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Post Info TOPIC: Abbeying Ireland Again


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Abbeying Ireland Again


A POOR pun, but ...

To understand the title, you have to understand the dialect of my environs ...

(  Ah BE in    Ireland    Ah Gin )  biggrin

 

     This was our 14th trip to Ireland, since 1999 and our SECOND visit, during 2011.  You would think that it would get easier, as time goes by and the frequency increases -- but if you DO think that, you would be wrong!  furious

 

     The PLAN was simple enough -- Fly into Shannon, on 12 June and rent a car.   Self-Cater in Millstreet, County Cork for a week and then do a driving tour of the South East (Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow), enroute to a Dublin departure on 26 June.  smile

BUT ..

                                             NO Battle Plan survives First Contact with the Enemy ... confuse confuse confuse

 

Tickets were purchased from Delta, in March -- Acceptable prices, short lay-overs and workable seating.  With the dates 'Locked In', I THEN discovered that 'Our' Self-Catering choice was NOT available for the First week -- but WAS for the Second.

And so, the trip plan was restructured ... The route became a figure '8' -- set upon it's side -- Into SNN, drive to the SE, then North, then loop back, to the SW, before dashing back North, to Dublin ... cry

The, in late April, Delta CHANGED our out-bound flight!  Instead of departing from MCO at 6 PM and only needing to endure a 1 3/4 hour lay-over at JFK, THEY decided that we would leave MCO at 1:34 PM -- and would 'enjoy' a 5 hour wait at JFK! furious  furious

Calls to Delta were exercises in futility -- they offered to re-route me via Chicago and a few other way-points -- NONE of which would reduce my travel time -- but, when I suggested that they route me into Dublin -- Delta informed me that doing THAT constituted a change of Itinerary   confuse confuse-- and would require an 'Additional Charge' to ME -- of $700 PER TICKET!!!!!!  furious  confuse furious

So we opted to 'Grin And Bear It'.  Coincidently, the 5 hour lay-over at JFK ended up being closer to 6, as our SNN departure was delayed 45 minutes -- time that the pilot assured us we would 'make up' enoute.

We didn't.

I guess the best that I can say is that Delta DID get us to our destination and then home again (Eventually!) and that we arrived at both locations without any permenant injuries ...

But ENOUGH of that (For the Moment) ---

Here's the Ireland Portion ---

12 June (Sunday) :  We arrived at SNN about 10:15 AM, Local Time.  It was raining, lightly -- with occassional bursts of Moderate-To-Heavy ...  Customs and Immigration were the usual breeze, though it DOES still include the inexplicable 'Up, Down, Up, Down, Down' interminable walking tour of the terminal.... biggrin confuse

Our baggage arrived, Intact!, and the line at the Dooley desk was mercifully short.  I had reserved and pre-paid for a Ford Focus - Class, Manual shift and had waived the CDW (and Super), using my World MasterCard.  I ALSO had one month of coverage remaining on the 12 month policy that I purchased from www.Insurance4arHire.com the previous July.  A few days earlier, I had received an email from Dooley advising that I would be charged a 25 Euro fee -'Locally' -- for having waived the insurance from them, but the ONLY charge was for the inital tank of fuel, at 80 Euros. smile

There was NO grief (Read: Hard-Sell / Scare Tactics) about waiving the insurance and they did NOT ask to see my 'Coverage Letter' from MasterCard -- even though the web site DOES say that it is required.  I had actually Got one, for the FIRST time, too ! confuse

Had to wait just a short while for the shuttle and the Lot Man brought us a shiny, Black 2011 Renault Megane, four-door Hatchback.  He pointed out and annotated a missing turn indicator lense in the passenger door, side-view mirror and I had him add a break in the plastic crossbar beneath the front bumper / grill, and verified that it was a Diesel.  After a cursory inspection of the tires and verifying that the windscreen had no visible cracks or chips (Hard to do when it is raining -- but necessary!) --- we were outa there and on the road!!!  It was about 11:30 AM.

We stopped for breakfast at Bunratty, in the Cafe upstairs, at the Blarney Woolen Mills shops and browsed the wares to see if we could get any of the items on the inevitable, "While you're in Ireland, could you pick me up ..."  list . biggrin  biggrin

Then we were off -- Down past Limerick, via the Tunnel and around the South Loop, to connect with the N24.  I had INTENDED to actually drive THROUGH Limerick this trip, but I missed the turn off!  The North approach has built up SO much over the past 10 years, that it really does 'Sneak Up' on you.  Plus, the road seems to have been designed to route cars AWAY from City Center, but I thought that Sunday would have been an ideal opportunity for a trip down memory lane -- Ah, well -- There's always NEXT year!  biggrin

The drive along the N24 was mostly uneventful, but only moderately scenic (due to the weather), but that seemed to clear up, after we made it through Tipperary town.  Just a few miles short of Caher, traffic stopped, due to an accident and we were routed back a mile or so to a tiny, local road that ended up being VERY slow going, due to the extremely heavy traffic detoured onto it.  It made for an excellent opportunity to practice my one-lane road etiquete.  Never DID hear any details of the accident that closed the road -- I THINK it was a motocycle that either 'Lost It' on a curve, or possibly hit, or WAS hit by a vehicle coming the other way, but I dunno -- Hopefully, it wasn't TOO serious ... cry cry

We arrived in Caher about 2 PM and went straight to our lodging at the Cahir House Hotel.  They have their own parking lot at the rear and the Hotel faces the Square -- while being a VERY short walk from the Castle.  It's a good, central location, where pretty much everything on offer in the town is within walking distance. Price was 92 Euro, B&B.

