Derry & more Game of Thrones …..

I didn’t have to travel too far to get to Derry, as I said in the last blog, Kathleen, the hostess of Daleview House B&B took me for a brisk walk before I headed off, to Abbey ruins in Ballylawn, I have posted a pic of us after the walk and also of the Abbey ruins looking over Lough Swilly.

Arriving in Derry, I hadn’t actually booked my B&B ahead so after looking around at a few locations I settled on Rose Park House, lucky they had a room available. It was just across the road from the historic Brooke Park which has recently had over 5 million pounds spent revamping the 8 hectare area. It was great walking through the park heading into town and seeing it being utilised by the public.

After arriving in town which was only a 1km walk from the Park, I decided to walk the 1.5km circumference of the 17th Century Walled City. The walkway elevated enough to see the layout of the original town, varies in width between 12 and 35 feet and claims Europe’s largest collection of cannon, all restored to their former glory. What a beautiful city, it was hard to imagine the unrest it had suffered not too many years ago and during my life time.  I visited the murals in walking distance from the city centre, The Bogside.

Later that evening I was collected from my B&B and taken out for a meal by Claire & Karl, I had first met Claire in Dublin when I went to catch up with Inez, a friend from work in Australia. I had promised Claire we would catch up again where I arrived in her part of Ireland. We had a great catch up and lovely meal at the Primrose on the Quay and then walked along to the oldest pub in Derry, Peadar O’Donnell’s for a drink. It was the perfect end to a very busy day.

After a much needed good night sleep and a good breakfast I headed back to Game of Thrones territory to mark a few more locations off my list. I still didn’t get to them all but I travelled a fair distance to see what I could. I have marked the map below in bold so you can see where I travelled.

  The weather was once again warm so it made driving around the coast that little bit more pleasant and the fact that it was a Thursday and not a weekend, the traffic wasn’t too hectic. My first stop was Downhill, a beautiful beach with many more surprises on the cliff tops above. I have added the Game of Thrones images and info to show the scenes in each of the photos I had taken. Even if they hadn’t shot Game of Thrones, the Dragonstone scene, there, Downhill would still have been worth the visit, the extensive sandy beaches which you could actually drive your vehicle onto all year round, would be great for many activities including, picnics, water sports and taking the dog for a walk, probably even swimming if the water temperature got warm enough. Mussenden Temple sits above the beach and has breath taking views of the North Coast and 18th Century ruins, all waiting to be explored!

I stopped off at a few none Game of Thrones sights too just for good measure and to prove I’m not that obsessed with it. I called into Portballintrae for lunch, a feed of fish & chips and a cold drink. It was nice sitting by the sea, listening to the waves lap up to the rocks and the hungry squawking seagulls flying overhead hoping I’d drop a morsel.

Moving on to Ballintoy Harbour, another great wee spot to stop for a coffee, from a very busy café right by the harbour, and a walk around. As I arrived a mobile artist, yes he had his shop in his van, was just finishing off the scene he was painting that day. He said he was enjoying his retirement just going where the mood and next road took him. After a good look around and some photos I went in search of the Dark Hedges or for you Game of Throne fans, the King’s Road. I pulled into the car park of the Dark Hedges Hotel with signs leading to a walking track that would take me to the Hedges. I was really disappointed when I got there to find it was just another road and there were cars and buses parked along it. I had to wait till all traffic moved to get the shots below. I was talking to an American mother and daughter, they were there taking photos for another family member, they said they hadn’t watched it at all but thought if they got a good shot, it would make a great present. The impressive beech trees were planted by the Stuart family in the eighteenth century, the intention to impress visitors as they approached the entrance to their Georgian mansion, Gracehill House.

My last stop for the day before I turned around to head back to Derry was Torr Head, it is on the North East of Northern Ireland and on a clear day you can see the coast of Scotland, I saw Scotland!  It was quite windy by time I got to the car park but not too unpleasant to make the climb to the lookout point. I had a laugh to myself, only a couple of cars in the car park, as I caught up to the young couple ahead of me I couldn’t believe the foot wear the young lady was wearing, she had on knee high boots with a really good pointy heal, she seemed to be managing ok going up the hill but coming down her partner had to help her, I’m surprised she didn’t break an ankle. I kind of hung back in case he needed assistance. Anyway the views at the top were breathtaking. It was well worth the day trip, I managed to see quite a bit in the day and was well and truly ready for bed by the time I got back after 7pm.

