A Travellerspoint blog

Day 55 Dublin, Ireland

Tuesday 6 September 2016

sunny 23 °C

Tomorrow night we bid farewell to Ireland so I might make this the last blog. We managed a sleep-in this morning with our comfy bed and air-conditioning. Yes, believe it or not we needed it. It was hot in Dublin yesterday (reached 22 degrees) and we lost power in our room in the afternoon. The lady at reception said it was because it was sooooo hot. I still had my trusty coat handy. Anyway power came back on and was right all night. There was an apology letter under the door when we came back.
So after rising at 9am we had a sumptuous breakfast and then headed out for our hop on hop off tour around Dublin. This gave us a chance to have a look at the place. There was so much road works going on its difficult to keep track of where you were as the bus had to keep doubling back. Dublin is a very busy city. There are streets everywhere and wherever you look it appears to be bustling with people. We did one lap and then decided to get off at the Guinness Storehouse. The tour was very interesting and Ross was hoping that he hadn’t made a mistake by not drinking it before today. We got to taste a small bit and then Ross took the opportunity to learn to pour his own pint of Guinness. He did well and earnt a certificate. I chose to have soft drink and was disappointed as I was given a soda one out of the tap thing at the bar.
Back on the bus, we headed towards the jail and got off to have a quick look at the gift shop but it had limited merchandise. Should have gone to the one in Belfast. We left the bus near O’Connell Street and went to the Arlington Hotel as I had picked up a brochure for the Celtic Nights Show held there. It was a three course dinner and show for €34 so we bought tickets. We had to take the 6.30 dinner time which was fine by me as we hadn’t eaten since breakfast.
Dinner was fine and the show was wonderful. There was a band made up of a singer, as well as a fiddle, a banjo and a guitar. They sang many ballads for the first hour and then the Irish dancers came on. Lots of banging, clapping and toe pointing ensued – very enjoyable. I was so pleased to have had the opportunity to go as the actual Irish Dancing Show finished in August. We had to walk back to the motel after the show at 10.30pm. We studied the map in the afternoon so we had a good idea of where to go. It was easier than we thought. Dublin was still alive – restaurants, bars and the streets. What a city!
Tomorrow we will do a few more things, like visit the Molly Malone Statue as the bus couldn’t get to her. There could be some last minute shopping, though I don’t know where we will put it. Let’s hope we get to have another day with our coat off. Maybe we will break out the shorts before we leave!!

Posted by gpric6 15:31 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Day 54 Blessington Lakes - Dublin, Ireland

Monday 5 September 2016

sunny 19 °C

Today was our last day of travelling. The stay at Blessington Lakes was very enjoyable and we packed up and headed off to the other side of the lake supposedly to the stone cutter’s village but we didn’t see anything to state that. We followed the road east through the mountains as I had seen the name “Glendalough” pronounced “Glenda Loch”. The first stop was at Wicklow Gap at an altitude of around 1200 feet. There was a glacial lake nearby but we didn’t go to it. Sheep wandered freely in this area – no fencing. Further down the hill we could see the remnants of mining of some sort. We also found a lovely stream. Unfortunately, the mine was a lead mine so we were not too keen to drink the water. It was a glorious view downstream just the same. Glendalough was a small village with a visitor’s centre and also a monastic site. There was also a hotel and some shops. It was a lovely spot in the forest.
From there we continued to head towards Dublin and before we knew it, we were in the city outside the Radisson Blu. We were able to leave all our luggage there and head to the airport to take the car back. That was a story in itself as we tried to find a petrol station but many of the places are self-serve. Also I was meant to pay tolls. What a stupid system. I think I paid unnecessarily. Anyway, we were able to get a bus back to the city and then the battle to find where the hotel was as we had no map. Dublin seems to have streets going every this way and that. Tomorrow we’ll do some sight-seeing.

