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Post Info TOPIC: One Trip -- Two Visits; June/July 2013


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One Trip -- Two Visits; June/July 2013


Ok -- Things are FINALLY beginning to settle (a BIT!).

Photos:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/itallian_chauffeur/sets/72157634845427539/

     http://www.flickr.com/photos/itallian_chauffeur/sets/72157634664921471/ 

PLUS -- I added several SETS to my Round Tower Collection ...

More, to follow, says he, without INTENTIONAL guile ...  biggrin  biggrin  biggrin

 

Bob



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Thanks Bob. I spent far too long enjoying your photos. Where were all the phone booths? They sure were painted colorfully.

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Phone booths were displayed at a petrol station / Salvage Yard in Nutts Corner, Co Antrim, where the A26 meets the A52.  They also carried a wide variety of other items, too:  http://www.thesalvageyard.co.uk/1-home

Info about the area:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Nutts_Corner

http://nuttscornerraceway.co.uk/

 

To be FAIR, though -- we were just passing through -- and spotted the phone booths, arrayed along the road ...  I had a nice chat with the owner of the large Salvage Yard, tucked in behind the petrol station.  The phone booths are for sale -- along with large quantities of Belfast Bricks, Victorian Streetlights, post boxes and whiskey barrels.  They sand-blast, repair and repaint the boxes and replace all the glass.  A UK Booth runs about 1200 GBP -- PLUS shipping, which he 'estimated' as about 600 - 800 GBP!.  The ONE, IRISH phone booth (being rather unique, in NI) was 2000 GBP ...

It sure would look good, in the corner of my Living Room / Pub ...

Mrs. Bob said, "NO!", though, so ... cry  cry cry  cry

Bob



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I was thinking it would look good in a corner of our shop... but can well imagine the shipping cost to Arizona! no

Loving the swan/boat photo! Also, the White Island Arch in the Rain photo, The Swans and the cygnets, The White Island Figures with the visible rain lash..too many to list! Maith thu, mo chara!



-- Edited by CowboyCraic on Tuesday 30th of July 2013 04:37:14 PM

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Nutt's Corner. That's not far from Belfast International Airport. I haven't been there in quite a while. Bit, maybe in your carry on?

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Thanks for posting, many familiar images amongst those biggrin



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Thanks Bob for sharing your photos. I enjoyed the castle tours, among them Aughnanure which we discovered on our last trip.

Portuma Workhouse was very interesting, especially being able to read the descriptions.

Well, that was my Ireland fix for today. Keep the photos coming.



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     A brief synopsis:  Travelers included my wife and I, our daughter, SIL and two Granddaughters Very Nearly 5 and Just Turned 8.  We would arrive in Dublin separately (within ½ hour of each other), drive to a rental house, in Mallow, Co. Cork and spend 10 days visiting and touring.  On 27 June, we would drive to Dublin, spend the night and the kids would return home.  The Mrs. and I would spend the NEXT 10 days doing a "Loop Tour" of the North, West and South West and return to Dublin on the evening of Sunday, 7 July, for OUR return flight on the morning of 8 July.  Kids were booked on USAir, MCO-CLT-DUB.  We were flying Delta, GNV-ATL-Dub.  It was a GREAT plan, if I do say so, myself!

BUT ----  NO Battle Plan EVER survives First Contact with The Enemy!

     Our journey began about 1 PM on Monday, 17 June, at GNV Regional Airport.  We flew Delta Connection to ATL, about 4 PM (after a 3/4 hour delay) and then, onward to DUB, about 7PM. No significant problems or difficulties.  We bought the "Economy Comfort" seats (10A&B) and only discovered (too late) that sitting in a Bulkhead row LOST us some seat-width space, as the tray tables and entertainment screens fold into FIXED arm rests!  Our RETURN flight, we were one row back (11 H&J) and found those seats to be MUCH better.  We paid about $160 extra (each) for the "Economy Comfort" -- $80 per seat, per flight.  May do that, again, on the OUTBOUND flights, at least, as the extra room IS nice

     As we waited to snake our way through the LONG Immigration line at Dublin Airport, I managed to connect to the Free Wi-Fi and discover that the "kids" had been delayed by a FULL day and wouldnt arrive until 8 AM the NEXT day.  It seems that the weather, in CLT, was too severe to allow their 757 to land initially, but NOT so severe that the DUB bound 757 couldnt depart!  On arrival, they were advised that the NEXT USAir flight (Tuesday evening) was Over-Booked.  USAir gave them a Discount voucher for a hotel and then booked them on a next-morning flight to BOS.  After an 8 Hour layover, they would THEN fly into DUB on Aer Lingus!

