Members Login
Username 
 
Password 
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: Commentary on the Retirement Tour


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 728
Date:
RE: Commentary on the Retirement Tour


So you loved the diesel, and I understand why! We were up-graded to a diesel Opel Insignia mid-size 4 door sedan, due to 4-5 serious mechanical squacks on a rent-a-wreck gas Opel which we had become painfully aware of on the drive after collecting it at Knock on the way Belleek Pottery Factory. (details forthcoming in my trip report) Called Hertz after arriving at Belleek, and they assured us there would be a replacement, which turned out to be a newer diesel waiting for us the next morning in Sligo. What a sweet car....6 speed manual, and ran very low rpm in 6th gear, but still had great pep when I put the pedal to the metal. The fuel economy was awesome. Could have probably driven from Knock, all the way thru Northern Ireland, and then down to Dublin on 1 tank of fuel, but elected to fill up at the border. It makes me think that we should settle for nothing less than a diesel (if possible) on future trips to Ireland! Dan

__________________


Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 2152
Date:

Dan -- Actually, the first car we rented WAS also a diesel -- a '12 Ford Focus and had a six speed, as well. 

It got even better mileage than the Quashqui, but the Nissan was DEFINITELY classier!

We covered a grand total of 4,038 Km between the two.  Fill ups averaged around 60-80 Euro, so was quite happy, not needing to do that TOO often!

Bob

 



__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Host

Status: Offline
Posts: 10685
Date:

Ivy Bridge Farm looks great. Love the half door. That's a bargain!

__________________

"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

Click links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland Itinerary

Visit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.



Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 1382
Date:

There are so many reasons why Ivy Bridge, in its entirety, but chief among them is the Fantastic people that treat you more like family than guests. I think I left a large part of my heart there last summer. Did you find it, Bob? biggrin

I will have to remember this Quashqui and check to see if Hertz has one available for May. Where I go, higher clearance is not only most welcome but a necessity.



__________________

www.rinconcreekstudios.zenfolio.com



Host

Status: Offline
Posts: 10685
Date:

More fantastic people own Doire Farm Cottages outside Kenmare. Hosts can make such a difference.

__________________

"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

Click links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland Itinerary

Visit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.



Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 2152
Date:

Our ever-gracious hostess, Eileen O'Sullivan, having learned of my wife's dislike of flying during one of our conversations, sent us a text message, the day before our flight home.

Knowing how Sandy was disrupting flights, she advised that we were welcome to stay at Ivy Bridge, until such time as a safe flight could be sorted out!

Hard to beat THAT kind of consideration  ...

That Quashqui got me in and OUT of some pretty dicey locations, Bit.  I had to wash it, TWICE.  At ONE point, it looked like I had taken it 'Mudding'!!

Bob



__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 2152
Date:

Days 19-23, October 21-25 -- Cottage Week (Mostly) :

Sunday: Shopping in Mallow, followed by a leisurely drive through Millstreet, Rathmore and Killarney, as far as Ladies View, before returning to the cottage. Familiar haunts.

Monday: Drove into Millstreet and down to Macroom. Visited the Library and following their advice, drove into Cork city to do research at the Cork County Main Library. Our search of old newspaper records produced no significant developments, however. Returned to our cottage via Blarney, just to avoid Cork traffic.

Tuesday: We drove into Mallow, orienteering for our planned luncheon with the Cousins, on the morrow. After finding our way around, I headed out of town, on the N73. FYI -- The N72, running from Mallow to Fermoy, is closed to traffic, while undergoing repairs. All traffic is now routed to the N73, requiring drivers to Fermoy to travel, via Mitchelstown. We, however, turned onto the R512, in Kildorry, to Ardpatrick, In the center of the village, a sharp turn, uphill, leads to a wide, dead end. From there, a locked gate (with an attached Pedestrian Pass Through) blocks the dirt road that leads -- up, around, up some more -- to the ruins of a hill-top site that includes little more than the foundation ring of a

Round Tower. I must confess that I only made it about half-way up, this trip. Detailed pix will have to wait for another visit -- HOPEFULLY, during more pleasant weather!

Back on the R512, I continued North, to Kilmallock. On our first visit to Kilmallock, in April of 2011, rain drove us back to the car before I had an opportunity to wander away from the Monastic Ruins, to view the remnants of the Round Tower, in another set of impressive ruins that are isolated from the Monastery by a tall row of trees. This time, the weather wasnt much better, but the rain DID hold off. Sadly, once again, the Local Museum was also closed. Exiting town, I followed the R518 onward, through Bruree and onto the N20, South, to return to our cottage.

Wednesday: Two of the Cousins came to the cottage and were AMAZED by what they saw. They could not believe the quality of the fit and finish (and furnishings) and kept remarking at how unseemly it was, for a place built specifically as a Rental! I drove them to Mallow, where we enjoyed a satisfying lunch at The Gallery. Back to the cottage, we enjoyed more fine conversation and tea, before the Cousins reluctantly headed back home.

Thursday : I drove toward Mallow and then turned off on the R620, into Drommahane. I turned South, there, following the R619, through Coachford, to join the N22. I headed toward Macroom, but turned off onto the R584, following it through Inchigeelagh and Ballingeary, to visit Guagan Barra, Leaving there, I continued on, through the Pass of Keimaneigh, into Kealkill. After a brief photo stop at Carriganass Castle, we continued on, through Bantry and into Drimoleague. We paid our respects at the Cemetery to fallen heroes and heroines and then made our way back to the cottage -- once again, due to failing light, driving via Blarney.

