Seventh Heaven

We’ve been driving, darlings, but I’m here to catch up! First thing you should know? Seventh Heaven. That’s the truth.  MUSICA 🍀☘🍀

We’ve driven hill and dale through small villages . . .

and little country places all clean and windswept . . .

in WEATHER, because it’s wild over here right now, just like it is at home!

Lots and lots of rain . . . and wind . . .

And sometimes some pretty scary fog . . .But Map Man has become such a good driver, despite the wrong side of the road and the wrong side of the car, there is no fear, much anyway, and onward we go! Cling to each other as rocks of gibraltar.

And no matter where . . .

. . . we go . . .

. . . the view is charming and sends your mind to the moon … think of that tree in the summer, what it must look like . . . see the bird at the top, and the lamb at the bottom . . . and those hedgerows? They’re growing on rock walls . . .

We drove across the Severn from England into Wales . . . where SO MUCH HAPPENED, but we will skip directly to our Girlfriend Carrie and her husband Stuart because we stopped to say hello . . .

Her darling new-to-her house by the side of the road . . . we had just pulled up, and they were outside waiting! Thank goodness for cell phones and GPS!

We went for a luv-lee walk to the top of a hill overlooking the village …

And those of you familiar with @CarrieHerself (on Twitter) will recognize her famous wonder-dog, Jack!

We could have walked and talked for days!

But I know what you want! You want to see Carrie’s house, right? I can do that, she told me so! Thank you Carrie! We both agreed, Petey fit right in!

Carrie’s adorable Beatrix Potter shelf. 💞

And the shelf in the bedroom she’d fixed up for us . . . I took this photo with my cell phone from the bed! You could stare at it for hours! So pretty, with sweet old books, pictures, and china.

We had tea in our jammies in the morning in very recognizable cups! This is one side of Carrie’s comfy kitchen . . .

And this is the other. Just love her colors, greens and blues, and daffodils! Notice fluffy white chick-magnet in basket on floor next to chair . . .

Here we are, up-close and personal with the chick magnet. 💞

A couple more photos . . . Here’s Carrie’s desk.

Every Welsh, English, and Irish family that lives in the country has mud in their everyday lives and needs one of these areas in their home.  We brought our Wellies with us and even though they take up space, we are so happy we did! We keep them in the car so we have them when we need them. May not always be mud, but tall grass is WET! And walking is such a wonderful pastime. If your boots are rubber you can walk right into river water!

And this crooked little house is just down the street from Carrie. I think she could start a magazine of her adorable village (but mostly of her house) called An Eye for Details. She’s trying to retire from the B & B in Oxford that she runs with Stuart, but I keep thinking of new things for her to do. 😘

They were so good to us . . . but all too soon, as with every good thing, it had to end, and we had to go!

I needed to stop on our way to pay my respects to someone who helped to make life fun when I was young. It was very touching to be there. Miss her! When she died so suddenly it was like a light was turned off. She went home to the wind and the sky of Wales that made her.💞

Laura Ashley’s grave is next to a field ~ I walked over to take a photos of these cavorting lambs kicking up their heels, saying, Spring! Life begins again! Then again, back into the car we went . . . and on the road again . . . to

. . . the top west side corner of Wales (loving every bit of Wales, what a wonderful interesting place it is ~ More! More! More! I’ll show you in the book), to Holyhead to catch . . .

. . . the ferry to Ireland . . . 🍀

Across the famously fearsome Irish Sea we went . . . intrepid brave travelers that we are . . .

It became clear very soon that we were going to get lucky (I’m the canary in the coal mine), that the Irish Sea was going to treat us like the big babies we are . . .(I am) …

It was gentle sailing the entire three hour trip . . .

But just in cases, we were ready. You can have your own room on the ferry, for not a lot of money, if you aren’t sure and taking no chances, would rather be seasick in private. You give them your car keys, and they give you the key to a room . . .

Perfectly wonderfully comfortable, you can lie down. It even has TV and a shower should you feel so inclined! This ferry goes night and day, does even longer trips, some people commute on it, so this room could come in very handy.

Two lounges, a breakfast room, video games  . . .

The good ship Epsilon goes places! Sails to France! Very tempting!

But we have a plan, and suddenly, thar she blows, our first glimpse of Ireland . . .☘ A place I’ve felt connected to from far away, a place we’ve always wanted to see. The first time for both of us.

The ferry lands about ten minutes from downtown Dublin . . . Joe set the GPS and boom, here we were.

In Dublin we met up with one of my oldest and dearest friends, Elaine (and Joe’s too ~ I met Elaine in California, she moved to the Island and worked with Joe at the Black Dog for a while). She flew in from California to hang around in Ireland with us (and help me celebrate my birthday in Dublin, which is what we proceeded to do) …. here we are at Trinity College. It was her first time in Ireland too, and she’s a Duffy and a Sullivan! 🍀

This is Elaine and me in the way-back machine, on a waterski weekend in California. You might remember Elaine from The Fairy Tale Girl … she hired me to work in the record department of Stereo West. (Fired me too! ⚡ But I deserved it so I forgive her!)

Here’s to old friends! All those years ago, who would have thought we’d be together in a pub in Dublin in 2018!?

And to add to the birthday joy of the moment, more darling friends, Rachel and Paul flew over from England to join us!

Paul, the proper English Gentleman . . . so cute!

Lowely and John sent birthday flowers to the hotel! Yes, verklempt! The card was all in “the Irish” (as John had requested), “Breithla Sona!” Happy Birthday! 

Of course, we did the “ring thing” at the restaurant on my birthday dessert. Everyone put their rings over my candle, and when I made a wish, they made one too, and when I blew out the candle, ALL our wishes came true. 💞 Then everyone had to suck the ice cream off their rings!

So Joe’s ring slipped out of his fingers and rolled into the restaurant, causing panic, everybody UP (I grab the camera!) … but we found it and all was well! It was, as they say in Ireland, “Graaand” ~ a perfectly lovely wonderful fun and funny evening in a very delicious restaurant called Peploes … I’ll put more photos in the book-to-come, I’m writing every day, but keeping up here is impossible, there is SO MUCH to tell you . . .  Joe gave me the most perfect antique thing he found in Dublin, I painted it already, I’ll put it in the book! MAS MUSICA!

And then, because time just refuses to slow down, Rachel got back to the clamouring fans of her Sugar Moon Brownies 😋, Paul went back to his law office 📚, and for us it was off again, on our trek across Ireland to our new house on Galway Bay, with Elaine tucked into the front seat . . .

This was our first glimpse of our new Bayfield House, just turning into the driveway and already madly in love with it . . . and since then . . .

Our neighbor has moved his cows into our field . . . we can see them out the living room window right this very moment, but these two photos are from the car window as we were pulling into the driveway . . .

I love them so much. Bunch of moms and their babies, a family. 💞 Ireland, I have learned in just these few days, is a place that seeps into your heart a little at a time, the more you read, the more you know the history, the closer you feel to these wonderful people and everything that’s happened here.  I’m writing every night and loving it. 

