Category Archives: Ireland


Heading for the west coast – of Ireland, that is.

10th May 2013

I really, really did not want to get out of bed this morning – it was so nice and warm and cosy and comfortable. But, that won’t get me around Ireland so off I went again in the little red car.

Today was just about getting from one place to the next, although I did go through Listowel to have a look at the castle, but, guess what? It’s not open for the summer yet!! It was cold and drizzly, not nice for walking the town, so I had a coffee and drove on to Tarbert where I got a smallish car ferry across the river estuary. The weather wasn’t too bad on land but out on the ferry it was blowing an absolute gale. I got out to take a few pics and almost got blown away so spent most of the 20 minute ride sitting in the car.

It only took another hour or so to get to Ennis where I proceeded to get hopelessly lost and had to ask for directions at a random shop. The directions were about 10 turns too many for my brain today and I was just driving around aimlessly when all of a sudden I saw a sign for the Rowan Tree Hostel – I had found it by pure luck.

The hostel seems okay, clean and functional with a decent looking café attached. With nothing better to do I went for a wander to the town – and bought a new pair of pull on walking type shoes – red ones, coz they go faster! I must have been dragging my feet during the last month because both my boots have holes in the toes.

This has been a bloody awful post, sorry, but tomorrow I’m going to see the Cliffs of Moher and have also booked a boat trip to see them from the ocean. Here’s hoping my next post is nowhere near as boring as this.



Filed under Ireland, Mid-life travel, Travel

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