We were in our rooms by 2:45 PM and collapsed, for a 2.5 hour nap.  I know that doing this does not work for everyone, but we had been awake (mostly) about 26 Hours by this point and we have found it ESSENTIAL, for us, to 'Reset' our internal clocks.

By 5 Pm, we were back up, showered and freshly dressed.  We had called some of 'The Cousins' that live just NE of Cork City and three of them were driving up to meet us for dinner and to visit.  ("It's only about 30 minutes away," says SHE biggrin), but we had about 2 hours to 'kill' until then, so we decided to do a Walk About.

We made our way around the Square, past the Piper statue and then chanced down a side street that led us to a very nice 'Riverwalk' -- following it all the way down to the Castle before returning, along the main street.

At NO time did I catch sight of anyone wearing either cowboy hats OR boots, though I will insist that I DID keep a watchful eye peeled for a potential, IrelandYes Irregular Meet-And-Greet! biggrin biggrin biggrin

Ah, well, Bit --- some Other time, perhaps! biggrin

We had dinner with the Cousins at the hotel.  I vaguely remember that the food and service was quite decent -- and I THINK that it cost about 100 Euro, or there about -- but, HONESTLY, I do NOT remember the petty details all that clearly, as it was ALL about the company and the conversation -- and as the commercial says -- THAT was Priceless!

We made our way back to our rom about 10:30 or so and fell fast asleep.

It had been a Most Excellent day!

More to come ...

Bob



-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur on Monday 1st of August 2011 11:18:05 AM

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Bob,

Perhaps next year, mo chara. We didn't make it in to Cahir until Tuesday, the 14th.

Other than the travel day, it sounds like your trip was off to a decentstart!

 



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Bob,

I feel your pain....regarding Delta.furious We had our schedule changed for our trip back in March also, and we were not happy about it.cry Since then we have booked a trip from PDX to Nebraska for September; booked it in June, and have had 2 emails since then that there has been 2 schedule changes.confuse  I suppose we should show OUR loyalty by switching airlines....now that we have ABOUT enough airline miles for "free" travel. Just wonder how difficult it will be to cash in on that?  We haven't flown Continental yet...any body out there have any thoughts?  I just don't like the 757's for long haul, would rather have the 767 seat configuration, provided you can get the double seats.

Sounds like your trip was off to good start despite the airline problems and the 20-some hours without sleep! We also need to check out Caher and Limerick, 2 places that sound interesting. Can't wait to hear the rest of the story!

Dan



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Bob,

I'm looking forward to more. How was the hotel?

Michele

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Bit -- No Worries.  You obviously had your hands full ... biggrin biggrin

Dan -- If the outbound trip was fully the Depth of Delta's dissapointing service, I PROBABLY wouldn't still be so cranky  -- Oh, Who am I kidding -- hmm evileye hmm -- I MIGHT be more inclind to only grumble SOME -- BUT (and it's a BIG one -- It turned out that the Outbound Trip was actually the BEST part of the ENTIRE flying 'Experience'! ! !  furious

More on THAT, Later ...

Michele -- Hotel was fine -- Roomy, quiet, clean -- but DEFINITELY a Hotel and NOT a B&B.  All my Hotel stays seemed to fit that description this trip.  I had half expected the staff to be falling all over themselves -- giddy that we had chosen to stay there -- given all the talk of lower tourist numbers, zombie hotels, etc. -- But, the truth is, all of the Hotels that I stayed at seemed QUITE busy and though competively priced, none of them were particularly CHEAP!  confuse confuse

All but the Dublin Radisson Blu at the airport, seemed HEAVILY geared toward being wedding venues -- and the Airport Hotel has its own Special 'Draw' ... biggrin biggrin

The deciding factor to book hotels, for me, is that they seem better suited for one-night stays, as opposed to B&Bs.  I can call them and let them know if I'm running late and don't feel the inclination, or need, to linger in the AM without ANY sense of guilt or obligation ... biggrin  biggrin  ... and THAT seems perfect for point-to-point, 'Green Blur' touring .

And Now, MORE:

13 June, Monday:  All the advance weather forcasts had called for today to be filled with heavy, near continuous rain, so I had a complete, 'Low Visibility' Alternate Plan ready, just in case. hmm hmm

Thankfully, the Weather Gods were only after having a laugh at us Poor Mortals' expense!  biggrin biggrin  I could NOT have asked for a finer day -- Bright, blue sky, partly filled with big, fluffy white clouds that lasted us throughout the ENTIRE day!!!!!