     We debated how to deal with THIS as we SLOWLY made our way through Immigration.  Should we check into an Airport Hotel, or check into the Mallow Self-Catering?  We remained undecided, right up until we collected our Hire Car, from Hertz.  I had booked and pre-paid for a 7 passenger Peugeot 5800 -- a Diesel, with automatic.  Price was US, $650 (waiving the CDW coverage) after availing of assorted Discounts (AAA, Hertz Gold Plus Member and Pre-payment).  Not included (to be paid locally) were a few assorted Fees (2 Booster Seats, at 30 Euro, a 30 Euro "Handling Fee" for Waiving the CDW and a 5 Euro Fee for paying via Credit Card (????) ) Also, additional was the cost of the initial tank of fuel (at 90 Euro).  Hertz also employs a transponder that Auto-Pays the M50 Toll which they subsequently charge you for, at US $4.05, per use, via your credit Card.  Its a little pricier, but MUCH easier than remembering to search out a Pay-Point.

     The Peugeot is a NEW model and APPARENTLY, Hertz had PLANNED to purchase a number of them but, INSTEAD they SEEM to have only acquired models with MANUAL transmissions.  Over the course of our trip, I noticed a goodly number of Peugeot 5800 that sported the Hertz "1" decal but ALL of them had stick shifts!    Instead of the brand-new, Peugeot 5800, I was issued a rather WILTED 2010 Ford Galaxy 7 passenger that showed 68,619 MILES on the Odometer.  The Damage Sheet listed a number of minor cracks, scratches, dings and dents but a careful inspection found MANY more.  The Lot Guy seemed rather bemused when I insisted that he ADD them.  The Galaxy was a 2 litre, Diesel automatic, with AC.  I actually couldnt have cared less if it was an Automatic, but am SO glad that I had booked one!  The Peugeot is about 1.5-2 feet SHORTER than the Galaxy and THAT space DIRECTLY translates into Luggage space!  Thank Goodness we were "UPGRADED" to the Galaxy as we NEVER would have fit everything into the Peugeot!

     Realizing THAT, our decision was made.  We decided to check into Mallow just to rid ourselves of OUR luggage.  We exited the parking lot (collection was at the Depot, via Shuttle Bus) and made our way onto the M50, passed beneath the Toll Recorder and exited onto the N7.  After a couple of miles, the N7 became the M7 (Motorway) and we stayed on it until we exited at the Junction for the Service Plaza at Mayfield, where we stopped for breakfast and to withdraw 700 Euro from the ATM 400 from my account and 300 from my wifes to cover the payment of the Self-Catering.

     Shortly after getting back on the M7, we paid the Toll (Hertz had EMPHASIZED that the Transponder worked ONLY on the M50!) and then diverted, onto the M8, toward Cork.  We exited the M8 around Mitchelstown, at Junction 12, in order to take the N73 to Mallow.  I made another stop, in Kildorrey, in order to call ahead to let our host, David, know when to expect us.  It turned out that we would be arriving, just about the time that he needed to be in Cork city for an appointment, so David arraigned to leave the keys where we could find them and suggested that he would Check-In with us around 5 PM-ish.

      We arrived at Ivy Bridge Lodge  http://www.ownersdirect.co.uk/irelandb/IR281.htm  about 1 PM, hastily unloaded the car, showered and crashed for a nap of a little over two hours.  About 4 PM we made a brief dash up to the Tesco in Mallow, where we purchased a few basic grocery items and Topped Up the SPARE phone with 10 Euro of call credit.  Then, it was back to Ivy Bridge for a delightful visit with David and Eilish.  We pre-paid our rental of 730 Euro a little pricey for ten days, but considering that we were using up the better part of two weeks, mid-June, we thought we had scored a TERRIFIC bargain normal June rates run about 495 Euro, per week.

     The house is spectacular, too.  Its a two storey, thoroughly modern, three bedrooms, 3 ½ bath with a fully appointed kitchen, extra large, wood fired dining room/ sitting area and a gianormous sitting room complete with a baby Grand piano all done up to APPEAR as if it was an ancient, stone farmhouse!  I cant recommend the place enough.  Wonderful house, hosts and location; thats my opinion, in a nut-shell.

We had an early, lite meal of sandwiches, cleaned up and headed to bed around 8 PM with our alarms set for 3;45 AM.

More To Come --

Bob



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You missed nothing not getting the Peugeot the Galaxy is a far better option.

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I agree, Tony, BUT the price for the Peugeot was 200 Euro CHEAPER than what they wanted for a Manual transmission Galaxy and this trip had already shaped up to be a costly one.

In any event, it DID all work out for the best.

