Thursday, October 20, 2016

Kilmainham Gaol - Dublin Historic Prison (Review)

Hundred Year Old Prison Door - Dublin
On a recent trip to Dublin I had a meeting directly across the street from what seemed to be a very large tourist attraction. I learned it was Kilmainham Gaol prison and that I just had to take time to go! Super glad that I did - as a fan of history and wanting to get off the beaten path a bit. This was an excellent stop. 

I didn't realize much of the history of Ireland until I took this tour. The prison was built in 1787 and many key figures in Irish history were incarcerated and executed here. There could be some really fun costume/haunted house events here. Lots of details on various websites and books. 

Everyone has to go through on a tour - which is a good thing. Our guide was knowledgeable and fun. She put into context the conditions in the country versus the prison - sharing that some were trying to get put into prison as the conditions her, which were harsh (overcrowding, dirty, little food) were better than on the streets. The prison was for both women and men - noted somewhere that 40% of inmates could have been women. This was attributed to lack of employment opportunities or marriage after males emigrated. (women arrested for vagrancy or prostitution or other...)

Perhaps owing to my love of antiques like old woods - I was fascinated with the doors and metal work as you can see in the photos below.

Other Dublin / Ireland events and tours on my blog can be reviewed here.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Preserving Fresh Herbs - Part 2

Before the frost in the next few weeks I'm scrambling to finish harvesting and preserving the fresh herbs from my garden. Herbs can be kept for a long time by drying or freezing (or transforming into another ingredient like a flavored oil or butter.) Some I scoop up and take indoors too - for example chives, parsley and basil. 

Most often herbs are kept for long periods by drying or freezing them. Some recommend using the oven or a dehydrator, but I find air drying is easiest, the least expensive, accessible to all, and keeps the flavor better. While air drying is a slow, the herb leaves should retain flavor oils than other methods mentioned. Microwaves can also start your herbs on fire (now that's a funny story to share some other time...) 
Formal Herb Garden - Dublin

How to Air Dry Herbs: