Archive for February, 2018

Flashy weather rule #1

Snow today – good
Snow tomorrow – bad

Woke up to the lovely sight of snow on the ground. Down for hearty breakfast before venturing into town with the last words of host “ beware the blizzard “ ringing in our ears . Any plans for Cobh sank like the Titanic when all rail service there cancelled and nothing to do with weather .

The cold was getting worse by the hour but what can you do. Go out in freezing weather of course. By now though the sun was out and almost went back for sluggos but then remembered had been in a fair paddock of late 😏 We played in the snow , had a coffee and then decided to take bus to Blarney before that was cancelled.

Pleasant trip out to a very beautiful little town. The castle of course is a rip off but did get my first Seniors Discount. Asked if wanted to see my ID and she said no it’s fine. Smart ass bitch😉 Beautiful day for photos still and did climb right up to top and as no crowds and did kiss the Blarney Stone. And of course there was scaffolding 😰

Bus back to Cork and then had an Italian lunch and picked up salads on the way home for dinner as not going out again with blizzard approaching😏 In the meantime where is that sunburn cream Dear ?

Back home for weather update and not good. Red alert – highest – for tomorrow from 4 pm. All buses cancelled . We quickly booked a double train trip via Dublin leaving at 7 am in morning! If that is cancelled we are screwed. At present trains will slow after midday and cease at 2 pm. With any luck we may be in Kilkenny then and it can do what it wants

Cold is at its zenith with both nose, throat and head all joined in.

Shoot me now

Ireland Fling Day 12 – Put a Cork in it

Posted: February 27, 2018 in Travel

Will be sad to leave the luxury of The Lake Hotel and indeed Killarney itself as feel we are finally in real Ireland . Of course am sure Cork and Kilkenny will be equally engaging, weather dependent. The Beast is still tracking but we should get today’s bus trip out of way before it does and then worry about Thursdays on Thursday . It’s a new approach to life I am trying but hasn’t really taken yet 😏 Coughing up a lung all morning doesn’t help. One last healthy breakfast it is then.

Bus left on time but was crowded and was a slow but shortish trip. Cork is a much bigger town then I realised . Luckily had notified hosts we would arrive early so was able to get to our room before midday and then have some tea and scones. Looks a nice room

Headed out the front door under nice sun – and a light shower of snow. Amazing, gone in a minute but lovely. Then we walked into town center stopping by St Finnbars on way and then into English Market for some lunch at Farmgate Cafe. A beer could not be far away and sure enough just down Mutton Lane there was an Inn.

Cork is divided by a river and thus plenty of bridges to see and cross. Went across other side to see if Butter Museum was open as word of its appeal had spread far and wide. It was closed so went to the Franciscan Well Brewpub instead

Time to head home then for a rest and a quick look at the University of Cork just across the road. Impressive place. Will duck out later for a quick dinner but nothing really appeals at present . Another light snow flurry at 4:30 pm. Thinking maybe day trip to Blarney or Cobh tomorrow

Surprisingly slept ok despite the asshole next door with TV on loud late into night and then snoring . Not often you hear snoring from next door. Then our doorbell went off at 4:45 am. Prank? Fault ? Who knows. Of course once up then the coughing and headaches start again. Not sure what it is but clearly not well as sitting here sweating in short shirt and CLP under blankets with dressing gown on 😏 Going to be a long day on a bus

Breakfast at 8 and then pick up from lobby around 09:45 returning to town around 5 pm. That is plan anyway but who knows with our recent record with trips. Simply glorious start to the day and another healthy breakfast. When u feel crap easier to eat less

Have to say CLP really showed me this morning why I let her tag along. The way she got 5 days of washing into one laundary bag was amazing. No self laundry facilities for guests so have to pay for them to do it. Guess it gives some Sheila a reason to get up in the morning eh 🤓 It it doesn’t come back clean tonight we could be a spot of bother .The tour is reasonably priced – maybe a warning sign so in keeping with our carefree approach to the green stuff in the green isle we paid an extra 10 Euro each for premium seats. Time will tell.

They say the third is the charm and they were right. Perfect trip, good driver small group, great weather , no crowds. First stop was Red Fox Inn which is a tourist trap with production line Irish Coffee. Rating 4. There was also a Bog Village which CLP visited and said was life altering . I like my life so went back to the pub

Back on bus for drive along some stunning coastline and through quaint villages on way to lunch stop at Waterville which was a fave holiday place for Charlie Chaplin it seems. Had a very good lunch at Dooley overlooking the water – Guinness beef pie.

