A Travellerspoint blog

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

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