A Travellerspoint blog

Ireland

Trim, Newgrange and The Battle of the Boyne

A varied lot of siteseeing

sunny 19 °C

Our first stop on this Sunday was to Trim, in County Meath, Ireland. It is situated on the River Boyne. The town is noted for Trim Castle - the largest Cambro-Norman castle in Ireland. Other features are two ruined churches and the river is popular for fishing. Trim Castle (or King John's Castle) was built in the late 12th century following the Norman invasion of Ireland. We enjoyed wandering around the town and Castle. This day all National Trust sites were free to enter. We are members of the Trust so would have got in here anyway. We wandered over the historic bridges and walked in the park where we found the ruins of a church. We met a historian along the way who gave us a lot of history of the place. Back on the road again still two more circles on the map to visit. To tell you the truth I had no idea this day what we were visiting till we arrived at each place, so it was a nice surprise when we found these varied places. Second stop was Newgrange. Newgrange is a prehistoricmonument in County Meath, Ireland. It was built during the Neolithic period around 3200 BC, making it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. The site consists of a large circular mound with a stone passageway and interior chambers. It is speculated that it had religious significance. Human corpses were placed in it along with cremated remains. Various grave goods were deposited alongside the bodies. There was a large tourist building here, cafe, gallery and museum. We didn't do the bus trip to Newgrange site as had to wait a good 2 hours. It was busy due to it being a free day. Instead we had lunch with an interesting couple who live 1/2 the year in Latvia and half in California. They still considered themselves war refugees. The lady was not at all happy with what was happening in Latvia. After lunch spent a long time looking around the interesting museum we learnt a lot about the monuments and how people of the time would have lived. Soon it was off to circle number three on our map placed there by the man at our first stop in Dublin. This was another interesting site. The battlefield of Boyne. We arrived to the cannons being fired. The museum was well done with lots of information on the battle. The battle took place in 1690 between the Catholic James II and the Protestant William III of England and Scotland, who, with his wife, Mary II (his cousin and Jame's daughter) had overthrown James in England in 1688. The battle took place at the River Boyne near the town of Drogheda and resulted in a victory for William. This turned the tide in James's failed attempt to regain the British crown and ultimately aided in ensuring the continued Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland. We watched various enactment of people dressed in costumes from the 16th century such as forging, doctors instruments and various musical instruments played. We then wandered around the gardens and found a band playing we listened to this for awhile. We headed to the cafe for a coffee before heading to our hotel in Dublin close to the airport. We used the postcode and it took us right there. We were puzzled as it had a different name. Luckily we had a little photo that looked like the hotel. The name had changed two months earlier. It was now called Clayton Hotel. It looked like the place had been given a makeover it was rather flash. We ate in the bar area that had comfortable seats. There was also a separate cafe in this place. It was a good price and very close to the airport also there was a service station very near here. A very busy day and a great finish to our Irish holiday. One thing we noted was that Ireland does not have the mountains like you would find in New Zealand it was mostly flat and rolling countryside.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 13:01 Archived in Ireland Tagged siteseeing Comments (0)

Cliffs of Moher

Spectacular cliffs of Moher

semi-overcast 18 °C

From Limerick we head to the West Coast to view the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare. The man at our Dublin hotel had circled all these different places he thought we should visit in our short time in Ireland, he said this was a must see. The cliffs are spectacular. They rise 120 metres above the Atlantic Ocean at Hag's Head and reach maximum height at O'Brien's Tower at 214 meters. The area immediatelyrics north of here has become a world famous surf spot with the famous Aileen's wave drawing world class surfers. At times the wave reaches 60 feet. It featured in the movies Sea Fever and Wave Rider. The cliffs get their name from an old fort called Moher that once stood on Hag's Head at the southernmost part.. it being the height of the tourist season they were heading here by the bus loads. These are one of Irelands most visited attractions. It was good to be independent, no pressure lots of time to enjoy the cliffs. At times it was a little blustery here, then the winds died down and it was quite warm. We walked a long way to the left and took photos. It is a long way down. It was interesting that they had a plaque in memory of all those that had died on the cliffs. We then headed out to the right hand side and climbed up in the turrent. Good views from there. We then headed to the hobbit like buildings buried unerring the hill. The facilities are tucked into the hill to avoid intrusion on the site. Even the parking is sited a little walk away. There is a large restaurant, so and interactive media displays covering geology, history, flora and fauna of the cliffs. The new facility was opened in 2007. We had soup here. There was so much food here we just wanted a light lunch. From here we took a coastal route before driving Towards the East. We drove through The Burrren, a national park. Huge area of limestone, lakes and cliffs very different. We were impressed by the farm and country houses while driving around Ireland.. There were lots of lovely homes. Obviously they have to build in a similar style to keep the Irish look. We headed towards Mullingar area still three circled places to visit. While driving there booked a bed and breakfast farm stay on line on a farm. Got there to find no free bookings. Realised we had put in the wrong date, this probably happened as the date was booked out. Anyway they were a lovely couple who found alternative Accomodation for us with a relative. When I managed to get Geoff to stop talking farming with the farm owner , the farm owner drove in front of us all the way to our accommodation. This Accomodation b&b in an award winning country garden. The place owned by an elderly couple who have done b&b's for 40 years. We didn't meet the wife she had an ear infection. The man of the house was very friendly. They had 7 rooms. They weren't doing a lot of advertising as trying not to take on two many guests. A German couple turned up as well. It was comfortable and we drove into town for dinner. Bed & Breakfast places seem to be similarly priced as the 3 star hotels.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 04:21 Archived in Ireland Tagged cliffs of moher Comments (0)

