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RE: Scenes From A Wedding April 2012


Bob,

Yea! You finished up before your retirement trip. Way to go. biggrin I'm glad you finally got to the Rock of Dunamase. I'm sure it was once a rival to the Rock of Cashel. So scenic. Thanks for the wonderful trip report. We enjoyed the ride.

Michele



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What a great trip report! It sounds as though you used your time well and had a grand experience! Good for you! Thanks for sharing your adventures.

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Finally!!!!!  smile  smile

 

Sunday, 29 April -- Our last Full day in Ireland:

 

After departing the Round Tower Hotel, we did a brief drive through the town and then set out via the R673 to rejoin the N25. After bypassing Dungarvan, we turned off on the R676 and followed it through Carrick-on-Suir. Just north of there, I accidentally turned off onto a Local Road -- missing

Kilkeeran High Crossesby a mere kilometer or so, BUT my Detour DID bring us directly to the Ahenny High Crosses. I spent quite a while wandering the grave yard there -- despite the blowing mist and strong, COLD wind. Dropping down into the Village, having made a few False Starts  furious furious  , I asked directions from a couple of Local Fellas --

 

FYI: In Rural Ireland, asking how to find R697 (or whatever) very often results in looks of bewilderment   confuse  confuse  confuse  Says one -- I ha no idea what the number o the roads be -- asking such, is meaningless. Tell me where it is ye wish to BE and that is somewhat I can help ye wi!   biggrin  biggrin 

 

Once I complied, we were quickly sorted out and back on the Main road, making our way to Kells. We spent a great deal of time at the Old Mill and then a shorter time at the North Parking area, but the wind and cold (though now MOSTLY sunny sky) had sapped our inclination to hike the fields to actually enter the Monastic site, so we settled upon viewing it from afar. Did I mention that my wifes knee had been troubling her??? Another time, perhaps.  cry  cry

 

A WARMER time   biggrin  cry  biggrin

 

A directional sign caught my eyes, though and I followed the brief detour to Kilree Round Tower. The ruined church and Round Tower lie within a stone walled enclosure, a few hundred feet within a very large pasture. Beyond THAT, in its own, small enclosure lies the High Cross. On the gate of the pasture is a LARGE sign -- warning of the presence of Bulls. I dont know about Gender, but there was about 30 or so bovines herded together, a few hundred feet away from the gate, sheltering -- enmass -- along the hedgerow next to the road. I judged their distance as likely being far enough -- regardless of gender -- and made a mad dash for the protective walls of the Churchyards walls. I spent a delightful twenty minutes or so, wandering about the old church, peering into the door of the Round Tower and gazing wistfully at the even more distant High Cross -- but caution won the day, so I did NOT see it, Up Close and Personal.  hmm  hmm

 

Then, mindful of the herd, I made my return dash to the safety and warmth of the car.  biggrin  biggrin

 

Returning to the R697, it led us straight into Kilkenny (and along side the Castle. There was an Exotic Car Show being held in the Car Park just below the Castle ate, so traffic was HORRENDOUS!!! I think we sat through four or five Red Lights before finally clearing the intersection. I drifted with traffic, unsure of our route. We were getting QUITE hungry by now (and a bit desperate for a Toilet Break . ) , so we did something unique -- a First Time Ever While In Ireland -- and went to McDonalds .  disbelief  disbelief  disbelief

 

I know, I know -- Shame On Me! --- But, in all fairness, it was RIGHT There, easy access and available parking. They also had Free Wi-Fi   wink  hmm

 

From Kilkenny, I somehow mad our way to Swan, where I followed the R426 into Timahoe, for a very enjoyable view of the Church/Castle Ruins and their remarkable Round Tower. I also did an external inspection of the former Health Clinic which had been For Sale for 40,000 Euro -- but Sadly, it is no longer Listed and my wife is STILL not interested in Purchasing

 

Back on the road, our next stop was at the Rock of Dunamase. Given the weather (still Semi-Bright, but cold and VERY Windy) my wife once again opted to view it from below -- but I embraced my very BEST Frozen Billy Goat persona -- And made a dash to the Top!

 

WOW! It is as impressive -- in its own way -- as the Rock of Cashel! A small group was leaving as I began my ascent and a family of three passed as I was departing -- Otherwise, I had the place entirely to myself.

 

We rejoined the M7 just beyond Port Laoise and headed toward Dublin. By the time we passed Kildare, the sky had turned Gray and threatening. By the time we reached the M50, it was Pouring. We made our way passed the Now-Vacant  furious  furious  furious  furious  Dan Dooley Depot and settled in to the Carlton Hotel, nearby. Given the long day and the weather, we opted to eat at the Hotel (Passable), then re-packed and called it an early night.

 

We rose early and made our way to the Airport, following signs that led us round and round, until we finally found the NEW Depot. Returned car without mishap, shuttled to Terminal 2 and made our 10:15 flight with minimal fanfare or problems.

 

Bob



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Bob,

I was amused about your possible encounter with bulls!biggrin I sometimes wonder if they post those signs just to keep the tourists out?!?  I had brief vision of you...as one of the runners in Spain with a bull in hot pursuit.... making a mad dash to the chuchyard walls and back!biggrin  I had the same situation near Sligo....after a long hike, then a mere 4-500 yards to go to get to the tomb...but decided not to chance it....with my wife back in the car nursing a broken shoulder! Did have my cell phone with me, but probably no reception down in the valley that I would have to cross, where the bovines were hanging out! Not sure what would happen in Ireland if you had to dial 911.....?

Enjoyed your trip report!

Dan



-- Edited by murphy on Monday 27th of August 2012 11:06:16 AM

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Only ONE day left!  I MAY actually finish this report in Under SIX months!!!  biggrin   disbelief  disbelief  biggrin

 

Saturday, 28 April:

 

We rose fairly early, finished packing and I loaded up the car with the largest bags. The rental agent dropped by, collected 10 Euro for our electric use after reading the meter and then we had a nice chat about Killarney, the Economy and the weather. We told her that we found the place delightful and that we hope to return, perhaps next summer, with son and grandson in tow.

 

We hit the road about 10, I guess, straight down the now familiar N22 to Cork, onto the South Ring Road, through the Jack Lynch Tunnel and onward, into Midelton. After a brief stop to make some last-minute purchases at the Tesco, I drove South on the R630 to Ballynacorra and turned off, onto the R629 and followed it down into Cloyne. Cloyne has to be the smallest village to have a Church, a Cathedral and a Round Tower!

 

The day was clear, even intermittently sunny, but windy and quite cool. We opted to not retrace our route, so continued on the R629 to Shanagarry, passing by the

Ballymaloe Cookery School and then returning to the N25, in order to bypass Youghal. After crossing over the River Blackwater, into County Waterford, we turned South onto the R673 and drove down into Ardmore.

 

I used the netbook and mobile phone to book ourselves into the Round Tower Hotel . It was easy to find, right off R673, JUST before the town. We drove by, into town and parked at the waterfront. Mass was beginning to start, so my wife opted to go and I opted to drive around for a bit, getting oriented. It was still bright, but cool and windy. I located the Round Tower, Church and graveyard that drew me here and then returned to the Church, only moments before Mass let out.

 

We returned to the hotel and were checked in by a friendly and enthusiastic YOUNG man, who showed us to our room. He recommended a local restaurant for our evening meal -- The White Horses-- which, though slightly pricey, was absolutely Excellent. I had a Massive steak that could have probably fed two hungry people, easily, and it was both delicious AND cooked to perfection! Overall, I would be tempted to return to Ardmore -- just for another shot at the White Horses.