It was a mostly, Soft week. Cool, breezy, but with some scattered sun. Research-wise, it had been a bust, but I DID manage to sneak in two Round Towers (more, or less). We DID manage SOME visiting with family (though, NEVER enough!). We DID have a peaceful, restful time and we look forward to returning.   smile  smile

 

Day 24, October 26:

We decided to shorten our Northward return to Sligo by departing on Friday Am, even though we were paid through Sat. morning. I drove into Mallow, headed East on the N73 to Mitchelstown and joined the M8. We detoured onto the N8, in the vicinity of the border of Tipperary and Kilkenny and then rejoined the M8. With now having TWO days to make our way, I dug in my heels and insisted that we travel via Newbridge -- This allowed visits to Fertagh and Liathmore Round Towers. After a quick stop in Cashel, for scones and tea that were to die for at Ryans Daughter, I exited the M8 at Junction 5 and continued North, on the Old N8. A short distance along, a finger signpost pointed off to the Right, for the Two Churches.

Its hard to spot. I didnt notice it, until it was too late to safely turn, so I needed to turn back to get there. A short drive along the side road, another finger sign points Left, toward the ruins. They are well back from the road, separated by a LARGE field that was FULL of cattle. Just beyond the sign, though a one-lane, dirt track leads back toward the ruins -- bordered on BOTH sides by farm fences. As Ive mentioned, the previous week had been Soft and the muddy track before me REFLECTED that. I could see a number of muddy puddles along the lane -- some, QUITE large. If I was driving a Focus, I wouldnt even have CONSIDERED going on.

But, I was driving a Quashqui -- a pseudo-SUV! -- so, Onward, went I. Though the wheels spun and mud flew, my indomitable Nissan forged ahead. About a quarter of a mile in -- about half-way to the ruins -- I braked to a sliding halt. The farmer had opened cross-gates, connecting the pastures to either side of the lane -- and stretched a wire-thin, ribbon of rope across the lane, on either side of the wide gates -- to discourage the cows from wandering up, or down the lane. It HAD worked, on MY side of the ribbon, but not so much, on the other. The cow that I had spotted in the lane is what caused me to notice the barely visible barrier, that now rested just a scant few feet from the Quashquis hood!

My detour had been in vain -- although I could clearly SEE the ruins, I wasnt going to be able to VISIT them! And, to make matters even worse -- Insult, to Injury -- I NOW needed to drive a quarter mile, along a muddy, puddled, ONE lane track -- in REVERSE!! It tooka while, but I managed. You cant BEGIN to imagine what our Nissan looked like afterwards!

Disgruntled, but relieved, we contined onward along the N8, where we made a brief, EASY visit to the Round Tower at Fertagh, before rejoining the M8. Making our way into downtown Newbridge, for a brief social/shopping visit with a delightful old acquaintance -- Mario Corrigan., at the Kildare County Library.

I first met Mario in February of 2002, in the Silken Thomas. Ciaran Wynne brought him to our impromptu, scheduled meet up, since Ciaran knew that I was actively researching the Rebellion of 1798. Mario had written his doctoral thesis ( All The Delirium Of The Brave - Kildare In 1798 ) based upon local implications and events. At that time, Marios Night Job was playing bass guitar in Ciarans band. Marios Day Job was working for the Kildare County Library, in Newbridge.

I met Mario again, in April of 2004 and June of 2010 and weve maintained a loose communication throughout. Mario is now the Executive Librarian, Local Studies, Genealogy and Archives, County Kildare Library and Arts Services and Chairman, Kildare Town heritage centre Committee. Mario has written, edited and compiled a number of different books, publications and pamphlets and has also co-written an illustrated childrens book, Do Fish Wear Pyjamas? I purchased three autographed copies for the Grandchildren, for Christmas. I also snagged two copies of Marios newest -- Kildare Footprints , Kildare Town Walking Tour & Heritage Trail -- AND a copy of A Topographical Dictionary of County Kildare 1837 , that Mario co-edited.

If you saw the US Television program of, Who Do You Think You Are?, featuring Rosie ODonnell, Mario was the Researcher who discussed Workhouses and guided Rosie through the Birr Workhouse. Mario currently continues to perform musically, as well, playing bass for the ill-named, but popular local band, The Porno Pigs. Mario currently lives in the Newbridge / Kildare area, with his wife, Colette, and their children, Eve and Jack.

Mario is a true, Renaissance Man. An International Star of Stage, Screen and Bookshelves nearly everywhere -- Or, at least, SOMEWHERE! I heartily recommend him as a resource, a musician, an individual and as a human being. He has a delightfully, wickedly Irish, sense of humor, but he is also, VERY knowledgeable about Irish history and Research Methodology. When my wife mentioned that OUR search had reached an impasse, Mario suggested a NEW approach -- by visiting the Valuations Office, in Dublin. He said that if you had lost trace of the PEOPLE, then sometimes, it might be easier to follow the LAND. Using Marios suggestions resulted in a Significant Break-Through, this trip, I might add. Smart man. A helpful man. A GREAT guy.  biggrin  biggrin  biggrin  biggrin

