A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

Day 11

Ring of Kerry / Killarney

large_SAM_0627.jpgWe headed off to travel the Ring of Kerry after breakfast, around 9am. We saw green fields and hills, spectacular mountains and coastline views for the next 5 hours. The distance around the ring is about 170 km but with frequent photo stops and a lunch break and the windy narrow roads it requires some patience. The Irish drivers are courteous and patient and a pleasure to share the road with. We took far too many photos to upload but we can share those later. If the Great Ocean Road back home gets 9 out of 10 the Ring of Kerry gets 12.
Ian dropped Bronwyn & Darlene at the Killarney factory outlet mall and drove on to get some wine and to refuel the car. He had planned to write this blog in the down time while they were shopping but he barely fired up the computer and they were ready. Sadly the Irish economy is not that healthy and many stores in the mall were closed.
So after a bit more shopping we headed back to our apartment. We plan to stay in this evening and watch the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert with “home” delivered pizza & wine. Should be a good night.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 02:46 Comments (0)

Day 12

Killarney to Galway Bay

large_SAM_0689.jpgWe had breakfast in our apartment and headed off around 11am for Galway. We left later than planned thanks to Ian finishing off Yesterday’s blog. We drove to Tralee and then on to Listowel where we had lunch in a nice café. We drove on through Limerick and stopped at Bunratty Folk Park & Castle for an afternoon visit.
We spent around 2.5 hours walking around the castle and the grounds. It is a bit like Sovereign Hill in Ballarat, showing how the locals lived in a bygone era. The castle dates back to the 1400s and is well preserved. They serve evening banquets there in the great hall. Darlene sat out the castle tour as there are too many steep and winding stairs.
The Irish weather was at its variable best whilst we walked around the castle grounds. We started out with mild overcast conditions and had a heavy downpour and then the sun came out. Bronwyn got to pat an Irish Wolfhound and we photographed some deer.

We recorded the warmest temperature we experienced to date in Ireland reaching 18 degrees. After finishing at Bunratty Castle we continued on to Galway Bay for our overnight stay at Galway Harbour Hotel. We found the restaurant prices reasonable so we ate in the restaurant downstairs.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 12:51 Comments (0)

Day 13

Galway to Sligo

They say 13 is an unlucky number. It turned out that way for us today. Ian woke with chest pain shortly before 3 am and woke Bronwyn to drive him to the local hospital. The staff at the hospital were wonderful. They did all sorts of tests and ruled out all the big ticket items. The pain had subsided by mid-morning and that conveniently coincided with the Doctor doing his rounds. Ian advised he was feeling better and with the test results all looking good they were happy for Ian to go. It put a dampener on our plans somewhat and we just travelled from town to town along the way, filling in the day to get Bronwyn to the Knock Airport to catch her flight back to London.
After dropping Bronwyn, Ian & Darlene continued to Sligo and checked in to their hotel. With so much sleep lost last night, this will be a very early night as we have a big day planned tomorrow.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 09:45 Comments (0)

Day 14

Sligo to Belfast

large_SAM_0717.jpg We woke up to a weather forecast of cold, wet and windy conditions. We decided against a visit to the Giant’s Causeway given the conditions. Our Hotel, the Radisson Blu was out of Sligo part way along the road to Rosses Point. Upon checking out we drove to Rosses Point and took a few photos ahead of the worst of the weather. It was very pretty out there. By the time we got into Sligo the weather had turned bad. We drove around for a while but decided against getting out of the car. So we headed for Belfast. The scenery leaving Sligo was sensational but we just could not get a decent photo in the conditions.
We stopped in a small town for lunch in the pub and continued on into Belfast. The Titanic was built here a hundred years ago and an exhibit has been built to celebrate it. It was built beside the port in the Titanic district. It is a big thing here. It is well signposted and we found it ok. Unfortunately all tickets for the exhibit were sold for the day so I bought some for the morning and we left and went to our apartment. The directions were misleading and the building signage was almost non-existent and we drove past it once before we found it.
We have a one bedroom apartment and it is spacious and comfortable. Ian went for a walk to find some milk and check out restaurants for dinner. The folding umbrella lasted about 30 seconds before a gust of wind turned it inside out and rendered it useless. A replacement at a local Chemist was 6 pounds but it is built for local conditions and will serve us well. If it doesn’t fit the suitcase we can give it to Bronwyn when we get back to London.
Tonight we are going to the Elton John Concert at Odyssey Arena. We will use taxis for transport as parking would be difficult and expensive. More tomorrow…

Posted by IanDarleneUK 09:24 Comments (0)

Day 15

Belfast to Dublin

large_SAM_0723.jpgThe Elton John concert last night was a real treat. Musically and vocally it was very good and in 2.5 hours on stage he covered all his big hits and favourite album tracks. Ian’s favourite was Love Lies Bleeding from the Yellow Brick Road album. An early highlight was the support act, a pair of guys playing the Cello. They did a remarkably close instrumental version of the ACDC song Highway to Hell. Backed by just a drummer they faithfully reproduced the electric guitar sounds.
This morning we visited the Titanic exhibit and spent about 2 hours there. It covers the development of the Belfast Port, the industries that supported the ship building, the building of the ship, the fitting out of the ship and its launch and early journey to Southhampton, Cherbourg (France), Cork and its final journey. There was supposed to be a ride within the exhibit but unfortunately it wasn’t working. We had a coffee in the shop and browsed the souvenir store a while and headed down to Dublin from Belfast in persistent rain.
We stopped for lunch at a bakery at a town just off the motorway and continued to Dublin. We found the sign for the hotel ok but mistakenly took the wrong driveway and found ourselves in a shopping centre car park. Oops. 2 euros later we extracted ourselves and attempted to loop around the block to try again but we encountered a dead end and had to turn around and go back. Second time around we found the hotel ok and checked in.
Just after check-in we realised we left the charging cable for the laptop back in Belfast. Oops again. A quick bit of research using dwindling battery reserves found we could buy a replacement charging cable at Harvey Norman here in Dublin. Yes, they are over here too.
We had drinks, dinner and a long chat with Michelle, a former work colleague of Ian at SMS in Melbourne. Michelle was Test Manager on the AHPRA project. It was great to see her again. Michelle told us how IT was booming in Ireland, despite the depressed economy. As soon as she put the word out she was looking for work she had 3 companies chasing her with job offers. She loves her job and is doing very well.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 09:54 Comments (0)

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