Monday, 17 April 2017

Book Blog Tour: Uncharted by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred...


Welcome to the book tour for Uncharted by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred.

Title: Uncharted

Author Name: Justine Alley Dowsett & Murandy Damodred

Page Count:  344 pgs.

Genre(s): Fantasy, Romance, Historical, Comedy, Adventure, Swashbuckling, Polyamoury

Release Date: April 17, 2017

Follow the Tour:



About the Book:

Fated to be a Priestess of Saegard, Meredith dreams of leading a normal life with a family and a home of her own, something she’ll never have if she swears her life to the Order.  A chance encounter with a stranger in the sacred Celestial Chamber sends her previously well-ordered life into a tailspin of adventure and mayhem as she is blamed for the theft of a legendary artifact. 

Now a fugitive, Meredith must join forces with Captain Reginald Lawrence, the son of the man who initially brought her to the Temple, and his enigmatic business partner, the charming yet at times infuriating, Grey Rhodes, to find the Celestial Bowl and clear her name. From the cosmopolitan capital of Saegard to the coast of Ismera and back again, Meredith’s journey will reveal the true nature of her past, present, and ultimately, her future.


Guest Post: Writing Uncharted Together by Justine Alley Dowsett

Murandy Damodred and I wrote our fantasy / romantic comedy novel, Uncharted, together. This is not our first co-written novel. In fact, it’s our fifth, so we’ve got a system worked out for how we do it.

First we split up the characters:
Since we write primarily romance, our stories have at least a male protagonist and a female protagonist, so for Murandy and I what works best is to divide the characters by gender. Murandy tends to write the female main character or characters and I write the male ones. This way, we split up the work and while writing, it’s easier and more interesting to have conversations with each other.

For Uncharted, that’s Meredith as the protagonist and Reginald and Grey as the lead male characters.

We discuss the story and the world and decide where we want to start:
Generally speaking, any planning we do as far as coming up with the concept of the story and who the characters are has been done before this point, but now that we know who’s who, we can flesh things out. We bounce ideas off of one another to decide where the story begins and where the inciting incident is.

In Uncharted, we started with the prologue. We wanted to show the moment that sets Meredith on her journey, as that journey was going to be central to the plot.

I set the scene:
As the narrator, it’s my job to describe the setting and to set the scene for the character(s).

From the prologue of Uncharted:

Noiseless on slippered feet, Meredith darted swiftly to the oversized double doors of the Celestial Chamber. She glanced once quickly over each shoulder to make sure she was still alone in the Great Hall before she gave the wide gilded handle a tug and felt the latch give way. With a grimace of effort, she pulled the heavy door open just enough to allow herself to squeeze into the chamber beyond.
Expecting darkness, moonlight dazzled her senses. The silvery light pooled in the middle of a wide and perfectly round central platform, serving to bring focus to the reason for this room’s existence: an ethereal-looking blue bowl lined with silver and filled with glittering water.
The Celestial Bowl beckoned to Meredith from its place on the solitary stone pedestal in the centre of the chamber. The sound of rushing water from the underground river that surfaced briefly in this room filled her ears as she let the heavy door fall quietly shut behind her.

Murandy decides what her character is thinking, doing, or saying:
In response to the information I’ve given her in my description of the scene, Murandy decides what happens next based on her character’s motivations.

I shouldn’t be in here, a small voice in the back of her mind reminded her, even as she took a step toward the glittering artifact. It’s only that I just can’t help but question if this life is for me. I want a family, a home…and a husband. I owe the Order for what they’ve done for me, but if I stay here and become a Priestess, I can’t have any of those things.
If I can just have a look at my destiny tonight, then maybe the path I should take will become clear. Besides, she countered the nagging sound of her conscience, if I wait until tomorrow’s ceremony to see my future, it will be too late to change it. 