Bob



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sorry thought you had been given the free upgrade as they didn't have to car you reserved..paying extra is a bit off...

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Actually, the upgrade WAS free.  I BOOKED the Peugeot to save the 200 Euro.  I believe that I only received the Upgrade because the booking had specified an Automatic.  Lucky, that.  I got the bigger, better vehicle AND the cheaper price.  The Automatic was an interesting experience.  Personally, I'm quite comfortable with a stick shift -- It's what I usually rent.  Over-all I was very pleased -- both with the vehicle AND with Hertz (for the MOST part.

Bob



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Wednesday, 19 June: 

Up before dawn, we were on the road by 4 AM retracing our previous days route, to return to Dublin Airport.  They kids were due to arrive at 8 AM and we allowed ourselves 4 hours for the trip.  The early part of the N73 was a little slow going in the dark, but we made excellent time.  Even after stopping at the Mayfield Service Plaza, we were in the Arrivals Hall at exactly 7:30 AM Just in time to see the display record that the kids plane had landed.

Our excitement waned a bit, when the display changed, at 8 AM to, At Gate.  It REALLY waned over the next HOUR, as we watched hordes of Not Our Kids stream by.  I even went to the Aer Lingus service counter, trying to verify if the kids had been on the flight, but they wouldnt release that information.  Finally, we received a text from my daughter.  THEY had arrived, but one of their two checked bags had NOT!

The girls came rushing to us about 9 AM, squealing with excitement.  We had to keep reassuring Miss Very Nearly 5 that she really was, FINALLY, in Ireland.  Just Turned 8 seemed a TAD less disoriented, but equally excited.  This was the First Big Trip for either.  Daughter and SIL had accompanied us to Ireland back in 2004, but that had been their last major vacation.  By the look of exhaustion on their faces THIS trip was NOT starting the way they had hoped.

We made our way to the car after paying the 7 Euro 50 Parking fee and began our trip to Mallow.  We stopped off in Kildare for an hour or so to treat them to a fine, Irish Breakfast at the Silken Thomas.  JT8 had read and LOVED Mario Corrigans DO FISH WEAR PYJAMAS?, which was set in Kildare and she and her sister were fascinated by the Round Tower.

Good girls, they are.  Granddad thinks they have GOOD taste!

Back on the road, we stopped in at the Tesco in Mallow for more In Depth grocery shopping and then introduced the family to the joys of Ivy Bridge Lodge.  They were more than impressed by the house and furnishings but the little ones were awestruck by the horses and rabbits and Davids three dogs.

We spent the rest of the day languishing about, visiting the stables (where David mentioned that he was expecting two ponies to arrive, Within the next day or so, that would be IDEAL to provide the Young Misses with a free riding lesson) and IMMEDIATELY won the girls hearts!

All in all, it was an excellent finish to a day that had begun poorly.

More To Come

Bob



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Thanks so much for sharing this very detailed trip report. Having taken grandkids to Ireland I know how great it is to see Ireland through their eyes.

Looking forward to reading more about your family trip and the reaction of your little ones.



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I do believe that Pup-Pup & the rest were a main attraction for our merry band, as well... Ivy Bridge is magical and I believe David is a large part of that!



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I have been waiting in anticipation of this report!

Wow, you drive from Dublin to Mallow on jet lag day, and back to Dublin the next...you are an iron man!

We wondered how the Grand daughters faired over the course of their entire time there. I will start another post regarding a possible trip to Ireland with our grand daughter.

Dan

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Dan -- I replied to your other post.

Bit --  I agree -- and so do the girls!  VN 5 (who actually turned 5 this past weekend) wanted everything 'Horse' for her birthday!

I've added a BUNCH more pix to the Ireland 18-27 June 2013 set on Flickr and doubtless will be adding still MORE as I move along.

Bob



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More Pix added!

Thursday, 20 June:

Our day got off to a slow start, as the missing suitcase held virtually ALL of the clothes of SIL and VN 5, so we had to avail ourselves of the washer and drier (located, with a deep freeze) in the detached garage.  We had been invited to the Cousins house for a get together and evening meal of burritos that was being provided/prepared by a young cousin who was in the process of opening a Burrito Bar in Cork city.  Apparently, they are all the rage, in Dublin, but no one had yet opened one in Cork, so he was quite optimistic.

To while away the time before that, we made our way to Blarney and gave the girls an in-depth tour of the Castle and grounds. JT 8 was big enough to actually kiss the stone (something that I have never done), but VN 5 had to settle for merely posing.  She seemed perfectly content with that.  They even seemed to enjoy the 45 minute, steep and narrow, spiral-stone staircase climb up to the top.  Ah, the innocence of youth!

