2006-2010: Shannon Back to the UK

2006: Oscar Disgraces Himself

Friday 27th August 2021

“Talking (at a distance) to the farmer’s wife she had also visited Fatima and goes there with fiends once a week to pray.”  Typo from the last post spotted by Mick P … couldn’t have been more unfortunate / inappropriate / ironic!  She was a lovely lady.

With another Covid test giving us the all clear and still having all senses of taste and smell, we left our sanctuary and drove to Clonmacnoise … another free for now Irish Office of Public Works site.  Not only are the ruins of the ancient monastery numerous and varied, they are also in a stunning spot over the Shannon.   It’s on the main tourist trail, but again Covid quiet for our visit. So important that the Pope visited and held a mass here in 1979.  Being the wet and windy Emerald Isle, a cover was erected over the specially made alter.  Oscar used it as a peeing post!

20210827 120047

20210827 120137

20210827 120505

20210827 123521

20210827 123557

20210827 123609

We overnighted at Shannonbridge Marina.  We bought a waterways card giving us access to the toilets and chemical emptying.  Water was free all along the harbour, so I even did a washing load … stealth version where I keep the twin tub in the garage and the waste water (eco as I use soap nuts!) spilled directly into a drain, we had conveniently parked over.

We had a long chat with a chap called Joe (his email is JoefromIreland, wonder if he’s the only Joe in Ireland), who had been diagnosed with high blood pressure.  To avoid being prescribed drugs, he’d researched and come to the conclusion that a plant based diet could halt and even rectify most conditions, including heart.  Quite a draconian approach as one dr / guru / exponent even eschewed oils and nuts … not leaving a lot to add protein to your food.  We did consider it (briefly), but decided against … we like food too much.  However, we have added a lot of veggie and plant based meals to our diet.  We really notice a few lbs coming off when we have 4 veggies meals a week.  Those weeks where we eat out / eat a lot of meat … we put it back on!!!    Mindful of Joe’s advice, we ate out … if we’d wanted to go plant based our choices would have been limited to tomato soup … we chose chicken and salad!

20210827 183546

The old bridge across the Shannon from Shannonbridge Marina.

20210827 211224

Stunning by night!  But a pub next door and a few groups / parties on boats that continued until about 3.00 a.m. meant I had a bad night.  I also cleared up a load of glass bottles from the party goers … GRRR!

2007:  Ringdoon (Ringdoom), but no Gloom

Sunday 28th August 2021

We set off to walk a peninsula into Lough Ree containing a medieval castle and village.  We arrived and the land owner had closed the site!  The farmer had erected loads of No Dogs and then Keep Out signs.  We weren’t the only ones to arrive not knowing it was shut.  We parked in a nearby car park having a lot of landscaping work done for lunch.  And then as it was so peaceful and beautiful we stayed the night.  We walked to the nearby St John’s Wood, ancient woodland, being preserved.  And such a lovely evening, we moved the van a smidge and had a BBQ.

Another camper arrived and they joined us for a quick drink.  He is a teacher in Ireland and said he does no school work at all during weekends or holidays … either the Irish schooling is pants or he is a truly pants teacher … I’ve never come across one that could get away with confining the workload to weekdays during term time!

20210828 133809

Lovely and warm so time for a paddle.

20210828 134441

Judy’s Car Park.

20210828 180136

Peaceful spot to do some knitting … my knitting and unpicking notebook!

20210828 193056

BBQ spot.

20210828 200648

Double trouble snuggles.

2008:  A Distillery but no Purchase!!!

Sunday 29th August 2021

We headed to Dublin and stopped a Killbeggan distillery en route. They claim to be the oldest distillery in Ireland …. but upon being questioned by James … Yes, Bushmills were awarded their licence first, but Killbeggan started production earlier.  Killbeggan also stopped production and the the distillery was resurrected … of sorts.  It’s owned by another distillery, which is where the Killbeggan whiskey is made.  Using different water etc, it would NOT taste the same as the original.  And we didn’t think much of it anyway … we decided for the price, Dad would prefer a supermarket brand!!!  Very unusual for us to come away without a purchase.  