I let her know how the world or the characters around her react:

Her decision made, Meredith closed the distance between herself and the bowl with purpose, crossing the small, railless stone bridge spanning a gap over the rushing water beneath. As she neared the bowl, she kept her eyes fixated on the calm, reflective surface of the water within, not wanting to chance missing even the slightest bit of whatever vision it might grant her. Moonlight glinted off the silver interior of the bowl, making the room seem brighter than it actually was. As if in a trance, she lost herself in the beauty of the dancing light and that was when she saw it.
A man, no…only his torso, wearing a dark grey suit coat buttoned over his left breast. He stood with pride in his bearing, but beyond the grey coat and a single purple flower in his lapel the image cut off at the neck and didn’t show his face. Meredith leaned forward, trying to get a better angle.
The vision, if that’s what it was, continued and she saw herself from behind, unmistakeable with her lengthy waves of chocolate brown hair cascading over the hood of her light grey Priestess cloak. The vision of herself flung herself at this man and his arms reached up to hold her. Engrossed now, Meredith leaned directly over the bowl, determined to get a glimpse at the face of her mystery man when the image in the silver-lined water abruptly disappeared. 

And so it goes:

Back and forth, the action and dialogue unfold as control of the scene is passed between us. And when one scene ends, we repeat the process, deciding where to start, setting the scene, adding thoughts, actions and dialogue, and responding. This is what works for Murandy and I, but there are lots of ways to co-write and divide the work. The trick is to work with someone you can rely on, trust, and generally get along with because co-writing takes a lot of compromise and being on the same page.

Read an Excerpt:

The door to her ‘room’ on The Clover was just as she remembered it, although it seemed much smaller now that she was older. No larger than a water closet, the addition on the backside of the Captain’s Quarters that had been built for her was still there as though, after all this time, it was waiting for her return.
Reaching for the small brass ring that served as a handle, Meredith pulled the half-sized door open and was dismayed to find that there was no way she’d fit inside the small space. It was filled to the brim with all manner of junk. Tackle boxes, rope, a crate filled with empty bottles, and a pile of soiled linen; her ‘bedroom’ had been repurposed into the ship’s dumping ground.
This is my room. For no reason that she could fully articulate, Meredith felt indignant. Even if it’s been more than ten years, it was built for me and I’m taking it back! The irrational desire to re-stake her claim on something that hadn’t been hers for a decade took over and she grabbed the nearest thing to her and turned with purpose, ready to hoist a crate filled with empty liquor bottles over the railing and into the water below.
“Whoa, hold on just a minute!” Captain Laurent’s son grabbed hold of her arm before she could gain the height she needed to throw the crate overboard.
His noble friend, minus his navy suit jacket now, stood just behind him, almost as if staying out of her range. His white shirt was nearly clean, though she could see where brownish grey stew coloured the frills of his collar. Meredith felt only slightly guilty about her little ‘outburst’. He deserved it…he’s a jerk.
“No,” she stated, imploring him to listen, “you destroyed my room and I’m taking it back. It’s the only home I ever really had.”
“Your…room?” A light went on behind the young Captain’s eyes. “That’s why it had a bed in there…I always thought it was a dog house. Didn’t know why my dad would’ve wanted a dog aboard a ship, but he was always doing all sorts of foolish things.”
“Like taking in strays?” Meredith demanded, arching a brow disdainfully in his direction. “Is that what you’re implying?”
“Ah, no!” Reginald’s eyes went wide, his hands going up in a defensive fashion. “No, of course not! My dad was always winning strange sorts of stuff in poker tournaments. He was gambler.”
“Are you now implying that I was bought or won in a card game, like some sort of…child slave?”
His eyes bugged even further out of his head, if that was possible, and his cheeks flushed. “Ah…no…I mean…you weren’t, were you?”
“Of course not!”
“So now that we’ve established that you aren’t a stray dog or a child slave,” the noble interjected in a no-nonsense tone of voice, his grey eyes dark, “do you mind telling us who you are and what you’re doing here?”
Meredith fought the urge to laugh because the bit of mushy carrot in his hair was so at odds with his expression.
“I am here because I need passage out of Saegard. I fell in the water, got drenched, then walked here during the night. I was cold, wet, and badly bruised…from my fall. No one was around on deck, so I thought I would warm up inside. I took my clothes off to dry so I wouldn’t catch a cold and I used the silks because they were all I could find. That’s when I fell asleep. And I would have told you all of that, if you weren’t being such a jerk!”

