Bright

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What’s brighter than the sun, even if it’s a mosaic representation photographed on a rainy day in Dublin? Today’s Photo Friday Challenge: Bright, taken in a parking alley near Grafton Street in Dublin, Ireland.

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Dún Dúhathair

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Dún Dúchathair

The circular stone inner rings of Dún Dúchathair, the Black Fort, on Inis Mor island in the Aran Islands in County Galway off the west coast of Ireland inspired this post to Photo Friday’s challenge: Circle. We explored the cliffs and sterile landscape around this ancient fort of unknown purpose. Experts aren’t sure whether Dún Dúchathair was ceremonial or defensive, but to us it was truly impressive. Backed by sheer cliffs to the North Sea on three sides, and a sharp, rocky approach on the fourth, an enemy would have to be incredibly determined to even attempt a siege of this position.

Most tourists to this rocky island of hardy Irish tend to visit Dún Aonghasa, the more popular (and more advertised) fort ruins on Inis Mor. As I had read ahead of our visit, the reward for the effort of the long, somewhat challenging walk to Dún Dúchathair over rocky terrain and through a landscape veined with more manmade rock pasture walls that we could count, is a decided lack of people exploring the site. This benefit held true, as there were only a handful of people there as we carefully climbed around the sharp and plentiful monotone rock. Sitting by the cliff’s edge and contemplating the fort in a silence that only comes with few people around, surrounded by the soft surf sounds, occassional sea bird call, and the gentle wind made the experience all the better.

Dún Dúchathair

Dún Dúchathair

The location is nothing short of stunning, but a bit daunting whenever we walked near the edge of the precipice surrounding this area. The final panorama picture below can be clicked for a larger version showing the expanse of the fort, taken with my back to the sheer drop to the cold sea below.

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Soft

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Photo Friday’s challenge: Soft. A quick snap of Junction Jack, the Houston Astros mascot flirting with a much-too-young-for-him chick at the right-field wall, but I guess that’s one of the perks of being a major league ballpark mascot. Having big soft ears is a babe magnet. Who knew.

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Plastic

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Photo Friday’s challenge: Plastic. Who couldn’t resist a plastic porpoise surrounded by a plastic picket fence? Apparently the folks that live inside the Florida house guarded by this mailbox-hugging Flipper, that’s who.

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Faces

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facesPhoto Friday’s challenge: Faces. I always giggle when I see this bathroom door sign at one of my favorite Houston haunts, Niko Nikos, arguably the best Greek and Mediterranean food in the area. They serve the tastiest gyros and fries this side of heaven, as well as an extensive menu of unpronounceable Greek delicacies. This door sign is made all the more humorous (ironic?) if you know that Niko Nikos is in Montrose, the heart of Houston’s gay community!