Cork, Blarney, Killkarney and Limerick

A whole lot of Blarneyr

all seasons in one day 18 °C

On a showery morning we leave Cork and head for Blarney Castle. I had spied in a brochure that we were near Blarney Castle. Of course we had to visit. This was one time when ignorance was bliss. I had done no research on this. Geoff had studied it the night before. I thought the blarney stone was at ground level and wondered why on earth you would turn upside down to kiss the blarney stone. I was soon to find out. The entrance to the castle rather pretty with gardens and a stream. We got to the Castle and joined the long queau that stretched out the door. It took awhile to reach the narrow winding turrent leading upwards and upwards. Once in this turrent there was no way of turning back as there were people packed in front and behind. You were wedged in this turrent. Luckily I was in the right frame of mind that day as sometimes I can have claustrophobic issues and height issues. You could exit on the way up to look in rooms we did once but then had to push back in front. I must say we were guilty of saying we were part of the group in front at one stage. This was funny as got friendly with them and they would have known we didn't belong to that group. Near the top the turrent is particularly narrow and steep you are literally hauling yourself upwards by a rope which is quite vertical and still squashed like a sardine. It was good to finally make it to the top. Great views from there. It suddenly dawned on me that one of us would need to kiss the blarney stone. I knew Geoff wouldn't. We progressed reasonably quickly at the top as some people chickened out. There was a slippery mat to lie on and a gentleman to hold you in case you took a head first dive. There were some rails quite far apart quite a distance down. I put my head back then said where is it. It was another foot down. I just grabbed the rails and hauled myself down. Yes I did kiss it. When I stood up my feet were a little shaky for a couple of moments. By then I had time to think what I had just done. You went down a different turrent slightly wider. This time we had a chance to look through the rooms. We also chatted to an American couple from Arizona on their first trip abroad. She was an air hostess just doing internal flights. A chance to get a photo with 2 of us in. We looked around the beautifully set out grounds and had lunch here. Yummy tomato soup. I am always impressed with the quality of food in these places. We looked through the new gift shop, I bought a teatowel here. After Blarney Castle we had a short stop in Killarney before heading to Limerick for the night. Sadly we didn't get to meet up with Margaret, John's mum, we were in contact then I lost cell phone coverage. Killarney is an attractive town, obviously it would have been great to stop for longer. 7 days just time for a little taste of Ireland. Ireland on the run. All to soon we headed to Limerick another nice city with a river Shannon running through. We parked in a parking building then walked out of this building and along the street to reach our hotel looking over the Shannon river. The lady behind the counter very friendly, I read Irish people are the friendliest people in the world. It is right. New Zealanders quite high on that list. Anyway she decided to organize us gave us a map and told us where we should walk and have dinner. So we obeyed and enjoyed our river walk took photos and ended up at The Loft the noises busiest place in town. We were very hungry. They found us a quieter place upstairs where we could have dinner. The dinner was delicious, we were surprised how quick it arrived. Another great day in Ireland.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 13:22 Archived in Ireland Tagged the stone kissing blarney Comments (0)