I started back towards Dublin on the Friday, I got as far as Ardee and decided I didn’t want to drive anymore so as I drove around the area I looked out for a place to stay the night and come across Deeside Manor B&B, Stabannon, County Louth, what a great choice, Geraldine and Kevin made me feel very welcome and recommended a lovely place for Dinner, Carlito’s Restaurant, Dunleer about 15 minutes up the road. The food was delicious, I had the Smoked Salmon Penne. I would certainly recommend there beautiful home as your home away from home if you are ever in the area. I have to say on my travels I have met some lovely people, seen some magnificent places that I thought I would only dream about and did it on my own, never once feeling unsafe or really alone.

I arrived back in Dublin on Saturday afternoon having travelled nearly 3000km in 18 days. What an amazing place you are Ireland!! I need a break before I head off on my next big adventure, this time with my travel companion and daughter, Jaimee. Look out Sicily, we’ll see you in 20 days!!

Laugh Dream Reach, I am xx

http://www.visitderry.com/

http://primrose-ni.com/

http://www.carlitos.ie/

 

Donegal to Manorcunningham…….

I left Donegal around 11am and headed in the rain towards Manorcunningham. I detoured off to have a look at Lough Eske and came across a sign for a castle, got to the gates, drove in and found it was a hotel. I thought I might as well get a photo while I’m here so quickly took a snap, also thought it would be a nice venue for a wedding if I happened to know anyone that needed a venue. A photo below if anyone is interested. It looks lovely!!

I booked in to stay at Daleview House B&B, Daleview House is a family run Bed and Breakfast with spectacular views of Lough Swilly and I have to say they are some pretty good views. When I arrived Kathleen put the jug on and we had a cuppa and a chat, I recommend if you are travelling that way its a very comfy place to stay.

Next morning I was up for breakfast and with the sun shining I headed off to explore more of the Wild Atlantic Way. It didn’t disappoint, the warmth, the blue skies, although because it was good weather a few farmers were burning off the old foliage so there was a smoky haze in the mix, it changed the whole look of the landscape. It was Bank Holiday weekend in Ireland so everyone was making the most of the beautiful spring weather. I drove to Glenveagh National Park and as I weaved my way around the winding narrow roads I noticed the remains of the little stone cottages that littered the landscape every so often, remnants of what used to be before times got tough.

I followed the Atlantic Ocean up to Horn Head, where I chatted to a group of Bikers from Dublin enjoying the warmer weather, I found most people I talked to were Irish, taking the chance to get away and refresh while they had the good weather, they all told me it wasn’t supposed to last so make the most of it. I moved on from Horn Head, came across Doe Castle just by chance, so stopped for a look. It was free to look and if you so desired you can grab a coffee on your way in. I kept heading North and finally arrived at Fanad Head and the lighthouse but was too late to do the tour so got a couple of photos instead. After quite a day of travelling I headed back to the B&B and a lovely cuppa with Kathleen and her new guests from France.

The next morning the weather was even more perfect, no wind at all, it was so hot they were sure it was going to be warmer than Spain. I had breakfast with the French family before they headed on to their next destination and I headed towards Malin Head. I stopped off at Fort Dunree and as it was closed for the weekend, thought no use wasting the trip, I walked the steep stairs to the fort on the hill and got the most amazing views all around. It was certainly a good work out by the time I got to the top. Lucky I had packed some 3/4 pants and t-shirts, it was way too hot for jeans. I made it to Malin Head and the place was just crawling with people. Finding a park was a nightmare, I guess everyone wanted to be at the most Northern Point of Ireland!!