 After that, we retired to the Woolen Mills for lunch and to allow the girls to do a bit of shopping.  We had given both of them Piggy Banks some years ago, designated as Ireland Money-- and, to their credit, BOTH girls had managed to save goodly amounts of spending money.  It was delightfully entertaining to watch as they mulled over their choices and weighed the Value versus Cost

Our evening with the Cousins ran late, as they usually do.  The food was DELICIOUS and Im certain that the new shop will be a rousing success.  The young entrepreneur has an excellent product, a goodly amount of experience gained in the family business    AND has an OUTSTANDING location.   The place is called: El Banditos 

We enjoyed catching up with the Cousins and then made our way back to Ivy Bridge about 11 PM.

More To Come

Bob



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Friday, 21 June:

After another slow start, today actually blossomed into a decently full day.  Daughter informed me that the Tesco phone, used ONLY for interminably LONG calls spent chasing down the missing suitcase, had burned through ALL of its call credit!  Before we could deal with that, though, it was time for the girls to have their Riding Lesson.

I must say that David was WONDERFUL with the two of them.  It became instantly apparent that he is a natural born teacher.  He started them out by having them brush down the pony, which provided them (and the pony) with the opportunity to feel comfortable around each other.  The, he carefully fitted the girls with proper helmets before moving on to the riding area.  Both girls were provided with the opportunity to both walk and trot and the looks on their faces throughout made it abundantly clear that they were in Heaven.

David is also a fascinating individual outside of the area, as well. Born in Ireland, he spent most of his life in South Africa and a book written about his life has been short listed for a writing award.  Even though, ultimately, it was NOT chosen as winner (from over 800 entries), I would encourage everyone to keep their eye out for a copy.  See:  http://thehellrun.com/

After a delightful time with the ponies (and a quick, clean up), we ventured into Mallow where clothing purchases were made (primarily, at Heatons), since MOST of what needed would find little Long-Term use, back in South Florida.  Whilst the shopping was raging, I slipped away to the nearby Carphone Warehouse where, 75 Euros latter, I was in possession of a Wi-Fi hub good for up to 5 devices that would provide Mobile Wi-Fi through the 3 network (Thanks, tony2phones, for the rec!).  The hub was 50 Euro.  A 30 day, 7.5 Gigabit Add On was 25 Euro additional.  We did not exceed the GB limit during our 20+ days and, over all, I was well pleased with the service, signal and transmit speeds.

We rejoined for lunch at a nearby pub, the Albert Lynch, on William OBrien Street just up from the Heatons, then, dropped into the Tesco, to Top Up our call credit.  Then, we set out, to Killarney.

We stopped at the Church, in Rathmore, to show the girls where their Great-Great Grand Parents had been married in 1865.  The weather, which HAD been gloriously sunny and warmish, up until then, was now, DECIDEDLY cooler and it even began to mist, intermittently.  We decided to press on, none-the-less, although we merely drove THROUGH Killarney, rather than stopping, to wander.

We made our way to Torc Falls and under mostly dry skies, explored it for a while.  SIL and the girls meandered up the staircase for a look, but the rest of us contented ourselves with the views below the steps.

Then, it was back through Rathmore, for a damp trip into Millstreet.  We ate dinner in the Wallis Arms dodging moderate rain to enter and exit and then made our return to Ivy Bridge for an evening in front of the fire.

The wee ones were thrilled!  They dont get to appreciate the warmth and ambiance of a peat fire, in Florida

More To Come

Bob



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A Monday Two-fer!  biggrin  biggrin

 

Saturday, 22 June:

 

We had a fairly early start, for a long day.  We were due in East Cork at 1 PM.  If you read the Trip Report for April 2012, you might think that Irish Weddings NEVER end, but the truth is that they do.  Apparently the central hero and heroine of that tale took the biblical edict, Be Fruitful and Multiply to heart because, here we were, 14 months later, readying to attend the Christening of the Fruits of Their Labor!

We began the day, about 11AM, at the home of a different cousin, in Watergrasshill, Co. Cork, as she was fed us a Light meal, in betwixt finishing the baking of numerous items for the Post-Christening Party.  The girls played heartily with her little ones, so a good time was had by all.

We gathered at the small. Stone church in Leamlara, Co Cork, for the service and some pleasant chat, after.  Then, nearly all of the attendees repaired to the parents home for a massive gathering, replete with platters and platters of food, desserts and liquid refreshments. 

Our wee ones ate, laughed and played with younger cousins, while we older ones laughed, talked and mingled for hours.  It was truly a magical time.

We didnt arrive back at Ivy Bridge Lodge until nearly midnight.