So right now, I have to stop, because Siobhan just arrived, and she, along with Elaine and Joe are looking at me, 👀 we have a reservation for dinner at a place just up the road. We are walking! Past the cows, and the rock walls, along Galway Bay! I have to go get ready. But what I’m going to do is come back later and add on. So read this, and then get ready for more later. Like a serial! XOXO

Here I am again!  Drinking my tea in this quiet house with the huge picture windows, watching the brown cows and the magpies waking up outside, and beyond the green fields and rock walls, the tide coming in on Galway Bay. More photos? Oui! MASS MUSICA? (This was playing in our car BBC while we were driving hill and dale in the countryside, past all the lambs and daffodils and I’m still not over it and never will be!) 

As I’ve been saying, the hiking and walking-pub-tearoom life is a lifestyle here. It’s easy to walk from one town to the next over narrow ancient paths, and there is always a public house along the way, so you never have to worry about food, drink, facilities, and warmth.

Very often there’s a crackling fire you can cozy up to . . .

While you flirt with nearby dogs.

The food, btw, is SO GOOD with a focus on freshness and health. I have a theory … Maybe it’s because they had that horrible event with mad cow disease in the late 90s that was killing people and was so difficult to stop that they were finally forced put down an estimated 180,000 animals in the British countryside ~ it had to be a horrible life-imprinting/changing event for everyone. Even from far away, I saw what was happening and hurt for all those farmers and their country neighbors. I’m not sure if the fine quality of pub food now has anything to do with that, this is just my own take on it, but I remember when people used to disparage British cooking, and it makes sense, because no one could every do that now! I think everyone would have automatically been made hyper-aware that you are what you eat, and now, everywhere you go, even in what seems to be the middle of nowhere, the food is fresh and organic and locally sourced.  Every ingredient is listed on the menus and we’re told it comes from such and such farm … every imaginable allergy is carefully watched over. Some menus are almost entirely gluten free! Unless you eat their yummy seeded homemade bread!  But in most places, you can order gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, vegan … any way you like it. 👍

So, yes, you walk and walk, then go sit in front of the fire and eat something wonderful . . .

And if you’re lucky, you’ll be in a pub with a view, and perhaps a little critter will come visit your window . . .

Could happen!

That view also included the cottage belonging to Doc Martin (of the much loved TV series) because we were in charming Port Isaac in Cornwall . . . the house is the smaller of the two grey-stone ones in this photo … we walked all over the hidden narrow paths between the whitewashed or stone cottages in this wonderful magical village by the sea.

I could really go on all day . . . but my people are waking up, they will be milling about soon and wanting me to move my hiney out of this chair.  But before I go, you should know there are daffodils EVERYWHERE. Whole roads are lined with them. I keep asking myself, “Who does this?”

And then there are the castle gardens . . . with massively old trees . . . and more lovely sheep to keep the grass cut and tidy looking , like a huge park.

Look at the expression on that one “hiding” next to the tree!

I got to pet my first lamb! But I don’t think it’ll be my last!

This is an amazing little village in Wales called Beddgelert . . . go there if you can, it’s in the Snowdonia National Park and as sweet as pie.

We walked over the bridge to have dinner, and came back after dark without the slightest light to guide us . . . except for our handy “torch” (flashlight) . . . and the cold river rushing by and stars overhead.


It has been wonderful so far, and this is just the tip of the great big emerald-green iceberg. More to come!!! You know we still have our picnic in Beatrix Potter’s Garden! And our house in the Cotswolds! We’ve only just begun!

But here comes Mother’s Day! And before I went away I designed a new crown! I’m giving you plenty of time to make it ~ it’s a crown project! Isn’t it adorable? Kellee put this one together for us ~ You can make it either with or without the band at the bottom, and use it for any day!

Click HERE for the How-To directions and to print out these papers . . . because

And very soon our Mother’s Day cups will ship from England! At the end of this week!

ALL of them are shipping. They have to get over the pond to America, then go through customs, then be trucked to the Studio, and then, finally, to you . . . we will be shepherding them from here, cracking that whip, fingers crossed that they make it to everyone for Mother’s Day 🌷 . . . And thank you so much for your patience! I have them all here with us, and they turned out beautifully!

And now look! Not to drive you nuts, which I don’t mean to do, but with the lateness of the Springtime cups, we are running into a log jam. (And as Siobhan says from her peanut gallery over on the sofa, “But the good news is you can have two cups at once!” She doesn’t realize that our cups runneth over!) Anyway, this may be our last collection ~ I feel like I’m taking up too much of your cupboard space! Maybe I’ll do another one for next Christmas? We don’t get home until July 1 and I wanted to make sure our Summer cups were designed and ready to go before we left home. They sent me the first samples when we were in Cornwall. They should be shipping from England around May 20 and probably from us at the Studio around the 2nd week of June, if all goes as planned 😜. This means, for those of you collecting, we will have all four seasons! So here’s a closeup of what is coming:

The collection would not have been complete unless we had a God Bless America cup! So here we go! Fireworks, bunting, flags and all!

The back, “Of Thee I sing!” I photographed them all in the backyard of the Cornwall house on the vintage tablecloth I bought for the Picnic! Perfect timing.

Here’s the side, and the Statue of Liberty . . . btw, I picked the little flowers from the lawn.

  Because even though we are traveling, cuteness matters!

Zee bottom, “Sea to Shining Sea.” And now . . .

SUMMER! (Will it ever really come?)

The Summer back, you can see the dog pulling the kite on the beach . . . This is the smaller 11 oz cup (like the other three seasons have been) as opposed to the rest of them which are large 16 oz cups. But they’re both that thin strong bone china we love.

Here’s SUMMER from the side so you can see the kite tail and read the rest of the quote…

And a little reminder while you’re drinking your tea to go play . . . they are not long the days of wine and roses! And next . . .

A celebration of the little things that make life sweet with A RED LETTER DAY!

Everything needed for a homemade happy life . . . your basic “How to be Happy!”

Here’s the side . . .

And the cheerful handle with dancing and singing cats!

And a little reminder on the bottom . . .

Next, behind door number four . . . the GARDEN . . .

With lots of wonderful old-wives tales gardening tips on the back to make it interesting . . .

Picket fence and humming birds!

And scattered flowers for the handle. Oops, I forgot to take a photo of the bottom! BUT I remember, there’s a red-handled trowel and it says, “You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt.” Truer words were never spoken! 🌸

And that’s the four for Summer! Kellee will put them in our web store for preorder within the next couple of days. I’m thinking of ordering a lot less of these, mainly because I fear that you are being inundated with cups! So, to be sure, if you want one, place your order, so I will know.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program! I’ll see you in a few days!

 We went to Cong here in Ireland, where much of The Quiet Man was filmed (see it if you haven’t already, it’s a guaranteed love-fest!). This photo was in the bathroom of the actual Pat Cohan Bar you see in the movie, and that’s where Elaine and I are sitting above. See what I mean? It’s never ending. More later! Have a wonderful marvelous magical day of joy and happiness  and good and delicious and healthy things to eat. XOXO 


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511 Responses to Seventh Heaven

  1. Janice B Smith says:

    Happy Birthday Susan!
    So glad to hear you got to spend it with dear friends, and in such a great place making so many memories…and that they got to travel in to spend it with you too.
    Your trip is wonderful and we all are loving you sharing it with us.
    Looking forward to more posts!
    Jan from Northern CA

  2. Delores Berg says:

    I am delighted that you are enjoying Ireland, a favorite place of mine to visit! Thanks for sharing your experiences as you travel! Hoping you are going to the Dingle peninsula as it is well worth a visit!
    While Ireland has rain, Sweden has bright sunshine and our warmest temps for this year, spring has arrived here in the far north!
    Happy travels among the lovely Irish!