By the time we departed Newbridge, it was nearly 4 PM. We meandered North, connecting with the M4, heading NW. We ended our day at Mullingar Park Hotel, as dusk was settling in. It was woefully over-priced, poorly managed, with disturbingly disarrayed security. NEVER again. Ive had a handful of regrettable stays over the past 13 years. This one was undoubtedly, THE worst -- Possibly, because there was NO good reason for it to have been THAT bad! The Hotel was clean, modern, roomy, with friendly service and had an excellent location. It was within walking distance of a TERRIFIC Chinese Restaurant, where we enjoyed a great meal and excellent service. The Hotel even had an attached Spa, Pool and Exercise Room. Hard to find any fault, Right???  cry  cry

Try this:

70 Euro per person, B&B. Thats more than just a little pricey for October. Thats almost DOUBLE what we paid for one night at Breaffy House, the Lady Gregory, the Glasshouse (on the Sat night of a Festival Weekend). Its nearly 50% more than our night at Beeleek Castle --- and DOUBLE what we paid for TWO nights, at the Premier Inn at Dublin Airport!  confuse  confuse  confuse  confuse

The Hotel WAS hosting some sort of Graduation Celebration for about 50 or 60 people, but that hardly made a dent in their occupancy. THAT event would be fine, a non-event, as it were, had they done so in any one of a number of attractive and colorful areas scattered around the Ground Floor. Instead, for some inexplicable reason -- the Group INSISTED on milling about the large lobby area -- which required other guests to carefully maneuver through the throngs of fancily-dressed revelers, each and every time they wished to enter or exit the hotel, converse with reception, visit the bar -- or use the elevators. This was NOT a temporary or fleeting thing, either. It continued, at least, until 10:00 PM, that I KNOW of -- as that was the last time that I Braved The Gauntlet, in order to step outdoors for a smoke.  furious

The Celebration continued until around 5 AM -- at least that was the approximate time that MOST of our fellow guests on the fourth floor loudly announced their Good Nights to all and stumbled and bumbled their giggling selves into their rooms   furious  furious

It was about 6:30 AM when one of the partiers on the third floor decided that it would be Great Craic to stuff a towel into a trash can, place it in the middle of the hallway and set it afire! When the BLARING fire alarm sounded, my wife called the front desk and was advised that, Its fine, now. Everything is just Grand. The problem has been sorted. No, I shouldnt think that you need to evacuate your rooms AT THIS TIME.  confuse  furious  furious  furious  confuse

Probably NOT the best comment to mention to my half-awake wife furious  furious  furious  furious

Even though the problem HAD been Sorted, the staff was either unable or incapable of silencing the alarm. About 6:45, in various stages of dress and disarray, MANY of the guests managed to make their way to the Lobby-- BY STAIRS -- since the elevators were rendered inoperable by the triggered Alarm. Assured that there was NO danger, some of the guests opined that they might as well have breakfast, but were advised that it was too early.

It was about 7 AM, when they finally managed to fully clear the alarm. They also GRACIOUSLY allowed that they would NOW begin serving, so about half of us decided to avail ourselves.

We departed the hotel a little before 9 AM, amid weak apologies. I had overheard the POSSIBILITY of a discount being offered, for a FUTURE stay -- but I wasnt interested.

More To Come ...

Bob



-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur on Thursday 6th of December 2012 11:52:51 PM

__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Host

Status: Offline
Posts: 10685
Date:

Bob,

I generally don't like staying at Irish hotels on weekends because of just what happened to you at the Mullingar Park. They tend to book up with hens, stags, weddings, celebrations, etc. that go on all night. Sorry that happened to you.

On a nicer note, thank you for the autographed copy of Kildare Footprints , Kildare Town Walking Tour & Heritage Trail that you snagged for me! biggrin I'm enjoying it and it was so thoughtful of you to send me the book. I did see Mario Corrigan on that show with Rosie. I will have to watch it again and pay closer attention to that part now.

Michele



__________________

"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

Click links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland Itinerary

Visit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.



Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 2152
Date:

Michele -- You are MORE than welcome.  It was really, the LEAST that I could do ...

              I have to dissagree about hotels and weekends, though ... We spent a Saturday night of a Bank Holiday Weekend -- in the Middle of a major Music Festival -- at The Glasshouse -- Without suffering through ANY of the drama that occurred in Mullingar.  Obviously, management in Sligo had a PLAN!  biggrin  biggrin  biggrin

 

Day 25, Saturday, October 27: 

      Since we were on the road so early, with nothing more planned for the day beyond Getting To Sligo, we decided to be a bit adventurous. The M4 had ended, just before Mullingar, devolving into a more traditional, N4. The going wasnt MUCH slower, but now there were towns and villages along our path -- Some, interesting and some, not so much.

      We drove into

Edgeworthtown, but followed the bypass around Longford. We dawdled, in Roosky, where we spent a night, back in February of 2002. Its a pretty, quiet place, astride the River Shannon. Continuing on, we drove into the heart of Carrick-On-Shannon and parked at the Marina. There, we photographed a number of members of a Rowing Club -- mostly in Twos and Fours. Our son had raced Crew, in High School (Fours and Eights), so we found it rather interesting. It seemed quite photogenic, with the graceful stone bridge as a backdrop.