A brief aside, here -- Friends, family and co-workers seem AMAZED that there are actually ANY places in Ireland that I have not already visited -- But the TRUTH is -- There are MANY such places and THIS trip was aimed at REDUCING the size of that list! biggrin

Well rested and eager (and THRILLED by the weather), we drove out of Caher on the R668, heading for Clogeen and The Vee.  Along the way, I spotted signs for the Suif Drive (to be added to a FUTURE list biggrin ) and stopped into Kilbally Woods park to snap some photos.  We stopped for a fair while at the Stone Bridge, to climb down beneath it AND up above it a ways.  We stopped again, at the ACTUALLY Vee and AGAIN, just past it, at the Marker for Grubb's Monument, half way up a rather steep mountain.

Because it was early, and SO nice a day, we made the 15 minute climb to the curious, Beehive shaped structure -- Turns out, it is a marker on the spot where Mr. Grubb DIED some years past --- PROBABLY from a Heart Attack brought on by CLIMBING that STEEP, calf muscle killing MOUNTAIN !!! evileye evileye

REALLY Nice Views, though ... biggrin

From there, we bypassed Waterford and made a bee-line to New Ross, for a very nice tour of the Dunbrody Famine Ship.  Next, we headed south, on the R734, the 'Main' road along the Eastern edge of the River Barrow, passing through Campile, enroute to Dunbrody Castle and Abbey.  We spent some significant time there.  The Castle is a ruin, but there IS a small gift shop, within, where you collect the key needed to enter the Abbey, across the road.  In the castle yard is also a GEM of a cafe -- the woman bakes her own breads and serves some MAGNIFICENT sandwiches!!!!  Before departing, we bought a loaf of her Brown Bread that was still slightly warm!  We saw signs for a Dunbrody Cooking School, as well, and I would be sorely tempted to re-visit, if I could learn to make bread THAT tastey.

The Abbey was quite impressive, as well.  As it was our First of the trip, I'm CERTAIN, now, that we missed many key features -- but, Touring IS a Learning Experience, after all.  confuseconfuse

Departin the car park at the Castle, we continued south, through Arthurstown and Duncannon, without detours, as it was now late afternoon and we had our hearts set on touring the Lighthouse, at Hook Head.  We probably should have stopped to see the fort, though, as we arrived MINUTES after the last tour of the day! furious  furious

The Mrs. expressed GREAT disappointment, but we lingered about the grounds for some time, before heading off toward Wexford.  Since it was now about 5:30 PM, I phoned the Hotel and advised them that we WERE still planning to be there that night and was advised that arriving late would be NO problem.

It's just as well, because it was only a few minutes later that I spotted the sign for Tintern Abbey!  WOW!!! What a place!  It appears that the Main Chapel has been TOTALLY restored -- re-roofed and glass installed in the tall, stone, arched windows.  It was CLOSED, of course, but the building (exterior) and the Grounds are VERY impressive.  I think we will DEFINITELY be returning, at some point.

From there, we drove the R733, through Wellingtonbridge and discovered our hotel --Whitford House Hotel (89 Euro -- Room only) -- less than a block from where the R733 intersects the N25. 

After checking in, the desk clerk provided a map of Wexford Town and we used it to find the Tesco, where we bought a cheap pair of sunglasses for my wife (she didn't think she needed to pack HER's), topped up the spare phone and purchased sandwiches and assorted 'snacky cakes' -- including the first box of my new ADDICTION --- Jaffa Cakes!!!!

On the way back to the hotel, my wife lamented about having missed out on the Lighthouse tour, so we scuttled my carefully crafted plans for Tuesday and created a NEW plan ---

One that would begin with a return, to Hook Head!  biggrin biggrin

More To Come ...

Bob

 



-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur on Wednesday 3rd of August 2011 10:22:06 PM

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More -- As promised biggrin biggrin !

 14 June Tuesday:

     We made a fairly early start of it and headed BACK to Hook Head in time for the first tour of the day at the lighthouse.  The young man at the counter of the Visitor's Center (who also ended up being our Tour Guide) seemed suprised when he recognized us from the previous evening.

     The tour was interesting -- lots of history of the light, the area and even, the construction techniques.  Great views, as well.  A word of caution, though -- LOTS of stairs and NO lift!  You can't actually enter the TOP level (where the working light is), but there is a railed observation deck on the highest level that IS accessible.

     Tour over, we made our way back, toward Wexford.  Sights along the way included Slade Castle and  the remnants of the monastary of Rinn Dubhain but they were seen as 'drive Bys'  -- our only stop was at Baginbun -- where Strongbow first came ashore.  There is a Martelo Tower nearby, that has been turned into a holiday Home.  Sadly, we could NOT tour Tintern Abbey on THIS go-round, EITHER -- as they are Closed, on Tuesdays ... hmm hmm

     Back into Wexford, we drove into town for lunch at a cafe we had spotted the previous evening.  Finding parking was a REAL bear, even though there is a LARGE, extnded group of lots, all along the Quayside.  Initially, I pulled into a narrow side street to the left, just past the Quay, rather than drive out of the city.  It was a one-way street (Skeffington Street ???) and there was a large truck parked partly on the right hand sidewalk.  I thought I was being clever as I eased the passenger side wheels up onto the left-Hand sidewalk and squeaked by!  smile