  3. Wendy Olson, a thoroughly English girl living in Tustin, CA. says:

    I can’t tell you how happy I was to see your new writings! Been checking every day – and today has been a difficult day so this was the perfect day to see and read about your latest travels! Thank you Susan – you made a sad gal happy. Really quite the trip of a lifetime! And blessed that you are sharing it with all of us!!

    • sbranch says:

      I feel that, I’m so happy it helped your day . . . and here’s to many more better days ahead!

  4. Dee Ann says:

    Happy Belated Birthday Wishes!!! Thanks for sharing your travel adventures…loving ever word and photo…enjoy!

  5. Memarge says:

    Lovely! This includes the hypertext on Laura Ashley! I wish I’d bought some stuff in her store. I do believe she had one here in KC on the Country Club Plaza, but I could be wrong. I am a Duffy descendant too! Oh, keep these happy “notelets” coming! Love, Marge 🙂

  6. I especially enjoy the glimpses into your friends’ homes and your holiday homes. It helps provide a sense of place.

  7. Jo'L says:

    So happy that you got to celebrate your birthday in Dublin, you did good for yourself. Best of good wishes to you.

  8. Kelly from Walnut Creek, Ca. says:

    Happy Birthday wishes to you Susan!🎉🎂🎈

    Who needs postcards? Your blog and twitter postings are so luvlee! Thank you for taking all of us along. Can’t wait for the next posting.

    Safe journey and many happy returns for this bright, new and ‘possible’ year ahead in your life.

    All best wishes,


  9. Beautiful Susan! Sounds like the perfect birthday and how wonderful that your friends could be there to celebrate with you! Our Landlord lives very near to Galway. Like all the Irish he has the gift of the gab. I am really enjoying your travels via Twitter. Ireland is on my bucket list. Hubby has been a few times. I had my DNA done last year and I am 27% Irish, which was a huge surprise to me. But maybe not as I also have the gift of the gab! This next week we are supposed to get much nicer weather. Enjoy! xoxo

  10. dewena says:

    More cows please????? And more sheep and lambs!!! Cutest cows ever!! I was so glad to see your latest blog. I have been checking every day. Everything looks and sounds wonderful. You must be walking on air with excitement. Can’t wait for more. I am anxious to see more of Ireland. I recently found out I’m 59% English and 9% Irish so I feel so lucky to be along with you on your adventure. Thank you!! Happy Birthday to you from another April baby. Have fun and I will be anxiously waiting to see more. XOXO You are a sweetheart for taking the time to share all of this with us.

  11. Doreen Kinsman says:

    Am over the moon reading your scrumptious blog and viewing your fabulous photos!!. Can scarcely wait to join you on your Fine Romanc sojourn coming up so very soon, along with my NC friend Cathy!

    Belated Happy Birthday!!!! Fondly Doreen Kinsmanh

  12. Amy from Salem says:

    What a lovely way to spend your birthday. Your weather looks to be very much like that of Oregon. Looking forward to more adventures and I just love the photos you take.

  13. Jan Johnson says:

    I think you should title your book – “We Visited Heaven.” Really, I just ache wanting to go there, land of my ancestors – Irish on my maternal side. I have always been an anglophile since I was little. It is a treasure to see these wonderful sites. You have to get that book written fast!

  14. Judy says:

    Just Beautiful ! Daffodils are so lovely everywhere! I love the walking paths with pubs along the way so great ! We need to revamp our towns to include them eh?
    What a memorable birthday ! Savor the moment ! Oh keep the mugs coming never too much they are works of art . My fav are the seasons . I wasn’t able to get them all yet ,so don’t stop. Blessings on your travels! May surprises delight you along your way! ☘️☘️☘️

  15. Nicole Dube says:

    Yay! A serial! Like a blog miniseries!!! Branchton Abbey! I will be sure to tune in to every episode! I think we would all feel terribly depressed about the delay of spring weather if we were not able to binge read your blogs and tweets!! ❤ Thanks for cheering us up!!

  16. Carolyn Collins-Hunt says:

    Wow thanks for the update and it came on my birthday!! Present from Susan to me!!! Happy Birthday to you Susan and all April girlfriends! 💕. Thanks for taking us along! It is luv-ley! 😊

  17. rhea says:

    Its just perfect. You guys look so happy and are kind of professionals at this traveling thing. I was surprised by the food. I always thought it was heavy but clearly not – looks so good. Already excited to read your new book. Enjoy your time 🙂

  18. Bev Becker says:

    Good Morning from N. E. Ohio where we just had another snow storm. I see that you had some nasty weather on arrival but hopefully it will ease quickly into Spring. Seeing lambs and daffodils surely means Spring has arrived along with you and Joe. Lovely long post and pictures to whet our appetites for more as you travel along. Between writing, traveling, picture taking and visiting, you are amazing and I am truly grateful for all you do for us so we can share your trip along with you. Thanks Susan and a belated Happy Birthday. From Bev in cold U.S.A.

  19. Diane Patrum says:

    Now you’ve done it, Susan. All I want to do for the rest of the day (and it’s only 8:30 in the morning) is to stay in bed and swoon over your pictures, words and cups. What a positively lovely trip you’re having and I’m glad I’m coming along for the ride. Never mind my sink full of dishes or clothes to be washed…they can just wait while I have a leisurely time dreaming. Diane in North Carolina. ps…Happy Belated Birthday…mine was April 15th.

  20. Phyllis Bradd says:

    It’s wonderful to see the Fairy Tale Girl in Fairyland. When my husband and I were in Ireland we had several ‘encounters’ with the fae folk. Keep your eyes open for their special brand of welcome. They can be very helpful companions if treated with respect. Enjoy everything!

  21. Diane Byrum says:

    Hi, Susan, thought and prayed for you on your wonderful magical birthday journey. You make traveling so much fun and desirous. Loved Carrie’s house and particularly her guest room. I have a guest room “all things Susan Branch❣” it’s a room you would love and the girlfriends! I can send pictures sometime. As always thank you for taking us on your journey and all the time you take tp keep us posted. You are a love! Travel mercies and hugs for Joe! Happy BiRtHdAy!

  22. Sophie T says:

    Susan, you know how to make us dream… Now I want to go to England and Ireland, despite the rain! Those rural roads are so pretty, and you sure have access to wonderful interiors and incredible friends!

  23. SallyD says:

    Thank you SO much, Susan, for taking the time to share your trip with us!! I know it takes a lot of time and work, and we are all out here appreciating it so very much!! ENJOY!!! See you at the picnic!

  24. Linda says:

    I am on pins and needles waiting for the NEW BOOK! WAHOOOO!!!!
    I just love all of the photos you share with us! What a fantabulous place!
    Living the dream!
    Linda in PA

  25. Regina Carretta says:

    You are warming the pub benches, petting the lambs, and petting the daffodils, ahead of my trip in a month….I will be going to East Neuk near St. Andrews, Edinburgh, Galway and Dublin…..first time for all – why, even your “Raggamuffins” is on my Edinburgh city map! We can’t thank you enough for your blog….the photos , seeing your friends, peeking at your Cider, the books, the pub food, and reading your travel thoughts… you whet our appetite for your next book…..I always say to you, thank you for being our ambassador from the USA, of light, peace, art, color, friendship and heart!!
    Enjoy those cozy fires, walks, and pat an Irish dog for me….