20210829 123550

One of the old pot stills … have a feeling this came from elsewhere…

We spent two nights at Camac Valley Campsite near Dublin.  We have used this site a lot, and like the big neighbouring park for running and dog walking.

2009:  Greyfriars and Family Meeting in Bray

Monday 30th August 2021

A short walk along the coast at Greystones … there is a coastal path all the way to Bray, which we will do one day.  

20210830 124359

Light lunch in Greystones.

Then a Covid distanced meeting with two of the brothers in the Lidl carpark at Bray.  Tom and Mary we had see at Sinead’s wedding, but John had only just flown in from Chicago.

 

2010:  Irish Tintern Abbey

Tuesday 31st August 2021

With the Rosslare ferry at stupid o’clock on the following morning, we drove south to Tintern Abbey.  First we stopped off to see Amelia, another sister … fab that we saw all but one of J’s siblings this trip.  Tintern Abbey was founded by the founder of the Welsh one.  He was crossing to Ireland in rough seas and prayed that if he was delivered safely, he old build an abbey where he landed. 

20210831 151638

 It was a lovely walk to the Abbey.

20210831 152225

20210831 150105

I walked the labyrinth with Corrie, an evening habit I did on our Turkish lockdown campsite.

20210831 153153

Tintern Abbey … a lot of restoration going on, but due to covid the library was shut.

20210831 155338

Colclough Walled garden … lack of staff meant the numerous laden apple trees were not being harvested … visitors were encouraged to help themselves.

20210831 153455

A different route back.

20210831 162630

Oscar seems to have mastered the sideways head movement to get his sticks through.

The Tintern car park would have been ideal for an over night, but too far for our early ferry, so we moved onto St Helen’s.  What a fab spot.  We were joined y an Irishman in a Spanish registered van, his ferry was direct to Spain. 

20210831 182357

A ferry on the horizon … ours not until morning.

20210831 182939

Jez overlooking the harbour.

20210831 185244

I walked the coastal path in both directions … Oscar is camouflage hound.

2010: Homeward, but not quite.

Wednesday 1st September 2021

7.30 Ferry and managed to cat nap with our blankets on some benches.  As CO2 had to stay in the van, we stopped at the same car park in Fishguard on the way out and I took them for a walk.

20210901 115924

That’s the ferry we arrived on.

We overnighted at Stonehenge and the next day Jez was due into Abacus for work.

Only 2 weeks in ireland, but a great mix of family and travelling.  A great trip.

 

2004-2005: Covid Concern and Another Watery Pitch

2004: Portumna to Meelick Wier

Wednesday 25th September 2021

On the way towards Clonmacnoise, we stopped off at Portumna.  As we ended up spending longer here than planned, Clonmacnoise had to wait for another day.  Portumna was owned by English landlords and is therefore semi-fortified … God forbid that the natives should attack!   … they seemed to be related to every great British house … the list of marriages read like Debretts Peerage.  It was gutted by fire … a laundry room cause apparently … not the locals!  The Office of Public Works for Ireland, who very kindly waived all entry fees to their properties for the summer, have put a roof on (EU funding helped!) and have an exhibition about the family and castle inside.  The stable block is the restaurant so we have a lovely quiche and walk around the grounds with CO2.  There is an aire with services at the marina here, but it was choked and we hadn’t fancied being within 2m of the neighbouring motorhome, so we headed up river to Meelick

20210825 122323

Portumna Castle.

Meelick Weir proved to be another gem.  A car park right on the water.  A sunny afternoon so families were swimming.  A farm behind with a friendly farmer and wife.  A lot of work going on here … a new walkway at a cost of millions and the car park being given a coating of tarmacadam and big post with plants … J watered these.  In a few weeks the Taoiseach ({rime Minister) was arriving for a grand opening.  The weir was built originally to control the flow for that hydro power station that we couldn’t get into.