I didn't feel QUITE so clever, once I realized that the intersection ahead was barracaded and there were 'No Parking' signs!!!  evileye evileye  The only solution was to BACK up the length of the street and up, AROUND the parked truck!  Not a Happy Camper, but I managed to do so without any PHYSICAL trauma.   wink

Imagine my chagrin, though, when once past the truck -- as I was turning around, in a driveway --- I watched two workmen climb into the truck -- to drive away !!!  bleh bleh

Finally found a parking place on the Quayside (on The Talbot Hotel side of the Quay, and walked to the cafe.  Can't remember the name, now, but it was on the corner of Cresent Quay and Anne Street.  We had Toasteds and Soup, then walked up Anne Street to Main Street, where I located the Vodaphone shop and 'Topped Up' both my phone and Internet 'Aircard' accounts.  We walked past a Beautiful church, enroute (St. Iberius), so my wife wanted to drop in for a Look See and to light a few candles.  I strayed outside, for a smoke.  She emerged a few moments later, Red Faced and laughing --

----- Seems she had asked a lady inside where to find the Candles -- and the lady had smiled, patted her hand and said, "You're in the Wrong Church, dearie." ...

Who Knew that St Iberius was Anglican????  Guess I SHOULD have done a BIT more research!  confuse  biggrin confuse biggrin  confuse

     Back in the car, we decided to forgo the coastal drive, along the R742 to Gorey.  We opted to drive the 'Quicker' route, via the N11 through Enniscorthy.  I think that Time-Wise, it would have turned out to be a 'Wash', because traffic CRAWLED through Enniscorthy, trying to cross (and re-cross the bridges over the River Slaney.  Due to the time, we also dropped plans to visits to Vinegar Hill and the 1798 Museum.

     Gorey, at least, IS bypassed, so we breezed on through, exiting the N11 bypass of Arklow, to take the R747 into Woodenbridge, where we turned onto the R752 for the Vale of Avoca.   We made a brief stop at Avoca and another, at the Meeting Of The Waters, before finding our way to Laragh.  It was just a short drive from village center, to our accommodation at Riversdale House (one of Michele's Picks! biggrin ).

     GOOD ON YOU, MICHELE  !!  biggrin biggrin  GREAT Place AND Terrific Location!

     We rented the Self-Catering cottage-- a one bedroom, single-story, stone cottage that was once a two-story, shop that served the miners that lived further up the valley.  It was a PERFECT base for our planned (and Actual) touring and we enjoyed the privacey and freedom to come and go as we wished, without every feeling guilty about 'Sleeping In', or returning Late ...

     Rate was 250 Euro, 'All-In', for three nights.  A TAD more than what a B&B would have run, but when you factor in the use of the kitchen and washing machine, it probably works out to neutral, as far as costs go.  But, money ISN'T everything! biggrin

     After settling up and taking a brief, 'Orientation Tour', we unloaded the car and headed off for the local shop.  There, we purchased bread, cheese, ham and other basic staples.  Once we returned to our cottage, we set off, on foot, this time -- for Glendalough.

  Riverdale nestles against the base of a very steep slope, atop which, is the roadway of the Wicklow Gap.  A few feet lower on that hill, is the cottage -- one side of which borders on the dirt road that is driveway to Riverdale and its neighbors.  Opposite that laneway is a narrow span of grass, which separates the valley floor from the shallow river that cuts though it.  The owners of Riverdale (live MOST of their neighbors have placed large rock 'Stepping Stones' across to allow fairly easy access to a gravel lane the parrallels the opposite shore.  Once across, it is an easy stroll down, to the ancient Monastic site of St Kevin's, at Glendalough. To the left, is the river, the far bank occassionally offering up views of homes and other buildings.  To the right, as the valley rises to the the opposite heights of the valley, are deep, dark, moss-covered woods and the imagination finds NO difficulty in populating same with vast armies of woodland creatures, fairies and nymphs. 

     It truly IS a MAGICAL place.

     We found Glendalough virtually deserted at this hour and wandered about, blissfully unimpeded by the normal, daytime hordes of visitors, despite the fine weather!  We wandered amoung the ruins and the headstones for at least an hour, possibly longer.

  The Indonesians have a name for it, I'm told -- Djam Karet -- "The Time That Stretches" --   I can't think of a better, or more apt,  discription.

     Dusk enchroached as we made our way back up the valley, nestle 'twixt the musical river and woodlands deep.  It was a VERY good day.

More to Follow ...  biggrin

Bob

 

 

 



-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur on Sunday 7th of August 2011 02:17:16 PM



-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur on Monday 8th of August 2011 09:59:08 AM

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15 June Wednesday.

     After a Lazy Day start, we set off to drive the Wicklow Gap, the R756, to Hollywood, stopping numerous times along the way, to take in the views of the upper valley and back, toward our accommodations and Glendalough, beyond.  Empty and desolate (yet inspiring) in its beauty, we seemed to have the road almost entirely to ourselves. 