  26. Jeannette says:

    Happy Birthday! I’m enjoying your posts. Oh my gosh..that brown bread in Ireland..mmmm!

  27. Tracy Batchler says:

    Susan…..I am SO enjoying getting to “travel with you”!!! Every detail….the little villages, the dogs in the pubs, the sheep on the hillsides, the old trees and rock walls! Happy belated birthday!!! I am glad some of your buddies got to be there and celebrate with you!!
    I am the nurse from Indiana that quit her job to work in a greenhouse. Well….I got the job and I LOVE it and the owners and co-workers are so nice! My son is even now working there and loves it! And then…..a strange “attack”….gallbladder or we don’t know for sure. In hospital for 3 days with pancreatitis (probably from a stone blocking the pancreatic duct.) Anyway…..I hope I am on the mend and what I REALLY wanted to tell you is that while I was in the hospital….I just kept thinking….”I wonder what Susan is doing and where she is today!” As soon as I got home….I got online to catch up… and your trip is a bright spot of each day!!! Soak it all in and I am so glad you are getting to do this!! Thank you for sharing it with us!! Living life each day to the fullest is where it’s at!! Love—Tracy

    • sbranch says:

      Hope you are better Tracy! Joe had his first gall bladder attack in November, got his gall bladder out, and it’s a new lease on life! But those attacks are very painful! Feel better soon!

      • Tracy Batchler says:

        Thanks Susan. They did not take my gallbladder out…because they think the stones may have passed….so I am very wary that I could still be in for future issues. But…for now…I will focus on eating healthfully and being happy and keep my fingers crossed! (I wish they had just gotten rid of it…so there could be no future possibility! Especially since we don’t NEED our gallbladders!)
        Glad Joe got his out before you went on this trip so that he can enjoy all the scrumptious foods you are trying! I am loving that you and Joe are having such a beautiful time. The look of delight and contentment on your faces is heart warming! Love–Tracy

        • sbranch says:

          Joe is thrilled that he is gallbladder-less now ~ being such a manly meat eater that he is. It’s a very popular surgery and I can see why. But your doctor must know what’s best for your case. I’m just happy you’re well! xoxo

  28. Charlotte Moseley says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! Love the photos of your wonderful trip. I’m more than thrilled you added a new Mother’s Day Crown. So pretty.

  29. ANN MEADS says:

    We have finally had a few sunny days here on the cape. I have enjoyed going on your journey with you.

  30. Debbie Boerger says:

    Gosh, how fortunate we are to have a Girlfriend who plans the trips (a daunting job, as well I know!), packs everything we will need, cooks and even invites the nicest ladies and gentlemen to share.

    Thank you Dear Lady,
    Debbie in Tampa….train sleeper to Chicago on Monday! EEEEE! Excitement. You are “to blame” for this idea! Then a week with the Boerger siblings in Chi Town…lots of eating and laughter.

  31. Michelene Thomas says:

    After reading your blog, I just had to get my journal of our trip to Ireland. Such wonderful memories. We arrived in Dublin to sunshine and 70° weather. We walked into Dublin city into our first little Shop and when we came out 20 minutes later , rain! Torrents and torrents of rain. Into another shop, out 20 minutes or so later to bright sunshine. Was like that most of time their. In Donegal we had snow showers . kind of like our weather here. I was told that spring snow made the peas sweeter. I hope you get to Bunratty Castle and dine in the castle at their Mediaevil feast. So much fun. And also , you must see Newgrange. Built before the great pyramids. Keep the tour going for us. And you will love Scotland. Have a wonderful and safe trip.

  32. Susie (Rocky Point, NY) says:

    Happy birthday Susan! A glorious post today! Charming, enchanting, inviting, warm and cozy and forever cute (cows/lambs/chairside doggies). Wow! Thank you (even though I am with you over there, I need to read what we are doing from over here!) I cannot wait to see what we are up to next. And those cups, beauties.

  33. Kathie Bee says:

    Wonderful blog. Love the new mugs! Where did you find the beautiful hearts table cloth? I am so excited for your new book, lovely talented lady!

    • sbranch says:

      We found it in Florida, at an antique store! Knew I would need it for the picnic and forgot to bring mine from home!

  34. Bev says:

    I am so sorry to say that I have just found you – Happy ‘belated’ birthday – all good people are born in April – mine is the 26th. I love the Quiet Man – my hubby and I watch it every March for St. Paddy’s day – love Beatrice Potter – love following your trip – so envious – would absolutely love to go there. Would love to go to your picnic – hope to see lots of pictures. Blessings and safe travels!

  35. Linda Miller says:

    Susan, I am reveling in all your journeys and photos! I am immersed in the English and Irish countryside….your excitement and joy is contagious. Such a lovely tribute to God’s green earth! Thank you for sharing all the fun along the way!

  36. I am loving traveling along with you. I am English and so enjoy looking at all the loverlee photos you take. I haven’t t visited England nearly enough. But your blogs are wonderful. Sorry the weather hasn’t been perfect,but that is why England is so beautiful and green . Can’t wait for your new book. It will be wonderful I know.

  37. Debby says:

    Sorry for the repetition, was wondering if you were going to publish any of the recipes that the girlfriends bring to the picnic. That would be a great book! I would buy it! I plan on staying up late to watch for tweets. I need pear cider, what do you recommend? Love going into the pubs with you. It’s almost like being there. This is so much fun! ❤️Debby

  38. Brenda says:

    This was so “grand” to read on a snowy day in Saskatchewan. Thanks for always sharing your travels with us.

  39. Patti Fitzgerald from Skippack, PA says:

    Dear Susan, what a great gift you are giving to us . . . . another book!!! I can hardly wait!! I knew that you would love Ireland, and best of all . . . the Irish love Americans! We visited in June of 2010, and were told that Ireland would love to be the 51st state! We had a week of gloriously beautiful weather, and the unending shades of green against the deep blue water and piercingly blue sky was enough to take one’s breath away. Lace curtains at the windows, sheep and lambs everywhere, entire families enjoying a meal and camaraderie in the local pubs, thatched roofs on whitewashed cottages . . . . almost too much to bear!
    You are living the dream, dear Girlfriend, and I am eternally grateful to you for sharing it all with us. God bless you and Joe, and may He keep you safe in your travels! xoxoxo

    • sbranch says:

      We were out at the end of n where today. On a wild and windy point stuck into the roiling Atlantic, investigating a rocky ruin there . . . oddly there was another car just leaving. By all rights we should have had it to ourselves, considering how remote this was. The man leaned out, said hello with an American accent and we got to talking . . . and believe it or NOT, because we still don’t, they were from Chilmark, in Martha’s Vineyard!!! We are still blown away by how impossible it was. Lots of Americans are here, but we never expected this! Living the dream is so true. Thank you Patti!

