Monthly Archives: May 2013

Ireland – May 9th 2013

Had another huge day driving today – leaving at 7am was probably a good move otherwise I’d still be getting to Killarney at midnight. Being used to driving holidays, I took the long way, minor roads and following the coast. I’d also read and heard that the Ring of Beara was about half a long as the Ring of Kerry and nowhere near as busy so that sounded good to me.

The not working cable car to Dursey Island

The not working cable car to Dursey Island

There’s a cable car that runs from the end of the Beara Peninsular across to Dursey Island that I thought would be cool to catch so that’s where I headed. On the N71 through towns with the best names, Kinsale, Clonakilty, Skibareen, Ballydehob, Bantry, Glengarriff; then the R572 right down to Inchinaleega where the cable car was NOT WORKING!!!! I waited for almost an hour and as there wasn’t anyone to ask questions of, and it was still on the island with no sign of moving, I just cut my losses and left. Is there a pattern emerging here???

I did find another quaint little place in my travels today, it could have been part of either Puxley Castle or O’Sullivan Beara Castle, or not – there were two signs nearby but neither actually told me what the building was. It was rather cute whatever it was.

Unexpected treasures in Ireland

Unexpected treasures in Ireland

So back to my trusty maps and up the other side of the Beara Peninsular on the R572 to the R571 – I do like these numbered roads, makes things quite easy to follow – unless you’re in towns, that is. I was going okay until I got to Killarney and couldn’t get service to run Google maps, but the lovely Greta from Algret B&B gave me great directions on the phone so I arrived not too frazzled.

I never thought I’d say this but the only thing I wanted to do when I arrived (apart from a quick shower) was to go for a walk – after 2 days driving I’m well and truly ready to hit the pavement again. One thing about Ireland so far, at least the rain is just drizzle, it doesn’t soak you in 2 seconds like at home – in case you didn’t catch my drift, it was still raining. I wonder if I’d have enjoyed everything about Algret B&B if Cork hadn’t been such a dump? Well, I did enjoy having a nice place to stay, maybe I’m a bit of a princess after all.

Hope you enjoy the pics.


Filed under Ireland, Mid-life travel, Travel

Ireland – May 7th & 8th, 2013

Firing up the engines on the ferry to Ireland - what pollution?

Firing up the engines on the ferry to Ireland – what pollution?

I caught the ferry from Fishguard (what a name!) in Wales to Rosslare in Ireland – I thought the ones we caught between the Greek Islands were big but this one was absolutely massive, with 7 decks and a mile of places you could spend the few hours crossing. You have to walk an unbelievably long way from the ferry to the terminal, almost as bad as Dubai airport – on second thoughts nothing could be that bad, last time I came through there I had to walk twenty miles, go up and down about thirty levels in lifts then catch a train to get from where I landed to where I had to leave from – all in the same terminal!

An old couple sat with me after a while and we chatted almost the whole way, they were in their 80’s and were on a week long bus trip. They were so cute, he was all dolled up in a suit coat and tie, just lovely to talk to.

I have a car for the next 10 days - and red ones go faster!!

I have a car for the next 10 days – and red ones go faster!!

The Budget car hire desk was like none I’ve ever come across before either. There is one staff member, a lovely 70 year old woman, who was absolutely fabulous, full of laughter and tips; she also came out to the car with me and gave me precise directions to my B&B – which I then proceeded to drive past five minutes later! Clover Lawn B&B was gorgeous; coffee and home made biscuits with a few other guests when we arrived, and a lovely hostess to boot. Dinner at a little pub just down the road was a great end to a bit of a tedious day spent mostly travelling.

I had a ball the next morning, took me 5 hours to rack up 80 kilometres on the speedo – I took tiny little back roads, stopped all over the place to take photos and found some amazing places. I came across a castle in the middle of a small town, just sitting there in the middle of a grass paddock surrounded by houses and shops. Lots of lovely wild coastline, some nice beaches, lovely old farm buildings and so much bright green grass and trees it almost hurts your eyes. The only trouble is you can’t always stop when you come across something interesting  – the roads are VERY narrow with hedges right beside the road.

