Ireland - 2016
My ancestors on my mother's side came from County Kerry, Ireland. My maternal grandmother was born there and migrated to Colorado in her late teens, marrying my grandfather, also from Ireland, in the town of Durango. It was there that my mother and I were born. Anyway, ever since I can remember, I've wanted to visit Ireland. I started the planning process in the fall of 2015, making reservations for air travel (the single most expensive item), car rental and bed and breakfast lodging across the lower 1/2 of the Republic of Ireland. We would have needed another week to see the rest including Northern Ireland. We left Texas on June 10, arriving in Dublin about 10:00 am on the 11th. Following is a day by day narrative of the trip with a few photos thrown in. More photos, most taken by wife Cathy, can be found on the photo page.
11/06/16 Saturday was a bit tramatic since I was renting a right hand drive car with a left hand shifted 5 speed manual transmission. I cannot imagine how someone who has never driven a stick shift could possible survive this experience. For me the left hand shift proved to be the most agravating as I had a hard time with reverse. And then there was the fact that we would be driving to the left of center of the roadways and entering round-abouts (they are everywhere) from the left, driving clockwise on them. Upon leaving the rental lot, we immediately encountered a large round-about that dumped us out onto the M1/M50, a freeway with multiple lanes. The saving grace here was that it was divided so that even though we were on the 'wrong' side of the road, we couldn't run head on into anyone. By the time we got to our first B&B in Wicklow, I was fairly comfortable with the left hand lanes.
12/06/16 (the rest of the world enters dates like this) We made it to church in Wicklow and then, at the suggestion of our hostess from the night before, and following her directions, took some wild little narrow roads into the Wicklow Mountains to Glendalough Park. It was pretty, looked more like something you would find in Colorado.
The Guiness brewerly in Dublin gets it's water from the Wicklow Mountains.
13/06/16 Our next stop would be in Waterford at the Waterford Crystal 'factory.' This was one of the most interesting tours of the trip and also one of the most disapointing (Waterford Crystal is mostly made in the Czech Republic now and the wine glasses I had picked out on line were not available in the gift shop.) But we were able to watch highly skilled craftspeople making both detailed bowls and intricate presentation pieces. After the tour, Cathy and I walked the streets of Waterford, getting seriously lost! The streets in every Irish town are very narrow and the buildings crowd them until one cannot see any landmarks! We finally found our car and making our way out of town, continued on to our second night's stay in Wexford. Not much of note there though we missed a turn and my navigator wife misread the GPS, causing us to drive all the way out to the port where the ferries leave for the UK. But on the way back we found a nice little pub and had a lovely dinner (my first Guinness and first bangers and mash of the trip.)
14/06/16 I didn't want to stay in the city of Cork so I had booked a B&B in Middleton. We missed it at first go but on our second try I recognized it from 'visiting' it on Google Earth. I LOVE GOOGLE EARTH! There, had to get that said. I traveled in Ireland for months on Google Earth before actually setting foot there. But I felt like I had already been to many of the places we visited. So when we checked in to our B&B, our host Willie told us he would drive us into town so that we could visit the Jamison Distillery. I wasn't aware that the Jamison main distillery was in Middleton, or if I was, I'd forgotten. We were planning on visiting the heritage site in Dublin when we went to the Guinness Storehouse. The tour of the old Jamison distillery was great and I bottled my own select reserve single cask whiskey. Not sure when I'll drink it though. After the tour we ate dinner in Middleton and then walked back to the B&B.
No motorcycle content (dang it anyway!)