A Travellerspoint blog

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)

Dublin to Waterford

Coastal drive

sunny 19 °C

The evening before in Dublin Geoff took our map down to the office. The young lad circled places that we should visit while in Ireland. We really hadn't done much research. This turned out well as we covered a lot of places in a short time. We headed South down the coastal route. Our first stop was Bray for lunch. It was nice and warm while here with holiday makers enjoying the weather. This beach resort was attractive with a rocky sea shore. We walked along the promenade and found a little cafe right on the waterfront. It was popular always a good sign. We had some tasty toasted sandwiches. I liked their colourful little ice cream parlours that were dotted about. We just visited the beach but there is a lot more to visit in the township if time allows. Wicklow was an interesting place to stop walked out to a point that had cannons there and interesting rock formations and ruins. There was a nice view looking over the fishing port and ocean from here. Soon it was time to drive onto Wexford. It took awhile to find a park. This is situated right on the waterfront where we found a nice cafe for coffee, I like the lovely friendly, cheerful Irish girls in these places. We wandered around the town which was not far from the waterfront. Soon it was time to motor on to Waterford. Our hotel was on the river. Waterford Marina Hotel. The car park was behind the hotel. Our room sported three beds so somewhere to place the cases. The hotel was a little way out so we ate in the hotel that night. I had a nice chicken dish.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 14:08 Archived in England Tagged coastal drive 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)

Bristol to Dublin

Just one of those days

rain 17 °C

We had to pack our cases after spreading ourselves out in our house swap in Burton. Then there was the vacuum and clean before leaving. We had some time to spare so decided to drive into Bristol. It was pouring willthe rain. Geoff was keen to see a bridge he'd spied in a photo. It didn't take long to find that. We should have then set off to the airport. Really when you move on it would have been better just to get to the airport early and relax. But no in the pouring rain we headed into the city, first car park full, drove around in circles finally found a car park. Got out in the pouring rain and went into the first restaurant we found beside the river. It was so wet. We soon realised we were in a student hangout with music to match. All there was on the menu were hamburgers. Something I rarely eat. Anyway they tasted terrible I only ate some of mine. Afterwards headed for the Bristol airport not far away. We got there and realised they have no gas stations anywhere near. First Garmin lead us to a station that was long since closed. Then it took us down some very narrow country lanes, through bush to a country village where finally we found some gas. The time kept ticking by. Garmin found the short cut on the way not sure why it took us the long way in the first place. Anyway manage to drop the car off no scratches once again, amazing considering the narrow country lanes we had been negotiating while in Somerset. There is a bit of a walk to the airport, yes it was still raining. All was well, then got to hand luggage check. I got a bad vibe when I spied the girl checking was really young. I got through no sweat. Geoff's backpack that had been through heaps of airports had to get checked. They removed absolutely everything out of it. It was rather packed full. The first thing to pop out was my bright pink travel cushion that I had pursued him to pack. He was reluctant at the time. Bright pink for my Granddaughters. It took forever. They found nothing. The silly thing was they missed one pocket. He just repacked that when he started checking his pockets. The cell phone was missing. That is a problem they blend in with the trays. After a search he headed for the lost property area and there it was. There were 6 items that were reclaimed before his. Whew what a relief. We just had time for coffee and snack before heading off to catch the plane to Dublin. Lesson number one no matter what time the flight just head straight to the airport. It was a late flight like 7.10 pm. I think when booking we had a choice of either a very early flight or this one. For baggage there was a choice of 15 ks or 25ks. It was a good flight. Our car on the small side only just got the cases in the boot. We then had to find our apartment. Garmin took us to some buildings but we couldn't find where we were staying we did another circuit and ended up back in the same place but further up the street. Across the road in the smallest writing was the name of our apartment by the car parking area. Geoff pushed the button to talk to them the entrance was way up the street. The name was really small. This place had a huge amount of apartments on both sides of the street. Our apartment Stay City Apartments was huge, it had lots of separate rooms all with fire doors that kept banging shut on us. It even had a washing machine. We walked up to a local shop and bought some bread and soup to heat up for our dinner. Had that at 11.00 pm. It was funny when we returned Geoff opened the bedroom door, he had a shocked look on his face. Then we realised there were 2 bedrooms. For a family or group of friends staying in Dublin I would recommend this place.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 14:21 Archived in England Tagged travelling Comments (0)

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