Continuing along ROK started to climb into mountains for some more stunning views camera cannot do justice too and then back down into Steem for a break

We did see Skellig Island of Star Wars fame way off in distance but you may just have to take my word for it

Continued on to Ladies View before final stop at Torc Waterfall. Cloud was coming in now but had been a Magic day

We bid our driver and group good bye and headed into town for early dinner at The Porterhouse – we had been trying for 3 days! Massive meal and some alcohol of course meant it smart move to walk home

A great tour on a great day and my cold had stayed away

It hit again big time 4 am this morning. On bus to Cork Today to meet Beast from East front on. There can be only one winner

The Beast from The East is still on track so could be last day before temperatures plummet a bit further. Now this is old news/whine for regular viewers but give the central heating a rest folks. Went to dinner last night and it was unpleasant in a short sleeve cotton shirt! You walk in from a blizzard to a furnace . Let people dress to conditions and if they can’t work that out then it is Darwin’s theory in practice. This out the herd, oxygen wasters the lot of them .

Good nights sleep actually because set the AC to 17 degrees! It seemed to balance the central heating of 40 degrees so we ended up around the a level of about 24 👍. Officially a bit full as a goog after a good week in the paddock so looking for a quieter day eating and drinking today . The tempataions of full buffet breakfast shall be first test . Likely

Being Sunday I took my readings from the scriptures and resisted all temptation. The spread looks impressive but still two days to go. For now my new mantra is #prunesrule

Then plan is to walk out front gate and turn right not left. This should put us into the Park and onto Muckross House. Some exercise and fresh air to start the day . Primary goal today is to apply my first Seniors discount . First stop was the Abbey before continuing onto house. There was a Seniors discount but you had to go on an hour long guided tour through 306 rooms. With old farts . Pass. Instead just did the Seniors Maze outside and only took 58 minutes

It was a good walk but the prospect of retracing steps again over 2.5 k did not appeal. Instead we got a taxi into town for any last souvenirs and lunch . Sadly nothing opens until 12:30 for lunch so checked out St Mary’s impressive cathedral before trying our luck with another Irish coffee. Using Brazen Head as a 10 and Lake Hotel as a 1 this was a 4 . Think they throw in too much whiskey, too little coffee and not the right cream

Our very helpful taxi driver had recommended The Ross hotel for lunch so rocked in. Sadly the fancy restaurant was closed but we had some heart attack pub grub and a cold beer. As luck would have it though this was the location of the famous Gin Pink Lounge so we hooked in with Humphrey and Coco. Had the place to ourselves and it was great

It would seem I am sickening as often happens on holidays . Have the hacking dry throat . Suggest it is because of the fucking temperature nazis and mixing with great unwashed which luckily don’t do often. Walked home and hopped in the outdoor hot tub again and then a restful afternoon. Will be room service dinner for this Little Black Duck. Have the Ring of Kerry bus tour tomorrow so no doubt spread some good cheer along with germs. Now it is an old joke but I do like it . The brochure for Ring of Kerry looks promising

I made it! Just hope it was the toilet, it’s a big suite

So the big 60. Good nights sleep despite the obvious excitement of a day packed with being spoilt rotten by CLP and waking up to lovely messages from family and friends. It is indeed a good life . CLP has outlined the day ahead and methinks I am glad I have my trakkies with me. Breakfast served to our room, a massage at 9am, stroll into town for some morning tea, maybe a jaunty cart ride depending on weather , stay in for lunch and then scout a quiet pub for the 6 Nations – yeah right – before home for Champers and Cheese before a lovely dinner in the stunning Castlelough restaurant on site. I may not make 61 folks

The “beast from the east” has not arrived just yet but good to see the weather folk here get over excited about any changes to expected weather too . Looks like a progressively colder week ahead and maybe even snow . Bring it baby . We won’t escape it in Cork or Kilkenny either

https://www.irishmirror.ie/news/irish-news/meteireann-snow-ireland-weather-forecast-12078154

The Beast from the East ain’t met the Best from the West yet. Or it could just be that mail order bride I ordered weeks ago. You know what Australia Post is like

Got some lovely presents from CLP of course including some fantastic Bluetooth earphones and some new cuff links . Even my very own Lake Hotel Bath Robe as a momento. Family have also arranged various ways of me spending their money

Breakfast was massive and delicious . The chocolate covered strawberries a treat indeed. Time for my massage and then brave the outdoor hot tub which was surprisingly pleasant. Then time to dress like a tourist and blend in

First up a stroll around the hotel grounds

Usual pleasant walk into town as beast still at bay at present and had a couple of coffees before a rather excellent jaunting cart ride out to Ross Castle. Yeah maybe tourist stuff but was great fun with a very friendly host and a clever horse. Luckily Rusty behaved himself