     In the village of Hollywood, we turned North, on the N81 to Blessington and drove along the Pollaphuca Reservouir, with a brief, but excedingly interesting detour into Russborough, billed as "The Most Beautiful House In Ireland".  The building and grounds ARE impressive, from the outside, but since we did NOT take the tour, I can't speak to the veracity of their claims.  biggrin biggrin

     Neither of us are huge, 'Big House' aficianados and one wing of was undergoing EXTENSIVE repairs and renovations, so the 10 Euro adimission, plus 3 each, extra, for the Beech Maze, didn't seem worthwhile.  However, the stop DID yield a BIG benefit ...  biggrin

     Within the stableyard, there are numerous shops and my wife is a fond collecter of pottery.  She's gotten a BIT picky, of late, though -- as she says that she is running out of space to display it properly.  In point of fact, we haven't purchased any pieces on the last three trips (counting THIS one) ... but what caught MY eye, there in the stable buildings, was a shop full of wood carvings of exquisit design:

http://www.wergiwood.com/pb/wp_b2908a0a/wp_b2908a0a.html

     I am particularly smitten by the 'Shields Of Life' constructs that are available in multiple sizes and have placed acquiring one of them on my, 'Must Have' short-lists.  They are made of multiple types of wood, richly embossed and inlaid and I find them stunning to look at.  Unfortunately, price and logistics prevented aquiring one THIS trip...

     Most of these items are the work of Herve de Wergifosse, but we also noticed some dark black items that, on FIRST glance, seemed to similar to the inexpensive, 'Pressed Peat' items that you see in most inexpensive tourist shops -- yet, somehow, these looked DIFFERENT. 

     It turns out, that they REALLY are!  Most of these items are the handiwork of Eamonn Heffernan.  HIS speciality is finding, painstakingly curing and then working pieces of Bog Wood Oak that can be anywhere between 3 and 5 THOUSAND years old!

     Herve was not there, but we met with Eamonn who kindly informed us about what is obviously a labor of love for him -- Bog Oak.  It takes OVER three years to properly cure a piece of oak, once it has been unearthed from a Bog -- and proper curing must begin VERY soon after it is first exposed to air -- Otherwise, it dries out, cracks badly -- and can even, DISINTEGRATE!  An ignoble end -- to a majestic wood that has survived since before the Pyramids!

     Even though I couldn't, in good conscience, buy one of those amazing Shields evileye , we DID buy one of Eamonn's smaller, Bog Wood pieces, that he had made into a tea light, candle holder and I couldn't resist a 6" yew wood bowl, with a nicely inlaid ridge.  Yew finishes to a faintly reddish color, so it is appealing to the eye, but the Yew tree is closely related to Monastaries and, particularly, grave yards.  It is also quite heavily associated with the 'High Holy Places' of the ancient Druids.

  Total expenditure was 45 Euro and about an hour (maybe more) and that MAY have contributed to our decision to NOT tour Russborough House ???? -- Though, we DID avail of their cafe and Rest Rooms! biggrin biggrin

     Back on the N81, we turned off, just shy of Dublin, onto the R759 and drove the equally desolate and ruggedly appealing route along the headwaters of the River Liffey, to the Sally Gap.  There, we continued on, into Wicklow town, for a VERY brief stop, before continuing onto the R570, to sample the famous Wiclow beaches along the Wicklow to Arklow coast.  It was another FINE day along 'Ireland's Sunny South East' and we stopped numerous times along the way -- sampling vast, sandy stretches, pebble and rock-strewn 'hide-aways and more.  We EVEN wlked down to one beach UNDER the cart ways of a Golf Course! 

     MOST of the time, we had the places all to ourselves -- which was enjoyable, but NOT terribly suprising --

     Did I mention that it was only about 55 degrees -- and WINDY -- like you wouldn't BELIEVE!?!  biggrin biggrin biggrin

   From Arklow, we made our way back to Avoca, for a return visit to the Woolen Mills, so that my wife could purchase some scarves that she had spotted prieviously, as 'Thank You' gifts for three of the Cousins.  Then, we drove on to the Meeting Of The Waters, where we enjoyed our evening meal and used the opportunity to take even MORE photographs.

     Back into Laragh, we drove up to the Upper Lake and then stopped briefly, again, at Glendalough, before returning to our cottage.  It was only then that the only 'flaws' in our accommodation choice became apparent!

     As mentioned before, Riverdale sits, nestled, DOWN in a fairly narrow, steeply walled valley.  They offer free High Speed Internet -- in the B&B -- but below, in the cottage, my Vodaphone Air Card couldn't even raise a SINGLE bar and there was NO connectivity!!! cry cry cry

     In fact, my wife used our 'Spare' mobile phone to call home to the US (availing of the CHEAP rates on the Tesco SIM ), but the ONLY way she was able to connect at all, was to sit in the deep well of the front window -- and 'AIM' the phone, next to the glass!!  The one time that she forgot and stepped away from the window, her call got 'Dropped' ... aww aww   My Vodaphone mobile worked fine -- outside of the house -- so, I SUSPECT that my Air Card would have been OK to use there, as well, had it been NEEDED ...

