Explorer Beastie at the Canal - CrawCrafts Beasties

Beasties in the Great Outdoors

Hello there everyone! You know, after writing up Paddy and Plunkett’s garden adventure in last week’s post, I started thinking about how being outdoors is one thing that the pandemic hasn’t really been able to affect that much. In fact, if anything, we’re all outside a lot more than we might have been in a more normal year!

And the Beasties love a bit of outdoorsy time too! It’s a great way to catch up with friends…
Beastie Fall Knitwear Collection - CrawCrafts Beasties… Or enjoy a picnic together.
Burger Beastie and Friends - CrawCrafts BeastiesYum!

So for today’s post, I thought I’d revisit some of the Beasties’ favourite outdoors places… Care to come along?

As you all probably already know, we live in Dublin – and pretty close to the city centre. For us, “outdoors” usually means “the park”, and luckily we have plenty to choose from around here. Earlier in the year, when everyone in Ireland was confined to within 2km of home, we discovered the springtime joys of the National War Memorial Gardens.
Cookie Beastie in our local Park - CrawCrafts Beasties

We’ve also got the Phoenix Park, the largest enclosed park in Europe, on our doorstep. It’s so big that there are herds of deer living there!Deer in the Phoenix Park, Dublin - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd if that wasn’t enough, we’re also within walking distance of the National Botanic Gardens…
Gardener Beastie, meet Explorer Beastie! CrawCrafts Beasties…The city centre parks of St Stephen’s Green and Iveagh Gardens…
A quiet path in Iveagh Gardens - CrawCrafts Beasties… And spooky St Kevin’s Park, as featured in our pre-Hallowe’en post a couple of weeks back!
No Vampires near the Gravestones - CrawCrafts Beasties

But our wanderings don’t always involve the city’s green spaces. One of my favourite walks is along the banks of the Grand Canal – it’s a joy even in the depths of winter.

Explorer Beastie at the Canal - CrawCrafts BeastiesPlus you never know who you might bump into along the way.
Swan and Gulls on the Grand Canal - CrawCrafts BeastiesDublin is also packed full of interesting old buildings to admire. The city is especially well-known for its Georgian-era architecture – a style that was popular for just over a century, beginning in the early 1710s.
Georgian Doors in Dublin - CrawCrafts Beasties

Of course, there are other places to visit that have nothing to do with architecture. I wonder if that’s really tea in Tae Beastie’s mug?

Tae Beastie at the Guinness Storehouse - CrawCrafts Beasties

The touristy visitor-attraction part of the Guinness brewery may be closed, but don’t worry! They’re still making beer… And filling the air with the delicious smell of toasted barley on roasting days.

And sometimes it’s just nice to stroll, and admire the crazy jumble of old and new that is the streets of Dublin.
City Streets - Outdoors in Dublin - CrawCrafts BeastiesHow about you? Have you been seeing what’s on your doorstep with fresh eyes these past couple of months? Be sure to tell us all about it in the comments!

Road Trip 2 – Extreme North!

This time last week, we left Explorer Beastie on a breezy hilltop overlooking Five Finger Strand in Co. Donegal…
Explorer Beastie Above Five Finger Strand - CrawCrafts Beasties… And now it’s time for us to push onwards and upwards, to Malin Head – the very northernmost point of the island!

There’s some pretty wild coastline up here…
The Wild North West - CrawCrafts Beasties… And before we headed up to the viewpoint, we took advantage of the last little bit of daylight (always in short supply at this time of the year) to wander along the shoreline. There are plenty of places for a Beastie to explore here!
Exploring the Coastline, Beastie-style! CrawCrafts BeastiesOf course, sometimes just LOOKING at those rocks isn’t enough. The best way to experience them is definitely to get up close and paws-on…
One Beastie on the Rocks, Please - CrawCrafts Beasties…Because that’s when you discover hidden gems like these! Wouldn’t that pool be just heavenly on a hot day? Mind you, I’m not sure they get many hot days up here…