  40. Melissa Houston says:

    So lovely ~ I’m sitting here at school, eating my lunch, listening to the sounds of my girls on the playground and reading your blog is just like a lovely mini vacation! So excited you’re writing another book. I so love your books and I go back and look through them all the time. They are a feast for the imagination! Thank you for sharing your trip with us! Have fun and be safe!
    Love you!

  41. Marie says:

    This is a lovely post, Susan. I feel like I’m there with you. Jack is such a cute dog – my husband asked me to find out what breed he is? Enjoy Ireland and I look forward to reading more about your adventures. Marie x

  42. Cris says:

    What a week I had. Kidney stone, by fur baby died and my mother was hospitalized (doing well now) and those are just some of the highlights. Reading your blog always makes me smile and restores m soul. Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh dear. Those are the weeks we don’t need. Breathe. Blessings on you and your mom. And so sorry about your petty pet. xoxo

  43. Christie Levin says:

    Hoping your cottage dwelling time continues to fulfill all your Emerald Isle dreams. Hoping the overstuffed chairs ‘fit all your kinks’ and that a lovely purry Irish cat visits daily for a cuddle. Hoping that your new friends at the local pub are as warm as the cheery fire on your hearth. I know they will shower you with every good Irish blessing and then miss you when you ramble on. xoxoxo

  44. Oh…The Quiet Man! ” Why would a man go to Insifree?” I am so excited that you were there!!! On our bucket list. Thank you for a great post – and continue to have the time of your life !

  45. Susan Scott says:

    Happy Birthday dear friend! Of course we have never met, but we are kindred spirits for sure. A thousand thanks for taking us on your amazing adventure. Oh to be in Ireland, and THAT HOUSE! How cool is that!
    Take care and Happy Trails to you and Joe!
    ❤️ Susan

  46. Sue Michels says:

    Reading a blog from you just makes my day. This one was a surprise, because I know how busy you are enjoying your fantastic travels . Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing all this with us. Love the new mugs for summer, got my eye on the Red Letter Day! Happy Belated Birthday and enjoy your time in Ireland. I would love to go there, however, I’ll just have to wait until we can see it in your next book!!

  47. Vicki South of Arroyo says:

    How on earth with all you’ve got going on did you manage to give us such a long and delightful post here on the blog?

    One thing that stood out and I think you should do art around it: “Cling to each other as rocks of gibraltar.” I LOVE THAT.

    Also love: Carrie’s house and her shelves of wonderful things. I live in SoCalif with earthquakes so I can’t have stuff like that on a shelf unless it’s ‘nailed’ down with earthquake putty. I have shelf envy! Wonderful photo of you with the birthday flowers; a keeper. And, yes, we remember Elaine! Darling pix of the two of you in youth. I think “Paul, The Proper English Gentleman” looks like a movie star. Love “The Quiet Man” since I was a kid. And the cups, oh the cups, these next four, absolutely wonderful; you’ve outdone yourself; can’t wait!

    So glad for you; this wonderful travel; amazing trip. Thanks for writing to us.

  48. Diane from Poulsbo says:

    Happy Happy Birthday to you dearest Susan! I hope it was magical! I cant imagine having a better one than in IRELAND! Wow! Keep having fun!

    I couldnt find where to order the new mugs….and I want all 4 of them! I cant wait to get my new ones in May..!!

    I am so happy for you and Joe…what a Luvleeeee trip! 😊😍

  49. Andrea Tandler says:

    Love the summer mugs. The patriotic one is perfect. 🇺🇸 I pray we have something to celebrate this summer. I am so looking forward to your next book. I have a special shelf just with your books 📚 and the Martha’s Vineyard mug sits on top. Have a great trip. My grandmothers maiden name was Donovan so I am especially enjoying Ireland. Thank you for sharing with us, and belated Happy Birthday.🎈🎁

  50. Dixie says:

    Wow wee! So much to see and celebrate there. Lovely spring pictures.
    Happy Belated Birthday!

  51. Dewena says:

    Oh susan, I was so happy to see more of your blog this am. I think we must be related some how. My favorite tv show is Doc Martin and The Quiet Man is one of my favorite movies! Thank you. I love B. Potter and so your blogs can’t be more perfect. I just can’t believe we all have so much of the same tastes!! Love all these photo’s. Going now to see about preordering my new summer cup!!! Looking forward for more blogs and photo’s.This is going to be a brillant new book!!!! You are an angel. XOXO

  52. Debby Rickett says:

    Susan and Joe~
    So good to hear from you! Happy Birthday sweet Susan!
    I absolutely loved reading this blog! Every single picture and description. I’m feeling like I’m in heaven right there with you. You’re magic 🙂
    Waiting for the book with baited breath….. impossible to ever get enough.
    huggs and more huggs!

  53. Patricia Edde says:

    A very Happy Belated Birthday to you Susan. To be able to celebrate it in Ireland had to be the fondant icing on the cake. Although Ireland only makes up a smidgen of my DNA it is at the heart of my soul. I so long for long and wavy auburn hair, glinting in the sun as I stand at the edge of a craggy cliff listening to the waves crashing against the rocks (I overdo I know but I can see it so well). I can get get the red hair from a box, only not the right color, and my hair is too fine to perm into a wave so I’ll have to call it in and wait for my next life, but I do admit to walking around the house on occasion talking to Sam with an Irish accent. I wish I could afford to live somewhere in Great Britain.If I could I would be there faster than you could say “where have you been for so long”. Don’t get me wrong, I do love America but my soul belongs in one of those beautiful, quaint villages. Doc Martin, Midsommer Mysteries, Foley’s War, Father Brown and now Call the Midwives, you had me at “allo”. Keep living your dream and save it in a book for us to savor.
    Much love to you, Joe and Petey.

  54. Lori Hamilton says:

    Please order more cups! And design more cups! And make more cups……I just ordered the set of 3 as that was what I could afford (son getting married). I want the 11 oz. one so I hope there’s enough I can get it later. Now I want the summer ones but will have to regroup financially and order them later. So, long story short, I don’t want them to sell out!
    And thank you for the blog. The Quiet Man is my husband’s favorite movie so I’m going to find Cong and that pub now that I know where it is.
    I await your next missive, dear traveler(s)…….

  55. Beverlee Moreno-Ring says:

    Happy Birthday to you!!
    I was so happy to see your blog post arrive in my email and had to wait till all was quiet so I could savor it all. Loving all of your adventures, observations and joy. Looking foward to the book but before that your next blog post 🙂
    Have fun.

  56. Penny Harrison from Oceanside, C says:

    Another wonderful letter from you with such beautiful pictures!!! The chic magnet in his bed by the radiator all warm and toasty, the daffodils and more daffodils, the beautiful lamb you got to pet, the gorgeous cows in your garden, breath-taking views at every turn of the road – I am a “child” of Laura Ashley – visited a couple of her shops when we lived in the Netherlands – all of it, what a feast for my eyes and soul, at a low moment in life when I needed it – and then to top it off – more beautiful cups – I think this time it will be the July 4th and garden ones – we have a hummingbird nesting in one of our twinkle light strings on our patio luv-lee :-)Thank you Sweet Susan!!!