     Nearby, we discovered an old courthouse that had been repurposed as an Art Gallery and Civic Center, called The Dock. They had a nice little café, where we snacked on tea and scones, clean rest rooms and a nice little gift shop. Refreshed, we continued on, to the Lough Key Overlook (With its Chieftain Sculpture). The day was showing promise. We even had some blue sky above us -- though it WAS rather grey along the horizons, in ALL directions! We followed signs for a Scenic Drive around Lough Key and then, a little further North, another, that lead us around Lough Arrow. The foliage was a bit of a surprise -- very New England-y confuse  confuse  confuse

With the day seeming to improve as we drove, I detoured off the N4 once again and brought us to the lower gate of Carrowkeel.Not sure how much walking my wifes knee might handle -- and eyeing the still-dubious horizons, I drove through and followed the road up, to the upper gate. I was tempted to press on from there, quoting the now infamous, But I have a Quashqui! -- but the Mrs. Wasnt having any of it -- It seems that she took the big, No Vehicles Beyond This Point sign at Face Value (Rather than as a Helpful Suggestion!!!).   aww  aww

We sat there parked, for a while, before deciding to Chance walking the road onward. FYI -- It is a LONG road, winding around and around the surrounding hills, before ending at a Car Park, at least a mile or more beyond the second gate. From there, a rather steep path UP leads to the first large hill-top Cairn. I believe it was Cairn G, due to the Window Box. The hills are peppered with them, but we only managed to make it to the first, as we were already Pushing The Limits of my wifes knee. While she wandered about, taking photos of the scenic views and the distant rainbow, I climbed down, inside the Cairn and snapped a few interesting photos of my own.  biggrin biggrin

We made our own path back down, picking our way down through the rocks, mud and Sheep Poo, so that we shaved about 1/10th of a mile off our return hike. Back on the road, we joined a young couple who were out for a bit of exercise and spent our return walk in pleasant conversation. 

After returning to the N4, we made another brief stop in Coolooney, following a sign pointing uphill, toward Marian Year 1987-88 Peace Shrine. The Shrine is a small Chapel, on the grounds of an old Manor House that now houses Cloonmahon Learning Disability Services Center. In addition to the small Shrine, there were also a number of interesting architectural features -- mostly in and on the walls leading to what was probably the old, formal gardens of the Estate. 

Back on the road, we made our way into a busy, hectic Sligo town center. It didnt help that it had turned dark and Soft. Seeing as it was late Saturday afternoon, on a Bank Holiday Weekend, mid-way through SligoLive Music Festival, though -- I wasnt TERRIBLY surprised. We even managed to score a parking space within the underground Parking Garage that is attached to our hotel -- The Glasshouse. Now, maybe -- just maybe -- my opinion is TAINTED by my unpleasant stay in Mullingar -- but WOW! What a GREAT place!! We had a river view, deluxe room that opened onto a large balcony. Our view included the Yeats Statue, the Hyde Bridge and MOST of Sligo town! While the décor IS a tad Wild -- Im not sure how anyone NOT sober might handle the visual cues evoked by the rather Busy carpet patterns in the hallways -- the hotel was a very pleasant welcome.

After settling in, we set out in search of supper. We finally located an available eatery on Rockwwod Parade, a semi-pedestrian, riverside street, called Fiddlers Creek. We enjoyed a pleasant meal, seated by a window that afforded us a warm, DRY view of the happenings passing by. Afterwards, we wandered about town for a bit, but we had pretty much exceeded our Daily Walking Limit, so we headed back to the Glasshouse for the night.

More To Follow

Bob



__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 2152
Date:

Additions and Corrections ---- 

Our hostess at Ivey Bridge Farm Cottage was ELIZABETH O'Sullivan -- NOT, Eileen ...

It must be that whole, ADD thing .....  confuse  confuse  confuse

Also -- I've finally uploaded ALL the Pix  -- 

Bob



-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur on Sunday 9th of December 2012 01:01:30 PM

__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 2152
Date:

Day 26, Sunday, October 28:

Morning crept Softly over the horizon -- Cool, damp and grey. I took my morning wander, snapping close up photos of the river, the Yeats Statue and the wet, empty streets. We had spotted a really cute café (

Lilys Café) the previous night, adjacent to the Yeats Memorial Building. They were closing when we arrived for our evening meal -- they serve breakfast and lunch -- but sadly, they are also CLOSED on Sundays

Instead, we bought breakfast at the hotel (not included in the 99 Euro price of our Deluxe Riverview Room.

After checking out, we began our day with a bit of Orienteering -- locating our next nights accommodations and figuring out how to make our way To/From there, to the Area on the campus of the Sligo Institute Of Technology, where Van Morrison was scheduled to perform.

When we first decided to attend the Sunday night concert, I had immediately booked one night at Benbulben Suites-- efficiency apartments on the grounds of - and affiliated with -- The Clarion Hotel . It was within walking distance of the concert venue and only 79 Euro, per night. Once we decided to make Sligo a Two-Night stay, the website claimed that Benbulben had no vacancies for the Saturday night -- Hence, our stay at the Glasshouse. Were I to retroactively re-plan the trip, I would probably have spent BOTH nights at the Glasshouse.

Since it was too early to check in, we set off to Tour some of the areas more far-flung attractions. I drove NE along the N16 to Manorhamilton. We stopped along the way for misty, damp, but enchanting views of Glencar Lake and waterfall and arrived in Manorhamilton, just as Mass was starting. I dropped my wife at the gate and set out in search of diesel for the Quashqui and Diet Coke, for myself. Refreshed and refueled, I waited in the Church car park, retrieved my wife and set out, in light rain, along the R280.