 

We took advantage of the remaining daylight to visit the Monastic site for some serious picture taking and then drove around the Cliff Road, taking in some spectacular sea views. We passed by the Tres Elegante, Cliff House Hotel -- a place we had considered, even though it IS a trifle pricey -- but they had No Vacancies, on the night

 

We have mixed feelings about the Round Tower Hotel, though. The young man had some difficulty getting the heat to work in our room, but provided a portable electric unit, as a temporary stop-gap. The entire building is quite old, but appears to be in well maintained condition. Room was clean and our twin beds were both comfortable. The en-suite looked to have been added sometime during the late-70s, or early 80s, based upon the décor. The shower was one of those small, flimsy, tubes and I had to run the water for several minutes to finally draw hot water.

 

It WAS the off-season, though, in all fairness and in the morning, not only did I discover that we were the only paying guests that night -- we were actually the only people in the building! I went downstairs early, unlocked the door and stepped out for a smoke. As I was re-entering, our young man drove up with two friends -- another young man and a young girl. As I let them in, the young man asked me what time we would like to have breakfast! After they went off to the kitchen, I wandered around the downstairs, discovering a beautiful, heavily paneled rear bar, an elegantly decorated guest lounge and a large multi-purpose room. After retrieving my wife, we were seated in beautifully appointed dining area -- replete with deep carpet, heavy drapes and cloth tablecloths and napkins. Our multi-talented young man delivered a surprisingly good, full Irish fry. Im NOT sure which of the three actually cooked it! Total cost for our stay was 60 Euro. Im going to guess that it didnt begin to cover the cost of our being there!

 

Overall, our stay was quirky, a LITTLE bit creepy, but actually pretty nifty, if that makes any sense. The website lists The Round Tower Hotel as a Family-Owned establishment and I can only guess that the principals were, themselves, On Holiday -- somewhere Warm and Sunny?????  confuse  confuse  confuse

 

I would actually be tempted to return, though Im not sure if my wife is Like-Minded. ? .  hmm  hmm

 

More To Come



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Guess I need to "Pick Up The Pace" -- If I'm going to finish THIS report before my next trip ...   biggrin  biggrin biggrin

 

Friday, 27 April :

Tonight was to be our last night at the Killarney Apartment   furious  hmm  furious -- and we had spent nearly all of our time in Kerry -- in County Cork!  confuse  biggrin  confuse

Once again, we had scheduled a 6 PM Get-Together with family, but this was a First Communion Party, hosted at a Cousins home, located just North of Tralee. So, fair enough!

If today was destined to be our ONLY Fair-Weather day in Kerry --- It seemed only FAIR to spend it -- IN Kerry!  smile  biggrin  smile

After lingering briefly on the balcony to enjoy the now, readily apparent views, we made to the Focus and headed North, toward Killorglin and Castlemaine, where I missed the turn  disbelief  and ended up Discovering the route via Blennerville! We made a brief stop, in Camp, another at a beach at the end of a laneway signposted for a Caravan Park ( Aughacastle ? ) then continued onward, into Castlegregory. I parked in a vacant spot on Tailors Row, opposite the

Village Bistro, we enjoyed a pleasant lunch. Returning to the car, I walked beyond, to the nearby Spar, for Diet Coke and water and lingered, on return, at a little shop called, The Beach Box. They have a small, but eclectic, assortment on offer. We purchased a small, ceramic bowl by a local potter -- Colleen Bowler

Returning to the car, we drove all the way out to Rough point, enjoying the sun (The Sun! - How Happy we are to become re-acquainted! biggrin  biggrin  ) , the Sea (the views of Tralee Bay are inspiring) and the Surroundings. We ended at the pier at Rough Point, enjoyed some photo time and then retraced our steps, back to the R560.

With the weather much too fine to do otherwise, we turned West and made our way up, into Conor Pass. We spent quite a few minutes at the road-side waterfall / parking area, and nearly as long at the large, Summit Car Park-- before returning to Blennerville, wending our way through the Heart of Tralee -- something I havent really done since 1999. Then, I was maneuvering a "GIANORMOUS", 9 Passenger, Electric Lime-Green, VW Caravelle -- at least, THIS time, it was in a much more REASONABLY sized, Ford Focus!

After a few False Starts, I made our way onto the R556. Heading North through Abbeydorney

and continuing on, to just South of Ballyduff. There, we made our way down a VERY long, narrow lane, to Rattoo Round Tower. It is HEAVILY scaffolded - apparently undergoing conservation work, but there was absolutely NO ONE about. The Church ruins at the base were interesting, as well.

I had planned to Loop Around for a visit to Ardfert Cathedral, but time was NOT on my side. Instead, I opted for a short visit to Abbeydorney, that was informative and disheartening. The main structure has been Fenced Off for the safety of the public due to the serious state of deterioration. It looks as if it is VERY near to a TOTAL collapse! It really IS a pity. Abbeydorney is a Cistercian Abbey. It is a couple of HUNDRED years NEWER than those in the East ( Wexford, Wicklow, etcetera), like Jerpoint, Baltinglass, Tintern, Dunbrody and Mellifont --- so it is sad to know that it may soon be LOST.

We made our way to our scheduled meeting place, followed onward to the Cousins home and spent the next 3 - 3 ½ hours, eating, talking, laughing and telling tales. About 10 PM, we headed back to Killarney -- a relatively easy drive (utilizing the Tralee Bypass, this time). We did some preliminary Packing Up and called it a night.

It had been a GLORIOUS day!

More To Come

Bob



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Thursday, 26 April:

We had made a date with Cousins (that we rarely get to spend significant time with), to meet in Macroom, at 6 PM, for dinner. The weather was schizophrenic -- heavy clouds would build up, but then drift away -- threatening to clear up, before swooping back in, again. We made our way to Millstreet, once again and stopped into the Town Library in

Carnegie Hall, opposite Saint Patricks Church.

The Town Museum still has not been re-established in the newly renovated (Originally built in 1912) building, but it does house the County Council Offices and the Library. I try to rummage through the Librarys small, but rather in-depth Reference Section whenever I get the chance, so we spent an hour or so in that worthy endeavor. I drop off a few items for the Museums Collection that Ive accumulated on EBAY since our last visit -- a half a dozen Postal Cards that were cancel by the Millstreet Post Office in 1907 and 1908 --- and a GEM -- A Raffle Booklet for a Fete at Drishane Castle (then a Convent) from 1938 !

We visit the Turbrid Holy Well and several other area sites along our way to Macroom. This is deeply familiar territory -- we wear that familiarity as regularly as comfortable old shoes -- adrift, in a jumble of Past, present and Future

In Macroom, we headed West, toward Killarney, deciding on a whim to visit the Toy Soldier Factory that we had been seeing signs for -- for years -- but had previously never visited. Despites signs located EVERYWHERE navigating there CAN be a real ADVENTURE. Its pretty country, though, and we thoroughly enjoyed the search, our visit and the area. From the village square, there appears to be walking trails, connecting between ruins and sites of interest, but weather and time were not conducive to sampling them. In fact, as we left Kilnamartyra, it began to rain    cry  cry  cry

Back in Macroom, I dashed into my favorite Book Shop , but sadly, came away empty handed. I suppose it was too much to hope that any new, local history books might have been published in the 9 months that had passed since my last visit !?!.   hmm  hmm  hmm   We drove up into the square and secured a parking spot, to await our scheduled gathering, but spent the bulk of our time avoiding what was by now, VERY energetic rain. It finally cleared out, just about 6 PM.

