Monthly Archives: June 2013

Helloooo again Britain!!

17th to 24th May 2013

The ferry crossing back to England from Dublin to Holyhead, wasn’t half as exciting as the one going over a couple of weeks ago – smaller ferry, been there, done that, ho-hum! I had a couple of old guys asking me directions when we arrived, I felt like telling them they were taking their life in their hands asking for directions from me – after my track record in Ireland, I think I might be navigationally challenged. I pretty much lost two days travelling as I stayed in Bangor that night then headed up to Kendall the following day. I was also cutting it fine with my accommodation; I only received confirmation about it when I was on the train; it would have been an interesting afternoon if it didn’t work out, wouldn’t it.

Everyone kept telling me I had to go to the Lakes District in England, don’t miss it. Do you know what it’s like when everyone tells you about a place that is wonderful, you should go there , it’s great, yadayada….. and then you go there and wonder what were they on about……  Well, that didn’t happen with the Lakes District – it was wonderful.

The place I was going to, Wood Cottage, was situated somewhere called Yard 26 Kirkland, Kendall. I’d never heard of something called a “Yard” as part of an address and had no idea what it meant. I got a cab from the rail station thinking a cabbie would know where it was; but no, he just stopped somewhere in the vicinity, asked someone at a shop if they knew where it was, with no success, and then he just left me there. I had a few shops as markers for finding the cottage so I knew I was in the general area; I eventually found the front entrance to Yard 26, but it was locked and of course I had no key. I asked at a couple of the shops but no-one could help at all. It’s unbelievable that in such a small place the locals don’t know where an address is two metres away. So, I rang the landlord for further directions; he was a lovely man, but, fair dinkum, his directions were really not good. I know what this sounds like but this time it wasn’t me. I have drawn a totally dodgy mudmap to show you how I had to get there,  (I know, I know, too much spare time) and he didn’t even tell me I had to walk down Chapel Lane!!

Anyhow, Wood Cottage was a gorgeous little one bedroom cottage, with a bathroom and bedroom downstairs and kitchen, dining and lounge-room upstairs and I had a wonderful week staying there. I couldn’t believe the extras they provided, there was bread, fruit, cereal, you name it, it was there – and a glass bottle of milk; I don’t think I’ve seen milk in a glass bottle since I was a kid. I silently apologized to the landlord for whinging about his terrible directions once I had made myself at home. I had a couple of lazy days, read a book, saw a movie, just recharged and enjoyed not having to pack up and move; mind you, I was getting itchy feet again though after that.

Okay, I promise, no more stories about not finding my way – from here on in, I keep them to myself – unless of course they make good reading!!


Filed under England, Mid-life travel, Travel

Dublin again

Reading cage in Marsh's Library, Dublin

Reading cage in Marsh’s Library, Dublin

I saw more the next morning before I left Dublin than I did the whole day before; being a lovey day I walked to Marsh’s Library just behind St Particks cathedral. All their books are older than European settlement of Australia – how mind-boggling is that? It’s very much smaller and less well-known than the Long Room but a really interesting place. They keep the door locked and you have to ring a bell to be allowed in where the old gent gives you a little introduction and warns you not to lean over the ropes and touch the books! It’s all very quaint. They too have cabinets down the middle of the room with selected items on display; at the moment they are all science related and contain books by Galileo and Darwin. Apparently everything is quite unchanged since it was built three hundred years ago, even the three reading cages where you were locked to read any of the small books – obviously human nature hasn’t changed that much!!

I had a lovely time there and spent quite a while talking to a couple of the staff about all sorts, including their Facebook page; they are considering an adopt a book program to try to raise more funds, check them out.

Breakfast of coffee and warm apple pie at a cosy café just nearby went down well. Then I called in to a funky little shop called the Jam Art Factory and the guy in there was in for a huge chat too.  Seems almost everyone you talk to over here has a family member in Australia; his sister  has been over there for almost a year now. Anyhow he told me about a little church to go have a look at not far away, but off the beaten track, St Werburghs Church. I wasn’t sure I had the correct place, it really didn’t look like a church, but later I found out the towers had been demolished because of the security risk due to its proximity to Dublin Castle.  Talk about a find, it was a great place and there was a guy there who once I asked him one question kept me entertained for almost an hour. It has such an interesting history and has only been open for visitors last summer and a couple of weeks this year.

I still had time spare so-called in to the Chester Beatty Library; I only looked at the Art of the Book section – what an awesome collection, but all behind glass cabinets in darkened temperature controlled rooms, so it did feel a tad sterile after being at Marsh’s library a few hours earlier where everything is so old and just there, with that old book smell all around you.

Anyhow, by now I had to hot-foot it back to collect my  gear and get to the ferry port. At the train station I was asking the ticket guy why they had two names for the ferry port, Dublin and Dun Loaghaire – he looked at me strangely and said there’s two ferry ports!!! Well, f’n hell, I was all set to go a few stops on the train to Dun Loaghaire when in fact I had to find a cab and take a ten quid taxi ride to Dublin Ferry Port!! Almost had a major stuff-up there, thank goodness for all those questions I ask everyone.

The cabbie was one of those talkative ones so we had a great chat on the way and by the time we arrived my heart was back where it belonged and beating regularly again – not a million miles an hour like it was when told there were two different ferry ports. Oh well, it’s back to England now and looking forward to a week in the Lakes District.


