24 April 2010
Set off this morning to Ardpatrick in Co Limerick to our next cottage at CastleOliver Farm. We drove to Carlow then onto Woodenbridge and Tullow. Stopped to see the Browne’s Hill Dolmen. Headed off again towards Kilkenny but stopped in at the Fox and Goose Pub in Maddockstown for lunch. Decided we didn’t have time to visit Kilkenny after all, so we headed off to Thomastown to see Jerpoint Abbey. This place is incredible and has some of the most spectacular stone carvings on the tombs of the nobles buried there. It was raining, almost sleeting and very cold. Then it was on to Cashel where we stopped to do some grocery shopping prior to our arrival at Ardpatrick. The last part of our trip to CastleOliver farm was done in very foggy conditions which made the driving very interesting. Driving 20 km while rarely seeing more than 100 metres in front of you requires a fair degree of concentration. But that is normal for a lot of Ireland. Doing such a drive while conditions are foggy was a lot more interesting. We finally arrived at the farm about 9.00pm.
25 April 2010
Today we got up and drove to Blarney Castle in Co Cork. We climbed the incredibly tiny staircase on the many steps to the top. I (Glenda) didn’t like the climb at all, my backpack kept scraping on the sides of the wall while I was trying to grip tight to the thick rope which was all I had to hang on to. I don’t profess to have very good stair legs, terrible in fact. Finally to the top, what a spectacular view. Chris of course has very good climbing legs and heights don’t bother him at all. Neither of us kissed the Blarney Stone… Chris has done it before, and I didn’t trust my back. The stone is about 5 stories up and you have to bend over backwards while holding onto two iron bars. No thank you. We then spend some time wandering amongst the gardens interrupted a number of times by heavy showers requiring us to find shelter under various structures.
Next it was off to Cork City to get some money out and have a cuppa. Got a bit of a fright when one of our bank balances showed that we had insufficient funds so we drove around until we found a McDonalds to sit in and get onto the internet. Wouldn’t you know, it turns out that McDonalds WiFi isn’t working today. Shite Shite Shite….. We drove further into Cork and found a shopping mall that had free WiFi. On checking our bank and several phone calls to Australia later we discovered that the Hotel Ibis had held $800 for our room that we had cancelled and the Budget Hire car company had held $1200 for the insurance on the car. Initially a bit of a scare but all sorted in a few hours. However this meant that we ended up not seeing much of Cork at all. On the way home, we stopped off at the Mourne Abbey at Ballynamora.
26 April 2010
Today we thought we would drive to Adare Village to see all the thatched roof houses. We couldn’t get into Adare Castle as it was closed and didn’t open up to the public until June sometime. We had lunch in Collins’ Pub then strolled around town taking in the atmosphere and grabbing a few snap shots of the houses and shops. Adare is a nice little village but one can’t help think that it has been “touristified” a little. We got a little distracted in a nice little shop talking to the ladies who ran the shop about the roads in Ireland and how dangerous they could be. One of them lost their brother two years ago driving home at night, he hit the machinery that was attached to the back of a tractor. He passed the tractor but didn’t see the machinery because it had no lights on it. On the journey back to Ardpatrick we stopped off at Aeskeaton to take pictures of church ruins. Stopped again at Killmallock to take photos of the Abbey ruins.
27 April 2010
We were a bit tired today and need to get some washing done before we move on to the next cottage. It was a bit cold so we lit the fire, did some washing and watched a bit of TV. Relaxing was great and we both needed it. We strolled up in the afternoon to talk to Alyce and Michael. They are great people and have given us some great advice of what to see around the country. Alyce had been caught by the volcano as well and had only just managed to get back from Spain. We ended up having to put our things in the dryer as it was a bit sprinkly and we couldn’t get them dry on the clothes line. Chris went to Kilfenane the closest village to get some coal and then did a little drive around the area to see what he could see. He drove up to CastleOliver View part way up Seefin Mountain, but wasn’t prepared to pay 5 euro to park at the mountain bike centre that had the only available parking. We found out later that apparently the centre owners has blocked off the free parking areas to force people to park at their centre. This was apparently something that they could get away with but was not very well received by the locals.
28 April 2010
Got up early and headed off to Killarney which was about an hour and a half drive from Ardpatrick. The roads were quite wet as it had rained heavily overnight and we spent about a third of the trip following a large truck that we couldn’t overtake as he kept going through the puddles which meant we couldn’t follow close enough to safely overtake in time.
Once we got to Kilpatrick, we went for a walk around the town before dropping in to a pub for some lunch. While in town, Chris managed to get most of the Christy Moore CDs missing from his collection and also bought himself a bodhran. Once lunch was over we went out to Muckross House. The weather was misty and we couldn’t really see much of the famous Killarney lakes. We did a very interesting tour of Muckross house including the rooms where Queen Victoria stayed when she visited Ireland. The owners of Muckross House at the time had 2 years notice of the queens visit and practically remodelled the entire house. They had big plans to benefit from the fact that the queen had stayed there, but their plans fell through and they ended up going bankrupt due to the debt they had built up and had to sell the house. After Muckross we went for a drive to see a bit of the Ring of Kerry. We’d already decided that we weren’t going to drive the full Ring as we didn’t have the time. We headed off in what we thought was the right direction before finding out we were on the wrong road. I (Glenda) was navigating and worked out we could cut through to the road we wanted via a road called the Gap of Dunloe. Oh my, what a choice. The road started off OK travelling through some loveley country, but thinned down to a very winding single-lane road. There was not really any room to turn around and when any cars came from the other way, we had to find little pulloff areas wher one could stop and let the other pass. Chris, of course loved it and insisted on stopping often to take photos, but I was terrfied and was hoping all the way thwt we wouldn’t come across a bus or other form of large vehicle coming the other way. Eventually we found our way through to the other side and made our way back to Killarney for a coffee and then tackled the drive back to CastleOloier Farm. We arrived home after a very frustrating trip with lots of traffic.