We followed that scenic route until just outside of Bundoran, where we joined the N15, heading South. Our next detour was into and through the Gleniff Horseshoe. It was surreal and other-worldly on such a Soft day. Mist hung from the heights and drifted along side in the crevasses and crannies of the bogs. The mountains seemed to loom OVER us as if undecided whether to vanish, or tumble down, on top of us swallowing us, in the mists of time It was DISTURBINGLY peaceful.

After returning to the N15, our next stop was Drumcliff. We enjoyed a nice, hot meal and even managed to snag some of their, To Die For desserts, before continuing on, to Rosses Point. The rain had stopped by the time we arrived, but only, Just Barely. We drifted along the coast, stopping here and there at a number of scenic spots for photos and then, only a LITTLE reluctantly, made our way to check in at Benbulben Suites.

Our ground floor apartment seemed overdue for a face lift, although it was perfectly adequate. A phone number was posted, should any problems arise (or, to check in) and the young lady who arrived about 5-10 minutes later was helpful and pleasant, but it would seem much more sensible to have a RESIDENT manager. FYI -- The place was never more than 20% occupied during our stay. It WAS, however, only a five minute walk ( a US walk -- NOT an Irish one ! ) from the Arena.

We needed to collect our pre-paid tickets ( 106.9 Euro, for Two ) at the door. Seating was General Admission -- although Some floor seats were Reserved for those that had purchased Full SligoLive Festival tickets. Doors opened a 6 and the concert was scheduled to begin at 8. We were going to walk down, about 6:30, in order to find some good seats, but it started raining again, rendering the whole, within walking distance thing rather moot. We arrived about 6:40, while close-in parking was still readily available.

It had been announced that there would be NO Opening Act, but when I claimed our tickets, they announce that Vans daughter, Shana would warm up the crowd, beginning about 7:30. We headed inside and selected our seats.

Knocknarea Stadium is a small venue, with a claimed seating capacity of 1,200. Its possible that they may have squeezed in some additional seats on the floor, but I doubt if it was all that many. The floor is little larger than a basketball court and the stage juts out from one wall, centered around what would be mid-court. There are three rows of raised, bleacher seats lining the wall opposite the stage. We chose to sit in the middle section, in the last (top ) row. We were less than 75 feet from the front of the stage, lined up, nearly dead center of it. Our two seats were at the top of the staircase leading up, so we had a clear, unobstructed view. We sat along side two couples from England, who had come over to Sligo, just for the weekend. The seemed very appreciative when I shared my trusty monocular / mini telescope.

Concert recap and reviews -- ctober-2012-knocknarea-arena-sligo.html">Van The Man . All that I can add to their comments, is to say that it was a MAGICAL night. The set list was INSPIRED and the performance was nearly flawless. Van controls and adjusts on the fly -- usually via subtle head nods, hand and arm gestures. Once, he even commanded his requirement by voice and exaggerated gestures, when the sax player didnt react quickly enough! Usually, though, a quick point of the finger was sufficient to make the necessary change -- be it moderating the tempo, or changing to a completely different guitar!

Vans performance ran a near continuous forty-five minutes and then he walked off. The band remained, playing for the duration of a five minute standing ovation. There was NO encore. I opined that Van was probably ALREADY back at the Clarion Hotel, before the first of the crowd finally began to exit the Arena!

We made our way out to the car park, but with the traffic and all the people milling about, it took about 20 minutes before we finally began the drive back to our apartment. We felt like we were floating, in a sort of Transcendental State.

DEFINITELY it was THE highlight of our trip!

More To Come

Bob

 



__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 1382
Date:

Bob, Mo chara...

I believe Eileen is ELizabeth's mum...if memory serves correctly...so you were close!

Lucky you getting to see Van the Man! I have heard he can be quite the crumudgeon...on and off stage

__________________

www.rinconcreekstudios.zenfolio.com



Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 2152
Date:

Bit -- Van IS a perfectionist.  After getting 'worked over' by a couple of Record labels, he walked away and started his own.

Like many highly talented artists, he is, ummm -- rather eccentric ...

We've seen him perform, here in the States and anticipated a certain, "Fickleness". 

Numerous publications in Ireland have often referred to him as 'Grumpy, old, Baggy Pants' ...

In spite of -- OR, because of this -- his performances are usually FLAWLESS -- accusticly, sconicaly and performance-wise ...

About 1/2 an hour before the start of the show, someone near us took a flash photo of the stage ---

Within SECONDS, Arena personnel and security arrived -- Loudly announcing that:

 "Van has stated that at the first glimps of a photo flash -- he will walk off the stage -- and will NOT return!" 

No further flash photos were taken -- by ANYONE ....  biggrin  biggrin  biggrin  biggrin

The concert was Inspired and Flawless.  It would have been CHEAP -- at TWICE the price!

Bob



-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur on Monday 10th of December 2012 07:30:01 PM

__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 2152
Date:

Day 27, Monday, October 29:

      After a cold, intermittently rainy night, morning broke -- Cold and intermittently rainy We loaded up the car, slid our magnetic keys under the roll up door front of the lobby office and set out. After a last drive-by of the Arena and downtown Sligo, we headed South, toward Dublin, on the now, rather Familiar N4.

      Our first stop came at the Southern base of Lough Arrow -- at the ruins of

Ballinafad Castle. Its visible from the N4 and has an easy on/off access. I parked and walked up the path for some close up shots, but the most stunning visuals came as I walked back down the hill, to the car. It wasnt raining, just then, where we were, but -- stretched out along the Western Horizon, was a PERFECT rainbow --in a vivid, unbroken arc -- and beneath it, was actually a nearly as clear, DOUBLE Rainbow!