Betty is the widow of Liam (one of my Father-in-laws First Cousins). She, Sharon, her daughter, her husband, Tom, and their two children, had lamented with us at The Wedding about the paucity of our Get-Togethers -- and hatched this Dinner-Date to attempt to rectify same. Betty chose our destination. Knowing about our luncheon the previous day at the Castle Hotel, she suggested we dine at Granvilles . Located in a stone building wedged between the N22 and the grounds of Macroom Castle, we spent a delightful 4-5 HOURS -- lingering over Fine Food, Excellent, but unobtrusive, Service -- delighting in Fine Company, Conversation and Companionship. Tom and Sharon are both Rural School Teachers. Needless to say, my Newly Retired, Teacher Wife, found MUCH common ground for conversation. Betty retired from teaching as well -- one of her more notable Kindergarten students being a young neighbor child-- John Spillane.

It "Shows To Go You"   confuse  biggrin  biggrin  confuse    , the myriad ways in which our Irish CONNECTION seems to manifest itself . Years later. after he finally finished Kindergarten,  I first met John Spillane via a suggestion from another Fine Musical Talent -- Ciaran Wynne -- who had, previously performed as an Opening Act for John. Later, still, attending a packed Spillane performance in Athlone, my wife and I found ourselves sharing a booth with the parents of the Opening Act for THAT nights performance -- as well as the Artist, Herself -- Emer Dunne!

Circles within Circle, folks!

Im just sayin . smile  smile

We finally parted ways about 11:30 PM and made our way back to Killarney. The skies had cleared, making it an easy drive over good road (the N22) and offering Great Portend for our ambitious plans for the morrow!!   biggrin

More To Come


 



-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur on Sunday 29th of July 2012 12:41:41 PM

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On the day I was there, I could BARELY see the Hotel -- just across the street! 

Between the thick, low, black clouds, the mist and the time of day, there COULD have been half a dozen murmurations going on all about me  -- and NO one would have seen anything!

That video IS way cool, though.  You are quite lucky to have seen a live presentation!

Bob



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I love the view of Killarney from Aghadoe. One time many decades ago I saw a murmuration up there. It was fascinating. Unfortunately before video cameras were invented. 



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The Penthouse WAS terrific!  Quite clean and comfortable (though, I suspect that by the time we arrived there, I PROBABLY could have slept on a ROCK!).   confuse confuse confuse 

Wednesday, 25 April:

A late morning start, greeted by chill, grey and heavy, rainy skies that were intermittently quite energetic. We walked down College Street to High Street, browsing windows and drifting in and out of assorted shops, as whim and the onset of rain warranted!. During one particularly vigorous outburst, we had a very nice, late breakfast / early tea at The

Coach House Café, on Old Market Lane. We purchased a few books and assorted trinkets and made our way back to College Street, where I stopped into the Vodaphone Shop and reactivated and recharged the AirCard for my Netbook, then crossed the street for a quick visit to the Music Shop that sits opposite the Failte Hotel .

 

Happy Memories -- at BOTH!!!

 

In April, 2001, the Music Shop was the place where we discovered the Music of Ciaran Wynne -- which led to a friendship and collaboration (of sorts  biggrin ) that has spanned nearly a dozen years -- and two continents.

 

In June, 2004, it was a Ciaran Wynne performance at the Failte Hotel, that cemented our daughters appreciation for her parents taste in music and friends.  biggrin  biggrin 

 

But, today is a different day -- and nostalgic reverie is quickly sundered as lashing rain stirs us into a mad dash for the dry comfort of our apartment. After waiting out the deluge, we make a hasty dash to the car and set out for a scheduled meeting, in Macroom, at 3 PM . With nearly 3 hours to kill, we take the long route, via the N72 to Rathmore and then loop down, via the R582, to Millstreet. The weather seemed to improve, exponentially, the further we drove -- thought brighter and drier never QUITE transformed into blue sky and sunshine!

 

Exiting Millstreet toward Macroom, we detoured, out toward Aubane and the two peaks of Mushera -- Mor and Beg, for our inevitable stop at Knocknakilla. Continuing on, we make slow, Drive-By visits to the scattered megalithic sites at Glantane . Rejoining the R582, we continued South, stopping briefly at the temporally challenging turn off in Carriganimmy, to view the Monument to the White Boys-- at the base of the road leading Eastward, and up, to the Wind Farm that sprouts from the hill tops as testament to the onward march of history.

 

Arriving in Macroom, we parked in the square and visited the local Tourist Office in the Castle Gatehouse. My wife purchased four cups by a Potter from out of Dunmanway and we had a pleasant chat with the lady who operates the establishment and then made our way to the Castle Hotel for our meeting.

 

We had a terrific late lunch / early dinner and hearty conversation with three of my wifes Cousins that lasted nearly FOUR hours and parted company, after making further plans to meet again, on Friday. We drove the direct route back to Killarney, on the N22, but I bypassed the town -- capitalizing upon the lingering light to locate and visit the ruins at Aghadoe. It was windy and misty, there on the heights -- fitting, perhaps, given the ruinous state of the once-grand Cathedral and Round Tower.

 

We made an early evening of it, returning to our apartment for a quiet, rainy night of TV and sleep.

 

More To Come

Bob



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Bob,

Thanks for the feedback on the Aisling Hotel and the Courtyards Self-catering. They look very nice. You must have been exhausted!

Michele

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More 24 April:

     The train ride was another pleasant interlude, passing through several energetic down-pours and bright stretches. The old vehicles seem mostly all replaced with the sleek, newer / greener modern vehicles. A Food trolley works up and down the isles and there is a snack bar located on board, as well. The Free Wi-Fi is also a nice touch, too. In short, the train is an excellent way to travel, when touring isnt the objective .

     We arrived at Mallow about 2:15 PM, during a respite from the rain. After retrieving the car (Unmolested during our absence), it was an easy exit onto the N20 South, just North of the Round about / Intersection with the N72 -- where we took the 3rd exit and headed West, to Killarney.

     Our Self-catering booking had stated a Check-In time of 4 PM, so we detoured onto the R583 for a late lunch at

Nibbles Food Emporium, in our All-Time Favorite Irish Town -- Millstreet.

     After lunch (and a brief stop into the newly refurbished, St Patricks Church ) we exited town via the R582. After rejoining the N72 in Rathmore --where we stopped again, at St

Josephs Catholic Church to revisit the site where my wifes Great-Grandparents were married, in 1865. By now, it was about 4 PM and it was beginning to rain again. It was light and tentative, at first, but by the time we reached the outskirts of Killarney, it had turned into a veritable DELUGE!

     Our booking was for 4 nights at The Courtyards, for 280 Euro, prepaid. I had phoned, in transit, for directions and was advised to call again, upon arrival, so that the agent could meet us. It was ABSOLUTELY Pouring, by now, so I maneuvered into a vacant parking space on East Avenue Road, just opposite the entrance to the Railway Station, then made the call. We each grabbed umbrellas and made a dash to the building -- arriving just in time to enjoy a brief respite from the rain. Our agent met us, just as the rain transformed into a heavy mist.

     The Courtyards occupies a large, 3 storey, L shaped building, sandwiched between The Augustine Friary and Lewis Road. The ground level is occupied by Commercial units -- assorted shops, such as a Dominos Pizza, a Chinese Restaurant, a Mace and LOTS of vacant units, that either face the Courthouse (across the road -- with its fine, new sculpture of an Irish Red Deer Stag ), or an L shaped, brick-cobbled, pedestrian alley-way, replete with occasional benches, that bisects the corner formed by the meeting of Lewis Road and Park Road. At the apex of the L is a locked, glass door, that is controlled by entering a 4 digit code into a keypad. Once inside, an elevator takes you up to the appropriate floor. Our unit was a 1 bedroom, Penthouse that faced Park Road. It was rectangular, in shape.