One of my first roads in Ireland - how cool are the trees meeting over the road

One of my first roads in Ireland – how cool are the trees meeting over the road

I did manage to stop at an old cemetery with the ruins of what I guess was a church in the middle of all the graves. I almost had heart failure – again – when birds came flying out of the tower part of the ruins as I walked towards it. It would be lovely to have the time to find out the stories behind some of these places but I’ll just have to be content with storing the memories of seeing them.

I stopped at Tintern Abbey for a look, but could only look around the outside, the inside part was closed for upkeep – while I was there another 3 cars of people stopped as well. Then I drove all the way down this peninsular road to see a place called Loftus Hall – supposedly the most haunted house in England – and it was closed too! They do tours on the weekend but not yet during the week, there were quite a few other people there wanting to go inside as well, so I wasn’t the only one disappointed.

It’s a tad frustrating when you go places and find them closed, especially when they nearly all have websites but don’t update them with closures. Oh well, I’d best not get on my soap-box, it’s bound to happen I suppose.

When it got to 2pm and I was still three or four hours from Cork I thought I’d better stop foofing around, so took to the motorway for the rest of the trip. I did stop in New Ross at the Dunbrody Famine Ship – by accident really, I pulled in to the car park to look for directions and realized the ship was right there beside me, so figured I was meant to have a look. I didn’t know anything about the Irish going to America so it was a real eye-opener and they tell the story through acting the parts of passengers which made it even better.

My first experience trying to navigate through a city to find where I was staying without a map or GPS – and it was raining too! I had looked on my phone before I took to the highway so had a bit of an idea and only had to stop once to have another look so it wasn’t too bad.

But……………… I had chosen my first crap hotel!!   It was the Windsor Arms Hotel, the bar downstairs was okay and I’d already walked back to where I was parked, moved the car into a car-park across from the hotel and taken my gear back with me – all in the pouring rain –  before I saw the room, otherwise I might have been tempted to leave and go somewhere else. It looked like they were sort of in the middle of renovating, it had been freshly painted, you could just about get high on the smell, the bed and bedding was comfy but that was about all it had going for it. There was a double bed, two singles and a tv on the wall that wouldn’t even turn on, and not one other thing in the place – it was just dodgy! But, I thought, don’t worry, it’s only one night, and it’s up enough stairs that I should be safe – stop being a princess. Then I tried to have a shower – mistake, big mistake – NO F’N HOT WATER!!!! I tried everything, left each tap running on their own for ten minutes, fast, slow – didn’t matter what I did there just wasn’t any hot water. I gave up in disgust because there was no way I was getting dressed again and go traipsing back down 50 stairs to the bar to complain at 10:30 at night. I went to bed in a huff, got up at seven the next morning and tried the water again with no luck – so I packed up and left without seeing anyone or paying them.I think that could be classed as my first tanny (tantrum, for the non-Australian readers) of the trip!!

I wasn’t quite as successful getting out of Cork as I’d been finding my way in, but thanks to a helpful customer at a servo I stopped at, I made it with only one little scenic detour. So, Cork was a big non-event for me, which is a shame really, but there’s plenty other places to go and see – hopefully with hot water!


Filed under Ireland, Mid-life travel, Travel

I inspired some-one or two – apparently!!!

Huge thanks to my beautiful daughter, Emma, for nominating me for my very first blog award!! Do you think she might be biased? Oh well, I’m just happy she loves me and the inspiring blogger award is a bonus. Emma and her family are the faces behind this little gem,

I’m going to cheat a little here because I was also nominated for another one recently from the lovely Jenn over at and because it’s my blog and I can just make up the rules as I go (or maybe I’m not supposed to but I will) and the rules are the same, you get a twofer – that’s a two for one and I get to do this just once!! Wow, that’s great sentence building there, lets just continue shall we?