I have added a map below so you can see how far I travelled over the two days. I was due to check out of my accommodation but before I did, Kathleen suggested we go for a walk. She took me along the N13 to Ballylawn, to a wee hidden treasure, the ruins of an Abbey which isn’t even on the tourist maps, about a 6 or 7km round trip. I didn’t have my camera with me so stopped off on my way to Derry. Yes, next stop is Derry, Northern Ireland. Some links below to look check out at your leisure.

https://www.guide-to-ireland.net/showdetails.php?id=3255

http://www.heritageireland.ie/en/north-west/doecastle/

http://dunree.pro.ie/

Welcome

http://www.ireland.com/en-gb/articles/waw-malin-head/

Laugh because you can, Dream of new things, Reach for your passport!!

 

 

Sligo to Donegal …….

As I was going to be early to my next destination, Donegal, I took a view detours. One I came across was the lovely Streedagh Beach, the only person I saw there was a fisherman and his two dogs. The dogs just wandered around, came over and gave me a sniff then went off about their business. It would be a great spot when the weather was warmer but I was told, the beaches are always empty, most people travel to Spain for their beach holidays. Heading on I detoured again to Eagle Rock. I was keen to get out for a walk but having all my belongings with me I didn’t want to venture too far from the car. I took a couple of shots and headed to a wee town called Belleek. I didn’t realise until I went to pay for my cuppa that I had crossed the border into Northern Ireland. The young lady at the counter laughed and said, “Don’t worry even the locals don’t realise sometimes”. I had stopped off to look at the Belleek Fine Parian China, some beautiful delicate pieces on display. The weather really packed it in then so I headed to Donegal and the Ardlenagh View B&B. Eileen welcomed me with a cuppa and biscuits and showed me up to my room. Another out of town place, the view was magnificent over looking farmland and Donegal Bay.

https://www.ardlenaghview.com/

http://www.belleekpottery.ie/home

After a good nutritious breakfast the next morning I drove about an hour Northwest of Donegal to find the Slieve League, one of the highest sea cliffs in Europe. They are twice as high as the Cliffs of Moher and on a clear day you can see across Donegal Bay to counties Leitrim, Sligo and Mayo, out to the west is the Atlantic ocean for as far as the eye can see. Unfortunately for me it was raining quite heavy by the time I left the car park to walk the quite steep road up to the viewing platforms. Most people drove up in their cars but I was determined to get my exercise for the day. I can tell you it sure gets the heart pumping so was a good workout for me! By the time I got back to the car I was feeling very peckish so stopped off at the Ti Linn Café, Slieve League cliffs centre. Nothing like a goats cheese, caramelized onion & homemade relish panini and hot chocolate to calm the worms. I checked out the rest of the area and headed home for a well earned rest.

http://slieveleaguecliffs.ie/

Breakfast the next morning was full of interesting conversations, one of the great things about staying in a B&B is it’s almost like the comforts of home, not too many people as in hotels so you are not just a number and the other guests you get to see at breakfast or in the lounge. This morning there were two American couples, the conversation was about the narrow roads in the country areas, one guy said to his mate, “there’s no way your pick up truck would fit down those road and let another car past” and the advice I was given was “if you come across another car on a narrow road just stop, if he hits you its his fault because he is the one still moving”. I will certainly bear that in mind. I usually give myself three nights in most places so I have sufficient time to look around that area.

My final day in Donegal I spent looking around the town and historical sites. Its like everywhere I have been, full of history dating way back to before you could imagine. Donegal Castle is in the town centre, it was once the principle residence of the O’Donnells one of the leading Gaelic Clans. It is in the process of being restored back to its former glory and is well worth a look if you are visiting Donegal.

The ruins of the Franciscan friary are located on the outskirts of Donegal town, where the River Eske joins Donegal Bay. Situated just a short distance from the O’Donnell castle, the friary was founded as a Franciscan Observant house in 1474 by Red Hugh O’Donnell, his statue stands a short distant from the friary as you are looking towards the town.

http://www.donegaltown.ie/Donegal-Town-History/

http://www.monastic.ie/history/donegal-franciscan-friary/

I also had a look at the Railway Museum, a couple of the old carriages have been restored and are used for the public to sit and watch the DVDs about the history of the railway. They were also in the process of restoring one or two engines but when the government cut funding this had to be put on hold.

http://www.donegalrailway.com/

I enjoyed my stay in Donegal, I have noticed as I am moving around the west, a lot of the signage is in Irish, so if you didn’t pay attention to the first sign that had both Irish & English names then you could find yourself quite lost.  Also the further North I have gone the Irish accent has changed, from a subtle accent to quite a heavy accent.