NOT that this would discourage me from returning to this cottage -- just something to be aware of!  biggrin

With dark FINALLY upon us, we called it a night.

More To Come ...

Bob



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Just a Reminder ---

Pix are at:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/itallian_chauffeur/sets/72157626993559237/

Bob



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Bob,

At an Art Gallery in Lahinch, we found the most amazing bogwood carving. I think if we would have had more time to spend in the shop, we would have it in our living troom or at our shop presently. The intricacy and energy of the piece was astounding. I think I have a photo of it somewhere. I will post it with my Lahinch section.

I am enjoying your trip report so far.  I need to get busy with mine, I suppose.



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Bit:


Was the art gallery in Lahinch run by Yvonne Mahar?  She does lovely work and has a nice place in town that shows her paintings.

Monty



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Bob,

I'm happy to hear you enjoyed the cottage at Riversdale. I've not stayed in it but have stayed at the B&B a couple of times. It really is the nicest place in the area.

Michele

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OK, I've been negligent --- AGAIN!  biggrin  cry  biggrin

And, now, Marie has shamed me by posting her Trip Report, so I have NO good excuse ...  confuse

 

16 June, Thursday:  The day started off a bit dreary -- ominously overcast, but with bright patches.  We made our way to Powerscourt Waterfall where we enjoyed a peaceful picnic lunch, under pleasant, but cloudy skies, before making our way to our main destination -- Powerscout House and Gardens.  By the time we arrived, there were momentary stretches of "Soft" weather.

We did not tour the actual House -- though we did the 'Mini-Tour' of Tara's Palace -- expensive (but Charitable ) admission to a small, but extensive display -- while we waited for the skies to clear.  As soon as the skies brightened up, we set out to cover the "short Route" -- No Fools, we --- it was OBVIOUS that the weather 'hold' would NOT last! -- so we missed out on Tower Valley and only made a brief sojourn into the Japanese Gardens.  Even then, I would estimate that our Garden Walk ran 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours -- and even THEN, we gave Short Shift to the Walled Gardens, as it was turning 'Soft' as  we entered them and was nearly Torrential as we hastily exited at the Bamberg Gate, to race back into the House.  If one was REALLY 'Into' gardens, you could easily spend HOURS wandering about -- Weather permitting, of course ...

After wandering through the shops, I finally braved the elements to make a dash to the car.  After retrieving my wife, we drove back to Laragh along the R755 in a moderate to heavy rain that would last, it turned out, for over 24 hours ...

Given the weather, we opted for an EXCELLENT meal at Wicklow Heather  and then returned to our cottage to organize for our departure in the morning.

More to come ...

(says he, Sheepishly) biggrin

Bob



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Bob,

Thanks for continuing the saga. I think all those sheep in Ireland must have rubbed off on you! I agree that the Wicklow Heather has excellent food. Not cheap but really good. I remember many decades ago when it was a little greasy spoon cafe. It sure has changed over the years - for the good.

I could spend all day at Powerscourt in the spring if I have good weather. I love gardens.

Michele

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17 June, Friday:

It continued to rain throughout the night, alternating betwen a light patter interspersed by regular, somewhat prolonged intervals of windy, lashing rain.  The gentle stream along the valley floor had been transformed into a raging torrent -- so much so, that the large, strategically placed 'Stepping Stones' crossing appeared to be nearly submerged!

The property itself and the roadway werelargely unaffected, beyond the appearance of a few shallow puddles scattered about.  If nothing else, valley dwellers in Ireland are EXPERT at drainage issues! biggrin biggrin

We headed West and North, retracing the Wicklow Way into Hollywood, where we turned Southward, onto the N81.  When we arrived in Baltinglass, there was heavy rain falling, steadily, but I was determined to visit the river-side Abbey, so my wife sat, bemused, in the dry car, while I suffered the wet indignity of having to climb over a low stone wall, in order to gain entry, as apparently, the weater was too foul for anyone to bother unlocking the front gate!  cry  confuse  cry

Lest any think that MY visit was totally insane, as we were approach Baltinglass, we observed a group of about 30 children and a few adults along the river bank -- conducting some sort of boating safety training ... confuse confuse confuse

After departing Baltinglass Abbey, we continuedon the N81, but then detoured via the R726, toward Carlow.  We paused briefly, to view Browneshill Dolmen -- but did so, from the car, this time ---It looks to be a rather long, circuitous route from the car park  cry cry  Then, we merged onto the N9 / M9 and followed it South, toward Waterford.

It FINALLY stopped rainingas we were approaching Thomastown --- THANKFULLY --- so the Mrs. agreed to a slight detour, for a visit to Jerpoint Abbey ... 