Grab Your Copy:



Meet the Authors:


Justine Alley Dowsett

From obtaining her BA in Drama at the University of Windsor to becoming an entrepreneur in video game production and later, publishing, Justine Alley Dowsett's unswerving ambition has always led her to pursue her dreams. She lives in Windsor, Ontario and dedicates her time to writing and publishing fiction novels. When not focusing on growing her business, she enjoys role-playing with friends and developing new ideas to write about.

Murandy Damodred

With a background in Drama and Communications from the University of Windsor, Murandy Damodred enjoys fantasy fiction with strong romantic subplots. She is an avid role-player and is happiest when living vicariously through her characters. Though she'd rather think of herself as the heroine of her next novel, in the real world she is an expert in sales and management living in Windsor, Ontario.

Connect with the Authors:








Enter the Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway





Monday, 10 April 2017

Writers Living Right…

I'm ready for my walk!
Writers are mostly on their butts doing what they love to do, but our bodies were made to move. I used to write first thing in the morning to get my word count, but as the day blossomed, exercise went on the back burner. So I kick-start my day by either doing free weights, abdominal exercises, and push-ups, or riding on my stationary bike for 25-30 minutes. There’s an added bonus for exercising on the bike—I can read from my TBR pile!

Once the exercise routine is done in the morning, I feel recharged and ready to start the rest of the day writing, planning, marketing, or promoting my books. I still try to get up and stretch every 30-45 minutes, and then there’s my faithful companion—a spoiled yellow Labrador—that insists he be walked every day at 2 pm sharp. That’s non-negotiable.

Another healthy lifestyle tip for writers is to take breaks throughout the day. The truth is—we all need to periodically step away. We skip breaks in the name of “getting one more page written,” but when we don’t break from our work, our productivity suffers. We lose focus. We start making small mistakes and even forget things altogether. Our bodies have a natural ebb-and-flow response to stress that allows us to work hard and then relax and recover. The problem comes when we chronically trigger those responses. We become all flow and no ebb, and you can only cheat the system so long before it becomes counterproductive. Set a timer if you must, or download an app that will remind you to pull away from your task, but for the sake of your health, give yourself a break!

Your friendly reminder...
Want another reason to rest and recharge your writing muscles? I find if I overuse my computer mouse—whether writing a novel, editing, blogging, or engaging in social media—my wrist starts to throb. Then I know it’s time to put on a wrist brace, and rest my hand as much as possible. Or switch up and use my other hand! Eye strain happens more when I’m revising and proofing. Sometimes I use an eye patch to give my sore eye a rest. The one thing writers don’t want to screw around with is the health of their eyes. So take frequent breaks when proofing or editing. Your eyes will thank you. The key for me is that as a writer, I’ve learned to listen to my body. I stop if it hurts. I rest. Stretch if I need to release the kinks. It’s pretty much all common sense.

One more thing. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Your body needs lubrication. Water massages your major organs, flushes toxins from your body, increases energy and relieves fatigue. And if that wasn’t enough to get you periodically up out of your seat to go grab a glass or bottle of water, drinking enough water can also help with weight loss. A bonus for any writer who doesn’t want to drag around that secretarial spread behind them. So, drink to your health, and bottoms up!

What do you do to recharge your batteries throughout the day? How often do you take a break? If you’re a writer, what are you doing to promote health and well-being in your life? Would love to read and respond to your comments! Cheers and thank you for reading my post! 

Monday, 3 April 2017

Guest Post: YA Author Leigh Goff is Brewing Something Good...

Fans of Leigh Goff's witchy-world will be thrilled to learn that she has signed a contract for another witch-centric book through Mirror World Publishing. Exciting news, and congrats to Leigh! So without further ado, I'm very happy to introduce you to Sophie Goodchild, the heroine from Disenchanted, a wonderful fantasy written by the talented author Leigh Goff.