Filed under Ireland, Mid-life travel, Travel

Two days in Dublin

Rosslare beach

Rosslare beach

Turns out Rosslare is more than just a ferry port – who knew? I had to wait around for the train this morning so took a drive down to the real town and beach. It’s quite cute and one of the nicest beaches I’ve seen in Ireland; and to think I’ve been here twice and wasn’t even going to look around – one of those hidden treasures people always talk about.

Ahhhh, bliss!!! Back on a train with nothing to do but sit back and relax while heading up to Dublin and a five or ten minute walk to my hostel.

Staying anywhere but Temple Bar was out of the question, Barnacles Temple House is where I ended up for 2 nights – in a single room though, I’m way to old to enjoy sharing.

The Old Library, Trinity College, Dublin

The Old Library, Trinity College, Dublin

I’m also becoming a pro at ticking one thing off my to do list on the afternoon I arrive, so dumped my gear and headed off to find Trinity College and the Old Library. Got a bargain too, because there was only half an hour left until closing, the entry fee was half price – saved a whole £4.50!!. As I wasn’t that interested in the Book of Kells,  I was happy with that. I don’t get tired of seeing the different architecture of these lovely old buildings, and the books – you can smell them, it’s divine! They have cabinets down the middle of the room with a selection of items from the library, the inks display really grabbed my  attention but I had plenty of time to have a squiz at all of them. I was so tempted downstairs in the shop to buy something but managed to curb myself!!

Found a nice pub in Temple Bar for dinner and listened to the music for a while before heading back to the hostel where I joined the other nerds and caught up on blogging – well, not caught up, but put in some time writing!

16th May 2013

Guinness vat

Guinness vat

I really didn’t feel like sightseeing today, but couldn’t bring myself to not see as much as I could in my short stay, so braved the cold and rain to find the nearest hop on hop off bus stop. Everywhere and everyone rates the Guinness Storehouse tour as one of the top attractions here so that’s where I spent the next couple of hours. It was interesting, looks like they’ve essentially gutted the inside of the building but left interesting features  and machinery intact. The circular seventh floor is pretty neat with a round bar in the centre of  the room with 6 big Guinness taps and glass windows all around for a great view of the city.  Your entry fee gives you access to the whole place and a pint of Guinness. It’s not that popular a drink at home and I was absolutely amazed at the number of people lining up for their free pint – my ticket still has the free drink stub attached!

It really was a miserable day so I stayed on the bus until we arrived back in the city and then just wandered back to the hostel for an early night – put earplugs in and slept like a log.


Filed under Ireland, Mid-life travel, Northern Ireland, Travel

Last day driving and getting out of Belfast

14th May 2013

Titanic centre Belfast and original Harland &Wolff building

Titanic centre Belfast and original Harland &Wolff building

There were only two of us for the walking tour around the Titanic site this morning, a young Austrian, Julia and myself, an Australian, Julie – coincidence huh?. I wouldn’t be surprised if the guide was trying to get us to quit, she asked us about three times if we were sure we wanted to continue and be wet through by the time we finished an hour later. It was fairly miserable, cold, windy and wet, but she wasn’t getting rid of either of us that easily. This is when I actually got to see the drawing offices, they’ve been empty for more than 20 years now apparently. It’s quite sad to hear about the glory days of places like this and then see them lying idle and deserted. The tour was totally captivating, well worth the £9 fee – and it only drizzled a little!!

The Thanksgiving Statue, Belfast

The Thanksgiving Statue, Belfast

I felt bad not having seen anything of Belfast so caught the hop on hop off bus and did a circuit before I left – and learnt more about the troubles in Northern Ireland in that hour than I’ve ever known before. Once again my lack of knowledge left me feeling rather ignorant – I had never known what the fighting and fuss was all about, or even who was fighting for what. I also learnt that the Peace Walls in Belfast have stood longer than the Berlin Wall, and judging by current events, they won’t be coming down any time in the near future either.

It was all very well choosing somewhere to stay based on the ease of navigating my way there, but I didn’t give a thought to finding my way back out again, so when I got in the car to head off and realized this fact, I just about lost the plot. You know the classic scene where someone is banging their head on the steering wheel and wailing about some major catastrophe? Well, I was just about there – but, instead I just drove off and hoped for the best – oh, I also kept my eyes peeled for signs too. You wouldn’t believe it, but, I soon found signs that actually read, “THE SOUTH” and “THE WEST” – wootwoot!!

Gorgeous facade, Belfast

Gorgeous facade, Belfast

Who’d have thought driving from Belfast to Rosslare would take so long, it doesn’t look far on the map but took me four or five hours – huge drive over here! I’m so pleased to be car-less when I go back to Dublin, it was bad enough trying to bypass it let alone drive through it. I did my normal trick when I got to the little village of Tagoat near Rosslare, had to ask where the B&B was; the old guy at the pub came outside with me and pointed back the way I had come and across the road, on the side of the hill was Coral Gables B&B – in plain sight if you were coming from the ferry, not so much from the way I’d come. Well, that’s my story, anyway, hahehehe. I was the only guest there that night so took myself out to the lounge and had a fine old time cutting up brochures and sticking bits and pieces in my journal – you couldn’t really call it scrapbooking but it’s the closest thing I’ve got at the moment.


Filed under Mid-life travel, Northern Ireland, Travel