20210825 172712

The new weir … apparently it used to be much lower with boards and the farmer’s wife said the was always worried her kids would fall in.

20210825 172957

Corrie wasn’t impressed with all those holes, but she got used.  Interestingly the boards are the same as the ones we have for standing Jez on when the ground is soft … although Dad cut ours into 6  manageable pieces.

20210825 181741

Another pitch perfect, in fact so lovely we stayed another day.

2005: Portumna to Meelick Wier

Thursday 26th September 2021

Part of the decision to stay here was so we could isolate.  James 3 children had had negative PCR tests to fly back to their homes straight after the wedding.  Within days of arriving in Doha, Simon felt unwell … yep, Covid.  Had he caught it and spread it at the wedding?  Lots of guests had PCR tests … we had NHS antigen tests so we did one this morning and one the next day … fortunately everyone was testing negative.  Our biggest concern was that soon after getting back to the UK I’d booked to drive Zorba the Greek car to Crete with Maddy as co-pilot.  If we tested positive, we anticipated being stuck in a government isolation unit … and what would happen to CO2?  Fortunately … we didnt have it, but it was a worrying 2 days.

After our first negative tests, we walked to the Victoria Lock and then onto the narrower original canal and tiny lock.  Then in the afternoon we set off to St Francis Church – the oldest Catholic Church still in use in Ireland.  There was a statue from Portugla of Our Lady of Fatima … nice to join up dots … we’ve been there.  Talking (at a distance) to the farmer’s wife she had also visited Fatima and goes there with fiends once a week to pray.  

20210826 112112

Victoria Lock.  Actually had a lock keeper on duty.

20210826 131424

CO2 were unimpressed by this activity so close. Barking!

20210826 160859

St Francis Church and former monastery to the left.  I am not religious, but it really was a peaceful place.  The grave yard led down to the river front.

20210826 162402

Huge roof inside St Francis.  But really didn’t like the orange new wood of the pews and up by the alter.


2001-2003: Seeking the Source

2001: Irish Craic

Sunday 22nd September 2021 

Having filled our tanks we drove to the other side of Ireland.  It wasn’t the plan … that had been to do a trip down memory lane for J, going to places he’s lived.  But all good plans are sooo apt to change.  We drove over to Clarinbridge … family home of Shane.  Both bride and groom were staying there for a few days and Shanes Parent’s hosted a BBQ for friends and family.  Needless to say the booze and chat flowed … amazing hospitality. A guitar was presented to the chap who’d played at the wedding service and Tom, Shane’s father, got his accordion out.  Even James sang a little song!  Whilst we’d been given a lift to the house, we opted to walk with CO2 back the 1.5km to where Jez was parked.  We were loaned high vis and weaved our way back!  Amazing stars.  Craicing night.

20210822 130907

Lunch from a new motorway service station …  my munchy crunchy burrito …  j ordered chicken and chips and was given the wrong order … lots of soggy chips … YUK!

20210823 104702

Our pitch close to water at the Clarinbridge pub.

2002: Quin & Stop 1 Along the Shannon

Monday 23rd & Tuesday 24th September 2021 

A slow start day!  We decided since we were over on the west, it made sense to follow the Shannon (longest UK river) back to its source.  But on the way to the Shannon, we stopped off at a small town called Quin … source of the Clunes in Ireland.  Originally from France, a lot settled here.

20210823 130643

Lunch in the Quin pub that was just opening.  OMG … I had the fish platter … it was just superb.  It was full of locals having their one meal of the day … huge portions and really reasonable prices … no wonder it was busy.

20210823 141713

Quin Abbey.

20210823 142150

J beside some Clune graves … some old and newer so Clunes still reside in Quin.  A lot of James and Catherine Clunes … oh dear!

20210823 143341

Quin Abbey:  walls still standing.