     You enter, at the center, into a large entry. To the left, a short hallway contained two closets -- one of which was large enough to contain a rolling, fold-away bed! The hall leads you to a large, tiled bathroom that included a whirlpool tub and a separate, glass-walled shower. To the right, as you face the bathroom door, is the door to the queen- bedded bedroom that had floor-to-ceiling, multi-door and drawered wardrobe. The entire wall opposite the entrance was glass -- including a five or six foot wide, sliding door that led to the balcony. The apartment was very nice, very clean and quite comfortably furnished and equipped -- including a dish washer and a Washer/Dryer.

     To the right of the entry, a door leads to an L shaped, kitchen, dining and living, Great Room -- half of its outer wall was like-wise built of glass and glass door, that ALSO connected to the balcony. The balcony was about 4 feet deep and it ran the entire length of the apartment. A metal, café table and two chairs furnished it. From the far left, you could see the Friary and look up Park Road, at the Outlet Centre and Bus Station. From the right side, a partition wall separated our balcony from the next Penthouse unit and gave a roof top view in the direction of the Cathedral. Straight out was a complete overview of Killarney, including a straight-on view of the North half of College Road.

     Today, though, MOST of Killarney was hidden -- invisible, within the mists! We could barely see across the road -- and it was merely MISTING at THIS point!  cry    cry    cry

     Parking is NOT provided by the Courtyards, but there is a Public Parking lot on Lewis Road, only about a block away, that is MUCH more reasonably priced than most others. After the agent left, I drove the car around and we dragged all our luggage into the apartment. It took two trips -- and as I was returning the second time, our weather respite came to a sudden -- and violent ending! Dismayed by the prospect of lumbering about in the lashing rain, we ordered take-away from the Chinese Restaurant, hustled it back to our apartment, ate a hasty meal, unpacked, showered and collapsed into bed.

     And, promptly slept -- for TEN hours!    biggrin    biggrin    biggrin

More to Come

Bob 



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Michele -- We REALLY enjoyed the Aisling, as its location was perfect for our plans, by being SO close to Heuston Station AND the Luas.  I'm told that the area can be a bit "dodgy" during the 'Wee Hours', so it might not suit everone.  Hotel has been recently redone and everything was clean, comfy and seemed very well run.

For those really BRAVE Souls, they also have an attatched Parking Garage!

Bob



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Bob,

I think we are ready for a downpour! How was the Aisling Hotel? 

Michele



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Monday, 23 April:

We rose about 6:00 AM. It was cold, dark and drizzly / misty. I had purchased train tickets for our trip to Dublin, online, at 10 Euro each, for pick up at the Mallow Station. We could have departed from Midelton, but the connection time at Cork Kent seemed a bit excessive and I really didnt want to park a luggage-loaded rental car overnight, at Cork Kent. Besides, upon our return from Dublin, my wife and I had an apartment booked for four nights, in Killarney. So, after breakfast, showers and last minute packing and clean up, we headed out about 7:40. We followed the N25 into the Dunkettle Roundabout, where we headed into Cork city on the N8. Unlike previous trips, I managed NOT to miss the North Ring turnoff -- so we actually avoided the Grand, Downtown Tour -- and connected with the N20 on the North edge of the city. It was at about that point, that the early morning mist / rain burned away.  smile

We arrived at the Mallow train station about 9:15. I retrieved our tickets from the kiosk machine by entering our Reservation number. I had pre-purchased them, on-line, as early as possible (28 days prior) for 10 Euro each. There is also a 2 or 3 Euro, Handling Fee, but it is per transaction, NOT per ticket. The train station had a few vending machines, a small shop and a decent sized, heated waiting room. There are two track landings at Mallow and the are connected by a raised pedestrian bridge, but there are elevators at either side of the elevated cross-over that are handy for those with large, or heavy, luggage, or for those that might have difficulty with stairs.

Our train departed promptly at 9:55 and made minimal stops. The skies were cold and gray in Mallow, but grew gradually clearer as we moved east-ward along our route. We arrived at Dublin Heuston nearly Dead-On our scheduled, 12:20.

Exiting the station through the Main, North exit finds you facing the main, Bus and Luas To the left is a bridge that crosses the Liffy and 100 yards or so to the right after crossing, is the

Aisling Hotel. I had booked us into a large Triple room, pre-paid, for 103.5 Euro, room only (No Breakfast). I had intended to drop off our luggage and move on, but our room was ready, so we settled in and THEN headed out.

Just East of the Aisling, about equal distance to Heuston Station, is the Luas Stop for Collins Barracks and Croppies Acre. From that stop, we rode the Luas to Abbey Street and proceeded to walk, from there. We walked down OConnell Street and re-crossed the Liffy. We ate lunch at a pleasant, but unremarkable café (the name of which escapes me) and then meandered down Grafton, into Saint Stephens Green, exiting via the East Side Gate near the statue to Lord Ardilaun . From there, we wandered along back streets to Saint Patricks Cathedral and down, from there, to Christchurch, where we once again came across a large contingent of French students that were no more polite than those we encountered earlier in our trip   furious furious  furious

From there, Temple Bar beckoned -- and we visited MOST of the Usual Suspects   biggrin  biggrin -- The Temple Bar, Oliver St John Gogartys , The Auld Dubliner and one or two others. A couple of places had live music, so we lingered at those, until the sets ended. SIL soon discovered that finely poured Guinness and Touristy bars are mutually exclusive concepts -- but she had Great Fun in the lesson!

With evening upon us, I led our little troop onto Wellington Quay and headed West, to the Brazen Head. We lingered there for close to an hour, chatting with some Yanks at a nearby table and then re-crossed the Liffy to walk into Smithfield. It was too late for the tour and we were a bit Pubbed-Out, which is a pity, because I had really wanted to visit the Cobblestone -- but, that will need to wait for another day   biggrin

We reboarded the Luas and returned to Collins barracks and walked back to the Aisling, with dusk approaching. We had dinner in the bar -- finishing about 10 PM, as SIL struck up a conversation with a couple from Australia that were sitting nearby. Then, it was upstairs, to allow SIL to repack and organize for her early departure.

Tuesday, 24 April:

SILs return flight was for 9 AM. We rose EARLY and walked to Heuston Station, where the three of us caught the 6:30 747 Airlink Bus to the Airport. The Route offers an excellent Mini-Tour of Dublin (but without the snappy banter of the Hop-On/Hop-Off ), as it meanders out to the Port and then to the Airport. It was a pleasant ride -- until we entered the Port Tunnel   cry cry

I should explain -- My wife is NOT a Happy Traveler -- which, I realize sounds rather strange, given our 15 visits to Ireland -- but, she gets antsy in a car, whenever traffic is heavy. She is exceedingly uncomfortable on planes, particularly during take offs and landings and she gets quite panicky, in the event of encountering turbulence.  doh doh

BUT She is TERRIFIED by tunnels!  ashamed ashamed   It is the sad reason why I shall probably NEVER take the Chunnel Train -- even though my wife ADORES train travel!

The Dublin Port Tunnel is QUITE long. It is also rather Heavily Traveled (See #1, above). What made the Tunnel traverse worse, though, was the Certain Knowledge -- that she and I would need RETURN, via that self-same Tunnel -- once SIL had been dispatched!  doh doh

Once at the Airport, the lines were relatively short and moved quickly. SIL was processed we escorted her to Security, where we parted ways, after much hugging and thanks and laughter. SIL headed on her way and my wife and I reboarded the Airlink, for our return to Heuston Station and the hotel. I managed to distract her with conversation, long enough to minimize her Tunnel Moment, so our return trip went relatively smoothly.

