Ireland tour Part 2


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Europe » Ireland
September 12th 2017
Published: October 8th 2017
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Friday 8 September
Today we said goodbye to our lovely host, Edel (short for Edeltrud, not Edelweiss!) and Ard Na Mara Bed and Breakfast. Mummy and daddy drove through Killarney National Park towards Dingle while I slept. We stopped at Troc Waterfall on the way and I woke up just in time for daddy to take me for a walk! We passed lots of children who were very lively and I felt little bites on my face which daddy said were midges. We walked up and up some stone stairs through the forest past the pretty waterfall until we came to a spot with a nice view over a big lake which was part of Killarney National Park.

Our drive to Dingle wasn’t that long, and it was lovely to stop at a bustling seaside town. A local food market caught our eye and enticed us to stop for lunch. We had heard that there was a great handmade crystal factory in town. We went to the display shop, and the girl at the counter told us where the factory was and found us some accommodation behind in a pub – It was wonderful, and had a washing machine! A “Trad” music festival was in town, so daddy, mummy and I headed for a pub with great live music. After we had eaten, a big band came on stage, so I had to put my earphones on. I don’t really like them, but it helps me not to get frightened. I loved all the energy, and people smiling at me as I bounced up and down.

Saturday 9 September
Everyone (mummy, daddy and grandparents) were 'held captive' in Dingle for a day. I was having a growth spurt / recovery day with massive feeds - the reason mummy was so tired and exhausted in the morning - and was sleeping, sleeping, sleeping. At breakfast, I was given a huge array of food - porridge, egg, fruit etc. I don't know what everyone did, but mummy was with me whenever I stirred. I am sure the others had nice walks and listened to the trad music festival while I slept. I was impressed by how much I have been eating for breakfast and lunch... getting to half an egg, a similar volume of porridge and yoghurt plus fruit on each occasion!!

Late in the afternoon, we had a walk and found a cute little Indian / Irish café which had instruments that we could play and a secret garden. After that visit, I had used enough energy so I just went back to sleep. Apparently daddy had a big run, and then everyone (except me) ate pizza in grandma and grandpa’s room. At 2.30 am grandma had an intruder in her room... they had forgotten to lock the door! A drunk man had found the wrong room. Grandma awoke to see a shadow standing next to her bed so she instinctively gave him an almighty kick… She didn’t quite judge the distance, but It had the right effect … “what the f...!” was uttered, and the poor chap departed. The irish like to embellish stories, so grandma told the “night incident” to a friendly chap who was part of a golf group on their yearly getaway the next morning. He was rapt, and believed that he would get great mileage from the story.

Sunday 10 September
Like yesterday, my breakfast was huge, but I was feeling more normal. It was a wet and windy day, so car travel had benefits over walking. It turned out that I was going to try out my new wet weather gear on several occasions. We departed fairly early (by our standards) with the intention to get somewhere close to Galway. We wound along the balance of the Crookhaven peninsula up to Tralee, and then across to Tarbert to catch a ferry. This countryside was greener with more willow and rocks than we had previously seen. No sight of peat country anymore, and all the bushes were wind hardened. The amount of colour was still surprising. Daddy thought that this part of Ireland was quite similar to New Zealand but with stone walls for fences! Grandpa added “It is all the rain that makes it an Emerald Isle”.

Before getting on the Shannon ferry mummy picked and fed me half a punnet of blackberries. We got out and enjoyed the wind and sea spray that was coming over the front of the car ferry. The reason for so many wind turbines was evident! Not long after, we stopped for a walk in the town of our ancestors (on mummy's mother's mother's line - the Humphreys) in Kilrush, County Claire).

The prized tourist attraction for our day of travel was the Cliffs of Moher. When we saw entry fees of €6 per person and massive crowds on a rainy day, we opted to head back up the road a few kilometres and use farmland access (€2 for the car) as a base. Mummy and daddy made the first conquest whilst I was asleep, making their way along the spectacular, windy cliffs. I joined them for a much shorter journey (a kilometre to the cliffs and back) wearing my new wet weather gear. The wind, however, was blowing a gale, enough to blow you off your feet! Even mummy was a bit scared. It was too much for my ears, and feeling daddy sway in the wind made me frightened and start to cry, so we returned to the warmth of the car.

It was still cold and windy when we drove into the small town of Doolan. Mummy remembered staying in a hostel here, but we found that it had been converted, and the old barn was now the hostel. We squeezed into a pub just around the corner from more live music. This time they had a big round hand drum, like the one that I played with in Dingle. We visited the foreshore here and couldn’t believe that you could catch ferries to Aaron islands from here. It was way too rough! Because I was sleeping, some excessive driving was done through the Barren to to Ballyvaughn. There, just after the sun had set, we found a very sumptuous BnB called Hazelwood lodge. Apparently, there was a nice fireplace, a big bed and a cot for me. Heaven, really, after all of that wind and cold.

Monday 11 September
On Monday morning everyone seemed well rested and happy, although I think I am coming down with a cold after all that wind! We descended to breakfast, and were very impressed with the “morning juice”, fruit and cereal. The owner at the B&B was very nice - he brought me a nice toy with beads on to play with. The hot breakfast was amazing, because the owner’s daughter was a chief.

