View of One World Trade Center from the cemetery of St. Paul's ChapelWe spent a lovely day on Sunday walking around New York City. The sky was blue with bright sun, the temperature was comfortable, and the springtime ‘bloom’ was in full force.

Best of all, we learned some new things about New York, and got a significant amount of exercise, which helped justify all of the terrific food we consumed. Even though we took several subway rides, my FitBit showed that we walked 18,449 steps over 8.78 miles.

Bowling Green park, Financial District, New York CityIn Lower Manhattan, as we walked from the waterfront to the southern end of Broadway, we discovered Bowling Green Park. This small park in the Financial District was built in 1733, by the original New Amsterdam Dutch fort.

Bowling Green is New York City’s oldest public park and is surrounded by its original 18th-century fence.

tulips in Bowling Green park, Lower Manhattan Financial District, New York CityThe park originally included a bowling green — an area of short-clipped grass for lawn bowling. Today the park features a ring of gorgeous red tulips, and benches for taking a relaxing nature break in an area surrounded by high rise buildings of the Financial District.

'Fearless Girl' sculpture, Financial District, New York CityWhile the Bowling Green was peaceful, there were crowds of tourists surrounding the iconic “Charging Bull” sculpture just north of the park. The crowd was also checking out the recently-added “Fearless Girl” sculpture that is staring down the Wall Street bull.

This statue was installed in March, 2017 by State Street Global Advisors to celebrate and promote the firm’s “Gender Diversity Index” fund.  Originally given a one-week permit, Fearless Girl will remain in place through February, 2018.

We continued to walk up Broadway, a road that runs 13 miles from State Street at Bowling Green through Manhattan, then two miles through the Bronx, followed by 18 miles north through Yonkers, Dobbs Ferry and Tarrytown before terminating in Westchester County north of Sleepy Hollow.

cemetery outside Trinity Church Wall Street, New York City Broadway is the oldest north–south thoroughfare in New York City, dating to the first Dutch settlement. We were intrigued by the cemetery outside Trinity Church Wall Street. Alexander Hamilton is buried here, but the most imposing tomb is a fifteen-foot-high bronze sculpture of John Watts.  “Who was he?” we wondered.

John Watts Jr. was born in Manhattan in 1749. He was a lawyer and politician who represented New York in the U.S. House of Representatives, but he most-lasting legacy was that he founded and endowed the Leake and Watts Orphan House with the inheritance from distant relative and friend John G. Leake.  The effort continues today as Leake and Watts Services, a non-profit agency providing a range of services for New York City children and families.

One World Trade Center and St. Paul's Chapel, New York CityContinuing north up Broadway, we saw the juxtaposition of the old and the new: the One World Trade Center and St. Paul’s Chapel.  Rebuilt after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, One World Trade Center’s antenna/spire reaches 1,776 feet to symbolize the year when the U.S. Declaration of Independence was signed.

St. Paul’s Chapel first opened in 1766 as a “chapel-of-ease” for those who did not want to walk on unpaved streets to Trinity Church. While the Great Fire of 1776 destroyed the first Trinity Church, St. Paul’s survived, thanks to residents dousing the building with water via a ‘bucket brigade.’ Many early New York residents made St. Paul’s their church home including George Washington. On April 30, 1789, after he took the oath of office, President George Washington attended services at St. Paul’s Chapel.

Though the World Trade Center buildings across the street were destroyed by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, there was no damage to St. Paul’s. “The little chapel that stood” became the relief ministry to rescue and recovery workers for nine months. Displays inside St. Paul’s detail how workers rested on the church benches during the intense recovery efforts.

St. Paul's Chapel and cemetery, Financial District, New York City In the cemetery behind St. Paul’s Chapel, the graves date to the 1700s. Signs explain the Chapel’s role throughout the city of New York’s history.

The Millenium Hilton hotel is across the street from St. Paul's Chapel cemetery in New York City near the World Trade CenterFrom the cemetery at St. Paul’s, we could see The Millenium Hilton hotel across the street. That triggered many 9/11 memories for us as we were scheduled to stay at this hotel in early October, 2011, before a cruise out of New York City. (The cruise was switched to a Boston departure; while we’ve since returned to New York City many times, we’ve never stayed at this hotel.)

We continued our exploration of New York through City Hall and various other points. Eventually, we returned to a favorite walking place in the city – the High Line Park.

The High Line, New York City While we loved the High Line when we first visited it in August, 2012, we found the April weather in New York City more ideal for enjoying this elevated walkway park.

The High Line Park, New York City Re-purposing of the abandoned, elevated railway into an urban park is such a lovely, brilliant idea. We love the High Line, where there is always something new or different to enjoy.

While our weekend in New York City went by too quickly, we’ve found these books to read before our next visit, so we can continue to explore while walking:

Magnetic City: A Walking Companion to New York


The Historical Atlas of New York City, Third Edition: A Visual Celebration of 400 Years of New York City’s History


The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City

Do you have a favorite park of New York City to explore? 

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In early June we plan to visit the coastal town of Bantry, Ireland via a 14-day Celtic Kingdoms cruise. Since it is a new destination for us, we investigated this part of West County Cork.

Preparing to visit, Bantry, IrelandThe town of Bantry – with a population of less than 3,500 — is located at the head of Bantry Bay, a deep water, wind-sheltered harbor on the Atlantic Ocean. This bay has attracted fishermen, merchant ships and warriors for centuries.

A view overlooking part of Bantry, Ireland. Photo by Pam Brophy.

A view overlooking part of Bantry, Ireland. Photo by Pam Brophy.