Upon our return to the Aisling, about 8:30, we purchased breakfasts and then returned to our room. My wife took a brief nap (about an hour), while I set out to wander, as our Return train reservation wasnt until Noon. We checked out, just about 11 and eased over to Heuston, did a bit of shopping in one of the shops and then boarded, for our return to Mallow. We quickly discovered that our Rain Deflecting Magic actually belonged to SIL!   confuse confuse

More To Come HONEST!



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Bob,

Thanks for the road update. It will be nice to be able to easily circumnavigate Cork without getting sucked in. Thanks for the reminder about never underestimating the locals for proper knowledge of whats' going on in the area. Glad you finally found the ring fort.

Those were some cars at the wedding!

Michele

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Wedding Day 4 ; Sunday, 22 April:

I found myself WIDE awake (!) at 8 AM  furious  furious  furious  furious    ??? So, there was nothing for it, but to rise quietly and head into town. There was another planned GTG at the Brides Parents scheduled for the evening, but SIL had expressed an interest in visiting The Grandmothers village of Drimoleague and today was the only possible day to do so.

Once in Midelton, I drew off some Euros from the ATM, did a leisurely drive around -- Orienteering -- and then waited patiently for the Tesco to open, at 9 AM. Since we would be making our obligatory Cemetery Visits, I purchased three bunches of flowers, along with a few incidental supplies -- like soda and Snackee Cakes -- and then meandered on back to the Paddocks.

When I returned, the ladies were sitting in the living room, half asleep still and were fairly quick to give up on the idea of making it to Drimoleague (about a 2 hour drive) for 12:00 Mass. As it was, we barely managed to shower, dress and hit the road much before 11:15   biggrin  biggrin

We followed the N25 into the Dunkettle Roundabout ( where it merges with the N8) and followed through, to the Jack Lynch Tunnel. Once through, I followed the South Ring Road through to the N71 / Bandon Road, where I turned onto the R586, toward Dunmanway.

FYI -- There is MAJOR construction taking place at the Kinsale Road, Sarsfield Road AND Bandon Road Roundabouts! Im told that the PLAN is to add Flyovers -- so that, at SOME future date, the South Ring Road will be continuous highway -- and that the only need to negotiate a Roundabout would be if you Exited the Ring Road FIRST -- If, for example, you wished to shop at the Wilton Mall, for example It will make driving AROUND Cork City MUCH easier .

We visited the Church in Drimoleague, as well as one cemetery each, in Cork City and Drimoleague and showed SIL around the Cousins Weekend House, before making our way down to Skibbereen, where we stopped for a late lunch. I parked in the Car Park behind the Super Value and we ate a pleasant meal at on of the nearby pubs. The entrance was just to the left of the Super Value and the meal, service and ambiance was quite good, but Ive honestly forgotten the critical details, because just after leaving, I drove by the ruins of the late, Great, Church Restaurant-- only to discover that it had Risen from the Ashes -- like the phoenix!!!!    confuse  furious  furious  confuse 

Havent eaten there for a few years (since just before the fire, in fact) but If it is HALF as good as I remember, it is a MUST visit!  biggrin  biggrin

Back on the road, I headed South and East, on the R596, toward Castletownshend, in search of Knockdrum Fort, the Three Fingers and, of course, the village, itself. After stopping in at the harbor, we had trouble following the directions on the referenced website printout -- as the only reasonable interpretation lead us to a CLOSED gate -- prominently signed with a LARGE -- NO PARKING --- DO NOT BLOCK GATE warning. There was NO where else to park, except for a school and church, SEVERAL hundreds of yards away.  confuse  confuse  confuse

Determined, I returned to the village and entered Egon Ronay pub and restaurant - Mary Anne's. I purchased a couple of sodas and the ladies visited the rest rooms, while I chatted with the barman about my dilemma. He said that he knew EXACTLY where I was referring to; that it WAS, indeed, the correct place and that it would be FINE to go ahead and park there! He then rather sheepishly admitted that he had always MEANT to visit Knockdrum, but had just never found the time!!!  hmm  hmm

Somewhat assuaged, we returned to the pull-off, only to discover that the gate was now WIDE OPEN! Perhaps the barman had telephoned ahead, or the farmer had spotted our confused, tentative start-and-stops??? In any event, my wife remained with the car, should it need to be moved and SIL and I trekked up the path (Laneway) to search out the ring fort. We turned of the pathway and climbed directly up the steep hill -- dodging stones, cow pies and bushes -- until we reached the top. From there, we had magnificent views of the coast to the South East. Behind us, on another hill across the road, to the North, were the Three Fingers -- tall, thin remainders (there were originally FIVE) of a stone row, or alignment dating from Neolithic times. To the West, across along field that sloped uphill, stood a long, dry-stone wall along the ridgeline. Surely, I thought, that must be the elusive ring fort?  confuse  confuse   confuse    confuse

It was -- and it was NOT! What it was, was an OUTER wall, of a multi-vallated stone fort.

A little history -- and general information on Ring Forts:

From Wikipedia : In Irish language sources they are known by a number of names: ráth (anglicized rath), lios (anglicized lis; cognate with Cornish lis, "court"), caiseal (anglicized cashel), cathair (anglicized caher or cahir; cognate with Welsh caer, Breton ker) and dún (anglicized dun or doon; cognate with Cornish din).[2][3] The ráth and lios was an earthen ringfort; the ráth being the enclosing bank and the lios being the open space within.[2][3] The caiseal and cathair was a stone ring fort.[2][3] The term dún was usually used for any stronghold of importance, which may or may not be ring-shaped.[2]

MORE:

A Stone fort or ringfort is an early medieval farmstead enclosed by a roughly circular drystone wall or earthen bank. Sometimes more than one bank or wall is present, giving rise to the labels uni-vallate, bi-vallate and tri-vallate (denoting one bank or wall; two Banks or walls etc). Though the name includes the element "fort", these dwelling-places were not designed for defence: rather the role of the bank or wall was to give shelter and security to the family, its livestock and their possessions. The scale and complexity of the bank(s) or wall(s) may also have served as an indicator of the occupier´s status, much in the same way as the size of one´s front garden is an index of wealth in our own society.

In ringforts, the space enclosed by the bank or wall ranges from 20m to 60m (60-100 ft). Today, all that is generally visible at ringforts are the enclosing banks or walls: the original houses and outbuildings in the interior were most built of perishable materials (wood, wattle, straw). However, there is generally an entrance gap (usually on eastern side), and occasionally, as at Caherconnell, the remains of buildings and/or souterrains (subterranean refuges) are visible in the interior.

The ringfort is the most common field monument in the island of Ireland. A recent count by Matthew Stout calculated that there are at least 45,000 examples. Their distribution is widespread, generally preferring well-drained lowland locations and avoiding peatlands and uplands. In the western parts of Ireland, where stony soils and rock outcrops are plentiful, large numbers of ringforts were built of stone (Stone Fort) (hence "caher") rather than earth (hence "rath").

Only about 250 Irish ringforts have so far been subjected to archaeological excavation, among them the Stone fort shown below at Cahercommaun in the burren. The radiocarbon determinations from these excavations are remarkably consistent, indicating that the main period of ringfort construction and use was from AD c.500 to c.1000. However, as the majority of the ringforts excavated to date are from eastern parts of Ireland, these dates may not represent a complete picture. Structural and documentary evidence from the west of Ireland suggest that ringfort occupation if not construction continued well into late medieval times (13th -15th C.) in places like the Burren.