We decided to not to explore Limerick city.  Tried to see the massive original Irish hydro electric power station on the way, but it was currently closed to visitors.  But we did see the dams further up stream at O’Briansbridge.  I walked upstream upon arrival and the next morning we both walked downstream.

20210824 091325

Walks in either direction.

20210823 162539

Walking up stream to the dam.

20210823 164643

Canal and Shannon both converge.

20210823 223153

20210824 091533

Pitch perfect.

20210824 100644

Local children had contributed to this Fairy Glen … said it before, but will say it again … In England I suspect this would have been vandalised.  

20210824 100710

20210824 101123

One of the hump backed …. bridges, not James!  Built over tributary streams for the horses.

2003: Killaloe and Ballina

Tuesday 24th September 2021

A very SHORT drive up river to Ballina … a free carpark by a very busy open air pool. Whilst J rested, I walked the Tourist Trail.  Late afternoon we crossed over the bridge to Killaloe church … cant remember why the cross was special, but it was!  For such a tourist place, a dearth on Logh Derg (!) of places to eat … all fully booked, so back to the van for home cooked supper.  And look at that sky … it was super warm.  Shame it hadn’t been like this the day of the wedding.

20210824 133058

Looking across to Killaloe Church.

20210824 133110

Ancient bridge … the metal work in front of it was for fishing.  Lovely mellow hills all along our route.

20210824 133429

A railway was extended to service guests at a hotel on the banks of Lough Derg.  Local washer women staged a protest … unusual in those times.  They lay on the train track until a bridge over the line was built.

20210824 163534

Killaoe Church and Cross.

20210824 130106

In the absence of a meal out, we had this for pud.  Forgotten how good they are.  Ice cream and chocolate … what’s not to like?


1996-2000: An Irish Wedding

 1996 – Stupid O’Clock Ferry

Tuesday 17th September 2021 

Ferry booked Fishguard to Rosslare.  CO2 Passports updated with worming table and Irish Pet Advance Notice form submitted.  And just like that, we were off.  Arrived in plenty of time to walk CO2 and eat.  Ferry at 23.45, well past out bedtime!  Had to leave CO2 in the van but reckon they slept.  We took blankets up and after an ice cream for me (no surprises there) and a wine for J (equally no surprises!) we dozed on the benches in the bar.

20210817 194228

Great dog walking from free park up.  Local lady said quite a number of dog traffickers had been caught at Rosslare. View across to Port.

20210817 195242

Tourist Trap?  Possibly, but told motorhomes welcome and food reasonable.

1997 – Sleep

Wednesday 18th September 2021 

Landed at 4.00 am, Yes AM!  Drove to a park up … gate locked so onto Plan B … Murrintown Community Centre car park.  Perfect until about 6.30 … why do people need to hurl glass into recycling bins at this hour?  

20210818 111840

Murrintown Car Park … it was empty and QUIET when we arrived!  Despite the wafts of bacon form the butty van, we brunched chez nous.

We’d pre-booked a campsite not far from Sinead’s wedding venue …Moat Farm Camping.  A great site in that hard standing, views, dog walking nearby BUT at EUR25 pn, one would expect warm showers!  Fortunately, another guest tested them first so we showered aboard!

20210818 142656

View from our pitch.  Doesn’t it look damp?

20210818 151404

Local walk led me to a semi permanent pitch at the end of a long path … 4×4 needed.

1998 – OMG What Is This Wet Stuff!?

Thursday 19th September 2021 

An easy day … we walked up a hill … full wet weather gear adorned.  Primped a bit for the wedding the next day, me not James!  Just a hair trim for him … with the dog shears!

20210819 115127

Somewhat limited visibility … they don’t call this the Emerald Isle for nothing!

1999 – THE Wedding

Friday 20th September 2021 

Sinead had organised us a motorhome parking at the Rathsalagh Hotel … just had to get there!  We followed the hotel signs and I carefully negotiated the main entrance gate … wafers either side.  Got hollered at … you ain’t getting down there … there’s an arch … you’ll have to reverse and you can follow us to the MH parking.  By this time there were 5 cars backed up behind us … we were stopping other guests from arriving at the the wedding!  A bit of jiggling and cars got past, I reversed and followed the hotel van for about 2 miles to the ‘trade’ entrance!  Lovely chap complimented my driving skills with a ‘fair play to you’ … typical Irish understatement!