Waterford, Kilkenny, Cashel, Cork, Ireland

A big travelling day

sunny 19 °C

We enjoyed our stay in the Waterford Marina Hotel but it was time to move on. First we explored Waterford, well the historical viking triangle of Waterford. The Waterford Crystal Shop was the first place to visit. In 2009 it's Waterford base was closed due to bankruptcy of the Wedgewood group. After several difficult takeovers, it re-emerged back near it's original roots in Waterford City. This location now home to a manufacturing facility that melts over 750 tones of crystal a year. The big new visitor Centre is a major tourist attraction you can do a tour. We just looked through the shop due to time restraints. We saw lots of beautiful crystal. Afterwards we walked around the Viking triangle. Viking raiders first established a settlement near Waterford in 853. They settled in Waterford in 914 and built Ireland's first city. We looked through the Cathedral constructed in 1773. All to soon it was time to drive to Kilkenny. Kilkenny was a bit of a flying visit. There is lots to see here like Black Abbey, Kilkenny Castle, Jerpoint Abbey, Dunmore Cave. We walked past the castle and walked around the town and stopped for a coffee and lunch at the Black Cat. Soon we were off to Cashel. We put the place in Garmin and off down the motor way we headed. I checked on my cell phone and decided we should head across the country as seemed to be going the wrong way. Realised later we were going the fast way on the motorways. Anyway it was straight onto narrow country lanes , we seemed to be twisting and turning all over the place. I must say we did see a lot of countryside and farms. Eventually we popped out at the Cashel. Cashel has the Rock of Cashel. The ruins on the rock were being worked on. The town has Georgian buildings. In 1647 duringIrish Confederate Wars the town was stormed by English ParliamenArian troops. Over 1,000 Irish Catholic soldiers and civilians were killed in the attack and ensuing massacre. We visited Cashel Folk Village. This features historical retrospectivs of the Irish revolutionary period 1916-1923 and the Great Irish Famine 1845-1851. It has a penal chapel containing religious artifacts. It also has a tinker caravan. This place was packed full of stuff was quite jumbled but lots of interesting things. The owners brother had made life like figures that depended various events in history. The owner was particularly proud of the large original elk antlers. The Irish elk became extinct between 8,000 to 12,000 years ago. I liked the fact that the entrance museum was originally shops, when viewed from inside you can see the various orinal shops. We walked down the main street and had a coffee at this 3 story cafe in an old building. I was amused by the fact that there was a bridal party here all seated all over the place in their wedding finery, suits, flash hair doos eating things like fish and chips or fries, bacon and eggs. It was quite entertaining. Our next stop was Cork. I took a long stint at driving here, I wasn't impressed when I drove into Cork and ended up on a 4 lane roundabout in rush hour traffic. The second time around, freaking out managed to get in the right place to exit. We loved this hotel up above Coke with great views. It was a very large hotel with lots of character. We were rather tired so ate in the hotel had a very nice meal. The hotel was Ambassador Hotel & Health Club. There wasn't much health going on with us!!!!

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 13:28 Archived in Ireland Tagged travelling Comments (0)

A day in Dublin

The Guinness Storehouse

rain 18 °C

On a very wet day in Ireland a good place to spend time is the Guinness Storehouse. This activity was definitely top of Geoff's list. We walked here from our apartment. I was pleased to have my umbrella as well as my Kathmandu jacket as it was very wet. It is interesting that in England and Ireland the shops have no verandas, unlike back in New Zealand you can usually get some shelter from an overhanging veranda. Also over here you don't see many balconies on buildings. The Guinness Storehouse is located in the heart of St Jame's Gate Brewery in Dublin, which has been home to Guinness since 1759. The seven story building formerly a Guinness fermentation plant, has been remodeled into the shape of a giant pint of guiness. At the top is the gravity bar with panoramic views over Dublin. With your ticket you get a voucher for a pint of guiness to be drunk in the gravity bar. We chose to drink ours in a bar one story down as the gravity bar was jammed packed with people and very noisy. Before you get here you have to meander up through the various exhibits and floors. There are lots of audio visual displays that cover all aspics of the brewery from the brewing, ancient craft of Guinness barrel making, marketing etc. By the time we were ready for our pint we had learnt that the four ingredients are water, barley, hops and yeast. We also learnt about the founder, Arthur Guinness. This was a great experience. The whole guiness experience is well done in a very modern way. We did buy a few things at the huge shop on leaving. The shop was very busy must be a gold mine for them. Not many people left empty handed. We rested for awhile at the Apartment till the rain stopped. We then went for a long walk around the city. First we wandered around the old historical part. There are plenty of places here to visit if time allows. We then wandered around the city and managed to buy a sim card to get my phone on line. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from if you so desire. We wandered into a tourist shop to see what Ireland had to offer, lots of green things. We were just curious, didn't buy anything. Our walk back down along the river coincided with sunset so had fun taking photos of reflections. We had bought some duck breasts earlier so cooked dinner in our apartment. Love eating duck our new favorite food. It came with instructions and sauce. Just had to read the instructions. Delicious. By this time had proped open our annoying fire doors that were all over the apartment and kept slamming shut!

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 12:38 Archived in Ireland Tagged guinness Comments (0)

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