Posted by gpric6 15:29 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Day 53 Aherlou Pass – Blessington Lakes, Ireland

Sunday 4 September 2016

all seasons in one day 20 °C

I have to make an adjustment. This morning when we left Aherlou Hotel and drove back to the main road, we discovered that we were 7 kilometres from Tipperary. I had seen a sign yesterday afternoon as I had set the sat nav for Main Road, Tipperary. I saw the sign which didn’t say Tipperary but we had spotted the sign for our accommodation and it all seemed to fit and I didn’t think of it again until I saw the sign this morning. So we drove to Tipperary and proved a point that it is a long, long way to Tipperary!!
Tipperary was a lovely old town, with the bright coloured buildings and old shop faces. We spotted the sign that showed the way to Charleville. I would have loved to have driven there but thought we had better stick to our other route. For days now, we have been hearing about the grand final for hurling between Tipperary and Kilkenny, which was taking place today. Ross had to clarify the concept of “hurling” for me as the only time I have heard of it was when party goers have too much to drink. Anyway it is a game played with a ball and a bat that looks to be somewhere between a vigoro bat and a hockey stick. It appears to be a conglomeration of soccer, hockey, rugby and Aussie Rules or it seems whatever takes your fancy. Everyone wears head guards so that says it all. Anyway, where we went the last few days we have seen flags. Of course, around Tipp, the flags were blue and yellow – on tractors, houses, cars, down the street, fences – everywhere. As we drew closer to Kilkenny, the colours changed to yellow and brown. The fever could be seen.
On route to Kilkenny, we stopped at a bridge over the River Suir in the town of Golden. If only we had more time as it seemed to have a good deal of history to trace in the area as well as the ruins of a castle near the bridge. Not to worry as our next stop was the Rock of Cashel. We parked in the car park and then realised that we needed coins to get out again and guess what – we have no euro cash left!! It was free to park on the street but it was too late – we were in. We bought our tickets to the Rock and asked about our dilemma. A chap advised that there was an ATM about a 10-minute walk away. We went about our tour and thought we would worry about the car later. There has been a huge amount of restoration done as the sandstone of the abbey had become saturated with water and the bricks were crumbling and an algae had grown on the interior. Apparently, the algae required oxygen to grow so it became impossible for humans to enter. A roof was erected over the building to allow the walls to dry out. This has been a 7-year process and the scaffolding is about to come down in October. The view from atop the rock was beautiful – mountains and farms all around.
Tour over it was back to the problem of the car in the car park. The people at the rock were not helpful as I did have some pound coin and I thought they might change some for me but no. We left and I went into the small gift shop at the bottom of the rock. I quickly explained to the girl that we were stuck in the car park and I was willing pay her in pounds and she gave me 5 euros with little fuss. We were very appreciative and we moved as quickly as possible to get that car out. Talk about stressful.
It wasn’t long and we had reached Kilkenny. The streets were teeming with hurling enthusiasts. Of course, the brown and yellow of Kilkenny was flying high. We pulled into the Langton Hotel for a cup of tea and a bite to eat. The young chap was run of his feet but we managed to get what we ordered. Turned out he had worked in Australia. WE were able to find the Kilkenny Castle as it was just around the corner. We drove past it on our way out of town.
We had booked accommodation at the Tulfarris Hotel and Golf Resort on the Blessington Lakes in County Wicklow so we set our destination. For most of the trip we sped down the motorway at 120 kilometres per hour so we made good time. It was a pleasant drive through the country once we left the motorway passed some very beautiful properties. On arriving at our hotel, we were very happy with our room, especially for €89 with breakfast. Ross inquired about golf but he didn’t like the hire clubs. We started to go for a walk around the course but went the wrong way and we were soon stopped by one of the guys. He set us straight – we had gone left instead of straight ahead. It was a pleasant walk through the woods to the lake. We came across three swans. It is certainly a picturesque place. We chose to have dinner in the bar as you don’t have to get dressed up that way.
I am sure you want to know who won the hurling final - Tipperary. Kilkenny were hoping to make it three in a row and it seems that the Tipp team were the underdogs and they came through. It has been great to witness Ireland’s passion for their sport.