Parked up … usual wedding … drinks, lots of people to chat to … especially J’s other offspring and some siblings.  Lovely wedding … chapel with a friend playing and singing, great readings and band … 

20210820 152600

The day before outfits!  And real bonus was the M&S sale shoes at £3.99 … niece Zozo has her eye on these!

P1200021

J walked Sinead down the aisle.  Very special as we hadn’t known till Monday that we would make it.

P1200022

Wicked veil / train.

P1200048

J’s 2 sons Stephen and Simon annihilated Sinead in their speech … definitely X rated.

P1200068

Cake, bride and groom … all stunners.

The only incident was 25 mins of (cash up in flames) fireworks.  Knowing our Corrie doesn’t like storms and our gun dog (NOT) Oscar loud bangs, I left the display and went to check on CO2 … cushions and rugs completely disarranged!  

Given Sinead and Shane had not been able to visit the venue, this was the 3rd date rearrangement  … what a feat of organisational excellence.

 

2000 – National Stud … Not the Bride Groom!

Saturday 21st September 2021 

Breakfast at the hotel and a leisurely departure from friends and family.  We discovered Sinead had not made it to her suite last night.  Shane had spent a few hours of slumber alone.  Sinead was overheard explain to a chamber maid, whilst wearing an oversized Tshirt, that it was not what it seemed.  She had passed out in her brother’s room … honest.  Shane didn’t make it down for hours as his clothes had been mislaid.  J’s 3 other children headed off to Dublin for pre-flight Covid tests.

And we headed off to the National Stud.  A title aspirational English landlord threw money at the horse stud even giving  a winner to Royalty, and eventually got his peerage. Then left the Stud to the nation. 

P1200080

The grounds were stunning and you could smell the money.

P1200083
 
Current sperm donors and their fees … top billing is Invincible Spirit at EUR80,000 per shag!  Apparently the stallions have a very high success rate and it only takes minutes.  A quick recovery and they can ‘ service’ the next mare.  Some get shipped off to Australia  in the down season so sex all year round!  The window of opportunity, so to speak, is relatively short as owners don’t want young runners in the age bracket.

P1200086
 
Can’t see his wares, but he’s a stud!  Double railings keep the boys from brawling.

But for us the real joy here is the gardens.  As well as general the well tended and invested in air, there are two gardens.  Native species garden dedicated to a Saint, I forget which.  And a Japanese garden where you walk the 15 stages of life.
 
P1200088
 
P1200108
 
 
P1200111
 
P1200110
 
P1200118
 
P1200113
 
With all the rain, this path was a mini steam.  Coordinated hopping by J and Corrie, neither of which appreciate wet feet.
 

1088-1101: Back to the Emerald Isle

1088: Drive to Holyhead

Wednesday 29th August 2018

I was driving and made a bit of mistake … I followed the sat nav and it took us across Wales on the A5 which we are sure is slower than crossing Wales at the top … BUT it was very pretty.  Another must come back to place.  We ate and rested near the Marina in Holyhead before catching our 2.30 am ferry.  The Irish crossings are unenlightened when it comes to dogs – they either have to be booked into their Stalag metal cages in the kennels, or stay in the vehicles.  We are not sure if they slept, but we got a humungous welcome when we returned.  We did NOT sleep.  There were quite a few solo men (lorry drivers without cabins) who were horizontal and the cacophony of snores was LOUD.  One chap gave us serious cause for alarm with his breath rasping like a death rattle.

1089: Yippee Back in Ireland

Thursday 30th August

We rested up a Malahide, next to the castle and park, before driving down to Camac Valley Campsite.  Our home for 4 nights, so awning up and dog walks in the adjacent park.  We largely ignored the dogs on leads signs, unless someone with small children was approaching.  We really do find Ireland pretty dog unfriendly … not allowed on busses, or in cafes etc.