Thank you for coming out today, Sophie. I won't take much of your time. Please tell us how old are you?

I just turned sixteen and what a crazy ride it has been since my birthday. My magic was always less than expected and hard to control. My Aunt Janie thought my ordinary half was affecting my spellcasting witch half, but I recently learned that my diamond bloodcharm, a gemstone pendant from my mom, enhances my magic, and it has really made a difference in my spellcasting, but don’t tell anyone! I have a surprise in store for my coven.

Are your parents alive? Are they married? Are they divorced?

Sadly, my parents passed away when I was a small child. I have some memories of them, especially sitting on my mother’s lap and the warmth of her embrace. Their deaths haunt me because I have a feeling the mystery surrounding what happened has something to do with black-hearted Judge Mather. He is the father of the guy I’m falling hard for, but he is an unethical man who stops at nothing to get what he wants. He’s locked up half of my coven’s witches for magical slip-ups, and I fear he had something to do with my parents’ deaths.

If you were sent to a deserted island what three things would you take?

My godmother Phoebe’s sugared pansy petals because they are delicious and they melt in your mouth. I would bring my red diamond bloodcharm for sentimental and practical reasons. It belonged to my mother and it enhances my magic, which would come in handy on a deserted island. I would also include my hot boyfriend because he’s fearless when danger is near and that’s been a lot lately.

Do you have a hidden talent?

I can make a mean purple spaghetti sauce. It requires purple tomatoes and pink Parisian garlic along with a few special herbs from my Aunt Janie’s enchanted garden. I cast a simple puree spell on it to blend the ingredients together and it’s delicious.

Do you consider yourself and introvert or extrovert?

I’m an introvert. I’m not sure if being an introvert is my true nature or from a habit of keeping secrets and trying to blend in. The ordinaries in Wethersfield, a small Connecticut town steeped in Puritanical history, just can’t handle witch magic, so it’s best for everyone involved if we keep our talents hidden and being an introvert helps.

What is your idea of a perfect day?

A perfect day would be a day full of swoony kissing with my forbidden boyfriend, Alexavier. He’s an ordinary and a Mather. In case you don’t know your American history, the Mathers played a big role in condemning witches to hang in New England. Alexavier is a descendant of the man who condemned my ancestor, Rebecca Greensmith to hang at Gallows Hill so I get that he’s forbidden, but his bad boy ways and his hot British accent are so irresistible. Plus he’s hiding a secret that I just have to know. Did I mention he’s tall, dark-haired, and has lips that taste like sun-ripened peaches?

If I asked you to write an entry in your journal what would it be about?

A journal? I’ve been trying to unlock entries from my ancestor’s enchanted journal from three hundred and fifty years ago. So if I had a journal of my own, I might want to repay the favor and write something down that would help my descendant sometime in the future.

Tell me something no one else knows about you?

I love living in Wethersfield. It’s a small town, but I think in time, the people here will come to embrace the witches living among them. Fingers crossed!

Here's a brief intro to Disenchanted where you can learn a little more about Sophie Goodchild.

Sophie Goodchild is a sixteen-year-old witch living with her eccentric aunt in the small town of Wethersfield, Connecticut—the sight of the first American Witch Trials. She is descended from a powerful black witch, but struggles with her erratic white magic while dealing with a mean girl witch clique known as the Glitterati, who love to make Sophie feel like she is less than they are.

Sophie is beautiful with wild waves of sable-colored hair, eyes the color of dark blue sapphires, and heart-shaped pillowy lips. More importantly, she is beautiful on the inside, although she hides it well behind her impatience and impetuousness, which makes her very relatable.

It is those heart-strong characteristics that lead her into trouble, and since she is ruled by her heart, she’s all in once she finds trouble. She is fiercely loyal, determined, and fearless and there is nothing she wouldn’t do or sacrifice for the ones she loves, especially when she learns of the true love curse her ancestor cast on the Mather family.