As I move further North to explore the rugged coastlines I will head to Manorcunningham to my next B&B …….

Laugh Dream Reach you might even like it  …… Shirley

 

Belmullet to Sligo …….

Leaving the peaceful setting of Belmullet wasn’t easy, my neighbours, the horses in the paddock by the house, came up for their last apple, they kind of expected to get one every time I walked out the door even though they spent most of the day grazing. The weather decided to change as I got under way so I spent most of the trip to Sligo in rain. I usually like to take the road less travelled so I get to absorb the lovely rugged bog lands and miss the always in a hurry traffic. I arrived at my accommodation at Philmar House B&B a little too early so Mary told me about a quaint café, Little Cottage Café at Rosses Point, just north of Sligo. It was a busy little place and the food didn’t disappoint. Arriving back at my digs Mary had a cuppa and a slice of chocolate cake ready for me, I was made to feel very welcome and being 3km out of town, I found it very peaceful, no traffic noise, just a couple of Jack Russell dogs and a horse neighing in the paddock next door trying to attract its owners attention.

Before I set off to explore after breakfast the next morning I had to deal with an issue with one of my tyres. Who knew a car would let you know the tyre pressure was low in the passenger side front tyre. I took it into the local tyre place and 15 minutes later I was back on the road. It turned out to be an old puncture wound needed a new band aid.

The weather still wasn’t that settled so I headed to Ballymote to the Irish Raptor Research Centre – Eagles Flying. Ok I’m a little bit obsessed with eagles and owls so to be able to go to a live show and see and touch them is pretty special. I also got to hold a fox named Tui, they used to have a New Zealand girl working for them and she named the fox, and touch and feed a Raccoon, first time I had seen one in the flesh. The people that run the shows are actual scientists so you get to learn a lot about the animals. I out stayed my welcome and highly recommend if you are travelling in the area to call in for a show. The rest of the afternoon I travelled around the area sight seeing.

 

While I was close by I was told to check out in Drumcliff, the famous Irish poet, William Butler Yeats grave. He was born in Dublin but spent a lot of time in Drumcliff with his Grandfather. Because today is National Poets day I have put one of his poems above with the photos. I also found out as I joined the Active Retirees from Waterford, tour group  at Lissadell House that William wrote a lot of his poems for nationalist, Maud Gonne after meeting and falling in love with her when he was twenty three. Unfortunately for William  is was only one sided.

The tour of Lissadell House was the most informative tour I have been on so far. It probably helped having tour guide Leo, grow up in the area with his Grandfather having worked in the house for over 70 years.  The tour was to take 45 minutes but we were  finished and heading for lunch at the Coach House one hour 20 minutes later. I also enjoyed seeing the servants quarters, kitchen and downstairs areas of the house, most tours focus only on the upstairs rooms. I have decided I am pleased I wasn’t born in that area, it certainly was a hard life for most. On my way back to the B&B I checked out Parkes Castle, it is being renovated at the moment but looks quite majestic resting on the shores of Lough Gill which is in both County Sligo and County Leitrim.

After another day of exploring  I was well and truly ready for an early night and a quiet read. It doesn’t look like I’m doing a lot some days but in between times I am driving, sometimes having taken a wrong turn and seeing where that road takes me, as I say ‘the road always leads to somewhere’, sometimes its just not to where I wanted it to go.

Checking out of Philmar House on the 26th April I headed for Donegal ……..

LaughDreamReach its not for the faint hearted!!

Links to some of the sites I visited are posted below:

http://eaglesflying.com/

http://www.parkescastle.com/

http://philmarhousesligo.ie/

http://lissadellhouse.com/

http://www.sligo-ireland.com/

 

 

 

Ireland Road Trip 2……..

As the weather has been warming up and the months are moving on, I decided it was time for anther road trip. I headed back to the west coast travelling north this time.

