Sunday, June 15, 2014

Ireland

I went to work as usual on Thursday but instead of going back home again in the late afternoon, I left a little early, met The Builder at the railway station and we took a trai. To Manchester airport.  From there we caught a plane to Dublin, arriving a mere 50 minutes later.  We took a coach to the city and then wandered around a bit until we found the hotel we were staying I . And there, in the hotel was -- MY BROTHER MATTHEW!!!

There was no choice but to repair with him to the bar.

On Friday morning we came down to breakfast and were met by Belinda, Sage and William, who had been in the hotel the previous evening but had been in bed by the time we arrived. Then they went off to collect their hire car, and The Builder and I went back to the airport to collect ours. Matt and I were both a bit anxious about driving in Dublin and around Ireland. A waste of a worry, really. Ireland is lovely to drive in. Nicely maintained, largely empty roads. The only thing that is a bit disconcerting is that the locals appear to completely ignore the speed limits in the town.  I'll be driving along sedately at exactly the 50km speed limit and realize after a few moments that I have a long queue of impatient locals champing at the bit behind me. And people wander out across the road randomly. This doesn't matter so much in somewhere like Kilkenny, where you are only doing 2 km a week.  It matters quite a lot more when you are bundling down the motorway at 120km and realize that up ahead there is a car parked (just) in the emergency stopping lane with its door jutting out and there is a bloke stood IN THE ROAD ushering an elderly woman into the car.  How I didn't hit him is a mystery to me. Most fortunately, the semi trailer behind me had been alerted by my abrupt braking and my bizarre avoidance tactics and had pulled into the outside lane.  Quite what that bloke thought he was doing is an even bigger mystery. Even if you need to change drivers urgently, you don't do it on the side of a motorway, with you stood in the road. Well, not if you want to survive the experience, you don't.

Anyway.  Enough of him.  Kilkenny.  Pretty little place with an imposing 18th or 19th century  castle.  We met MBSW there for a look around and then made our separate ways to Blarney, where we were staying in the Golf Club resort.  A nice enough place, outside of Blarney itself.  They promised us wifi but mostly it didn't work, which was a bit frustrating when there were things to do.  But the food was good, the wine was good and the company was excellent.

We spent Saturday morning go exploring the Blarney castle. Everyone climbed the tower steps to kiss, or blow kisses at, or look at the Blarney Stone. Well, everyone except me.  There was a huge long queue to go up the narrow, narrow stairs.  I got a bit of the way up then realized that I was going to be stood, motionless, for a long time in very narrow stone spaces. This did not strike me in any way as being a fun thing to do, so I pushed my way back down the stairs and waved at the stone from below.

The castle is in beautiful grounds and the sun was out and it was a lovely day. We explored the poison garden and the rock garden and the witch's waterfall and had a lovely time. And then we moseyed along down to Kenmare, a very pretty little place near the coast. You can't see the sea from here but we are not far from it. We're all going out later today to drive the Ring of Kerry. The sun is shining and it looks set to be another lovely day. I'm glad I was rash enough to bring summer clothes with me!

There will be photos but they'll have to wait until I am reunited with my laptop and can edit them properly. Here's a taster:

Blarney Castle and grounds



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