  57. Penny Harrison from Oceanside, C says:

    this goes with my comments above :-}

  58. Edel Mulligan says:

    Happy belated birthday dearest Susan from your number 1 Irish ☘️ fan. I’m sooo thrilled you’re enjoying your visit to the Emerald Isle. 40 shades of green await you. I hope you and Joe are noticing the contrasts in our country it’s small but the East is so different to the Western half and the same with the South and the North.. Kildare where I live has many stud farms and The Irish Derby 🐎 is held on The Curragh. Enjoy the rest of your trip. Safe travels and God Bless

  59. Danise Bailey McMillen says:

    Oh, friend I’ve yet to meet, I love, love, love seeing your adventures!!! My heart and face smile at each delicious image/memory…I have yet to visit England, but hope and dreaming will prevail! Ireland has been a realized dream twice now, and I long to return. Not sure if you have finished time in Galway City yet, but if not, try, try, try to get to a favorite spot; Cuppan Tae, the sweetest little tearoom I have ever seen. Trust me, you would love! Thanks for the memories!

  60. ~ Del Gato Gordo Y Descarado ~ says:

    You/yours keep looking progressively younger, smiling larger, seeming to be rejuvenating with each posting.
    On another note there are writers that use a tiny sized hand held audio recorders then ASAP have computer software process the audio/save it. Some artists/photographers use the set up to match the shot with ID notes/happenings. Just a thought like the Yaley Taky Wax “holding” your paint blocks to the paint tin…
    Thank you for sharing, it is appreciated, savored many times over. This blog is worldly educational, makes one reflectively aware of their surroundings and other going on’s.
    Happy Day, the cups look fantastic! And y’ all put away that “I fear that you are being inundated with whatevers” -misthought, let us, who truly knows our $’s & fluctuating levels of space, spouses temperament –do what WE do best…and cram more of our treasures in vs- wretched excess…. so fear not.

    • sbranch says:

      Now why don’t I know about that??? It might be too late, am held to pen and diary, but I LOVE the sound of that idea… such immediacy to the moment. You, as usual, are a doll . . . xoxoxo

  61. Carol says:

    Really enjoying following along with your journey, and can’t resist making another suggestion, though I’m sure you have researched enough. If you have a chance to visit Stoke-on-Trent in England, and especially the Burleigh Factory and Emma Bridgewater, where you can tour their factories, I think you’ll love them. My husband was very skeptical, but it turned out to be a highlight of our time there. Highly recommended!

    • sbranch says:

      We did that last time, and painted our own mugs! Was so much fun, Joe loved it too ~ I wrote about it in A Fine Romance!

  62. Mary/Indiana says:

    Loved Loved Loved…………
    Every picture and every story!
    Can’t wait for the Book!😍❤️😍
    I have asked for the Mother’s Day
    mug for my Mother’s Day Gift!

  63. Mary/Indiana says:

    So excited to hear about a new book, did not know! I love your trip and want to see and hear everything. What fun you are having…. 💕💕 Vergene Rodman

  64. Linda says:

    Happy birthday Susan ! So beautiful ! Thank you as always for sharing

    The goodness and Beauty and positive energy all around that you see
    Amd feel with all of us ! 🍀🌼💫🎉💕😊

  65. Kari says:

    It is so perfectly wonderful that you are in Ireland and celebrating many firsts together and with us! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing the most spectacular trip of a lifetime! True blue friends, blessings from near and far, and the good news on good food are sending us to save every dime and nickel for our own trip to Ireland some day soon. Lovely Joe, what’s in his bag? Beautiful Susan and the twinkle in your eye! Carrie, Rachel, Elaine, Paul, and Stuart, and the maps! You are all a wonder and a blessing! Happy Days and Love!! Kari

  66. OMG! I want ALL the new cups. They are again… wonderful! Thank you. Thank you. We can never have too many of these gems. Just grand!
    I know what will be on my list for Mother’s Day gifts, even as pre-orders.
    Looking forward to the rest of your traveling.

  67. Yvonne from Munroe Falls Ohio says:

    Happy Birthday🎈🎂🎉so glad your having a wonderful time thank you for posting them to all your fans luvvvvv your new mugs especially picket fence hummingbird safe travels keep writing

  68. Nadege says:

    Happy Birthday to you. Love, love, everthing you have
    posted today – especially Carrie’s house – she oughta have a blog!

    You really shouldn’t tease us with a promise of a new book, you know darn well WE CAN’T WAIT!!!! ❤️

    • sbranch says:

      Carrie does have a Blog … check it out … I forget the address, but go to her Twitter account (I linked it to this post) and it’s right there. (You don’t have to join Twitter to have a look around!)

  69. Of course, I am so enjoying following along and commenting via Twitter, but I do have one comment from this post… I loved your descriptions of walking from here to there and the public houses along the way with warmth, food, and facilities. One distinct memory from two of our days in Dublin is that there are NO public facilities. 😨 The one mall adjacent to St. Stephen’s Green has a pay facility on the top floor, which by the time we discovered it we were VERY happy to pay the fee for! Of course, there are tons of restaurants and they all have facilities, but you feel you must eat a meal there to use them… and with a group of 12 ladies, that would have been a lot of eating. 😋 😲

    • sbranch says:

      Oh nooo, terrible. We were there so short a time, we didn’t have time to find that. In general, we think the British bathrooms are the best! Joe even sometimes takes his camera (in there alone!) and I threaten to. Some have hand cream and wall paper and frilly curtains, like a bathroom in a home! But that’s a good piece of info for those traveling to Dublin!

      • You are absolutely right about that! The restrooms we did manage to find were really nice. In fact, I distinctly remember the one in the Kilkenny Shop across from Trinity College (Nassau Street, I believe) where we had tea (and coffee) in their mezzanine cafe. The ladies’ room had really beautiful fixtures, artwork, and decor.

        • sbranch says:

          I know, wallpaper, actual towels sometimes instead of paper or wind machine (and this is in a normal bathroom in a convenience store!) All too good.

  70. Judith says:

    Susan, I fully expect that darling little lamb to be in your purse! What a wonderful post, er posts. I do recognize that luscious Irish cream in those mussels…and I don’t know what is in the other bowl but I want it! When I was in Dingle with my sister a few years ago we had tea in a charming place by the sea, where they served the tea with “pouring cream”. It was the color of buttercups and the best thing EVER…someone MAY even have been sneaking spoonfuls of it! Loving “our” trip thus far, and really looking forward to the new book. XOX

  71. Joanne Conte says:

    Beautiful post, or as the Italians say, “Bella”!

  72. Lynn Marie says:

    Wales…the land of the Corgi’s origin and where my own dear Vanessa hales from. Do they still have lots of Corgi’s over there or have they migrated elsewhere? Legend has it that a Corgis is built so low to the ground so that the fairies can easily climb aboard as they carry them through the forest—don’t you just love it?!! Thank you for the lovely travelogue and photos–we are all living vicariously through you on your adventure.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, and you know I adore Corgi’s ~ just cutest things. Hug Vanessa for me!

      • FayE in CA! says:

        Thanks for giving me the vision of fairies riding through the forests on Corgis! Sweet.

        I will have to say that those fairies would be mighty brave because even though the Corgis are low to the ground, they would be GIGANTIC to the fairies. It must be the smiling Corgi faces that make the wee fairies feel safe enough to climb aboard.

        Pet your beloved Vanessa for me!

  73. Debbie Kuckuck says:

    Love your writing and reminders to observe the things around me!