My first stop was Belmullet, it was quite a drive, around 4 hours. Finally 298km later I arrived at my house by the sea. I planned on 4 days of not doing much at all. It didn’t last long, I had been dabbling in a bit of exercise before I left on my trip. Jaimee has after months of training and swatting, passed her exams and become a personal trainer. Who best to try out an exercise plan and push to near exhaustion (ok that might be a slight exaggeration), anyway I decided I needed to keep up with my walking so that’s what I have been doing as much as possible. I even added hills to the mix and walked the 2km round trip trail in Ballycroy National Park and the 5km round trip (80m/72m ascent) Ceann Iorrais – Erris Head.

It was great being one with nature, the wind blowing through my hair, the birds singing, the waves softly bouncing off the rocks below and the big ewe (female sheep) that wouldn’t move off the track so I had to walk around her (photo below). The views were amazing (also in the photos below). I also did a day trip to Westport and surrounds for a look. A lovely place to visit, plenty to see and do. Lovely restaurants, I stopped in at Cosy Joe’s Bar for a delicious pasta meal and a cuppa and checked out Westport House just a short walk from the centre of town or you can travel in a jaunting car. Its a great place to take the family, there is a place for camping, an adventure park, train tours and even a chance to get up close and personal with some birds of prey.

The west coast has so much beauty with its rugged coasts and unusual landscapes. I have added some links below if you are keen to learn more.

 

http://belmullet-ireland.com/

http://westporttourism.com/

Home

http://www.cosyjoesbar.ie/

Laugh Dream Reach – next post I will let you know what Sligo has to offer.

Belfast & Game of Thrones Territory

We made it to Belfast for the long Easter Weekend. In Ireland it is not a public holiday for everyone on Good Friday so Jaimee had work. We thought we would make the most of the rest of the weekend and headed off Saturday to stay two nights.

The M (Motorway) and N (National) roads soon had A or B in front of them, kilometres become miles and euros become pounds, we were in another country, unfortunately no stamp for my passport but hey we were in Northern Ireland!!

Jaimee had managed to find us accommodation close to the centre of Belfast, plenty of pubs and restaurants and it was reasonably priced, there had to be a catch especially as it was a holiday weekend. Yip, we had to laugh, there we were right next door to a nightclub, doors open till 3am. The only remedy was to find a pub and have a pint or two, the weather wasn’t flash so sight-seeing was out, we headed for The Duke of York, down a little alley way, a lovely wee historic pub with murals decorating some of the outside buildings. As we were settling in with our drinks a musician set up to play his guitar and sing and Mark was splattered on from a bird above. It turned out to be a great night, and we did find when we got back to our digs, the double glazed windows did keep out a lot of the noise.

 On the Sunday we were up early for breakfast, and decided even though the weather wasn’t looking good we would head out and look for some Game of Thrones sights. We managed to find a few so ticked them off my list of places to see. You probably don’t realise, I am a big Game of Thrones fan! I have shot a few pics above and below and put some of the scenes beside them so you get the idea of what went where. I have to say I was pretty excited and was hoping to find some relic or prop left behind but honestly if you didn’t know which scene was there you would never have known they had been, it was all left the way they found it. Really after the amount of blood spilt I was sure we would find some stains.

The only location I wasn’t keen to visit was the rope bridge. When they said there was a 45 minute wait I was sure Jaimee and Mark would be keen to move on. BUT NO, they said that’s fine, we’ll wait!! I’m not a fan of heights at all, we had to wait in line to cross and the longer we waited the sicker I felt. The wind was quite strong and as I stepped out onto the bridge a good gust of wind hit. I froze and thought there is no way I am getting across this bridge. Mark and Jaimee were almost to the other side before they realised I was stopped and holding up the line. Mark, the BEST future son in law a Mum could ask for, come back and helped me across, step by step. The worse part was we had to go back. This time I was put in the middle Jaimee didn’t move until the 4 people in front had got off the bridge as they thought it would be funny to jump on it as they crossed. I focused on the back of Jaimee’s head and I didn’t stop even as the wind picked up as we were getting to the end. I’m not sure if I will ever conquer that fear of heights but I know now if I want to try new things I have to find a way to channel the fear into a positive energy to help me through.