Posted by gpric6 08:24 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Day 52 Blarney - Aherlou Pass, Ireland

Saturday 3 September 2016

all seasons in one day 17 °C

Our night in Blarney was uneventful. Breakfast was probably the lousiest we have had on our trip. All the B&Bs we have stayed at have had cereal available to start the day. Not this one. Our Irish breakfast that they cooked was nice but Ross likes his cereal to start the day. It was €85 as well which isn’t cheap. It was interesting that our room cost €5 more than another couple. I didn’t ask for a single bed as well! I found that I had taken their door key later in the day so I am going to have to post that now.
The young girl at the B&B made a suggestion for us to go via Cobh (pronounced Cove) so we headed towards Cork and scouted around the edge until we were heading east. The reason for suggesting Cobh was that it was the last port that the Titanic visited on its fateful journey. I believe it was called “Queenstown”. They have established a memorial garden with information and plaques. The most important plaque was new. It’s a clear Perspex and they have placed an etching of the Titanic to match where she was last moored near the entrance to the harbour. There was also a memorial for Mr Islay, one of the executive of the shipping line that built the Titanic. He was not held in high regard from our readings in Belfast as he left the ship when it was sinking but it seems that this community honoured him for the time he lived in their area.
It was quite a long drive to Waterford so we thought we should head off. No sooner did we get underway then we spotted the Jamieson Scotch experience. Ross thought it was in Milltown as the Tasting Centre in Dublin is shut for renovations. So it was a quick left turn into Midleton and there is was. The place looked very attractive. No tasting today but we spent some money just the same.
Finally, we were off to Waterford Crystal. Now a chap at the distillery said that they don’t make the crystal there anymore so I was a bit disappointed. He said that they do a blowing tour so I thought we would have a look anyway. We bought our tickets and went through the various stages it takes to create crystal. We were able to watch the master-craftsman work. They are certainly talented. I asked the tour guide if the crystal is made by machine and she that all that they have is hand made. So we called to see a chap who we were told would be able to clarify what happens. He said that you can tell if crystal is hand made as there will be slight differences etc whereas a machine would create perfect matches.
Next we headed for Tipperary, you know, it’s a long, long way to Tipperary. We didn’t get to look at the town at all as we were on a mission. We had booked accommodation as we thought the weekend would be hard again. Well I thought it was advertised as 5 kilometres from the town but it was just over 11 kilometres in Aherlou Pass. It’s called the Aherlou Hotel and Lodges. It’s in a beautiful place up in the hills and trees – very peaceful. We had a roast dinner in the bar which was also enjoyable.

Posted by gpric6 01:37 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Day 51 Old Head Golf Club - Blarney, Ireland

Friday 2 September 2016

sunny 18 °C

My goodness, I actually had a sleep last night. Had to be up at 6.30 to get ready for golf. It had stopped raining so that was a step in the right direction. Breakfast was good as usual. Ross had a warm up and was ready to hit off by 8.30. The surprise was that he was not in a group so we were pleased as we could get around a good deal faster that way.
The actual course was amazing. Everything has been done to fit with the environment. We actually saw a pheasant. The mum and the chicks ran back into the bushes. The course is a sanctuary for many types of birds so I got distracted a few times. Lots of slugs slide along the grass too. Oh yes and Ross hit some great balls. He actually did quite well. To me, it looked challenging. There are red markers that give the out of bounds on the cliffs – no ball retrieval in those areas. The twelfth hole was our favourite. It’s a dog’s leg around this magnificent cliff over the neck of the isthmus where the head is joined to the mainland. The caves below in the cliff face were fascinating. We believe the cliffs reach 300 feet at their highest point. During the four hours we were out, the skies turned from grey and overcast to brilliant blue. Back at the clubhouse we had a bite to eat and admired the beautiful sunshine outside. How could we have had the weather we had yesterday.
Back on the road, we headed for Cork. I didn’t realise that it was such a big city. We wanted to go to the Blarney Castle to kiss the stone so we wove our way through Cork and continued on to the country. The castle was easy to find but it cost €11 each even as a senior citizen. The castle was quite interesting. There is a guy who helps you bend back to kiss the stone. I wasn’t going to push it too much and there was no way I was putting my lips on a rock that is kissed by millions. Ross did well and he went right back. He assured me that he only touched it with his nose. We didn’t buy the photos as they were €10 each. The gardens were quite interesting. What did surprise us was Blarney House which was in the middle of the estate. It was very nice.
We had not booked anywhere for the night so the drive to find a B&B started. We settled on Killarney House. The village of Blarney is very pleasant. We went back down to it for dinner at the Muskerry Arms – very nice.

Posted by gpric6 01:35 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

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