      We followed the M4, taking exit 7 into Maynooth. After circling town center a few times, I finally found the turn off (near the College) for the R408. Eventually, we found ourselves parked in a sea of mud, in front of a farm yard -- but we HAD found Taghadoe Round TowerWe had to drive back into Maynooth, in order to reconnect with the M4 and then exited again, at Junction 3 -- turning South, into and around Clondalkin, valiantly searching out the one-way access road that leads past the Round Tower there. It is pretty impressive -- sitting, INTACT. It is reputed to be the only Round Tower to retain its ORIGINAL, conical stone cap! -- Pretty impressive when you realize how prone these Towers are to Lightening strikes!

      After snapping some pix from a nearby Car Park, I followed signs that eventually lead us to the M50 and then followed it North, to the Airport. At the Roundabout, I headed North toward Swords and the Premier Inn. This is another one of Micheles picks -- and it did NOT disappoint. After checking in, we humped ALL the luggage up to the room, in order to begin the arduous and difficult task of packing up for our trip home. We walked down, into the adjacent Airside Park, where we made the regrettable choice of dining at the TGI Fridays.

      Although the food was decent enough, service was virtually non-existant -- about 20 minutes after ordering our two course meal - they tried to deliver our deserts -- while we hadnt yet received our Starters!. Once we finally DID receive our meals, it took another 20 minutes - and TWO requests -- to have our drinks delivered. Additionally, the music was painfully loud. All in all, NOT a good experience.

      We returned to our oversized, corner room, did a bit of organizing and called it a night.

More To Follow

Bob



__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 2152
Date:

Day 28, Tuesday, October 30:

In the morning, I performed a final clean out of the Quashqui and drove to the nearby Petrol Station/ Shop. I topped up the Diesel and paid our M50 Toll and then set off for the airport, to return the car. I had picked it up in the Car Park at the Terminal and had been advised that I could return it there as well ( a BIG improvement!) -- but Signage has NOT been updated and is still, QUITE confusing. I finally went with what I know -- and returned to the Depot, instead. The Return went off without a hitch -- the worst of the heavy coating of mud having MOSTLY been washed away by the previous days of rain. A quick shuttle ride brought us back to the Airport, where we purchased two Return tickets on the Airlink, boarded almost immediately and were off to Dublin, for the day.

We have only done this once, previously -- just this past April. We had stayed near Heuston Station and rode the Airlink up to the airport to drop off my SIL and then promptly returned to Heuston and our hotel. What we learned THIS trip, however is that MOST of the Airlink Drop Off sites are located away from their Pick Up locations! If you ever opt to do this -- be SURE to grab a Route Map!  biggrin  biggrin

Since our immediate goal was the Irish Life Building complex, to visit the

General Registry Office and the Valuation Office (per Mario Corrigans suggestion), we exited on Talbot Street. We walked South one block, to Abbey Street Lower. It was cool and blustery and threatening to rain. Our first stop was at the GRO, which despite its rather chaotic functioning, DID yield a death record for a younger sister of my wifes Grandfather that we previously had only had a birth record for.  cry  cry

Next, we moved downstairs, to the Valuations Office -- a MUCH more relaxed place -- following Marios hint, to Follow The Land. The 1901 Census places the family in Gurteenroe, Macroom, County Cork and that was also the address listed on the Death Record for the Great-Grandfather, Timothy, in 1902. We have been search for his burial place for the past couple of years -- without success. The records are either unavailable, lost or destroyed during some terrible flooding that occurred in Macroom, back in the 1960s. The 1901 Census listed the family residence as in House #2, but the 1911 Census Taker started HIS count from a different location, so we had NO idea where the old Homestead was physically located. Thanks to Marios EXCELLENT advice -- and a VERY helpful Staff Member -- we now do!  biggrin  biggrin  biggrin

Handwritten notebooks were kept, by each locality, in order to Value property, based upon size, usage and improvements -- such as buildings. These entries were updated whenever a change occurred and the books themselves, were replaced, periodically, by newer books. Most important for Researchers, though -- the Old books were sent off to the Valuation Office and stored. Currently, the contents are NOT available On-Line. I suspect that it will be YEARS before the tedious, labor-intensive transcription takes place, as each book contain continuously amended and annotated notes, spanning a number of years. However, if you GO there, tell them the Townland and approximate dates -- they give you over the ACTUAL books, so that you can study them!   biggrin

History -- Held in your very own hands! Its pretty daunting.

Since we knew the name of the property owner, from the Census form, we were able to locate the Plot Number of the property and then, follow it forward, through the years, as ownership and details changed. Cool Stuff! Copies are available, for a small fee, but we were encouraged to save some money by taking photos of the relevant passages. The Staff member even printed out a current OSI map for us that had the labeled Plot locations overlaid on it! That provided info on the size and shape and location of the land, but NOT the house.

The dwelling was listed as vacant in 1910 and described as In Ruins, in 1915. The NEXT entry, a few years later, listed NO dwelling on the property. That means that we had a GENERAL idea of where the old house had been (within a few acres ) but that seemed to be as close as we could get. When we mentioned our bitter-sweet discovery to the man helping us, he asked us to wait and disappeared for about ten minutes. When he reappeared he handed us a ragged, old OSI map. It had been laminated at SOME point and the lamination had yellowed and flaked away in some places. Back in the days before computers, someone had painstakingly Hand Rendered the Plot outlines onto the OSI map.