And, a WORTH-WHILE visit, it was!  biggrin biggrin  The sun shone, the air warmed and we seemed to have the place almost entirely to ourselves -- at least, at first.  A few bus-loads of school kids  arrived as we were nearly ready to depart --apparently on field trips --- It was QUITE amusing to hear how seriously they seemed to take their guide's commentary ... as only 6-8 years old CAN ...  biggrin biggrin biggrin

From Jerpoint we merged onto the new M10 and followed it to the N25 (just North of Waterford) and followed it diligently Westward, into Midelton.  After settling in to the Midelton Park Hotel , we made our way to the Cousins' for an evening that couldn't be beat -- not making it back to the hotel until nearly midnight...  biggrin

More to Come ...

Bob



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Bob,

It is a rather long pathway to Browneshill Dolmen. It is huge though. Glad you enjoyed Jerpoint Abbey. Nice carvings in the arcade there.

Keep it coming!

Michele

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Michele -- Jerpoint was damp, but we had blue skies, which encouraged us to dwell and really enjoy the many interesting features, like the carvings and the painting remnants, but it was POURING when we briefly stopped at Browneshill! biggrin

18 June, Saturday:

After departing our accommodation in Midelton, we made our way back to the Cousins for a brief visit and then made our way around Cork city onto the N22 via Macroom, to our self-catering at Dooneen, just outside of Millstreet about mid-afternoon.  Noel and his daughter met us at house to exchange 'keys for fees' and welcomed us "Home" .  Since this was our third stay there, he really didn't need to provide much orientation ...

We made a brief foray into town for some groceries and then departed for Killarney in time to make our schedule rendezvous with long-time Forum member, 'Dude' (Judy), her daughter and two grand-daughters, who were visiting the Gap of Dunloe that day.  We had agreed to meet about 5 PM as they were returned to the Deros Tours office on Main Street. 

We parked in the car park alongside the Tourist Office on Beech Street and then meandered up through the Inishfallen Mall (think of it as a two storey, MOSTLY roofed, alleyway, lined by assorted shops).  Arriving early, we settled onto a bench in front of the Town Hall, across the street and just South of the Deros office --- figuring that we would see the Deros 'Short Bus' as it approached ...  cry

About 20 minutes later (5:10 or so), I walked up toward the office to ask what the delay was -- and there were Judy and the younger ladies, patiently waiting ( nearly 20 minutes, it turned out!) for any sight of US!  After a quick exchange of greetings, we headed into the Granary for comfortable conversation and refreshments.

This was our second meet-up with Dude -- we had first met in Ennis, back in June of 2009.  On THAT trip she had brought two grandsons along -- and Fine, Young Men they were -- (as the young Ladies turned out to be, as well) so hopefully, we may eventually meet her entire family ... biggrin biggrin

We compared notes about our trip so far and discussed our mutal acquaintance -- another Forum member --Anchoress -- a Solitary Nun who formerly resided in Donegal, but now has settled into West Cork.  Over the years, Dude has worked closely (and rather tirelessly, I might opine) to assist Anchoress in many different ways and has generously permitted my wife and I to assist (in our own, small way) in SOME of her endeavors.  So, having just come from visiting with Anchoress, the ladies filled us in while we snacked until it was too soon time to part company.  Judy insisted that SHE pay the tab, in retribution for my having done so back in Ennis and since I was out-numbered 5 to 1, protesting did me little good... furious  hmm  furious

The ladies had parked off College Street prior to their Tour of the Gap, so we walked them part way, but they were booked into a B&B in Tarbert for the evening, so reluctantly, we bid them adieu ...

We meandered back down to our car and made our way back to Dooneen and called it a good day.  biggrin

More to Come ...

Bob

 



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OK, now you've left us hanging again :( Bad Bob!!! No cookie!

We loved our time at Powerscourt Gardens, and any time in Glendalough is delightful. Having time without crowds is priceless. And I've been to Jerpoint twice now, and love it each time. Baltinglass as well! We had better weather for those, though. We had spent a whole week in Knocktopher, doing day trips from there in 2002, and another trip in 2006 had 3 nights in Kilkenny. Lots of fun exploring :)

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Bob,

Glad that the skies cleared for your visit to Jerpoint. It is more impressive than the dolmen anyway. Have you ever been out to Kells Priory? I like it even more than Jerpoint.

Michele



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Apologies and embarrassed foot-scuffling from an excuse-filled, slightly stressed and easily distracted-by-shiny-objects  individual who LIKES cookies, but is now apparently doomed to remain cookie-less until he mends his ways!!!!   cry cry cry cry

First, though -- Some additions and Corrections:

Let me first correct any mis-understanding about Anchoress, Dude and myself -- It has been suggested that what I wrote earlier MIGHT suggest that Anchoress is anything other than Self-sufficient and I would wish to TOTALLY disabuse anyone who thinks that.  Any assistance rendered has always been given to further the work of Anchoress' Order, Sisters of Grace, which does much good, world-wide -- particularly with infants and children.

 

I added MORE pix, as well --  http://www.flickr.com/photos/itallian_chauffeur/sets/72157627963598280/

 

Over the next few days (Sunday, 19 June - Thursday 23 June), we experienced beautiful, atypical APRIL weather -- grey skies, intermittent rain, blue skies and stretches of sunny weather -- nothing worth complaining about, but not exactly Summer weather, either ... biggrin

Our time was divided into researching family history, visiting with the Cousins and touring some of Mid-Cork's more obscure antiquities:

TOURISM:

 

http://www.coppeenheritage.com/local-heritage/kinneigh-round-tower

Kinneigh Round Tower is unique, in that it is the ONLY Round Tower in Ireland that was constructed upon an octagonal base.

