Well well what a time we had in Ireland. Trip over was good no real hassles. Met at port by Marie's cousin Wendy as her great aunt had a fall the day before , nothing serious but Wendy decided it would be better if we stayed with them.Very hospitable and we got to see the Titanic exhibition the next day , as well as the Aunt , who seemed quite recovered.toured around a bit on busses seeing Belfast and catching up on the rallies here. Then picked up the car and went to Dublin via Bangor and a ferry ride (unplanned) most onteresting.Found our hotel without too much trouble and went out for dinner, Dublin was packed and we only got a table by sitting at a side bar!! Both didn't feel too hungry having had a large lunch so Marie had chowder and I chose the cheese plate, you should have seen them , glad we didn't choose mains!!
Day 2 look around Dublin after early hair cuts , on city bus hop on hop off very good it's a very attractive city with plenty going on.
We went to Trinity uni and had a conducted tour by 1 of the undergrads, then saw the book of Kells (look it up)and the long hall which is the library and the largest single span hall in Europe amazing.They arrange the books by size and weight over 2 floors about 200,000 of them imagine trying to find the 1 you want!!! Went on to see many other sights of Dublin too but did not visit Guinness.Went out that night to a dinner and show with Ireish music and dance we enjoyed it.
Day 3 off from Dublin to Waterford and a trip round the Waterford glass factory , it is in full production so we got to see all the processes and see how intricate the cutting is.Then after a quick tour round town off to Cork and our B &B our host was a very pleasant ex cop called John who made us very welcome and then took us into town and showed us where to eat and where all the pubs were!!It was jazz week in town so every bar had a jazz group and there were street bands as well, very lively and we had a great meal before wandering the streets soaking up the atmosphere , then home by bus both got a good night's sleep.
Day 4 Into Cork to see the market and do a bit of shopping then onto Killarny a stop in town for lunch and to buy Marie an Irish cardigan then a quick drive through before off to Dingle on th6e west coast and then Trallee another drive round and finish in Limerick for the night, had a Chinese meal at the village restaurant and bed.
Day 5 Drive round Limerick and then off to see Lough Derg a very pretty ride inland before again returning to the coast and Galway another drive round , I had better explain that All Irish towns are made up of very narrow streets which demand one way systems and then parking is a nightmare quite often using part of the pavement and all in all results in a 5km crawl so easy for me to drive slowly whilst Marie snaps away to her hearts content mostly on the camera so pics when we get home.From Galway we went on to the west coast again with a round trip to Galway bay and back then onto Shrule where we stayed with an old friend of Marie's from NZ they had a good matter and catch up that night and over a lovely cooked breakfast the next morning.
Day 6 to Sligo drive round , Rossnowlagh where Marie's rallies have holiday homes and she used to go, Donegal drive round then to Ballybufey, Castlefin, Castlederg, and Ardstraw where Marie's cousins live. Morris and Myra who came to NZ last year and where we are staying. Great night with them drank far too muck whisky ( Irish singe malt) along with Morris and slept well??
Day 7 Off go see the family toLifford to see Uncle Winston and Cynthea Patterson and then to Strabane where we met a cousin Winstons daughter Lesley then on to Morris's shop to look round and we had lunch with him, then to pick up Aunt Sidie 93 from her home and took her to Jim and Wendy Patterson in Casrlefin had dinner there and then home.Another late night as Morris likes to talk I was too tired so left Marie and him talking
Day 8 Off to Armagh to see Aunt Isabel 91 and was shown around town by her (( she still drives ) and then to her house for lunch a chicken casserole followed by Apple pie not allowed to leave before having the Bramley apples,she had cooked!! At 91
Took the back roads back to Castlederg great views but Very narrow single lane!! To "The Grove" dairy farm where Nelson used to farm and now owned by Jack Mitchell Marie's cousin, and run by him and his Son John. A fully computerised herd of 600 cows with a pasturisong and bottling plant supplying the local area , then went to Castlederg and saw the dedicated Mitchell window in the church. On to " Craigmonahan" the farm for dinner with Jack and Hazel then home.
Day 9 To Terry and Joans to see their farm which is now run by his Son Jason again a partly computerised herd and also the site of the first composting and digesting plant to dry and liquid gas by this method in the world, really cutting edge stuff , I was shown around by one of the French engineers responsible for the plants production , really interested me. After that went to Terrys other Son Gregory who has a very successful car business in Ardstraw.Now a quick trip up to Derry to meet Isabel and George who showed us the Derry wall, Bogside, and the school where she was principal during the troubles , too many guns and wall paintings for me ,late lunch at hotel
in town and then rush back in the dark to Aunt Sidie and to Morris's for a family gathering they were 14 of us and now I'm awash with names and relationships!!!!!! But a great evening with much hilarity and whisky and wine etc.
Day 10 Morris cooked a great Irish breakfast, his own sausages and bacon plus black pudding egg soda bread and toast absolutely stuffed full. Went to the Giants Causway rained most of the drive but fine for our visit , impressive sight , then to Old Bush Mills distillery for a tour and tasting yum. After that onto Portrust drive round and then Portstewart where we met Uncle Mervin and Zoe ,could not stay too long as we were due back to go to Terry and Joans for a fairwell dinner made it after another horrible dark rainy drive with bad lights on my hire car, but dinner was really good and we all enjoyed it another late night.
Sunday off to Belfast early to return car and travel by train to Dublin and on to Rosslare good scenic trip marred by the stupid place they have not put the Rosslare station you have to walk a 500mtr loop to get at the ferry office or taxis mad and annoying as we now have 3 suitcases. Taxi to our digs and then to local pub for dinner and so to bed
Monday The journey without a ticket, due to a machine fault at Glasgow this ticket did not download properly and by the time it was sorted we were in Ireland, can only be downloaded at UK rail station.Had ticket but not official so Stena Boats were OK and then to Fishguard where there is no machine, change at Port Talbert with only a 6 minute stay until connection no time to download !! All ticket inspectors looked at ticket and said ok it wasn't until Bristol where we had a bus connection between parkway and Templemeads that I struck trouble but as I explained it was their fault in the first place so on we went.. Bus to airport and collect car, attitude of car hire rep bad and we were presented with a near empty gas tank and a nervous drive until we found a garage , Google then decided that the quickest way was through tortuous back roads at least this cars lights are ok. Found our digs which are handily situated for town ,went down to local Tesco and bought dinner etc and back to eat and sleep.