When Judge Mather, a descendant of the reverend who condemned Sophie’s witch ancestor to hang, finds out his handsome son (who has recently returned to Wethersfield with a sexy British accent and a face that could melt a black witch’s heart) has fallen hard for Sophie, things get even more dangerous for her. Dark secrets come to light and impossible choices are made as Sophie sacrifices everything, including her soul to save her forbidden true love.

Buy Links: Mirror World Publishing - Amazon

Leigh Goff loves writing young adult fiction with elements of magic and romance because it's also what she liked to read. Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she enjoys the area's great history and culture.

Leigh is a graduate of the University of Maryland, University College and a member of the Maryland Writers' Association and Romance Writers of America. She is also an approved artist with the Maryland State Arts Council. Her debut novel, Disenchanted, was inspired by the Wethersfield witches of Connecticut and was released by Mirror World Publishing. Leigh is currently working on her next novel, The Witch's Ring which is set in Annapolis.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Monday, 27 March 2017

An Author’s Worst Enemy: Self-doubt…

Ouch, ouch, ouch! Are you done yet?
Last year, I got my gumption up and decided to get a tattoo to not only celebrate a milestone birthday, but also rid myself of any self-doubt I was carrying inside me about being a writer. The tattoo I choose is quite popular—the Superman shield—but it means more to me than what the man of steel portrays in the DC brand comic books. It means breaking free from all those blocks and obstacles I struggled with to first, learn to write a book, and second, to keep submitting until I was finally published. This was a fifteen-year journey to publication, where as you can imagine, self-doubt continued to creep in like weeds strangling flowers in a beautiful garden.

 To find the strength within and smash through those obstacles and (writers) blocks, an author needs to develop perseverance. Once you understand that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, then you allow for the Universe to work its magic to help you make your dreams and desires come true. This ‘staying power’ comes from a place deep inside you, and makes sure that you never give up, if you’re willing to keep following your heart. It’s no wonder Superman’s shield is emblazoned on the chest area, directly over his heart. Personally for me, the ‘S’ in the shield stands for Sharon, not Superman, and represents my stamp of self-approval. Go figure. Though, I have researched that the ‘S’ is also the Kryptonian symbol for hope, which is an added bonus for a bright, promising outlook.

Let’s face it. Life is full of challenges and obstacles. Those are the things that makes us stronger, better, faster. That’s what our characters face every time we writers drag them through the muds of hell. Then, like us, our characters evolve and grow. Writing is a tough gig, but so rewarding when you write those final two words ‘The End’. It’s a badge of honor, and feels wonderful and uplifting, like you’ve reached the pinnacle of super hero status.

I’ve found that the hardest part of being a writer is the stick-to-itiveness. Going through the basic training that every super hero has to go through. You learn. You fail. You pick yourself up, maybe fail again, and again. But you get back up until you’ve mastered one level, and then move on to the next one. You excel, you celebrate every word you jot down in your magnum opus. Giving up is not an option when you have something to say. The trick is to make your readers feel what you feel. 

Almost done! Whew!
Have you ever gotten a tattoo to celebrate a milestone or mark a rite of passage? If so, what did you decide on? Would love to read your comments! Cheers and thank you for reading this post!

Monday, 20 March 2017

Cover Reveal: Uncharted by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred...


Destiny is not a matter of chance, but a matter of choice.

Book Details:

Title: Uncharted

Author Name: Justine Alley Dowsett & Murandy Damodred

Length:  319 pages

Genre(s): Fantasy, Romance, Historical, Comedy, Adventure, Swashbuckling, Polyamoury

Release Date: April 17, 2017


About Uncharted:

Destiny is not a matter of chance, but a matter of choice. 

Fated to be a Priestess of Saegard, Meredith dreams of leading a normal life with a family and a home of her own, something she’ll never have if she swears her life to the Order.  A chance encounter with a stranger in the sacred Celestial Chamber sends her previously well-ordered life into a tailspin of adventure and mayhem as she is blamed for the theft of a legendary artifact. 