 

 

 

Sunday, 23 June:

Despite expectations of a late start, we were actually on the road around 10 AM.  As the weather seemed to be continuing the beautiful morning / mediocre afternoon pattern, we set off toward Killarney once again.  This time, we skirted to the North and headed out through Killorglin, with an ultimate goal of the Kerry Bog Village.

We had never stopped there before, but it looked to be a good option for the little ones.  Its kind of a Mini-Bunratty Folk Park with LOTS of animals.  We stopped in to the Red Fox Inn, next door, for lunch first and then made our way into the Park.  There, the girls had the opportunity to see and (to a limited degree) interact with two Irish Wolfhounds, goats, sheep, chickens and Kerry Bog ponies.  We also wandered in and out of recreated cottages and a blacksmith foundry.

We seemed to have arrived after the Tour Buses, so we only shared the Red Fox Inn with a handful of others and we had the Bog Village pretty much to ourselves.  The girls genuinely appeared to enjoy themselves, so I would say that the Bog Village IS worth a stop if traveling in the area with pre-teens.

We returned to Ivy Bridge, after a brief stop in Mallow for groceries.  We had invited some of the Cousins over, for dinner, about 5 PM.  Imagine our chagrin, when they arrived carrying TONS of untouched Left-overs from the Christening! 

After being impressed by a Grand Tour, we settled down to a hearty meal of chicken, ham and more salads and desserts than you can imagine.  Then, the adults settled down to the serious business of conversation and tea drinking, as the girls (including an 8 year old cousin) gambled and cavorted about, within and without of the Lodge.

Another fine time was had by all, before the Cousins reluctantly parted, about 9 PM.

More To Come

Bob

 



-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur on Monday 12th of August 2013 10:03:25 AM

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I don't want anybody to get their hopes up, or expectations raised, but I appear to be on a roll . . . biggrin  confuse  biggrin

 

Monday, 24 June:

With the improving weather (Sunday had been clear and sunny ALL day), but amid threats of deteriorating conditions coming, we made an early start to Killarney arriving about 9:45 AM.  I parked in the large lot on Beech Street, near the Tourist Office and walked up, through the Innisfallen Mall (near the Tesco) to the Deros Tours office. 

We purchased tickets for the Gap of Dunloe Tour (which was scheduled for 10:30) and then whiled away the intervening time by walking about.  We even treated the girls to their first 99.  They seemed impressed

At 10:30, we loaded the bus for Kate Kearneys Cottage.  The girls enjoyed the elevated views out the large windows.  After being dropped off, we availed ourselves of the rest rooms and struck up a deal for the trek to Lord Bandons Cottage. Since there were six of us, we knew, going in that a single trap couldnt possibly suffice, but our jarvey, Denis, offered us an interesting and economical option, though.  The going rate was 20 Euro per person.  Denis loaded the girls, my daughter, wife and I into the trap and saddled up a horse for our 6+ foot SIL for which he only charged 10 Euro.  When we got out, to walk the steeper stretches of the roadway, SIL dismounted and Denis hoisted the girls onto the horses back to their great delight!

It should be noted that, despite competing in Ironman triathlons and regularly bicycling multi-miles per week SIL (even though he HAD ridden horseback a few times previously) was only too happy to relinquish the saddle on those occasions as the muscles used ARE quite different!

Along the way, Denis regaled us with lots of interesting information about the Black Valley; both the history, the current state of the economy and how all those things affected modern-day life in Ireland.  Part way through our journey, Denis' teen-aged daughter rode along with us.  She was out for a ride, exercising a horse that the family was boarding, as the owners could no longer afford the time or money needed to properly care for it.  Denis conceded that he was seeing a LOT of that sort of thing, of late.  Even though he felt that the economy might actually be improving slightly, Denis conceded that, like as not, come the winter, he would resurrect the 'Old Ways' and head off to England in search of work -- Something that he hadn't done, in years!

Once delivered to Lord Bandon, we grabbed a bite to eat at the café and wandered about the grounds, until it was time to load up, into the boats.  While we were waiting, I overheard the boat operators squabbling about "jurisdiction" over the waiting passengers -- something that ominously underscored Denis' rather gloomy observations.

On our boat ride back though the Lakes, we shared our boat with the guides dog to the girls GREAT delight.  Our guide mentioned how the middle lake is now nearly dead and unsuitable for swimming, due to heavy run-off of fertilizer from the adjacent golf courses.  He also pointed out that the highly invasive Rhododendron is killing off much of Killarneys famous oak forest and added that crews of workers are at work, trying to reverse that.  Lastly, he pointed out that there were VERY few birds around the Lakes caused by an explosion in the population of minks supposedly caused when an illegal breeder in Kenmare released his stock into the wild.  He said that at ONE point, the government was actually paying a Bounty for mink pelts, but that the current budget had done away with it.

