in areas no longer served by airlines.  Thank you for showing us that many governments, banks, employers, landlords, and organizations are willing to do what they can to help people affected by the crisis, even if it puts them in debt.  Thank you for shining a light on the selflessness of health workers around the world who risk infection, because they were born to serve.

As you finish your intentions/prayers, send the virus healing, loving thoughts.  It has done its job of pointing out our weaknesses so we may begin to fix them.  It’s time for it to depart.

Events such as these bring out the worst in people but also the best in people.  Make sure it’s bringing out the best in you.  Don’t stop taking precautionary measures such as hand washing and keeping distances from potentially infected people, but don’t feed the fear monster, either.  We are most powerful when we work together and if we can get more people sending loving, healing thoughts to the virus and the world, the sooner it will depart.

Blessings to you and yours.

Posted by: mdmusingsie | February 9, 2020

Voting Day

Now that I’m an Irish Citizen, I have full voting rights and voted for the first time on Saturday February 8th, 2020.

Back in 2016 (the last big election) I wrote a post about the Irish voting system, which in regards to the election period is far superior to the American system (which is lengthening as time moves on to be close to the entire 4 year cycle), but the vote counting itself is far more complex.

I’ll bet many Americans would love to have only a 3 week campaign period with no attack ads.  There are televised debates and each party gets an approximately 5 minute “public service-type” announcement that’s follows the evening news (each party on a separate day).

Think of the billions of dollars that are saved every election. How many schools could that build in the US with the money from elections?  How many teachers hired?  How many police and fire fighters?  How many school lunches and homeless shelters?

There’s still plenty of party bickering over here – I don’t think there is a perfect system, but I’m grateful to have the opportunity to make an informed choice as to who I think could best lead the country.  I hope as the US election nears in November, that my friends, family, and fellow citizens (I’m still an American Citizen as the US doesn’t recognize dual citizenship) make their own informed choices (just the facts, Mam, please).

Posted by: mdmusingsie | January 26, 2020

A Wee Dram Before I Go

On my final tourist excursion before leaving France we visited Chartreuse Distillery (known as the Caves de la Chartreuse).  The beverage consists of a blend of 130 herbs from an archaic formula found in a manuscript that pre-dates 1605 when it was given to the Carthusian monks living in the Chartreuse Mountains in France.  The formula claimed to be the “elixir of life”.

It would be nearly 160 more years before the manuscript was fully decoded and the first batches were brewed.  For many of the earliest years the elixir was used for medicinal purposes.

The 130 herbs, plants, and botanicals that make up the liquor also give it the natural green colour; unlike other green beverages which are artificially coloured.  The distillery has a few of the ingredients on display which includes juniper berries, orange peel, ginko, and fennel.

The original medicinal variety (still available today) is 69% alcohol (138 proof).  When it became a beverage it was watered down to 55% alcohol (110 proof).  In the mid 1800’s they came up with a milder version (40% alcohol or 80 proof – same as your average bottle of Jameson) which is known as Yellow Chartreuse.

Based on my personal palette, I found the green variety to be smoother in taste and preferable to the yellow.  Either provides a very unique taste sensation (some would say it’s an acquired taste) from any other liquors I’ve tried before.

Although the recipe has changed hands a few times over the centuries, it is now back with the Chartreuse monks where only two monks at any one time know the formula.  The ingredients are assembled at the monastery and transported to the distillery to complete the process.

Unlike a lot of spirits like whiskey which has a specific aging process, Chartreuse is ready when the tasters determine it meets the standard.  There are four laypeople responsible for assisting with the tasting.  The liquid ferments in huge oak barrels, some of which are hundreds of years old, and several batches may be combined if the tasters determine one isn’t quite right.  Given the quality and strength of an herb may vary from one planting season to the next, based on soil conditions and weather patterns, combined with the sheer number of ingredients, it makes sense that some blending may be required to get that ‘just right’ taste.

The tour was in French, and fortunately my friend could provide much of the translations.  They do have specially arranged English tours during the late spring/summer months.  The standard tour is free (including samples of green and yellow Chartreuse), but there is a fancy English tour (pre-booking required) with a personalized tasting session, available for a price.

We were told that they have to move the distillery outside of town (it’s nearly in the centre at the moment) due to concerns over the flammability of such large quantities of alcohol.  For the same reason, we were required to turn our phones off, so, sorry, no photos.  If you’re interested there’s more information on their website (or give it a try at your local liquor store).

Posted by: mdmusingsie | January 19, 2020

Amazing Annecy

One thing that struck me on my first few days in France was how few people were out and about on the streets of the little towns we went through.  It was as if everyone had gone into hibernation for the winter.

That all changed when we went to Annecy. Even though we left Grenoble early in order to arrive in time to get good parking, there were plenty of people out and about on a Sunday morning in this picturesque town.

On the northern tip of Lake Annecy, not far from Geneva, Switzerland, the Savoire area has gone back and forth between Switzerland and France, finally merging permanently into France in 1860. Annecy is known as the ‘Venice of the Alps’ because of the three canals and the river Thiou running through the city centre.

It has a popular Sunday market where all types of artisans, growers, and food producers put up their stalls along the cobbled streets to sell their wares. The Bavarian-style Christmas market was still active as well, providing loads of shopping and culinary experiences and attracting large crowds of people.

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Between the Christmas Market and the local market, and smack-dab in the middle of the river stood Annecy prison also known as Palais de l’Île.  Built in the shape of a ship, the building began its life in the 12th century.  To our surprise, it was actually open.


Palais de l’Île or Annecy Prison

It may have been a residence, at one point, or else it’s one of the nicest purpose-built prisons for that period in time as all the cells had windows.  One of the cells had a doorway with steps leading down to the river – likely for boat access.  It served as a prison as well as a courthouse, and from the mid to late 14th century, the facility was used to make coins, probably with prison labor.  Between 1905 and 1955 two rooms were designated to house the city’s homeless/drunkards for the night. Currently, in addition to historical information about the prison itself, it also houses a museum (in the posh (by medieval standards) upper rooms, complete with garderobe) depicting the industrial history of Annecy.

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The visit to the jail meant we couldn’t visit the Chateau until after the lunch hours.  So we wandered around the town a bit, checking out some of the shops as well as the Sunday market stalls, then picked a nice café where I had my first Tartiflette – a potato dish, traditionally made with Reblochon cheese, white wine, onions, and (bacon) lardons.  Potatoes and cheese – what’s not to love?

With still more time to kill, we wandered around the town a bit more, then found a pub to have some dessert.  Thinking to share a plate of dainty profiteroles, we were shocked when they brought out two giant profiteroles, surrounded by whipped cream.  Even the people sitting near us were surprised at the size.


That fortified us for the hike up to the Chateau.  Similar to the Abbey, the Chateau was a mini walled city with buildings that were also part of the surrounding wall.  The Chateau has a Norman castle look with a series of attached square towers.  Unlike most Norman towers; however, the buildings were peppered with lots of small windows.

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The oldest part of the castle dates from about the 12th century with other parts being added into the 16th century.    The museum is located in one of the buildings adjacent to the tower structure and houses assorted exhibitions.  It also appears to be used for concerts, in what could be described as the Great Hall.

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One nice thing about these buildings was the circular stairways were actually quite wide, in comparison to the typical Norman tower or castle in Ireland or the UK.

No shortage of people were visiting this monument on a sunny Sunday.  The queue was longer when we were leaving than when we arrived.

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