Once we reached the wall, THAT observation became more readily apparent -- for beyond us, upon the previously obscured high point of the hill, lay the central edifice of Knockdrum! Following the wall Northward (downhill) we encountered an electrified fence and an intersecting stone wall -- beyond which, existed a steep, modern-looking set of steps. After negotiating those obstacles, we followed the steps up, and finally approached the entrance.

It truly IS a sight to behold. While not structurally as impressive as the massive structures such as Grianne of Alliach in Donegal, Staige Fort in Kerry, or even, Caherconnell, in the burren, perhaps -- the construction viewed from atop the hill, IS truly amazing. Dunno if they located the fort to take advantage of the naturally-occurring ridges and swales, or, if they actually CONSTRUCTED some, or all of them. In EITHER case, the sitting is a masterful piece of engineering. Ill let the web site and the pictures fill you in on the details, though.

Also from the top, we could plainly see and understand the MUCH easier (and direct route), which we had blindly ignored. Returning to the steps, we followed them down to the end and then followed the narrow, relatively flat path to the East -- which gradually widened, until it became the Laneway from which we had started! We had merely turned up, WAY too soon! To give you an idea, my SIL and I had spent about an hour on our excursion. Upon our return, she insisted that my wife go for a look and I waited at the car while they did so. They were back, after only about 30 minutes -- having taken the easier, more direct route, in BOTH directions.

We did NOT visit the Three Fingers -- the field between us and them was heavily populated by cows and the print out that I had brought along cautioned that rather Frisky bullocks were often present -- so we opted to enjoy them -- from afar

It was now about 3:30, or thereabout, so we opted to return to Midelton. I decided to follow the N71 back, rather than retrace our route, to let my SIL enjoy the semi-coastal drive -- including the one lane bridge between Glandore and Union Hall, and the swans along the bay at Rosscarbery, although time being an element we skipped Drombeg and a few other favored spots ...

After a brief stop into the Paddocks, we returned to the Brides Parents house for our FINAL Wedding Get-Together -- a MUCH smaller affair consisting of perhaps 15-20 people. It was an opportunity to unwind, to REALLY visit with mostly family. As such, it is the type of visit that we tend to cherish the most -- Catching Up . After making plans for some impromptu meet-ups, the following week, we reluctantly departed about 11:30 PM, as we had to get back to the Paddocks, to Pack Up. The plan was to head to Dublin in the AM (we had decided that we needed to leave by 7:30 -- at the LATEST), so I wanted to have the BULK of the packing done, before bed. My head hit the pillow, about 1:30 AM!

Ah, Sleep -- Sweet, Wonderful, Sleep I remember you well -- as if, from a dream !

More To Come:

Bob



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A FEW Wedding Photos here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/itallian_chauffeur/sets/72157629829878082/

 

Bob



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Bob,

What page are the wedding photos on?

Michele

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Bob,

What a wonderful wedding! Now people will believe me when I tell them to be prepared for a marathon at Irish weddings. Sounds like a grand time despite the lack of sleep. I'm off to peruse your photos.

Michele

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Day Three of the Wedding -- Saturday, 21 April:

After checking out, we decided to search out a suitable gift for the cousins that had secured our accommodations at the Paddocks (among many other items of kindness and generosity), so we checked out the Maryborough Houses VERY impressive Spa facilities and purchased two gift cards that would offer a (hopefully) relaxing respite from the hectic, Wedding Frenzy. The Cousins seemed impressed (and a trifle scandalized --- at the expense ), so we think it was appreciated????  smile   smile

Having missed out on our included breakfast due to our silly, old-fashioned insistence upon actually sleeping, we went into Douglas, in search of lunch. Quite by accident, we stumbled upon the

Amicus Café & Restaurant, just off the East Village area. The side street is filled up with new, modern buildings, but the main area is chock-a-block with nicely restored, turn of the century ( Late 1800s, to be specific ) buildings filled up with every imaginable type of shop, Restaurant and Pub. Seems like a really nice area.

Food and service at Americus were both Top-Notch and we toyed with the idea of adding a Gift Certificate from there, for the Cousins to use, après-spa. We decided that might be a BIT too much dictatorial --- You know -- Go HERE. Get a massage. Do the Spa. Eat HERE!) -- so we didnt. cry cry

Turns out, it is actually one of their FAVORITE cafes! Ah, well I DEFINITELY recommend the place (and presume that their OTHER site -- Paul Street, City Center) is also worth a stop.

While we were sitting at our seats by the front window, the overcast sky gave way to first rain -- and then, a short, but significant down pouring --- of HAIL! They were pea sized and after a few minutes, the accumulation was visibly significant. Yet, by the time lunch was finished and we were ready to depart, not only were they all gone, but the streets were mostly dry -- and we were treated to Blue skies and sunshine!

Go figure!  confuse   confuse    confuse    confuse

We returned to Midelton and did some obligatory shopping, before returning to The Paddocks. We arrived at the brides parents house about 6:30. It is a LARGE, two-storey, that is shaped like a backward L. A drive circles around to the sheltered, paver covered side-yard. The upright of the L is formed by an extension to the original house that includes a eat-in kitchen, a family/game room and a two and ½ car garage -- but the bay closest to the house was converted into a Back Kitchen with an adjoining, full bathroom. Between the garage bays is a staircase to a second floor that has two spare rooms.

In the garage bay that was nominally STILL a garage, a FULL bar was set up, facing the open overhead door. Just beyond it was side entry into a REALLY large Marque (tent) replete with windowed side curtains. About half the floor area included a raised wooden dance floor, while the other half contained tables and chairs. Passing through the other side entrance placed you in the cobbled side-yard, where a 10 X 10 canopy covered a commercial grill and two basket deep fry cooker. Two employees were cranking out massive volumes of burgers, chicken and fish and chips. A ways from that, a large fire pit was set up -- encircled by chairs.

FYI -- For any familiar with the history of my Trip Reports, the Marque was the SAME from the infamous 40th Birthday Parties of 2004 and 2005 -- Waste Not / Want Not! It is at LEAST 30 X 60 and holds a LOT of sitters and dancers!  biggrin  biggrin  biggrin  biggrin

I would guesstimate the Head Count was right around 200. Once again, MOST of the women dressed as if for a formal party -- whereas, the men generally chose to abandon all pretext of 'dressy' attire.  biggrin

There was MUCH food and drink consumed. There was laughter and tears and excitement -- but NO drama. A DJ set up his equipment about 8 PM and I helped him load up some (but NOT all) of it -- around 2:30 AM!

We left, shortly thereafter, but with the drive home in the dark,   furious  furious and all, it was about 3:15 or 3:30 before we crawled into bed. There were probably still more than 50 guests when we left -- Dunno how the Irish do it!

confuse     confuse     confuse     confuse     confuse     confuse     confuse

More to come ...

Bob



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By the way -- I added a few more pix to a public Set titled Wedding Share that showw some scenes at the Church and the Maryborough House.

They can be accessed via the same link listed in my First post ...

Bob



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The actual Wedding Day -- Friday, Day two -- broke under questionable skies, undecided as to if it should burn off, or just surrender and become an all-day deluge. We opted to think positive thoughts and EXPECT blue skies and fluffy white clouds. It was to turn out that the Power Of Positive Thinking would win out -- for the MOST part

The Wedding ceremony was scheduled to begin at 1 PM and we arrived to a half-empty church, about 12:40. By the designated time, however, the church was filled to the rafters (approx 300 people -- the OFFICIAL count was for 285 at the reception) and the service lasted about an hour. Another 30 minutes or so passed outside the church as the bride, groom and parents formed a Receiving Line at the door. Perhaps it should be called a Departing Line???? Though cool, the skies were partly cloudy, with large patches of clear, blue sky -- though, usually, dark clouds invariably hovered about the periphery.