 

1090: Kilmainham Goal

Friday 31st August

We cycled through the park to the Grand Canal, which is a cycle path.  Now you would think a cycle path allows one to cycle freely.  Not here!  There were 8 barriers; you could just wiggle a bike through, although no room for panniers.  But we had to tether the dogs, whilst we unhitched and lifted the Os-car over the barriers.  Did I mention 8 times!!!  We came back along the road, not as pretty but un-hitching free.

We had pre-booked timed tickets, taking it in turns to mind the dogs.  The goal was built along the lines of Pentonville, with the 3 Ss: Silence, Separation and Supervision.  As well as political prisoners, it also housed ordinary folk.  The inmates swelled to over 4000 during the famine as people were imprisoned for stealing a loaf as well as begging.  The leaders of the 1916 uprising were here and many were slaughtered in the yard used for rock breaking, until the British government put a stop to it as they realised the tide of public opinion was against.  A really moving place.

P1160158

P1160160

P1160164

P1160165

P1160170

P1160168

P1160174

Later the Carbage 50cc scooter event arrived for one night.  The rules are the bikes must be over 15 years old and only 50cc.  They had driven from Harwich across England and Wales over 5 days.

1091: Family and Friends

Saturday 1st September

MaryKate (J’s niece and Goddaughter), hubby Michael and two off spring drove down to see us, later joined by old friends Fionulla and Sean for a late lunch, or is it early supper?

P1160178

1092: Kerstin and The Game

Sunday 2nd September

Two big events today.  James got to go and see the GAA Gaelic Football Final, which his team won.  Up the Dubs.  He even managed to stay out till quite late!!!

Meantime, I did jobs around the van and walked the dogs.  The other significant event was Kerstin arriving from Germany … she arrived around midnight, Ryan Air was late, but at least it was flying.

Cd5deacb 66ed 4a6c 8860 275a6093cc92

Bd862472 505f 40ae 81dd 91808b4ea1f8

UP THE DUBS!

 1093: Onto Kerry

Monday 3rd September

After showers on board (we saved EUR6 between us buy not using the campsite showers), we headed off to Kerry.  Our destination was the Killarney National Park before we drove the Ring of Kerry.  K and I walked to Muckross Abbey and then around the outside of Muckross House.  Although towards the end of the day, there were till lots of Jaunting Cars (horse and carts for which Killarney is well known) offering to drive us and the dogs around the estate for EUR40.  Thank you but we like walking!

We found an overnight parking in a small leafy car park further on around the lake.  As well as Motorhome Craic, we also used Park4Night as the best apps for Ireland.

P1160185

The Abbey was free to wander.  Huge and with some massive fire places … how those Monks lived.

P1160184

The graveyard was still in use.

P1160195

P1160201

P1160203

P1160207

The house had superb views down the lawn to the lake.

IMG 6829

Each evening, I get the map, guide books and iPad apps out to plan where we go and stay, often over a glass of sherry!

1095: A Day of Walks

Tuesday 4th September

We walked from our parking to Torc Waterfall.  Easy to loose the crowds on a circular walk past the waterfall.  A slight incident, where we lost Corrie … we could hear her barking excitedly from a distance.  It seamed like she was gone about 15 mins, but Kerstin timed our wait and it was only 5 mins.  She came back pleased with herself, only to be promptly put on the lead until the landscape was more open and we could see her!

IMG 6832

At Torc Waterfall.

IMG 6833

I had posted a question about driving along the scenic Gap of Dunloe, to be advised that it was hardly suitable for cars, let alone motorhomes.  In Killarney, the TIC told us that there was parking at Kitty’s Kitchen.  We were heading along the start of the Ring of Kerry, travelling anti-clockwise as advised so as to travel with the coaches … narrow roads and negates the need to suck in our sides and pass.  We did a spontaneous turn following the signs for the Gap of Dunloe.  We were really pleased we did … fabulous scenery. Very like Scotland.  J joined us for an ice-cream on our return!  We had done something like 15kms, so deserved.

