Al and Marsha's Journal

Week One
Week Two
Week Three
Week Four
Week Five
Final Thoughts
Map of Donegal
Picture Gallery
Castle Grove
Fanad Drive
Donegal Town
Malin Head
North to the Ocean
Sligo & Northern Ireland
St. Patrick's Day


                                                                                                                            Last corrected and/or updated on: 11/09/2006 

      Old Ireland                                                                                New Ireland   




I am spending the month of March, 2003 in Letterkenny, County Donegal, Republic of Ireland doing a software installation at the plant of a client of mine.


I started this journal to record my observations and experiences during this time, and to provide a means to share them with those who care to read it. I am also taking pictures of the things which capture my interest. Many of the observations below have pictures inserted relevant to the subject at hand. Clicking on the (P) indication will take you to the picture pages, and when you wish to return to the spot in the journal where you were, click on the "Back to Journal" link at the bottom of each picture or group of pictures. Of course, you can choose to ignore the pictures.


Some of the pictures are of subject matter which may seem peculiar to the reader, such as the group of doorways. (P). By way  of explanation (although none is really necessary, after all, this is my journal and I am just letting you in on it ) I am constantly entranced when I travel outside of the concrete, plastic and asphalt cities of North America how well used, well maintained and well established almost everything in daily life is, old or new. These doorways are, to me one of the best expressions of this. I also find signs and store fronts equally interesting for the same reason. I have seen this phenomenon of age and well established use and respect for what exists in almost every place I have visited outside North  America 


For instance, a number of years ago Marsha and I visited Kim in Istanbul, Turkey, where Kim was living at the time. On one of the excursions when Kim took us sightseeing to the wonderful and truly ancient places of interest she took us to the New Mosque, and the adjacent Egyptian Spice Market (which is a story all by itself). We were absolutely entranced to learn that the “New” Mosque is about 450 years old.


In the everyday lives of the people fortunate enough to live in these places, their world is history alive and well, and not in museums and dusty showcases.  The streets, buildings and public places echo with the voices of generations of users who have been there before and have gone about their business and lived their lives in these very same spaces. I had a similar feeling walking through the streets and alleys of the Old City in Jerusalem, of people having walked these same streets and alleys for literally thousands of years.


You will note that there are virtually no pictures with the people of Ireland in them. This is not by accident. While the faces and characters I have seen would fill their own book, I have a very strong aversion to photographing people as if they were on display for my benefit. There are times when you visit a place with a strong historic musical or other culture which may be mostly dead, that the people will actually put on a "show" for the tourists. The best examples I have seen are in Hawaii and Mexico. I feel so strongly about this that I will not even ask permission to photograph an interesting face or group. I know it diminishes the tale, but that's the best I can do.


 Enough philosophical rambling; on with the adventures of Al in Ireland.


Note – in some cases, for illustrative purposes, I have entered the traditional Celtic names for places. These will always be in brackets and in italics. My purpose in doing this is not to bore the reader to death, but rather to point out how the Anglicization of the Celtic language has had an effect on the culture.  









If these pages look weird and do not line up properly it is likely that your monitor is set to a non-compatible resolution.. To change resolution right click on a blank space on your desktop. Select Screen Resolution, click on the down arrow next to "resolution". In the drop down box select another resolution (it must be the right proportion and may need a couple of tries to find one that works)  then press ok.

Copyright Allan and Marsha Simmons, 2003 - 2013 All rights reserved

No copies of any photographs on this website may be made without the express prior written consent of Allan Simmons