Now a fugitive, Meredith must join forces with Captain Reginald Lawrence, the son of the man who initially brought her to the Temple, and his enigmatic business partner, the charming yet at times infuriating, Grey Rhodes, to find the Celestial Bowl and clear her name. From the cosmopolitan capital of Saegard to the coast of Ismera and back again, Meredith’s journey will reveal the true nature of her past, present, and ultimately, her future. 


Meet the Authors:


Justine Alley Dowsett

From obtaining her BA in Drama at the University of Windsor to becoming an entrepreneur in video game production and later, publishing, Justine Alley Dowsett's unswerving ambition has always led her to pursue her dreams. She lives in Windsor, Ontario and dedicates her time to writing and publishing fiction novels. When not focusing on growing her business, she enjoys role-playing with friends and developing new ideas to write about.

Murandy Damodred

With a background in Drama and Communications from the University of Windsor, Murandy Damodred enjoys fantasy fiction with strong romantic subplots. She is an avid role-player and is happiest when living vicariously through her characters. Though she'd rather think of herself as the heroine of her next novel, in the real world she is an expert in sales and management living in Windsor, Ontario.

Connect with:





Blog: http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.wordpress.com



Pre-Order Links:






Friday, 17 March 2017

YA Book Release and Giveaway: Luminous Spirits by Dusty Crabtree...


Thanks for hosting me! It’s been way too long since my young adult, urban fantasy, Shadow Eyes was first released in 2012 by Musa Publishing! Now, finally, after 5 years, I’m releasing the sequel, Luminous Spirits. I am super excited to finally release the next installment in the Shadow Eyes Series and get it out there! I apologize to anyone who read the first version of Shadow Eyes five years ago and who had to wait that long for the sequel. This book is dedicated to you. J

(Everyone, don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win a print copy of Luminous Spirits or Shadow Eyes – your choice! Also, Shadow Eyes is on sale for just 99 cents until 3/24!)

For those who haven’t read Shadow Eyes, let’s look at that synopsis first.

Iris thought she could ignore the shadows…until they came after everyone she loved.

Seventeen-year- old Iris Kohl has been able to see both dark and light figures ever since a tragic incident three years ago. The problem is, no one else seems to see them, and even worse…the dark figures terrorize humans, but Iris is powerless to stop them. 

Although she’s learned to deal with watching shadows harass everyone around her, Iris is soon forced to question everything she thinks she knows about her world and herself. Her sanity, strength, and will power are tested to the limits by not only the shadows, but also a handsome new teacher whose presence scares away shadows, a new friend with an awe-inspiriting aura, and a mysterious, alluring new student whom Iris has a hard time resisting despite already having a boyfriend. As the shadows invade and terrorize her own life and family, Iris must ultimately accept the guidance of an angel to revisit the most horrific event of her life and become the hero she was meant to be.

Now let’s check out the synopsis for Luminous Spirits

Old habits die hard. Old enemies, even harder.

Iris must now perfect her newfound abilities in order to help her shadow-oppressed family and friends, but more importantly, she must prepare for an impending fight with her most hated adversary. After the arrival of a new mean girl who seems to have history with Iris’s boyfriend, Iris quickly figures out that she is anything but the typical mean girl. She not only creates havoc and conflict among Iris and her friends, but her presence also means that Iris’s inevitable confrontation with her enemy may, in fact, be closer than she thought.

If Iris can figure out why the new girl is there and what her enemy is planning, she’ll at least be one step ahead of their game. But will she be ready when the time comes to face her biggest challenge yet? Or will they succeed in tearing Iris apart before she even has the chance?  

Author Bio
Dusty Crabtree loves a good story, but she also loves young people. These two loves are evident in all parts of her life. She has been a high school English teacher since 2006 and a creative writing teacher since 2014. She's also been a youth sponsor at her local church for as long as she’s been teaching. She feels very blessed with the amazing opportunities she has to develop meaningful relationships with teens on a daily basis. With her love of reading in the mix, becoming an author of young adult books was just a natural development of those two passions in her life. She lives with her husband, Clayton, in Yukon, Oklahoma, where they often serve their community as foster parents.