Now comes the difficult part.

The rules of accepting the Very Inspiring Blogger Award are:

1.  Display the Award Certificate on your website.

2.  Announce your win with a post and link to whoever presented you with the award.

3.  Present 15 awards to deserving bloggers.

4.  Drop them a comment to tip them off after you have linked them in the post.

5.  Post 7 interesting things about yourself

Okay, the first two were easy enough and I’ll list some of my very favourite blogs after I’ve dug deep in the cotton wool inside my head to come up with 7 interesting things about myself.

I’m guessing No. 1 on the list at the moment is that I’ve left home and family to go travelling for a fair chunk of this year, at the moment I’m in Scotland and I’ll soon be heading over to spend the next four months or so in Europe

I have a tattoo, an angel in memory of our last baby who died when she was five and a half weeks old

I have a double jointed thumb!!!

I almost died when I was about 8 months old and was consequently diagnosed as a coeliac

Ummmmm, I’m really not that interesting – I’m a worrier and have battled depression more than once – bit deep and meaningful there, sorry!

I didn’t spend a Christmas with my Mum, Dad and brothers until I was 20

Bugger, that’s still only six, I should have read some other blogs to see what sort of things people share – okay, l love being in water, whether it’s a swimming pool, a dam, the ocean or just the shower, it makes me feel good.

Okay, hope I haven’t scared you off, now for some bloggers who I find interesting, funny, inspiring – these are in no particular order, they’ve all wonderful.

The Palladian Traveler

My French Heaven

Homesick and Heatstruck

Jenns Midlife Crisis

Erin Hill Sketching

Dianne Gray author

Travelling Crone

The Brown Road Chronicles

Add Your Piece of History

The Bloggess

Miss Four Eyes

Sketch Away: Travels with my Sketchbook

ParisDreamTime – Andrea’s Sketchbook


She’s a Maineiac

I hope I’ve played the game correctly, and that you go check out some of these great blogs.



Filed under Blog Awards

My first real castle in Wales!

Another round robin trip today to Pembroke, think I’ve been to some of these train stations three or four times now. You have to keep going back to some of them to get the connections you need, had to change twice to get to Pembroke. I felt like an old pro today, I knew where I had to change, what time my next train was and even where to go when I got there. Except………………. I walked straight past the bloody Kings Arms Hotel; thank goodness they advertised they’re only 200 yards from the castle otherwise I could still be walking!

Teeny tiny stone staircases in Pembroke Castle, Wales

Teeny tiny stone staircases in Pembroke Castle, Wales

The pub had some great features, my room had a fantastic big window seat, the dining room was full of old pots, pans and other bits and pieces, just an all round good place to spend a couple of days. I figured since Wales apparently has more than 600 castles, I should at least have a look at one of them, and for me Pembroke was a good choice. Only a few rooms are furnished, there has been a power of work done over the years restoring large parts of the castle with other parts left in their ruined state. It was full of circular staircases – very tight, cramped stairs and lots of them, leading up, down and along passages, in and out of rooms. Thank goodness there were big holes everywhere so I couldn’t get lost! I was there fairly early, hadn’t seen anyone at all and when I walked into one of the rooms a video started playing and scared the bejezuz out of me; don’t you feel like an idiot when that happens, looking around to see if anyone saw you – even though the reason you got such a fright was because there was no-one else around.

The cavern under Pembroke Castle, Wales

The cavern under Pembroke Castle, Wales

Not content with scaring myself silly once that day I did it again later at the underground cavern. A VERY dark, steep circular staircase leads down, down, down to the cavern – and then f’n birds or bats fly past and scare the absolute crap out of you – I swear, my heart either stopped beating or jumped out of my chest, not sure which, but it was soooooo scary!! Once I got back to the surface – in a hurry, I might add, I sat and did some sketching for ages before heading back to the pub for a drink to help me warm up – hot chocolate, not wine this time.


Filed under Mid-life travel, Travel, Wales