And, as with ALL Detailed OSI maps, THIS included all known dwellings and archeological features. The map was printed around 1900 -- so it INCLUDED our now vanished Homestead! As before, we were encouraged to photograph as much as we wished! Subsequently, we also performed a search of the property where the family was known to have lived, back in 1865, when the Great-Grandparents first married.

It was a Magical couple of hours! VERY enlightening AND productive. Total Research expense was under 10 Euro, too, including a couple of printed copies! Our only regret was that we made these discoveries at the END of our trip -- when it was too late to "Walk the Same Ground" that the ancestors had ... cry  furious  cry

Ah, well --- NEXT time!  biggrin biggrin biggrin biggrin

We exited the Irish Life complex on Abbey Street, popped into a nearby hotel for lunch and then tried to find our way to a Pick Up location, to re-board the Airlink. I could NOT for the life of me find one, so I instead did what SEEMED like the only logical thing -- We walked to the clearly marked Luas stop on Abbey Street and rode it to Heuston Station -- and boarded the Airlink at the only Pick Up point that I positively knew.

We rode the bus to the Airport, located the Shuttle that runs from there to Premier Inn (1 Euro per person) and got off at the Hotel. After our disappointing meal the previous night, we decided to try our luck in the Hotel restaurant and were PLEASANTLY surprised to discover that the food, the service and the prices were ALL excellent! Live and learn.  confuse  confuse

We finished our final repacking and called it a day. It had been a VERY good day.  smile  smile

More To Follow

Bob



-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur on Tuesday 11th of December 2012 10:45:36 AM

__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 2152
Date:

Christy -- You appear to be something of a New Age Mystic, interested in the Ancient Places Of Power and, for lack of a better word -- Magic. If you would go to such lengths for a Standing Stone, you probably SHOULD for the Round Towers, too!

Henry OBrien won a Bronze Medal from the Royal Irish Academy in 1833, for his essay -- "On the Origin and Use of the Round Towers of Ireland" -- wherein he argued that the Towers were decidedly Pre-Christian and were actually erected by the Tuatha Dé Danann as phallic, fire towers. His claim was that the Towers (and their surrounds) were Co-Opted by the Christian missionaries, just as many other sites were done.

His theories were popular, but NOT generally accepted by Main Stream scientists of the time -- and have since, been largely dismissed ---

However -- and its a BIG however -- during WWII, a young, US Radio operator stationed in Co Fermanagh, near Devenish Island, began a life-long facination with Round Towers. His name was Phillip Callahan. After the war, he graduated from Arkansas with a BS and MS degree and earned his PhD in entomology from Kansas State University. He has taught at LSU, University of Georgia as well as working for the USDA. From 1969, until his retirement from the USDA in 1985, he was a Full Professor at the University of Florida, but now lives in Wichita, Kansas.

From a Bio -- His research involves the utilization of nonlinear far infrared radiation by biological systems and its applications to insect control and medicine. He has developed theories of insect communication based on waveguide characteristics of insect spines and has postulated that such spines are thermoelectret-coated dielectric waveguide aerials with the ability to receive short wavelength IR and microwave frequencies. His work in biophysics might best be called studies in insect molecular bioelectronics. He is the author of 106 scientific papers and 12 books on science and a full professor on the graduate faculty of the University of Florida. He is one of 5% of U.S. Scientists in the Whos Who of Technology today. He retired from the USDA on June 20, 1986, and is now on the staff of the Olive W. Garvey Center for the improvement of Human Functioning, Inc., Wichita, Kansas as an infrared systems and low energy consultant.

Clearly, the man is NO crackpot. And his theories on Round Towers: http://www.whale.to/b/callahan.html raise ALL sorts of interesting issues.

Star Maps -- Low Energy, Bio-Electric impacts on Healing and Plant Growth -- Electro-magnetic Levitation!

It all makes O'Brien seem a bit less extreme ...

Bob



-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur on Wednesday 12th of December 2012 10:46:30 AM

__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 642
Date:

What a fantastic trip! I love the Round Tower Quest - I enjoy them myself, but I doubt I would travel through the muddy field of cows as you did. On the other hand, I would for a standing stone, ogham stone, or dolmen! (and have)...

__________________

May the light be your guide and the darkness be your comfort!

www.greendragonartist.com



Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 2152
Date:

Day 29, Wednesday, October 31:

     We arose at 4:00 AM, caught the Airport Shuttle about 4:30 and arrived at the Departures Hall, just before 5:00 AM straight into the arms of chaos that was Hurricane Sandy!  Our Delta flight DUB to ATL was scheduled for a 7:40 AM departure.  ATL was unaffected by weather, but the NYC, BOS and Washington areas WERE. 

     We werent totally caught off guard.  I had been monitoring the storm for over a week, and we had come across a number of affected individuals over the previous two days.  I had overheard a number of irate customers on the phone at the front desk of the hotel LOUDLY complaining and berating the Customer Service Reps of assorted airlines and travel agencies.  It seems they felt that if they screamed loudly enough, seats would magically become available! Conversely, on our ride back to the airport from Dublin the previous day, we had a delightful conversation with a couple from NYC who had been advised by Aer Lingus that it would be THREE days, before they could be flown home.  The airline had moved them to the Carlton Hotel and provided Meal vouchers.  What was their response??  The wife had snatched up a handful of brochures for daytrips and proceeded to CAPITALIZE on their good fortune!