After milling about for a bit, the Wedding Party departed -- heading off to some pre-selected, photogenic site, to take the traditional, staged, wedding party pix. Those of us remaining, were left with simple choices -- either head West, to the Reception venue -- or a few hundred feet East -- to the nearest Pub! As tempting as the pub sounded, the ladies and I opted to follow the majority of guests, since it would make finding the hotel that much easier which means that we only got lost ONCE!!!  cry  cry

In MY defense, the car that I was following turned out to be driven by a fellow from NYC!   confuse  confuseEnroute, we encountered to brief rain showers -- and even a minute or two of hail! -- but, by the time we reached our destination, the sun had pushed the clouds back from overhead, once again.  smile smile

Maryborough House sits atop Maryborough Hill, just South West of Cork city, in the suburb of Douglas. The complex, combining newer extensions to a Great House originally built in the Early 1700s, sits on approximately 30 manicured acres. I had booked a triple room for the night, at 65 Euro Per Person, B&B, anticipating that returning to our Free lodgings in Midelton might prove problematical., given the anticipated duration of the Reception.

The Registration Desk is at the rear of the main floor of the original building. Nearby was a door that led outdoors, to the rear garden. Abutting the West end of the building, there was a VERY large, multi-sectioned, canopied Pavilion, replete with sidewall curtains. Within, were numerous seating areas and, at one end, a complete, fully stocked and equipped bar. Servers wandered about, carrying trays of Champaign and finger foods. At any given time, I would guess that there were between 120-150 people Under Canopy. The remainder of the Guests stood about the Garden, or sat in some of the myriad of areas available indoors.

About 5:30, an employee did a walk through, Ringing The Bell -- signaling that it was time to be seated, for dinner and everyone abandoned the Pavilion and made our way to the Banquet Room.

We were treated to a choice of four meals -- a beef, a fish, a chicken and a vegetarian on offer -- replete with a meal-appropriate starter, an acorn squash soup, a palette cleansing sorbet, the main course and a choice of desert. In addition, there were sides of mixed veg, garlic potatoes and some sort of escalloped potato, as well. While we awaited delivery of our meal, we were thoroughly entertained by a Tipperary born, Italian Chef who worked the crowd, telling jokes and singing Traditional Italian songs -- Think Dean Martin, Perry Como and Frank Sinatra

Plates were cleared away about 9:30 !! ! Followed on by toasts, speeches and First Dances, as a live band began to play. About midnight, the band packed it in, the lights came on -- and people were encouraged to assault some large tables, piled high with burgers, fried chicken and Fish and Chips --- because, God Knows --- somebody -- SOMEWHERE -- MUST be Famished!!!!?????!!!!

About 12:30, the lights dimmed and a DJ began spinning discs. Somewhen, during the next few hours, time out was taken to perform the customary rituals concerning cake cutting and garter and bouquet retrieval and redistribution. By about 3:30 AM, I was feeling slightly ill, so I called it a night and headed upstairs to our room. My wife and SIL hung in, until about 4:30, when the Hotel Staff began to quietly ease the revelers OUT of the Banquet Hall -- and INTO the Residents Bar!! Im told that many had a Grand Time there -- for another couple of hours.

That much is all hearsay, though. We slept the deep sleep of the Righteous, until a little after 10:00 AM -- realizing that we had only an hour and a half for the three of us to shower, dress, pack up and vacate

Time was wasting. We needed to hurry, if we were to have any hope of sneaking in an afternoon nap!

Because, after all --- the REAL party was scheduled to start at 6:00 PM!

biggrin     biggrin     biggrin     doh doh doh doh    biggrin    biggrin    biggrin

More to Come

Bob



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Bob,

Now you know why I always suggest not driving at night in Ireland! 

Michele



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Our apartment at The Paddocks was a two bedroom (1 double, 1 twin) ground-floor, handicap accessible (including a wet-room shower), that had a gas fireplace in the living room and a dishwasher and washer/dryer combo in the kitchen. Floors are wood in the bedrooms and living rooms and tile, everywhere else. There are two multi-unit buildings that face each other across a large parking area and a second area, of detached houses, as well. I would guess most of the units are 4-5 years old. Nearby is a large Horse barn / arena -- hence, the name.

NOT a small place.

I managed to have a brief conversation with the owner/builder. He told me that his business model calls for staging 2-3 large events (either Long Weekend, or Full week) at the arena and subsequently, filling the Holiday Homes because of that. Such an event had recently taken place (late March-early April), he said -- and done JUST that..

It was a small, urban cluster of buildings -- WELL and truly 'Out In The Country' -- access via a L-O-N-G driveway, off a small crossroad between two small roads- the R626 and the R634! As the crow flies, it was probably only two miles to Midleton town center -- but as the roads go -- it SEEMED more like Twenty  confuse confuse !

Didnt really spend enough time there (an Understatement, if there ever was one! biggrin  biggrin  biggrin  biggrin) to properly judge the place and I honestly dont know what our four nights cost as the Cousins booked it -- but with NO nearby (read walking distance) pubs or major attractions, I dont believe it would have much Tourist appeal   confuse    confuse    confuse

BUT, NOW -- The Wedding -- Day One:

After a quick orientation and wash up, we departed The Paddocks to head to the Brides Parents House. Trying to Orient myself for the numerous impending trips, I searched out the route to the R626, since we had arrived from off the R634.  After a couple of false starts / wrong turns, we were heading North on the R626, winding along side of and crossing (Again and AGAIN!) the Owennacurra River. The countryside is hilly and heavily forested -- reminding me very much of driving on the sun-dappled, tree-shrouded, back roads in Upstate New York and New England.

smile   Very picturesque. Very pretty. Very Tranquil and Restful.  smile

We did a Drive By of the Lisgoold Church and arrived at our destination about 6:30.  We believed that we were a attending a small, family Get Together and so, had dressed casually.

We were Wrong!  no  no

Apparently, it is a Custom for family, neighbors and friends (and friends of friends!) to Drop In to the Brides Parents House, on the night before the wedding. And, apparently, Irish women deem any event as sufficient justification to dress as Elegantly as possible. Thankfully (for ME), Irish men seem to only deem actual weddings as sufficient cause to require Dressy attire My khaki pants and collared shirt placed me firmly on the dressier side of the male guest -- but my wife and SIL felt decidedly Under-dressed. Other than them feeling some-what self-conscious, though, it didnt really matter to anyone else   smile

The get-together was more like an Open House, rather than a true party. Some people came and went fairly quickly, while others may NEVER have left, for all that I know. biggrin biggrin biggrin  There was an abundance of food and beverages -- mostly, tea, coffee, sodas and beer and people wandered about the house, migrating from one conversation cluster to another. There were, perhaps a dozen Cousins there and we caught up on life events that had transpired since we saw them last, in June, and SILs last visit, about a year ago.

We started making polite noises about leaving, somewhere around 9:30, or 10:00, suggesting that the Bride and her parents would need some sleep before their big day -- but the Cousins dismissed that notion entirely. They assured us that people would continue to come and go, WELL into the night.