More Info:   http://www.npws.ie/media/npws/publications/media,3701,en.pdf

Here it was a GLORIOUS day, surrounded by some of the worlds finest scenery yet, impacted by woefully disturbing news

We spent a half hour or so, wander about the exterior of Ross Castle, where we happened upon a Wedding Party that had come there for a Photogenic Backdrop and then, made our way to the parking lot, for our bus ride back to the Deros office.  From there, we retrieved the Galaxy and drove to Millstreet, for another fine dinner at the Wallis Arms.

The 24th of June -- The Feast of Saint John -- is a VERY significant day, in Ireland.  With historical ties to pre-Christian rituals revolving around the summer solstice, bon fires and purification rites,  it is a day widely celebrated throughout Ireland.  It is particularly esteemed in Millstreet, which is bordered on the West by the twin peaks of Mushera Beg and Mushera Mor.  High up, on the Millstreet side, is Saint Johns Holy Well.  Here, every year, is held an outdoor Mass.

Close by are the entrance to Millstreet Country Park and the impressive  megalithic site of Knocknakilla.  The rugged, brooding twin peaks of Mushera are mystical and magical places -- ancient places, of Great Power.

From the parking area surrounding the well can be seen numerous magnificent views.  Beyond the rise to the South, (just past the Monument commemorating the Butter Road) is the Townland of Brookpark or, as it was known during the Late 1800s Ivale.  It was in Ivale, on 23 June 1880, that my wifes Grandfather, John Doody, was born.  As a consequence, any year that we are in Ireland in June, we always attend this Annual Mass.

Its a bit of a Romantic Affectation, I suppose, but if you REALLY think about it, it seems only right.  On this night, 133 years earlier, John Doody lay swaddled, newly recovered from his birth only a kilometer or so away.  Tonight, his granddaughter, great-granddaughter and two great-great-granddaughters paid quiet tribute to his life.

Mass began about 8 PM and lasted about an hour, including a rousing performance by the Millstreet Pipe Band.  We were fortunate to have arrived early enough to secure parking up front as the evening had turned rather chilly.  We bid a hasty retreat to Ivy Bridge and called it a night.

More To Come . . .

 

Bob

 



-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur on Tuesday 13th of August 2013 08:33:34 AM

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Tuesday, 25 June:

The cool settled in overnight and it brought a day filled with moderate stretches of rain.  That made us really appreciate our decision to do the Gap on the previous day, but we were now facing the dreaded, Were running out of time and still have SO much left to do .. stage.

So, we drove down to Cork and routed ourselves onto the N22.  We made a brief stop in Macroom, where I pointed out the GENERAL area of the Ancestral Home, but then continued onward, to Ballyvourney, where we stopped for lunch, at the Mills Inn.    

Ballyvourney is a fascinating Gaeltacht  area, with a deep and rich history but, it is most strongly associated with the Black and Tans, the War of Independence and its aftermath the Civil War.  The old wounds lay close to the surface here, but so, too, do the old traditions.  There are large gatherings of Set Dancers in Ballyvourney on certain nights, drawing crowds from all over the County.  There are also fine, old buildings and even a few ancient and early Christian sites close by, as well.

Out from Ballyvourney, I turned off the N22, at Clonkeen, over Poulgorm Bridge, onto the R569, which is signposted for Kilgarvan and followed through there, to Kenmare.  Once in Kenmare, we joined the N71 and followed it North.  Shortly beyond Molls Gap, we turned off to the Left, into Kissane Sheep Farm.  I had planned to visit the Stone Circle, in Kenmare, but we were racing to make the scheduled start of the afternoon tour and it was raining lightly, as well.  By the time we reached Kissane, the tour had already commenced and it was actually raining fairly briskly.  We beat a hasty retreat to the barn. 

We really didnt miss out on too much, as the outdoor portion of the tour only encompasses about ten minutes and basically involves a brief talk about the breed of sheep and the layout of the farm much of which was covered again, during the much longer, indoor portion of the tour.  There was an in-depth discussion about the business economics of raising sheep -- very poor apparently, as the owner conceded that it was only through conducting tours that made the operation viable a demonstration of shearing and a chance to interact with an assortment of sheep of various ages.

By the time the demonstration was over, the skies had cleared and we were welcomed to walk about the various trails that wind through the extensive property.  The girls seemed to enjoy the visit and we adults found it interesting and informative, as well.  With the afternoon sun peaking through, the scenic views on our walk about were very enjoyable.