Carrigastyra Famine Grave Yard is difficult to find, but WELL worth the hunt.  We had the GREAT, good fortune of bumping into an elderly gentleman there who was one of the persons responsible for Major restoration work, back in the '80's and 90's.  While the site has gradually reverted back into a semi-wild state since, it would be all but gone today, had it not been for that timely intervention.  It was a privilege to have met and talked with someone that had had a direct hand in the preservation of what is a most impressive and compelling testament to such a dark time.  Carrigastyra  is a monument of understated subtlety -- a place to reflect and feel the weight of years.

http://angortamor.blogspot.com/2010/05/carrigastyra-famine-grave-clondrohid-co.html

http://homepage.eircom.net/~abbey/index.htm

If you stand at the entrance gate to Kilcrea Abbey, facing out to the West, sighting through the tree-lined boulevard, you can see Kilcrea Castle in the distance, on the far side of a wide, flat field.  Due East, on the opposite side of the Abbey, is another expance of wide, flat field -- rich with barley -- the rises gradually to a prominent, wooded area that I am convince is the remains of a Ring Fort.  The three - Fairy fort, Abbey and Castle seem as stepping stones -- East-to-West -- passing in straight, linear progression, through a river of time.   Heady stuff, on a grey morn, as the fog fades away into a robust, blue sky.  biggrin biggrin

GENEALOGY:

 

The 1901 Census had led us to the discovery that the family had spent a few, last years beyond their known confines in and around Millstreet, in the Townland of Gurteenroe, Macroom.  It was there, that Great-Grandfather Timothy had died, on 3 August 1902 (of Pneumonia -- according to the Certificate of Death that we acquired from the Records Office in Roscommon). 

Likewise, knowing an approximate departure date AND a CORRECT Origin Point, we were able to discover the records of the Emmigration from Ireland, as well.  biggrin biggrin biggrin

What we had not found, however, was Timothy's place of burial, nor the physical location of residence.  Massive flooding in the 1960's distroyed many burial records in Macroom and needless to say, much has pysically changed in the area since the 1901 Census was conducted.  Try though we might, we are not significantly closer to either of those elusive pieces of information, but I still have hope. 

Friday, 24 June:

We departed Dooneen in moderate to Heavy rain and made our way into Macroom.  From there, we drove through Inchigeelah and Ballingeary to Gougane Barra, where we paused briefly.  Continuing onward, we drove through the Pass of Keimaneigh, into Kealkill, with another brief stop at the Carriganiass Castle and on, into Bantry.

We met with Anchoress there -- sitting under a small canopy set on the Market Square, opposite the Tourist Office.  It was raining QUITE heavily by now and the canopy surrounding the stall was doing little to ward off the wet.  It was about 1 PM and an unfruitfull day for the Market, given the weather, so we helped Anchoress dismantle her stall and pack everything away into her vehicle and then followed her out from Bantry, heading back in the direction we came.  For lack of better options closer to hand, we returned to Gougane Barra and settled into dry, warm seats and a well over-due luch in the shop along-side of the Hotel.  There was a wedding going on at Saint Finbar's Chapel and we spent quite a while enjoying illuminating and enlightening conversation.  We parted ways outside the cafe -- Sister returning to her Anchorhold and we, to our final night in Dooneen.

Saturday, 25 June:  We departed Dooneen with regrets (the weather having improved, overnight) and made our final pass through Macroom and Cork City to say our Good-byes to the Cousins in East Cork. 

We departed there about 2 PM and drove the M8 into Dublin.  If time had permitted, I had hoped to stop by the Rock of Dunamase and POSSIBLY even a longer detour -- to see the Round Tower in Timahoe -- but as often happens, Time conspired against my IDEALIZED plans. 

ONE more reason to return, I suppose ... MAYBE, just maybe, I OVER-PLAN -- on purpose!!!!  biggrin biggrin biggrin

Our final night was at the SAS Radisson Blu Hotel at the Dublin Airport -- a good Airport location -- complete with Shuttle service.  Unfortunately, we arrived about 15 minutes too late to return the car that night, but our Departure flight wasn't until later in the Morning, it was still 'All Good'.

We dropped off the car in the AM without any significant problems and then rode the Doodley shuttle to the Departure Hall.  Everything went smoothly as we proceded through Check-In, Security (BOTH) and even Customs and Immigration.  We were at our gate approximately one hour before our scheduled departure. 

It was only THEN, that everything turned to dust  furious furious furious furious

We underwent the Flight From --- Well, you get the idea!!!

But that's a story of a Different sort --- Dealing with Airlines rather than Ireland  -- so I'll save that for another time.

So that's my story about our June 2011 Ireland Trip -- In its Entirety.

Can I have a cookie, now, Christy????  biggrin biggrin

Bob



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Bob,

Michele wink



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