FYI -- the Bride and her brides maids were spending the night and had scheduled a Team of hair and make up people to arrive about 7:30 AM, to prep the wedding party for the 1 PM wedding! Apparently, Sleep is NOT an option!  confuse   biggrin  biggrin    confuse

I think that we finally managed to depart about 1:30, but it MAY have been after 2, before I finally drove the Focus back over the mountain past the Lisgoold church and turned South, onto the Picturesque, Pretty, Peaceful and Tranquil R626.

While ALL of those adjectives MIGHT be appropriate and accurate in the waning hours of daylight -- NONE of them are --- on a cold, dark night -- circa 2 AM!!!!  blankstare  blankstare  blankstare

There are VERY few street lights and directional signage in most of Ireland -- and absolutely NONE, in the vicinity of our location. Likewise, visual cues that seemed so readily obvious, in day light, have a nasty habit of vanishing, once the sun goes down!  disbelief  disbelief  disbelief  disbelief

It made for an INTERESTING drive.  furiousfuriousfurious

We finally made it to bed -- about 3:30. 

More to come

Bob



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Bob,

I'm enjoying the ride! Agree completely about the Copper Coast, especially when exploring all the beaches along the way. I love that little flowery cottage in Annestown. It is a pity about the ghost estate of all those lovely, empty thatched houses in Stradbally. I had a walk about there and got some nice photos. But what a shame no one lives there.

Let the wedding begin!

Michele

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Thanks Bob for the info on the Dooley counter.It sounds like even more round-about then last year.

Enjoying your report!

Susan



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Morning broke cool, but mostly clear. The ladies discovered the problem (and work around) with the Hot Water while I was out and about, so it seemed much easier to Go With The Flow (or, actually --To Go WHERE the Flow WAS ), rather than try to roust a Repairman and wait however long it might take to correct the problem.

We went for our included breakfast, which was pretty good, packed up and checked out. While I notified the desk clerk of our problem with the shower head, my wife noticed that Riverbank House Hotel, The Yard AND T. Morris Pub are apparently either co-owned or co-operatively affiliated

It doesnt change my opinion of any of them (Mostly, QUITE pleased), but I thought it did bear mention

We drove back across the bridge and down through town, along the Quay. I missed a turn somewhere, so I had a brief bit of trouble finding my way, at first.  confuse  confuse 

After about 10 or 15 minutes of floundering around, though, I was back on track (R733) and enroute towards our first destination. Just West of Wellingtonbridge, I stopped the car to have a smoke and examine a small, roadside church ruin and graveyard. As I was getting ready to return to the car, I actually took a GOOD look at our surrounds and was awestruck by the close proximity of Clonmines ! Pity that it rests on Private Property and is NOT accessible    furious furious furious

Motivated now, I detoured into Tintern Abbey -- even though it was not open for the season, yet. Still, you CAN walk the grounds and/or drive down to the old, multi-arch, stone bridge and then, explore the old church and grave yard -- which we DID

Just beyond Tintern, I turned South on the R734 and drove through Fethard, Templetown, Slade and then out to the Hook Head Lighthouse. LOTS of history out this way -- Bannow, the beach, where Strongbow first came ashore, the Tower Castle at Slade(a 1 Km detour) the ruined Monastic site/ church ruin that provided many years worth of Light keepers for Hook --- And then, there is the Lighthouse, itself -- the oldest, continuously operated lighthouse in the world!

We didnt do the Lighthouse Tour, this trip -- SIL was much more interested in scampering around on the rocks beyond the tower, snapping photos nearly continuously. Eventually, we tore ourselves away and resumed our drive -- following the coast North, past Loftus Hall, Duncannon and the picturesque Arthurstown, before stumbling upon the entrance to the Passage East Ferry . The fare was 6 Euro and the wait was less than 5 minutes. I doubt if the trip took any longer than that, either! There were only 3 cars on the West-bound voyage, but there must have been a dozen waiting to take the return trip.

Once ashore we chose to eschew Waterford ( both by Hook AND by Crooke!   biggrin  biggrin  biggrin ) and make a bee-line to Tramore -- bypassing the Harristown Megalithic Tomb while making our way to the R685.  cry

Once in Tramore, I followed signs toward the Harbour and parked on a side street jam-packed with eateries, Arcades and even, a carnival -- but, with the exception of one take-away and the Arcade, everything was closed. Dunno if it was because it was a Wednesday, that the time was only 1 PM, or that it was mid-April, but the nice folks operating the arcade directed us to a small café located up the road, near town center., called the Vee Bistro . The place was quiet -- it being mid-day / mid-week / the off-season, and all.   biggrin biggrin biggrin

The food was excellent -- as was the service.

When the Manager (I think?) overheard me asking our waitress how long it would take to drive to Dungarvan, via the Copper Coast Road, she came over to help. I explained that we needed to be in Midleton no later than 4 PM, but that we wanted to drive the Coast Road, if possible, she assured us that we had adequate time. She also emphatically recommended that we do so!

She emphasized that she realized it might sound self-serving, but she firmly believed that the Copper Coast Road was one of THE finest scenic drives -- ANYWHERE! She then STRONGLY encouraged us to follow some of the STRAND lanes seaward, along the way, advising that they would seldom entail a detour of much more than a mile.

Give that woman a cigar! She werent wrong! biggrin biggrin biggrin biggrin

Highlights: The beach, just beyond Fennor, Annestown-- though we by-passed the Castle and the promontory fort, Dunbrattin Head, Bunmahon, Ballyvoyle Head and Stradbally -- oh, Stradbally could make you weep!    no no no no

I had known about St James Wood from my frequent perusal of DAFT -- but I had honestly forgotten its location, until I turned uphill from the Town Square and stumbled upon its desolate beauty. I jumped from the car and wandered about for several minutes, examining the place in all its weathered, forlorne elegance. I told my wife then, that if I should win the Lottery, I am determined to purchase the entire development! She laughed -- but

It was a NERVOUS laugh    wink  wink  biggrin  yawn  wink  wink

Back on the road, I beat a hasty return to the N25, by-passing Dungarvan, with its Abbey and Castle and hurried into Midleton. Along the way, we phoned one of the Cousins, who arranged to meet us. I think the drive took about an hour. Once that was accomplished, she led us to our Self-Catering apartment that they had secured for us, at The Paddocks Holiday Village. We settled in quickly, as there was NO time to waste.

The Great, FOUR-Day Wedding was about to begin!

More to come

Bob



-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur on Wednesday 16th of May 2012 10:06:41 PM

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Hi Bob,

Just wanted to say I am enjoying this trip report, as I always enjoy your others. I really appreciate the level of detail and your ever present willingness to help others. Plus I can live vicariously through all your trips. You are very lucky.

Thank you.

Erin

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Michele -- Riverbank was fine.  Had a small glitch with no hot water in the shower in the AM, but it also had a tub with a seperate, high-arched spigot, so were were able to shampoo by kneeling down -- seemed quicker and easier, rather than calling down and waiting for a repairman ...  aww

I would stay there again, but I MIGHT insist on checking the shower, first ... biggrin

It WAS B&B -- 99 Euro, for a Triple Room.

Stewart -- That's a tough call.  Tesco is a re-seller of other network airtime, but it is also a MONSTER UK chain.  I would say you have a 50/50 chance -- as it might depend upon what NETWORK they are contracted with, in Scottland, versus their Irish Network.

You could get the phone 'Unlocked' for about 10 Euro or so -- OR, you could -- if there IS a conflict, simply buy a NEW phone and SIM for as little as 20 Euro ---  OOPS!  I mean 18-20 GBP!!!  biggrin biggrin

Wish I could provide a more definitive answer -- maybe Tony will weigh in with more certainty ... confuse confuse

Bob



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