     After about 40 minutes in line, a Delta Representative asked us if we would be willing to voluntarily relinquish our seats.  In return, she said that IF needed, we would be placed on the next days flight, our hotel and meal costs would be covered AND we would be given a $1000 credit on future flights!  I signed up, without having to convince the Mrs, TOO hard.  The Rep took us out of line, gave us two 7 Euro 50 vouchers for breakfast and told us to check back with her at 6:00 AM.  Since it was past 5:40, we didnt get to use the vouchers.

     A little after 6:00 AM, the Rep came back by and advised us that our sacrifice was NOT needed.  To her credit, she DID bring us up to the front of the line and expedited our check in.  With very little time to spare, we had to hustle through Airport Security, US Security and Customs and Immigration.  We arrived at our gate, only about 15 minutes before they began boarding.

     SO close!  It was almost enough to make a grown man cry!

     Our flight to Atlanta was uneventful.  We had a 2 ½ hour layover, which was long enough to grab a bite, unwind a bit and for me to sneak in a few visits to the Fish Bowl (Atlantas HUMANE Smoking Rooms).  Our flight to GNV departed on time and the pilot seemed intent to set a new record flight time, so we actually arrived early. My BIL was to have dropped my truck off in short-term parking, but instead, his wife was waiting to drive us the seven miles to home.

     After a quick unload and showers, we collapsed into bed about 6:00 PM and slept through the night.

Some summation to follow, but for the most part, thats it! biggrin biggrin biggrin biggrin

Bob



__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 1382
Date:

Oh so very close! I always seem to have the opposite problem...where I arrive at my connecting outbound flight and they advise that service has been delayed getting TO Ireland no

I loved following your Round Tower quest. As much time as you spend in the south, I would think you have been to the St. Mullin site, seo? The Round Tower is but a base...but the site is fantabulous in its history and architectural mix.



__________________

www.rinconcreekstudios.zenfolio.com



Moderator

Status: Offline
Posts: 2152
Date:

Some final thoughts about our trip -- Lessons learned, over-all impressions -- THAT kind of thing ... biggrin

All photos are uploaded, now -- including our Paris, Bruges and Brussels 'Detour'.  Didn't mention THOSE days, as this IS an Ireland Forum ... biggrin biggrin

If anyone needs any info, though, I would be happy to provide whatever is needed.

With 28 days on the ground (less the 4 spent in Paris and Belgium) you would think that we would have had time to burn, but it seemed like just the opposite!
We bounced all over the place - The NE -- Counties Down and Louth; the NW -- Sligo, Mayo and Fermanagh; SW -- Cork and Kerry and back to Sligo, again!
Probably not the ideal itinerary, but overall, it worked for us -- this time.  Covered right at 4,000 Kilometres between the two vehicles - a bit more than I would prefer.


Biggest regrets --

Didn't spend enough time visiting with family and friends.  We also missed out on a few sites, due to scheduling and time constraints.  The afternoon that we visited with Mario Corrigan, he informed us that his band was performing that night, but we had to forgo that pleasure, since we needed to move on, to Sligo.
Also regret our overnight in Mullingar, as it was expensive and not very restful, to boot.  When our camera card faulted, at Dysert O'Dea, we lost the pix that I took at Kilinaboy Round Tower and a few of a foggy, foggy County Clare, but fortunately, I uploaded the camera pix to my Ultrabook most nights, so that was all that we lost!
Attending the Clan Gathering was enlightening and interesting, but the group touring thing is definitely NOT to my taste!
After slogging through the muddy, fog-blanketed fields to get to Dysert O'Dea, my wanning enthusiasm and energy levels kept me from scaling the heights, all the way up to Ardpatrick -- and the local farmer's decision to block the lane leading into Liathmore also thwarted me there.  Add in the effective masking of the Tower at Dysert Oenghusa, near Croom, and I will need to revisit FOUR Towers, just to acquire pix!  cry cry

Still, counting those four, this trip made it possible to visit 31 Towers, which brings the total that I've managed to see to 44!  biggrin  biggrin  That only leaves me with about 20-23 to go!
Who knows, once I'm done, I may actually put together a DEFINITIVE photo book, just to commemorate the accomplishment!  confuse  confuse

Looking now at whether or not our son and grandson will be able to accompany us this year.  If so, we'll probable make just one trip over, in either June, or July.  If they can't make it this year, then I am tempted to try for a May visit.  We've done Feb, and Oct and numerous visits in April and June, so ...


Time will tell. smile smile

Bob



__________________

Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



Host

Status: Offline
Posts: 10685
Date:

Bob,

Maybe you should do a Lulu book (with photos) about your quest for round towers??? biggrin confuse wink 

Very enjoyable trip report - as usual. Thank you for posting. 

Michele



__________________

"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

Click links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland Itinerary

Visit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.



Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 1382
Date:

Bob,

I like the idea of a Round Tower book....

Do you have a card recovery program? If so, you might be able to recover the photos that "disappeared"

We have two on our Photo computers...they have save our arses a few times now biggrin

May 6 & 7 ...Dublin ... Just say'n smile



__________________

www.rinconcreekstudios.zenfolio.com

«First  <  1 2 | Page of 2  sorted by
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

Tweet this page Post to Digg Post to Del.icio.us


Create your own FREE Forum
Report Abuse
Powered by ActiveBoard