  74. Sandi from the Cape says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! Cheers! I gave birth to my youngest on that day! Thank you for taking us with you! Can’t wait for the book, as each day I check my computer for words and pictures, but totally understand that it’s difficult for you to write, take photos when you’re supposed to be vacationing! Have lots of fun times so we can share with you! Love the new cups! They are wonderful. If I had a ton of money I’d get them all and fill my cupboard with such cuteness! Safe travels and blessings to you both!

  75. Karen Lotito says:

    Hi Susan! What a wonderful blog! And a very Happy Birthday to you! All the best of health and happiness and wonderful things to you! Ahhh, the castle on the hill – Ed Sheeran sings about it and how he “can’t wait to go home”. You can see why! I think the food over there is lovely and the whole idea of afternoon tea is something that our forefathers should have made an American tradition all those years ago. If you see the sun, tell her to send her rays across the pond! Happy travels! Love, Karen xoxo

  76. Sarah says:

    No matter what’s happening in my world, your posts make my heart sing! Thank you!

  77. May Ruth Kaardahl says:

    I love the 4th July mug. Where can I buy one?

  78. Donna Wilder says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!! I live for your posts as they take me away from our bleak, wet, grey Long Island landscape to worlds bursting with promise. We are all traveling vicariously with you and loving every magical moment as we pet lambs, drink tea, breath in the wet grass, yellow daffodils and every sweet Spring fragrance.

    • sbranch says:

      You have described it perfectly, “bursting with promise” — the bluebells are beginning to bloom!

  79. Darlene Westmoreland says:

    Anne in Maine – Happy Birthday Susan!!! You just made my day marvelous, magical and joy filled with this post!!! EVERYTHING about it was wonderful. I LOVED Carrie’s house. My eye went right to the painting on the shelf in the bedroom of the little girl about to knock on the door. I have that exact little painting! It’s my favorite. I imagine all kinds of magic going on behind that door when it’s opened. I have found another kindred spirit in Carrie. I so enjoy being on this magical journey with you, Joe and your friends!
    P.S. Jack is just darling! Must be a “Jack thing”!
    Hi Darlene!!

    • sbranch says:

      Silly Blog Gremlins messing with us again! Sorry Anne and Darlene! Good that you overcame the way you did! It’s a Jack think alright! xoxo

  80. Kim Young says:

    Susan, As with everyone else many thanks for taking the time to show us so much. You love the things many of us love and that’s such a wonderful thing!
    Can’t you just feel the country sinking into your heart and bones !?
    Since our trip to the UK in September, my heart just yearns for blustery hill tops, lambs, hedge groves,Pimms and all that came with it. Travel is truly life changing. I don’t know how you are doing all that you are, but we love it, Thanks again.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I can feel it sinking in. As we drive, it crowds itself into my heart and it’s not going to be easy to leave. Happy to have you Kim!

  81. Nina says:

    Hi Susan! SO glad you had a day of sunshine in Ireland!!!! The greens and the blues are so beautiful…it’s almost as if they aren’t of this world. I was curious. With all of the wet and wild weather…did you take advantage of all of the Irish wool and buy yourself any new sweaters or scarves? You have such a unique style. I always love seeing your purchases. So sorry..there’s my nosey streak at work again. Anyway, I finally understand why the bar soap is named Irish Spring……just like yours …it’s bracing, fresh and cleanses the soul. Happy Travels:) ox Nina

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, so far I have purchased five hats!!!!! I know, but I can’t help it. And scarves, and my girlfriend Elaine gave me a white wool shawl made on the Aran Islands. The wool stores are everywhere near where we are. Thank you Nina!

  82. Lynn Barlow says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan—may all your birthday wishes come true! While in the UK on vacation in 1992, my English hubby and I drove to Holyhead for the ferry to Ireland. No private cabin for us, we stayed in the lounge. Hubby declared the Irish Sea a millpond that day, and on our return sailing, compared to the many days of rough waves he experienced on a Royal Navy frigate when he was stationed in Ireland during part of his 7-year service.

    • sbranch says:

      We have to go back that way next week and our fingers are crossed for the same sort of millpond!

  83. FayE in CA! says:

    Beautiful Blog postings…thank you. Haven’t heard Girlfriends complaining of the cold and rain ⛅️☔️⚡️👢so I guess all suitcases were packed to provide for all weather conditions…good job, Girlfriends!

    The postings are insightful, beautiful, charming and a gift to all of us.

    When a camera is taken on trips it is amazing that the shoot button doesn’t wear out‼️‼️ The camera is such an active companion and wants to see everything, too. Susan, you and your camera have a great partnership. Both of you have great eyes for unique settings, architectural splendor, Nature’s beauty, food and beloved faces of both four legged creatures and life-long friends! Thank goodness for digital cameras that allow unlimited photo-taking…unless, of course, one forgets to carry an extra camera battery on all outings to replace the inevitable dead battery!

    Beautiful new cups…evidence of the extra push of hard work before you left home. We thank you! I definitely vote for one more Christmas cup…Santa Joe Claus is lonely without Susan Claus on the shelf next too him! Perhaps a cup with the two dancing to celebrate another wonderful Christmas season. A fine china duo to help us sip whatever before holiday fires.

    I love that you put dancing/mewing cats on the Red Letter Day cup…beyond cute and whimsically fun. The summer season cup is delightful…think it comes with salt air and sea splashes…maybe sunscreen!? Each cup in this new collection is delightful. 👏👏👏

    Your life is a daily birthday gift…and a gift that is treasured by you and everyone who cares about you. Continued joy opening up each day on your amazing journey together.

    FayE in CA! 💚💚💚

    PS: There aren’t many marriages that share the in-sync interests that you and Joe share. You are both on the same pages in your lifes’ journeys. You are both blessed beyond belief.

    • sbranch says:

      I got the 2019 calendar done before we left too . . . time did not stand still, and now it’s all done and no worries for me! FayE, you are such a doll, thank you for your kind words. I feel the same way. Joe and I communicate without words, the joy I feel in the sea wind off Galway Bay is written all over his face! Love you dear. xoxoxo

  84. Sharon says:

    Such a delight to see your pics and hear your adventures! Thank you for the update about the Mother’s Day cups…pansey’s are my mother’s favorite and I thrilled to hear she should be receiving hers in time for Mother’s Day.
    I was also tickled to hear about the great fresh food on your trip. As I’m a vegan I’m always curious about non-animal food options when I travel and it sounds like Ireland has lots of choices.
    We’re seeing lots of lambies here is southern Pennsylvania too right now…those waggy tails when they feed <3!! Baaaa!!!

    • sbranch says:

      They stuff every vegetable then put a sauce on it and a smattering of pomegranate seeds or toasted pumpkin seeds or pine nuts. It’s a festival for the mouth!

  85. Karen Stefanelli says:

    Happy Birthday Susan, what a delightful way to celebrate! This trip looks so beautiful, with so many little cozy places you have tucked into! I am sure your creative mind is brimming over . I am hoping your time there moves slowly so you can take in everything! Again, looking forward to all the adventures you are going to share with us. The countryside, the animals, the villages, just lovely! Could it be any more charming? (Sigh)

    • sbranch says:

      Brimming over. I have to stop sometimes, to take stock, because it’s all so very beautiful, connective, and meaningful and a jillion ways. I am dragging my feet to stop time but I don’t think it will work.