Daddy and I went for a lovely walk (~1 hour) along laneways (lined with blackberries), paddocks and forests (hazelwood) while everyone else took the car. We met again at the entrance to Allwee caves (this isn’t an Irish joke meaning small, it actually means “blue mountain”!). Mummy was all excited about cheeses and things (e.g. A funny mug) that she had found at the shop. We then walked up a little hill to start the tour of the cave. The cave was about 500m long, and relatively young (75,000 years old). It was formed when an underground glacier melted, so the sticky up and sticky down things weren’t too impressive. The guide turned out all the lights for a minute but it seemed so long and I was a little frightened as I couldn't see mummy or anything else. After we got out of the cave, Mummy went back to the shop and bought things. I got to play on the counter, and met the serving girls.

It was a short drive to coast where we had a seafood based lunch. I tried a risotto and a mussel. There was a sign that mummy liked, and gave me to someone who held me for the photo. I don’t know what it says, but maybe you will understand it.

My car seat has been relocated to the middle of the car, which is much better. Despite my cold, I was okay in the car for the entire journey to Gallway. It is really cold here (which is not much good for my cold) but there were university students in shirts “showing a lot of skin”. We walked into the West End of town, with mummy hoping to find the “Red Lion” pub to re-live memories. We asked locals (they had bicycles and didn’t look cold), who looked baffled, but gave us some good restaurant suggestions. Both suggestions were closed on a Monday night, but an Italian tapas place caught our eye. Pardon the pun, it was called “Monalisa”. By all accounts it was fantastic. Mummy and daddy had a stuffed seabass in cardamom sauce (which they couldn’t stop making appreciative noises about – quite funny really!), and grandma and grandpa had lasagne that was the “best they'd had in years”. I, on the other hand, could only steal a few things, including stuffed red pepper - I wasn't too sure about that, and made a massive poo poo explosion which meant lots of time in a corridor with mummy looking horrified, doing lots of things, daddy coming in and out (also looking horrified), then a quick clothes change into something not quite as warm, and then lots of feeding because I was shell shocked as well. I was asleep when a lovely local couple shared some of their stories, including that they had a B&B nearby (which was full!). Mummy wanted to go to a pub to listen to trad Irish music but I woke up and cried so much that we decided to go 'home'.

It was a really bad night. My nose kept blocking up and I couldn't breathe through my mouth. Occasionally mummy and daddy would try to vaccumn it out with a blue ball, but I hate that. Then there is a spray thing up my nose, even worse. Once they even put something horrible into my mouth. I vomited that up pretty quickly. Mummy hugged and fed me a lot. Somehow we got through it, and in the morning daddy played ducks and read to me in the sun room.

Tuesday 12 September
Today we all feel as though we have done enough driving, so we have lowered our ambitions and are trying to drive less and take more walks. Mummy kept me very warm and allowed me a big sleep after breakfast. We did venture in the car, and since it was raining a lot there were not many stops. I remember stopping at a petrol station with lots of tables. Mummy ate turkey, cheese and tomato rolls. Daddy fed me some of his and then played "sliding" on the table top.

There were lots of coastal views and dairy cow fields. We thought that we would only get as far as Sligo, but we managed to reach Donegal. Here the day slowed down hugely as there was lots of start, move, stop and talk whilst searching for a B&B. In the end we found "Milltown" which had a lovely fireplace (with fan) but met some lovely people with awesome houses / views during our search. Apparently, it always rains here, as in every day. For dinner we went to Doms pier 1 and watched a musician who played all sorts of instruments (bass and treble whistle, banjo, acoustic & electric guitars, mouth organ, electric mini guitar) and had a beautiful voice and repertoire. Grandma took me down to see the musician and lots of people smiled at me.

Wednesday 13 September
I slept a little better, but still struggle to breathe. I enjoyed a warming morning shower and daddy took me downstairs to play so mummy could sleep a little longer. I didn't eat too much food at breakfast and mummy thought I might be over my growth spurt. Before heading to Dublin we would do one more excursion - to the highest sea cliffs in Europe. It was even more beautiful than yesterday and grandpa was singing lots of songs. It was too cold for me to go out with my cold but daddy was wearing shorts and went for a big run up the mountain. The photos that daddy took looked fun, and there was even a rainbow. Mummy thought she would just walk a little way, but she got caught in a heavy downpour and her jeans were saturated so she had to get changed! On the return journey we stopped at the "Ahoy" cafe (Killybegs) and had lunch and a bit of a walk. This town is the biggest fishing village in Ireland, and the café had a clever sign saying “seas the day”.

Travelling back towards Dublin was fast on the motorways, and we wanted to stay an hour or so from the airport. Near Craven, we started ducking into various B&Bs without much success. At our 4th attempt we couldn’t find the place that had been recommended, but we chatted to a man cutting the hedge. His sister in law had the B&B, and wouldn’t be back for an hour, but would certainly have space. We went for dinner (in a pub of course), and then returned to the doorstep. The proprietor was surprised but welcoming.

Thursday 14 September
The next day we let ourselves out, packed the car to the gills one more time and headed for the airport. Next stop - Exeter, via Bristol.


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