Back in the car, we continued on, into Killarney, where we wandered about, doing a bit of shopping and had dinner, before retiring to Ivy Bridge Lodge.

More To Come . . .

Bob



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Thanks once again for all the details from your trip. Of particular interest was the words of the guides during your trip through the Gap and boat ride. The Gap is my absolute favorite spot in Ireland.

Also, the very interesting article from The Independent about the background from "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" movie. That was a very powerful movie.

You have also given us some new places of interest for our next trip. Keep it coming.

 



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Bob,

You're on a roll indeed. I spent far too much time reading your TR and now I have to rush to my afternoon appointment. wink

Michele



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Thanks, Judy.  While much of my rambling are a bit narcissistic, I really do TRY to make them at least somewhat informative and entertaining ... biggrin  biggrin

 

Wednesday, 26 June:

The day began sunny and fairly warm.  We still had not visited many of our planned activities, like Kanturk Castle, the Donkey Sanctuary or the Donneraile Park, but after the previous two long days, the girls were a bit, Car Weary.  While we relaxed at Ivy Bridge and the little misses played with the ponies, our daughter spent another goodly bit of the time on the phone still trying to locate the missing luggage.  Finally, we decided to head into the Blackpool Shopping Center, in Cork, so that they could purchase a suitcase to transport the replacement clothes and other assorted trinkets that had been bought.

Near the Heatons (where we bought a suitable case) we ate lunch at a small café that seemed VERY popular with the locals and then, wandered about.  Everyone was quite amused and impressed to discover a vending machine for Free Range Eggs, prominently sited in the entrance lobby of the large Dunnes Store building. 

Exiting the shopping center, we followed the North Ring Road up and around, avoiding Cork city as we made our way to the Dunkettle Roundabout to connect with the M8.  From there, we headed North, exiting at Watergrasshill.  After a drive through the village, we meandered through the countryside to Leamlara and the home of yet another cousin.  It made for a perfect evening.

The girls had LOTS of young cousins to play and gamble about with and the adults enjoyed fine company, food and conversation that lasted WELL into the night! 

Daughter even received a call, part way through advising that the mysterious lost bag nad FINALLY re-appeared!  It had apparently been left, gathering dust, in Boston, but was now residing in Dublin.  They offered, of course, to deliver it to Cork, but we wisely opted to have them drop it off at the Premier Inn, near the Dublin Airport where we were booked for Thursday evening.

We made our way back to Ivy Bridge for our final night and began packing up.  Tomorrow, we were heading off to Dublin.

More To Come . . .

Bob



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Bob,

I am glad that your time at Ivy Bridge was so grand. You definitely covered a lot of ground! Too bad ya didn't make the Donkey Sanctuary, I think that would've been a huge hit with the girls.

Glad that the luggage finally appeared!

I am just finishing up an email to David, would ya mind if I included a link for this report?

Slan Beo,

Bit



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Bit -- Thanks.  Feel free to pass along a link.  We have sent a couple of emails his way -- including some pix from Ivy Bridge.

All-in-all, it was a great time, in a great place, surrounded by some great people.

What's not to like?

Bob



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Thursday, 27 June:

 Waking to warm, blue skies, we completed our packing, settled up on our fuel and electric expenses and bade our farewell to David, Ailish and Ivy Bridge Lodge.  The girls were rather sad to part company with the ponies.

 Utilities cost us 20 Euro for electric and 50 Euro for heating oil, which -- considering how much laundry we did, plus adequate heat and showers for SIX Floridians seemed quite reasonable.  On multiple occasions, we set the timers to apply heat and hot water for the time we EXPECTED to return only to arrive MUCH later, so we WERE rather wasteful, in that regard!  Even then, added to the 430 Euro rental, our total expense for a 10 day / 9 night stay -- for SIX came in right at 500 Euro.  I consider that a terrific bargain.  In comparison, a standard B&B, at 35 Euro, PPS, would have cost 630 Euro for just TWO people!

 When you add in the riding lessons, the delightful hosts and the incredibly beautiful house and surroundings, we feel privileged to have paid that LITTLE.

 Departing Ivy Bridge Lodge and Mourne Abbey, we headed North on the N20, to Mallow and diverted onto the N73 to connect with the M8 toward Dublin.  We stopped into Cashel, hoping to have lunch at Ryans Daughter, but they were entirely Booked . . . Instead, we walked about the town and settled into the John J Feehan, where we enjoyed a fine meal. 

 Nearby is the Tourist Office, Shop and Micro-museum and the picturesque Water Fountain known as the Back of the Pipes.  We wandered up to the Rock, to give the girls some views and exercise and I regaled them with tales of the Bishops brew master who having raised himself up from such humble beginnings, had descendants that would include Lord Ardilaun Sir Arthur Guinness!