P1160218

P1160223

Joseph and his technicolour dream coat.  No mistaking these for boulders on the hills.

P1160228

IMG 6866

Waiting for our triple ice creams 🙂

We overnighted on the Comane Peninsular.  Great views out across to Dingle.  The pub next door, Jack’s, is a well known seafood restaurant, but sadly shut for food on Tuesdays.  Probably just as well as mains were around EUR29-34!  We did manage a drink though and got some advice from the locals.

IMG 6868

 Planning.

IMG 6818

P1160234

1096: Mega Sightseeing

Wednesday 5th September

Sight seeing included the Kerry Bog Village, where local dwellings had been relocated.  The information was a little dumbed down … coaches stop here.  Fortunately, the ticket office gave us the group rate so entry was only EUR5 pp, saving of EUR1.50.  Actually, we have been pleasantly surprised at how reasonable all entrance prices have been.

Cahersiveen had a lot to offer and it was here that we really started to find out about Daniel O’Connell, The Liberator.  He was a pacifist and believed that independence should be gained through legal means.  He was elected to the British Parliament and attended but refused to take the oath as it was Protestant.  To avoid an uprising, the Act of Catholic Emancipation was passed.  He also supported the abolition of slavery, women’s rights etc.

Our overnight was an absolute gem.  Cooncrome Harbour.  Just us, the waves and the stars.  Lovely chat with a local fisherman who was delighted we had found the place, he wanted to share.

IMG 1828

Kerstin kindly walked the dogs whilst J and I ran.  Cromane looking across to Dingle. 

P1160240

At the Kerry Bog Village.  The neighbouring pub was offering Irish coffees for EUR6, but we decided we’d make out own using the cooking brandy!

P1160249

During the famine, which lasted years, these pots were filled with soup for the starving … often just made with herbs and nettles.  Over a million and a half died and a further million emigrated.  The population has never recovered to its pre famine 8 million.

P1160239

Irish wolfhound.

P1160246

I just managed to use the flash as mama bird swooped in to feed her young.

P1160250

Just outside Cahersiveen is a monument and short river walk to Daniel O’Connell.

P1160251

His birth place is the ruins on the opposite bank.  He and his brother were adopted by his wealthy uncle and educated in France and London.

P1160255

In Cahersiveen the old Police Station / Military Barracks is now a local museum with a section on Daniel O’Connell.

P1160252

P1160253

IMG 6905

 

P1160263

Ballycarberry Castle, not open to the public, but a romantic ruin.

P1160271

Two ring forts in the drizzle.

IMG 6920

IMG 1832

Cooncrome harbour – our best night spot.

1097: Valencia Island 

Thursday 6th September 

P1160283

Kerstin’s morning swim followed by a Pilates session. I did offer loan of a wet suit!

James advised us that Valencia Island is the wettest place in Europe.  We don’t doubt him.  Portmagee had won some tourism award, but we drove through looking for somewhere to park, aborted and reckoned all it had to offer was brightly painted buildings.  Just over the bridge on Valencia Island is the Skellig Experience Centre.  This covered the history of the monks inhabiting Skellig Michael and carving 3 stairways out of the rock up to the monastery with beehive buildings at the top.  We watched a H&S film about how the boat landing, the climb up and down can be fraught … an American died this summer.  Boats onto the island were booked up till next week, dogs not allowed and the crossing each way could have taken 1.5 hours … so not for us.  We none of us fancied the EUR40 pp boat ride just to sail around the island.  Since the island was in a Star Wars film, it has become very popular.

Valencia Island is also where the first Atlantic telegraph cable came ashore.  It worked for 12 days, broke and wasn’t fixed till the following year.  The Cahersiveen Barracks was built to protect the cable.  We felt the area could have made more of the cable, but Skellig Michael over shadowed it.