Before we left on the Monday we headed to where the Titanic was built. As it was the 105 year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic it was very busy. After nearly three hours of going through each stage we headed home. It amazes me how such a large ship was built and how the men survived such conditions to get it ready to sail. There is still such a lot of Belfast we didn’t see but what we did we thoroughly enjoyed!!

My next blog will follow shortly as I take you on my next Road trip!!

Laugh Dream Reach, try something new to make you feel alive!!

Mothers Day in Ireland!!

As her hands worked tirelessly to remove the accumulated knots that had formed in my back and shoulders over many years and as pain turned to relief, all I could think about was why the heck (being polite) had I not done this before?? Yes I was having my first ever massage. Jaimee had booked us in for a 30 minute Deep Tissue Back Massage and 30 minute Spa Discovery Facial. The look of anticipation on her face as I walked out changed to a big smile as she could tell it was an amazing experience for me. She said she was so worried I would hate it! I have to say, I felt amazing, possibly 10 years younger and if someone had of asked me to jump out of a plane at that time, I probably would have. Ok just kidding I wasn’t quite that relaxed, although probably might have been by the time we finished 2 bottles of Pinot Grigio waiting for the boys to join us.

Sunday was Mothers Day in Ireland and quite possibly the warmest spring day we had had so far, Jaimee had booked us into BrookLodge & Macreddin Village, The Wells Spa for massages and Lunch at The Orchard Café. We also had the lovely company of Jaimee’s future sister-in-laws Tara and Amanda while the three brothers, Niall, Bren and Mark, headed off for a game of golf before meeting us for lunch later. We’re still unsure as to who won the golf, apparently the scoring was a bit ‘dodgy’!! (Thank you Jaimee for the collage of photos below) and Thank You for my lovely Mothers Day xx

BrookLodge & Macreddin Village is approximately 1 hour  South from Dublin in County Wicklow, it is a lovely setting used for weddings, gatherings etc. http://www.brooklodge.com/

Laugh Dream Reach …… We did laugh a lot that day, I dream of my next massage and will reach for the pinot when required xx

Visa or not to visa!!!

My travel plans were put on hold for a bit due to waiting to hear if I had an extension on my stay. I thought this could be some very useful information if you are travelling to a country that a visa is not required.

Just after I decided to embark on the experience of a life time and uproot my life for a year, I thought I would check out all the necessary visas etc to live in another country. After some correspondence with the appropriate people, found I didn’t need to apply for a long term visa until I arrived in Ireland.

Arriving in Ireland I booked my appointment only to have to wait six weeks for the first free appointment. As I had 90 days originally to enjoy my stay, Jaimee and I rocked up to our appointment to find out I wasn’t entitled to stay longer. This was on the 6 March, 13 days before my 90 days was up. We were told to apply to the Justice Department for an extension, send in all the appropriate documents, but that it could take months. Panic set in as I realised I only had days left as a legal immigrant. Still confused about what to expect (was I going to be deported if I went on holiday, returning to Ireland after my stay had expired) we managed to get another appointment for yesterday.

To not bore you with all the details: Being a New Zealand or Australian citizen we do not need a visa to holiday in Ireland,  we get a 90 day stamp (it’s up to immigration at the airport as to how long you get) to stay in Ireland. You have that time to apply for an extension to stay in Ireland. This is to the Justice Department, you need to send in all the appropriate documentation (Travel Insurance, Enough funds to support you over your stay, Return air ticket, Documents to say you are returning to your life in your home country from employers etc)

I have my extension but if I leave the country in that time, each time I return it is up to Immigration as to whether I will be granted another 90 days, l will then have to apply for another extension.

It’s very helpful to have all the right information before you leave to save confusion and misunderstandings.

Now I can Dream Laugh and Reach again as planning is now back on track ………

Happy St Paddy’s  Day everyone …….

St Paddy’s Day in Dublin ……. bring it on ……

Road Trip!!!