  86. Diane V. says:

    I’m sooo jealous!! Your pictures are lovely! Thank you.

  87. Lynne Pennoyer says:

    Oh my, I’m in love with your adventure! What a fabulous journey…can’t wait for your book😎

  88. Sally Gainer says:

    Happy Birthday on the 13th
    So may memories come to mind of our visit to Ireland. I climbed every castle we saw. Beautiful country and the people are so special. We only had two weeks but we saw all we could, staying in private homes.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you, Sally, it’s the 12th, but I’ll take the 13th as part of birthday week, and month, all good! xoxoxo

  89. Pat V says:

    I hope you find a cozy pub with Trad music while you are in Ireland. Enjoy!☘️🎻

    • sbranch says:

      We’re going to one tonight, big plans! We’ll see if we get there ~ two more friends have joined us so we are now five, we are like herding cats, but having the BEST time, laughed until we cried last night at a video we made for another friend back home (girlfriend Lowely). Not because it was funny, but because it was so extraordinarily bad of EVERYONE, all of us talking at once. Like for instance, me, I had the camera . . . so because we’d finished dinner, I wanted to show Lowely how GOOD it was, I showed our empty plates (closeup). Lowely is a wonderful cook, she would expect a little wonderful food in the photo, but no, empty plates with still bits of food clinging to them. We didn’t really SEE how ridiculous this looked until she wrote us back, telling us tears were streaming down her face . . . then we looked at it again, this was just the beginning! We all fell into a laughing fit. Felt so good!

  90. Winnie Nielsen says:

    What a fantastic trip you and Joe are having!! I love all the photos about the many adventures that you have been on. that new house in Ireland looks pretty off the charts fantastic and I can’t wait to hear more about life there in a future post.

    I too got to visit and spend a few days at Port Issac( do Martin’s Port Wenn) and it was the best ever! Their pastis for lunch down by the shore as the tide comes in was a memorable afternoon. We also ate several times at the Red Lion Inn along with the locals and their dogs. There is such a sense of community, friendship and welcome at this old pub. I would go back to that place and spend more time in a heartbeat~! Just hiking up the hills and watching the surf never gets boring or tiresome.

    The new mugs are GREAT!! I do love all the new designs and beautiful colors.

    Enjoy your stay and I look forward to hearing more about all of your adventures on the Emerald Isle. I would also like to mention that our trip to the Adriatic coast of Italy was wonderful. It is where few tourists go and the small towns are beautiful and full of history and WONDERFUL FOOD!!!

    Till next time, I am looking forward to what happens next from that fantastic home you are currently staying at!

    • sbranch says:

      That pub! Our tiny table in front of the teeny weeny fireplace was so cozy, so warm, so filled with history, people so nice. We loved it too. Yes, even walking back to the car is an adventure on those windy alleyways between the cottages.

      • Par V says:

        I am about to take my fourth music tour of Ireland. Just can’t get enough of the talented local musicians!
        Wonderful country, loved Scotland too but spent a week in my hotel room in London with a ruptured Achilles’ tendon. Really a bummer to miss the tour of England.
        Enjoy the rest of your trip.

  91. Barbara in Kingwood, TX says:

    Happybelated birthday!

    Here’s my contribution to musica…..a wonderful song, Galway Girl by Steve Earle. Love the mandolin.

  92. Kim Carter says:

    Happy April Birthday Susan! I believe you and I share the same birthday….April 12. I am so enjoying reading about your adventures! Keep ’em coming and safe travels to you and Joe!

  93. pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

    Hello and good morning Susan and Girlfriends, Happy Belated Birthday wishes. sorry I haven’t around too much, been busy out in the barnyard. we have had rain, snow and then sunny weather for weeks and finally it looks like we are warming up. hope so as I am tired of digging trenches around the henhouse to keep the water from flooding the henhouse. Ed keeps promising to remedy that problem by digging out the floor (its a dirt floor) and replacing it with a concrete one, and putting a drain in the middle to keep it drier in there, but so far no new floor… time for some “Lucy tactics and antics” (shades of I Love Lucy) to get the floor done. I sure would appreciate it, keeps the henhouse nice and dry during the winter and gets rid of the mouse problem. and yes we are having our annual invasion of the little rodents thanks to our obnoxious neighbor. however there is good news on that front, the county is finally hearing u and our complaints and doing something about the problem. as of March 27th he was sent a 60 day notice to clean up his property, remove the illegal structures and R.V’s, evict the transients and bums and in general he got his court date to appear in court to answer as to why his property has been such a source of trouble over the years. in addition, if the county has placed a lien on his property to cover the costs of cleaning it up in case the county has to do it ( which may be in all likely needed.) and the property will be monitored by the county for 3-5 years to be sure it does not happen again. so far we have seen no improvement on his part to clean up the property, except for some trash removal. but the rest remains the same. this time he could lose it all… and I hope that he does. good riddance to bad rubbish. back to the barnyard, all is well with the new peeps, they are feathering nicely and growing like weeds. and as happy as little grasshoppers when we let them out in the backyard to run around and “graze” the new grass and chase bugs. soon they will be big enough to put in the main pen and henhouse and join the flock. and Jake is going to be busier than a one-legged man at a rump kicking contest. we are also borrowing an incubator to hatch out some duck eggs and get that flock up to speed. like I said earlier, going to be a busy season in the barnyard this year. wonder if the farmers in Ireland are as busy as we are. any news yet on the impending royal birth???? any details???? have a wonderful day, and weekend. hugs to all….. 😀

    • sbranch says:

      No news on the royal birth, but we have four darling baby cows outside our window right now and you can almost hear spring popping out there. Happy spring to you Pat!

      • mary spring says:

        …good morning everyone !!..royal baby three is on the way !!..Kate Middleton has been admitted to the hospital !!..

  94. Kathy Griffith says:

    So enjoy your blog. Another blogger recommended your books for fun reading and I purchased two and found myself enjoying the read.

    I like so many of your fans have stated, it is fun to look forward to your updates on your travels. We have been to Scotland and now really thinking about Ireland.
    Best wishes for your enjoyment on this adventure.

  95. Carla Ludwig says:

    Oh my goodness, you are living my dream and you are right, it looks like heaven!! I am so excited that you went to Doc Martin’s Village, how fun! Happy Belated Birthday Susan!

  96. Dawn from Rhode Island says:

    Laura Ashley — I share your reverance. These blog posts are treasures, so heart-felt and full of delightful details. Thank you!

  97. Patsy says:

    Happy, Happy Birthday, Susan. I have but one word for this blog entry….MAGNIFICENT! Loved every word. Thank you.

  98. Lucinda Watson says:

    I am loving your “trip blog”! In your friend’s kitchen, I spied my Grandmother’s China, “Pomeroy”, by Royal Doulton. This made my heart happy! Keep on enjoying your trip….I am envious. Lucinda

  99. Angie says:

    Oh my, you outdo yourself EVERY time. How darn cute are those lambs? I want one. So much to enjoy — a BIG thanks for taking us along. Happy Birthday.

  100. Loving everything your seeing, thanks , I watched Miss Potter last night, reminds me of all your treasures.. thanks again 🚗

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