Bantry is a tender port for cruise ships. While researching this port, I learned that our cruise ship — Holland America’s ms Prinsendam —  will anchor off Glengarriff Harbor, and the ship’s tender boats will deliver us into the town on Glengarriff rather than into the town of Bantry. While this is a common situation, normally the port call would be marketed as Glengarriff (Bantry), Ireland, rather than simply as Bantry, Ireland.

Google map of Glengarriff HarborAccording to Google Maps, it is a 10-mile, 16-minute drive from Glengarriff Harbor to the town of Bantry. We will have to figure out how to get to Bantry from where our ship’s tenders drop us off. We downloaded the Journey Planner travel app for Ireland to check public transportation between Glengarriff Harbor and Bantry. (The TFI Journey Planner is free, and available from the Apple App store, Google Play or the Windows store. The public bus service between the towns appears to be infrequent on the day of our visit, and it doesn’t appear that Uber has made it to Glengarriff or Bantry.

Once we arrive in Bantry, we will most likely stop by the Bantry Tourist Office for maps, directions and a few questions best asked from a local. It’s located in the Old Courthouse by the Wolf Tone Square (the main square in central Bantry.)

Based on our pre-trip research, these are the things around the town of Bantry and Bantry Bay that we’d like to explore.

8 Things to Do While Visiting Bantry, Ireland

A statue of Theobald Wolfe Tone also stands in the main square of Bantry, Ireland.

A statue of Theobald Wolfe Tone also stands in the main square of Bantry, Ireland.

1.  Stop by the Theobald Wolfe Tone statute in Bantry’s main square. The square commemorates Dublin-born Theobald Wolfe Tone. Tone led the United Irishmen in an uprising against British rule in Ireland. The United Irishmen, a republican revolutionary group influenced by the ideas of the American and French revolutions, were the main organization behind the Irish Rebellion May to September 1798.

2. Get a latte and a scone or a sausage roll at the Box of Frogs Coffeehouse & Bakery. This highly-rated cafe is located at Bridewell Lane in Bantry. Who can resist a latte dusted with chocolate in the outline of a frog?

map of the Heritage Loop Walks in Bantry, Ireland. Map from Explore West Cork /West Cork People.

map of the Heritage Loop Walks in Bantry, Ireland. Map from Explore West Cork /West Cork People.

3. Take one or all of Bantry’s Heritage Loop Walks – perhaps starting with the Béicín Loop – described as “a short walk on a concrete pathway by the sea, easily accessible from the town center. Wonderful views of Bantry Bay, mountains, and islands in the bay.”  Trail descriptions and map can be accessed at Explore West Cork.

The Bantry House is located on the south side of Bantry Bay near the town of Bantry, Ireland. Photo by Jörg Bittner Unna.

The Bantry House is located on the south side of Bantry Bay near the town of Bantry, Ireland. Photo by Jörg Bittner Unna.

4. Visit the Bantry House and Gardens – the ancestral home of the White family who became the Earls of Bantry. While still owned by  descendants of the White family who still live on the property, tourists can visit the estate.  The house has a collection of artworks gathered by the second Earl of Bantry and his wife Mary as they traveled across Europe. Their travels also inspired the Bantry House gardens.

The house has been open to tourism since 1946, and offers tours of the house and gardens, a tea shop and bed and breakfast accommodations.

5. Check out the 1796 Bantry French Armada Center  – next to the Bantry House. This center recounts the story of Theobald Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen’s attempt to land a 50-ship French Armada in Bantry Bay in order to expel the British and establish an Irish Republic. Due to bad weather and other factors, the attack failed. The Armada Center recounts the attempted French landing and contains items excavated from the wreck in Bantry Bay as well as a 1-to-6 scale model of ‘The Surveillante‘.

Sheep's Head near Bantry, County Cork, Ireland. Photo by Petra15.

Sheep’s Head near Bantry, County Cork, Ireland. Photo by Petra15.

6. Explore Sheep’s Head Peninsula – via a hike or renting a car to drive on the narrow 1-way road. This is a guide to the Sheep’s Head Looped Walks. The 4 kilometer or about 2.5 mile long Lighthouse Loop is rated moderate and might be interesting on a nice day. Other trails offer stunning scenery, but may be too adventurous for a day in port unless we hire a knowledgeable local guide and pack hiking boots.

7. Enjoy some local seafood. While the vast shoals of Pilchards found in the bay drew the English to Bantry in the 1600’s, today the area in known for mussel farming. We’d like a chance to sample the seafood at either The Fish Kitchen (above a fish shop, features locally sourced seafood, known for its daily specials) or O’Connor’s Seafood Restaurant where we’d have to try the Mussels in a Thai coconut curry sauce.

8. Drink a pint in a local pub. The more unique the name, the better. These pubs are on our list to check out while in Bantry: The SnugThe Quay’s Bar and Ma Murphy’s.

During our planning, we are using these two guidebooks:

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Ireland

Rick Steves Best of Ireland

Have you visited Bantry, Ireland? What activities do you recommend?

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15 Interesting Facts About Bantry, Ireland

April 18, 2017

In June we plan to visit the coastal town of Bantry, located in West Cork County, Ireland. Our first visit to this part of Ireland will be via a 14-day Celtic Kingdoms cruise. The town of Bantry, we learned, has a population of less than 3,500 people. It’s located at the head of Bantry Bay, a deep […]

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22 Fun Facts About Milford Haven, Wales

April 11, 2017

We will be visiting Milford Haven, Wales, in the United Kingdom for the first time in June. In anticipation of our first visit via a cruise ship, we did a little research. 1. The town of Milford Haven (population 13,900) is part of Pembrokeshire County in western Wales. One can reach the town by driving […]

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