We also had a chance to watch the waves rolling in off the Atlantic, and see them meeting land for the first time in thousands of miles…
Wave Watching - CrawCrafts BeastiesBut as you can see, the light was fading fast… So we cut short our stroll and headed back uphill to the official lookout spot.
Explorer Beastie at Malin Head - CrawCrafts BeastiesHere’s the proof that we were there! Oh, and the view isn’t bad either…
Malin Head Viewpoint - CrawCrafts BeastiesApparently locals would gather here to catch a last glimpse of friends and family as they left in ships to seek an easier life elsewhere. Malin Head also has a military past – those incredible panoramic views made it an ideal spot to put a watchtower! There’s one here that dates back to the Napoleonic wars, and another signal station from around 1902.
Signal Station or Musical Monster? CrawCrafts BeastiesI’m guessing my photo shows the signal station – although at the time my main motivation for taking the picture was the fact that it looked kinda like a monster singing into a microphone from this angle.

With a jam-packed camera and only slightly cold paws, it was time for us to hit the road again. But Donegal had a couple more surprises in store for us… First of all, a rather spectacular sunset!
Explorer Beastie at Sunset - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd further down the road, a warm welcome at the Drift Inn! We’d barely entered the cosy bar before some locals sat us down at their table, in front of the most roaring open fire I’ve ever seen – seriously, there was half a tree on there – and started chatting away to us like we were regulars ourselves. They even treated Explorer Beastie to a pint of the black stuff!
Explorer Beastie Quenches his Thirst for Adventure! CrawCrafts BeastiesThat’s a lot of beer for one Beastie – no wonder he looks a little blurry around the edges! Cheers!

It really is amazing what you can discover when you journey even a short distance away from your usual haunts, isn’t it? If any of you have had a fun “staycation” or day trip recently, we’d love to hear about it! Share your story in the comments… and we’ll be back on Tuesday with the last of the pre-Christmas Beasties!

A Monster Night Out!

Beasties Hit the Town! - A de Girolamo/CrawCrafts Beasties
Ciao ragazzi!

As you know, the Beasties and I always love to hear all the news from any little woolly monsters who have left Beastie Towers for new homes. So we were delighted to receive an email AND photos from Antonello Beastie and Tiziana Beastie last week, when they ventured out in search of a taste of Ireland… In southern Italy! Let’s join them, shall we?

Aha! A green building with a Guinness logo in the window – this looks promising! And inside…
The Beasties Pose With a Guinness Sign - A de Girolamo/CrawCrafts BeastiesYes, I think we’re definitely in the right place!

Now to check out the draught taps… And look at all the other cool stuff they have behind the bar!
Beasties at the Bar - A de Girolamo/CrawCrafts BeastiesSo, what will we have? Well, it probably has to be…
Antonello Beastie Enjoys a Pint of the Black Stuff - A de Girolamo/CrawCrafts Beasties… A pint of the black stuff, of course!

Monster Cheers! A de Girolamo/CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd here’s a picture of all the girls together!
All the Ladies! A de Girolamo/CrawCrafts BeastiesBut wait a second… Where’s Antonello Beastie gone? Uh-oh…
Tactical Snooze for Antonello Beastie - A de Girolamo/CrawCrafts Beasties… It turns out that there IS a limit to how much Guinness a Beastie can have after all! Shhhhhhh, don’t wake him up!

The Beasties’ cat enjoyed her evening out too… Although it looks like Tris was glad to see her little felt friend safely back home in their basket!
Tris and the Beastiekitty - A de Girolamo/CrawCrafts BeastiesThanks so much to Antonello, Tiziana and their Beasties for these super photos! I hope you enjoyed your evening out together!

And what have the rest of you got planned for the weekend ahead? Let us know in the comments!

A Monster Tour of Dublin

Tae Beastie at the Guinness Storehouse - CrawCrafts Beasties

Wow! It’s been a hectic couple of weeks here at Beastie Towers! Sometimes a project comes along that demands a little extra effort, and that’s why there hasn’t been much activity here on the BeastieBlog lately. I’ll unveil that monster undertaking soon enough, but it seemed a bit much for a Friday… so let’s take a leisurely stroll around Dublin with Tae Beastie instead!