A short drive up to Bray Head where K and I walked. The views out to the Skellig islands and across the coast were stunning, or would have been, had it been less misty.

P1160290

P1160310

IMG 1834

We had a quick look at Knight’s Town, the main town on Valencia, pleasant, but not much there…. 

IMG 1835

… so little, that the tourist information board made much of the loos!

P1160318

We overnighted in the car park for the Tetrapod Trackway, only discovered in the 1990’s, these marks were left by the first amphibian 3.5 million years ago.

P1160316

Our overnight view – the lighthouse and coast.

1098: Waterville and Derrynane – Best Beaches

Friday 7th September 

Given the narrow roads and how small our car park was, we got up and left pretty early.  We stopped at Waterville for breakfast and lunch.  Really lovely views and the morning light was superb. Well, it was until about 10.30 when the coaches arrived.  Fortunately we’d had the cameras out before the ‘trippers’ wreaked the atmosphere.  I know we are ‘tourists’ too, but we do not come in multitudes!

Derrynane is the home of Daniel O’Connell, which he inherited from his uncle.  A good introductory film about him at the start.  J rested, whilst K and I walked the most beautiful beach to Abbey Island and quickly around the house gardens, as the rain came in.

We overnighted in the really heavy rain at the motorhome parking in Sneem …  sounds of conkers being thrown on the roof, is NOT conducive to a good night’s sleep!  An opportunity to charge everything up and take on water for showers in the morning.

P1160329

Waterville.

IMG 6974

Charlie Chaplin used to visit.

P1160333

P1160341

P1160348

Kerstin’s second sea swim. We overheard some people admiring (!) her hardiness!  J and I shopped for a woollen Jumper for him … stocking up on warm clothes for our first winter in the UK for 4 years!

P1160352

Derrynane House

P1160349

P1160355

Daniel O’Connell was imprisoned for 3 months for organising monster rallies (a million people would come to hear him). On his release he was paraded around Dublin atop this chariot, with his grandchildren dressed in green velvet on the lower tier.

P1160363

Abbey island by Derrynane.

P1160365

P1160369

IMG 1839

Kerstin had a couple of items on her check list of things to do … fish and chips was one of them.  And boy, was it good fish and chips.

IMG 1843

My fish chowder was pretty good too.  

IMG 6995

Sadly no music in any of the pubs in Sneem (too few tourists here), but we did have two Irish coffees in two pubs.

1099: Kenmare

Saturday 8th September 

K walked the dogs again, whilst J and I ran.  Then we all showered. We parked up in Kenmare by the pier and had a wander … Oh and an ice cream in the rain! Kenmare was laid out as a model town by lord Landsdowne, later the British Prime Minister.  It had a good feel to it and, whilst full of tourist shops and bars, real people live here.  I think we must have touristed ourselves out, as music was on in some bars later, but we had a quiet night in … and I let K beat me for the first time at crib!

1100: Return to Dublin

Sunday 9th September 

Another thing on K’s bucket list was a full Irish .. so we had a healthy start to our driving day!  We got back to Camac Valley Campsite and erected the awning.  We wouldn’t normally bother for one night, but we were entertaining some of J’s family … Delia and Liam, and John who’s over from Chicago.  Sadly Amelia didn’t make it.

A1d1294e 908b 4abc ab79 4879d29bb535

E19588aa 2413 4a40 8715 6c00943cb57e

More cream James?

1101: Journeys Home

Monday 10th September 

Runs and Pilates before taking the awning down. Tom (another brother) and Mary popped over for coffee and kindly drove Kerstin the airport.  J and I parked up for the afternoon and early evening in Phoenix Park before heading off to Dublin Port for our 0215 hrs stupid o’clock ferry.

IMG 1875

We walked through Phoenix Park to see the Papal Monument where the current Pope recently delivered Mass.

IMG 1838

A new type of Disk Lock to stop your vehicle being stolen!