Check out Dusty’s blog at http://dustycrabtree.wordpress.com/


Follow her on twitter at https://twitter.com/dustycrabtree

Follow her on Instagram – dustycrabtree12


Check out Luminous Spirits on Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34533934-luminous-spirits

View the book trailer for SE – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7UP9A0Fm78&t=2s

View the Book trailer for LS - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2_C1o113Ok&t=9s

Buy Luminous Spirits on Amazon (eBook or print) – https://www.amazon.com/Luminous-Spirits-Shadow-Eyes-Book-ebook/dp/B06XGTSS34


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 13 March 2017

Kiss Me, I'm Irish...

Actually, I’m one-quarter Irish thanks to my maternal grandmother, but that never stopped me from celebrating St. Patrick’s Day! As a matter of fact, I plan to set book #6 of The Last Timekeepers time travel adventure series in Ireland during the period when Druids were in charge, and standing stones were more than just over-sized calendars. So, sit down, take a load off, and pour yourself a pint of green ale. Aye, here’s to Saint Paddy, banisher of snakes, and founder of monasteries and churches! Now, while you’re waiting for your corn beef and cabbage dinner to boil, have a gander at these six amazing places to visit if you ever get a chance to venture over to the Emerald Isle. A special shout out and thanks to author friend, Dominique Eastwick, who snapped the amazing photos included in this post!

Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland

Renowned for its polygonal columns of layered basalt, is the only World Heritage site in Northern Ireland. Resulting from a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago, this is the focal point of a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has attracted visitors for centuries.
Newgrange

Constructed over 5,000 years ago (about 3,200 B.C.), making it older than Stonehenge in England and the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Newgrange was built during the Neolithic or New Stone Age by a farming community that prospered on the rich lands of the Boyne Valley. Archaeologists classified Newgrange as a passage tomb, however Newgrange is now recognized to be much more than a passage tomb. Ancient Temple is a more fitting classification, a place of astrological, spiritual, religious and ceremonial importance, much as present day cathedrals are places of prestige and worship where dignitaries my be laid to rest.

Kilmainham Gaol Prison in Dublin

Built in 1792, it is Ireland's most famous disused prison. It held throughout the years many famous Nationalists and Republicans in members of the Society of United Irishmen (1798), Young Irelanders (c1840s), Fenians and Land agitators, Parnell, Davitt. The leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising were executed here. The prison was closed in 1924. This building gives a good insight into the history of Irish Republicanism.

Dublin Castle (doing Kilmainhaim Gaol first helps with the history)

Originally built in the 13th century on a site previously settled by the Vikings it functioned as a military fortress, a prison, treasury, courts of law and the seat of English Administration in Ireland for 700 years. Rebuilt in the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, Dublin Castle is now used for important State receptions and Presidential Inaugurations.

Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland's top Visitor attractions and are a designated UNESCO Geo Park. The Cliffs are 214m high at the highest point and range for 8 kilometres over the Atlantic Ocean on the western seaboard of County Clare. O'Brien's Tower stands proudly on a headland of the majestic Cliffs. From the Cliffs one can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, as well as The Twelve Pins, the Maum Turk Mountains in Connemara and Loop Head to the South. The Cliffs of Moher take their name from a ruined promontory fort “Mothar” which was demolished during the Napoleonic wars to make room for a signal tower.

And I saved the best for last…

Guinness Storehouse

The best view of the city and Ireland’s number one visitor attraction. Go figure! The home of the world famous GUINNESS® brand, this historical building is central to Dublin’s and Ireland’s heritage, and has been continually updated to create a blend of fascinating industrial tradition with a contemporary edge. Oh yeah, and you’re also invited to pour your own perfect pint. Cheers!

Now, before you go check on your corn beef and cabbage, please raise your frosty glass high to toast Saint Patrick and Ireland with me: May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light, may good luck pursue you each morning and night.

Slainte!
Sharon