Just over a month ago, I got a request through Etsy for a Beastie with a mug. My tea-loving Barróg Beastie, Tae Beastie, was excited to leave Beastie Towers for pastures new… and when his family-to-be asked for some photos of him in his home town, we were happy to oblige! So here is Tae Beastie’s whistle-stop tour of Dublin, in pictures!

We started off just down the road from Beastie Towers, at the Guinness factory. Guinness is still brewed here on the original site at St James’ Gate, a little west of the city centre, and most days the air in this part of town is filled with the delicious chocolately scent of roasted barley, which gives the beer its dark colour.
Guinness Factory - CrawCrafts Beasties
Tae Beastie at the Guinness Storehouse - CrawCrafts BeastiesTae Beastie in the old part of the Guinness Brewery - CrawCrafts BeastiesAs you can see, there’s quite a contrast between the modern high-tech brewery and the older buildings on the site! However, many of the original buildings are still in use – one houses the Storehouse visitor centre, while others have been converted into offices.

After a wander through the lanes and alleys of the old brewery, we started heading for town! There was plenty to see along the way – this part of the city is packed with old churches. I asked Tae Baestie to pose with two of the most well-known… first of all St Audoen’s Church, which was built in 1190 and is the oldest parish church in Dublin (factoids courtesy of Wikipedia). I’ve also heard rumours that it’s haunted!
St Audoen's Church - CrawCrafts Beasties
Next, we passed Christ Church Cathedral, which in Medieval times was right in the very heart of the city.
Christchurch Cathedral - CrawCrafts Beasties
It’s a fascinating building, with flying buttresses, a crypt and a covered passageway which links the  Cathedral to the Synod Hall on the other side of the street. Christ Church stands at the far end of the Temple Bar area, so our next move was to take a stroll through the cobbled back streets!
Back Streets, Temple Bar - CrawCrafts Beasties
Temple Bar can be a bit of a tourist trap, but there are a few good pubs around here if you know where to look. I still enjoy an occasional visit to The Porter House or the Palace Bar when I’m in the area. However, most people end up here…
The Temple Bar - CrawCrafts Beasties
Our walk through Temple Bar brought us out conveniently just in front of Trinity College, home of the Book of Kells. It’s also where I went to university!
Front Square, Trinity College - CrawCrafts Beasties
This is Front Square, and the archway you can see towards the back of the picture is the main entrance to the College. Outside is one of the busiest roads in the city centre… but once you walk through Front Arch, all the traffic noise just VANISHES. It’s like stepping back in time! Tae Beastie enjoyed posing with the Campanile and this statue of a former Provost, whose expression I just can’t figure out… is he very stern, or does he have a bit of a cheeky glint in his eye?
The Campanile, Trinity College - CrawCrafts BeastiesTae Beastie meets the Provost - CrawCrafts BeastiesAfter that, we made a beeline (or, rather, a Beastieline) for St Stephen’s Green. This park is right in the middle of the south side city centre, and it’s a great place to enjoy the arrival of spring!
St Stephen's Green - CrawCrafts Beasties
Just inside the main entrance at the top of Grafton Street, you’ll find this lovely long avenue of lime trees. I’ll sometimes go out of my way to walk along here, whether it’s to enjoy the shade on a hot summer’s day, or kick through piles of bright yellow heart-shaped leaves in the autumn. Tae Beastie was especially taken with the fresh new foliage… check out those vibrant bright green leaves!
There were also plenty of spring flowers to see…
Spring Flowers at St Stephen's Green - CrawCrafts BeastiesCherry Blossom at St Stephen's Green - CrawCrafts BeastiesWe managed to get our final pictures just as the sun disappeared behind a cloud, and (luckily) before the rain started. Well, that’s spring in Ireland for you! Later that day, Tae Beastie headed off to his new home in Atlanta, Georgia… let’s hope he’s settling in well in the Peach State!