Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Tower Valley is a small portion of the vast Gardens of Powerscourt in County Wicklow, Ireland. It is here, amid a forest of over 250 varieties of trees planted over the past 200 years, that you will find Pepperpot Tower.
Its curious name is due to the fact that it was modeled from an actual pepperpot belonging to Lord Powerscourt and used at his dining table.
 Several cannons surround the tower. We visited on a rainy day exploring what we could between showers. I like the way the chain holds the raindrops; you may need to click on the photo to see the detail.
I was delighted that we were allowed to climb the tower! The doorway was most inviting.
The top of Pepperpot Tower was home to a collection of puddles in all sizes. They were worth stepping around or even wading through because the view was magnificent.
By standing on a bench (and zooming!), I was able to capture a portion of Powerscourt House, once the site of a 13th century medieval castle owned by the LePower Family.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Holy Hauntedness

Before running through the "creepy" photos, I will share this nice one my daughter took of the nuns' bread making display. She included the photo of the nuns in her composition.
She also took a nice photograph of the dumb waiter. The nuns cooked all the meals for everyone. The Abbott always dined alone, and his food was always delivered to the first floor via the dumb waiter.
Now on to another section of the basement: a trap door!
Our tour guide opened two of these trap doors but didn't mention how many more there might be.
None of us ventured down for a closer look. The guide said the high school boys knew every inch of the monastery and were clever at sneaking out at night to make their way into town to meet young ladies. These underground tunnels were also used to shelter Italian Catholics the KKK were seeking.
This is a sampling of some of the "artifacts" that were discovered in the tunnels but exactly who stashed the stuff is unknown.
In addition to paranormal tours, The Abbey becomes a popular haunted house around Halloween.
Our guide claimed to be too afraid to have ever gone through the haunted house; therefore, he could not help us decide which things were genuine paranormal and which were just stage props.
We were free to poke around and look; however, none of us ventured away from the group.
This is actually an elevator! The Abbey, being away from town, had a farm and was very self-sufficient. Sustainability is today's buzz word. Anyway, this elevator was for cows. A cow would be lowered, all doors closed, and then it was butchered. There is even a drain in the room - nice and neat.
I think this was another "I don't know" door; we left it in peace.
Nor did any of us take a peek inside this, although the two younger ones tried to pry it open.
Somewhere along the way we came across three saunas, side by side. 
This chair sits all alone in a little, isolated room. It is special because sometimes it moves all by itself. No one can explain this phenomenon, but our little guy in the red shirt promptly sat down in the chair and pronounced it "normal". 
I'm thinking this was the really stinky portion of the basement. But it is also where we discovered a rather skinny friend.
High Five! Catch ya later!

Thus ends the tour of Holy Cross Abbey in Cañon City, Colorado. If you are ever there, check it out. Also tour the nearby Winery at Holy Cross Abbey. I missed this tour, but I understand the wine is made with conviction (the grapes are purchased from a prison).

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Not Your Average Basement

The Abbey does offer paranormal tours; the basement is a registered place for this sort of thing. We were on a regular tour which was creepy enough especially with the combination of being in "Off Limits" places and possessing somewhat active imaginations.
Other signs entertained us as we made our way back down all four floors.
These urinals were included on our tour - - - something about them being duals and face-to-face. Whatever.
 Couldn't help feeling relieved that we missed going up this particular ramp. How many up and down corridors are there, anyway?
We finally arrived ... down ... in the ... basement.
Volunteers are currently working on a few rooms for the display of Indian artifacts. When the Abbey was being constructed, the monks lived in the "Indian Lore Building" which I believe was located on the back portion of the property.
This long hall was a dining room, I think. Maybe for the monks? The high school boys ate in the big room where the library was located; the Abbot ate alone on the first floor. This was also the kitchen area where the nuns prepared all the meals.
The nuns also made and sold bread; this is the screen they used to "brand" their products.
There were all sorts of fun, interesting nooks and crannies to check out.
And then things got a little .... stinky. My brother doesn't seem to mind, but two of his grandsons beg to differ!

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