After two weeks, 1800km driving, unknown km walking and €137.45 in fuel my first road trip is done and dusted! I headed off from Dublin on a Saturday afternoon, with snow threatening and headed 2 hours to Galway. I have to say I was a little bit excited on one hand and apprehensive on the other,  traveling alone, no one to talk too, would I get lost,  what will the roads be like, will I be safe ? I worried for nothing, the trip was awesome (Sorry I am probably going to use awesome, amazing, brilliant and a few more of those words a lot).  My option for accommodation for this time was to stay in B&B’s so no matter what happened for the rest of the day I started off with a good meal. I also found it is was a great way to meet people. My little black beast below didn’t let me down. It travelled some places it probably shouldn’t have, but it got me there and back safely.

 

The first few days in Galway were great, sunshine, warm etc. but unfortunately the lovely weather didn’t last, I had to remind myself it was still winter and this is what the weather does over here, I was told by many we were having a mild winter this year so I guess it could have been worse. It did give some of my photos a whole new dimension and the added bonus of no sun glare.

 

As I mentioned in my last post some of the roads were pretty narrow so the photo opportunities were not always there. There was no way you could just stop for a photo shoot without putting yourself and others at risk. I didn’t plan too much before time where I was going to stay, I just looked on the map the night before I was ready to move on and picked a place, did a bit of a google search to what was in the area and booked a bed. When I first arrived in Galway I wasn’t even sure if I was going to go north or south, that was also a last minute decision. I loved staying in the smaller towns, the history of the places were pretty unreal when looking at when some of these places were built. It still amazes me how they put them all together!

 

I have put up some maps to show you the roads I have travelled. The photos are only some of the many castles, old church ruins, the countryside and towns that I saw on my trip. The birds I stumbled upon as I was heading to the Cliffs of Moher, they are from The Birds of Prey Educational Centre. I arrived as they were having their enclosures cleaned out and watched as they hissed and tried to scare the handlers off that got too close with the hose. They are all rescues and for one reason or another are unable to be let back into the wild. It certainly made my day being able to see them so close.

I have to say the host with the most from all the places I stayed had to be Patrick in Cashel, at the Rockville House B&B. He went out of his way to make me feel welcome and at home. After getting over the first craic about the Irish beating the All Blacks, he was a laugh a minute. I arrived home after a day out sight seeing in the rain and wind from Hurricane Doris to a home cooked meal, chicken casserole and veg, ice cream slice for dessert and a big glass of milk while sitting by the fire. When I had finished that he made me a cuppa. He didn’t do it for all his guests, I think he did it because I was on my own. It was such a lovely gesture.

It’s hard to say what was the highlight of the trip. I felt pretty lucky to have been able to take the time to see some of beautiful Ireland. I am looking forward to the next adventure, Copenhagen, this time I will have some travel buddies, Jaimee and Mark. It’s just a long weekend away but it’s amazing how much you can cram in when you need to.

Until next time Laugh Dream Reach …….

 

 

Driving Ireland 🇮🇪

Ok I went and done it!! I’ve been driving in Ireland for  a week now. So far the hardest part was hiring a little auto to get out and see the country, every place I went into or rang said no because I didn’t have a credit card. The thing is if you have an Australian licence you have to have a credit card to book with. I was lucky to have Mark with me,  We got it sorted and he got me out onto the M50 and on my way. A few things I needed to know was it’s 120km on the motorway and 100km on the national roads, make sure you have change for the toll roads and remember to take some good music next time as the radio doesn’t always have a signal.

It’s been amazing, I haven’t managed to get myself lost, everything is well sign posted, there’s plenty of petrol stations along the way. There’s not too many eejits on the roads, just the odd few who I think are tourists. A lot of the little towns along the way have the houses right on the street. They wouldn’t stand a chance in Australia with the amount of houses  that get hit by cars that aren’t even close to the road!

I’ve enjoyed having the freedom to go off the beaten track and visit some of the smaller villages I would never have got to see if I had taken a bus or train. I found doing that I was traveling on roads that were just wide enough for two vehicles, or lanes where one vehicle fitted snugly. On those occasions it was tuck the elbows in as another vehicle approached close the eyes and hope for the best. Yip I’m driving Ireland and loving it.

l’ll put up another post when I arrive back in Dublin with some photos of the places I have explored along the way, until then Laugh Dream Reach!!!