 More Info:  http://www.turtlebunbury.com/published/published_features/pub_feats_arthur_guinness.html

 I think my SIL was impressed . . .

 After departing Cashel, we made another stop, in Kildare, in order to keep my promise to JT 8, of visiting the Round Tower.  Yeah, I know.  It wasnt a HUGE sacrifice on my part but, due to her enjoyment of Mario Corrigans Do Fish Wear Pyjamas?, she really did want to visit the Tower.  She actually made it all the way to the top, too and was delighted by the views.  My wife and VN 5 turned back, though, at the 4th floor.  While they and my daughter waited for us on the ground, my wife struck up a conversation with the gentleman collecting the entrance fee.

FYI The charge, for five of us, was 10 Euro --  "Since the girls are so young" biggrin

It turned out that the man was also a Round Tower aficionado (Who wouldve thunk, right?  biggrin  confuse biggrin) and quite proud that he had actually visited 20 different Towers.  He seemed genuinely amazed and impressed when I admitted to having located 40, so far. He seemed even more incredulous, when I offered that my plan was to visit at least 8 more, on this trip!

 He asked if we had seen the shiela-na-gig in the Cathedral which I wasnt aware of and then, there was nothing for it, but we spent another 45 minutes or so, perusing the antiquities, there.

More info: http://www.irelands-sheelanagigs.org/archive/

                  http://www.irelands-sheelanagigs.org/archive/index-30202.php.html  ---  Although, I dont necessarily agree with his conclusions . . .  biggrin biggrin biggrin

 

Back on the road, we made our way to the Premier Inn, where I had reserved two family rooms for only 79 Euro, by prepaying and our daughter was finally reunited with her long-lost luggage.  We ate dinner in the hotels dining room.  The food and prices were excellent, but we were rather dismayed by the chaotic service disarray.  During the course of our meal, we seemed to have four or five different wait persons who appeared briefly, and then seeming disappeared.  It took four requests and over 30 minutes to finally receive my wifes chicken Caesar salad!  It was particularly dismaying, as we had enjoyed EXCELLENT service during our stay, back in October of 2012.

Still, our rooms were spacious, clean and comfortable and I certainly cant quibble about the price or location!  We have, since, and likely will, stay there, again. 

As the kids flight home was scheduled to depart at 9:30 AM, we opted to end the night early.

 

More To Come . . .

 Bob



-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur on Thursday 15th of August 2013 10:34:48 PM

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Friday, 28 June:

 

Even though we HAD turned in early, before doing so, I DID run by the Petrol station, to Top Up the diesel and give the Galaxy a quick, MUCH needed, vacuuming through.

 As is her character and given the horrific flight over our daughter was up and running, about 5 AM.  My wife and I, under no time constraints, left our luggage in the room, for later. I dropped everyone off at the departures hall and then drove over to the Hertz depot to return the Galaxy.  The hectically overworked young lady gave the van a very cursory inspection and printed out my receipt.  She advised that the Rental counter wouldnt be open for some time, though and sent me back to the Terminal, on the shuttle bus.

 By the time that I arrived, just a little before 7 AM, the kids were just finishing check in and luggage drop off, so we scouted out some basic breakfast.  We lingered for as long as we dared (about 8 AM) since we were well aware of the time needed to clear two Security screens and Customs and Immigration. 

 Then, we escorted the kids upstairs, to the first Security barrier.  JT 8 was heart-broken, to be leaving us behind.  Little Miss VN 5, however, was much more pro-active.  Facing the entrance, she smiled bravely, took a step BACKWARDS, grasped my wifes hand with HER Left and waved, with her Right as she calmly announced, "No.  Im staying with Nana and Grand dad.  Bye -Bye."

 It took a bit of discussion to dissuade her from that notion, but eventually, they passed the initial screening point and disappeared from view.  It was a bitter-sweet ending to our time together. Yet, as we were descending the escalator, making our way toward the Car Hire area, we felt content, in the knowledge that our time together had been epicly memorable.And, that marked the END of the FIRST Part of our TWO Part visit.

 

End of Act One Act Two To Follow. . .

 Bob

 



-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur on Thursday 15th of August 2013 10:35:50 PM

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Just as I had suspected, the little ones didn't want to leave Ireland. They will be begging you to take them back on your next trip.

The big question......did the airlines want to charge your daughter and SIL extra for the added suitcase you had to purchase in Cork because they (the airlines) delayed the suitcase in Boston?

You may want to have the GD's draw pictures of what they remember about Ireland. We did that and through the years the pictures are even more precious than all the photographs we took.



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