Then into town for lunch. Our selected restaurant was closed so will head back for dinner tomorrow night. Instead we had some simple fish and chips at Scott’s and a beer just for a change . The crowd was building up for the big game and there was a beer garden set up ready to go. Then I had one of those non Senior moments and remembered I don’t like Rugby. We headed home and had a rather poor Irish Coffee back at Lake Hotel. Stick to proper pubs in future. Still, plenty of imbibing still to come

Back in room and rather appropriately for a religious place like Ireland the Holy Trinity was laid out before us. The Champers cooling in the ice bucket, the cheese maturing before our eyes, and my waistline expanding. The champagne and cheese were excellent of course and must say the Lake Hotel has been brilliant so far. Yes we are in expensive room – but not ridiculous – and CLP has paid for some stunning extras today but they have also chipped in with touches here and there with the most appreciated being a lovely print of the Lake and Ruins which I will certainly frame when I get it home. Hopefully in one piece . The luggage is expanding like afore mentioned waistline .

The Champers and Cheese followed by a sit down meal was probably a bit much but only young once. Entrees nothing special but the main meals were good

It has been an amazing day in a wonderful country and as Lou would say

Last day on earth as a youngun I guess . When I wake up again I will be a Senior with all manner of discounts now available to me like free bread with my soup . That is of course unless I fall asleep on one of two bus trips today. That is very unlikely as a surprisingly good nights sleep last night

First up another solid breakfast no doubt and bid goodbye to our lovely hosts. Galway is a strange city although to be fair only here two days so can’t really form a valid opinion. There is a condensed tourist area which is car free and great and the pubs all welcoming. Lots of buskers add to a good vibe. Our B&B was great but not an easy walk into town and no pub just around the corner – strictly residential area. There appears no need to return to find hidden Galway as likely a reason it is hidden

First bus to Limerick and then hop off and stretch legs before another soon after for Killarney . Bus left on time and relatively empty but that didn’t stop the two certainties on any long bus trip. Despite 50 empty seats the last one on board will sit in front of you and the guy with Tuberculosis just behind. And of course a fixed 30 degrees C on board ! The free wifi does work a treat though as do the charging ports . Now where is that Guinness tap ?

As hoped for off one bus and on the next had us in Killarney before 1 pm. Have to say decision to use trains and buses rather than rent a car seems good idea at present – all worked smoothly . Hard to find a taxi at bus station but eventually made it to Lake Hotel and easy check in to a rather salubrious room if I say so myself

On top floor with great views of lake. Dropped in to one of 3 restaurants on site and had very nice lunch and 2x 10 Euro G&Ts! Lesson for younguns there . Decided to walk into town then as a good solid 30 minute walk on a cool day and I am only 59 after all. Now this is more like the towns I was expecting in Ireland. Lovely. Did designated tourist drop in at The Shire for some Precious memories

After a couple of hours pleasant stroll around town dropped in to Cronins for a fantastic meal before catching a taxi back home. They knew how to fill up a wine glass too. Time for relaxing bath at last , a cuppa and a good lie down. When and if I wake up tomorrow it’s a whole new ball game folks . So for one last time 😰

#almost60alreadyfamous. 🕺🏼

The thing about early indications is they are usually spot on. Like a herd of stomping and rutting elephants up to about 11 pm last night and then try to sleep in the Leprechaun designed single bed with 6 blankets on it but internal heating . Sadly we have a few more B&Bs in our immediate future . Have not even tried the shower yet – I think it is in the desk drawer in the corner . You can tell a lot about a B&B from that first food experience – usually a cup of tea and fresh baking. We were told that on that plate in our room under the alfoil were some biscuits for our tea. Darool Darool

Wow I think that is the deluxe Arnott’s family assortment 😏. Mind you the hostess did drive us into town which helped with time and they are truly lovely people . Strangely at breakfast we found there were no other guests so that was just the host family making the racket !

Today we do a circuit of Connemara including a visit to Cong where the movie The Quiet Man was shot . There may be some more shooting there today if Euro trash turn up . In keeping with how Galway has gone so far we booked today’s tour yesterday as hosts assured us that today would be similar and great day to see Connemara . Rain is predicted by 7 am 😏 Oh well, to be honest not a lot else to do in Galway all day and did have a lovely afternoon yesterday . These things happen on holidays and we really had a knob kiss with weather in Dublin. It is Ireland in February after all

So another dull and poorly organised tour. Our promised pick up at 0930 was cancelled at 09:25 so had to make own way to town for 10 am tour. Only 4 of us on the tour so had to wait extra 10 mins while they sourced a mini bus – no issue and small group a bonus. Of the 4 tours available we chose Healy’s as they took the coastal route. The bus driver seemed to think it amusing he had been called in at last minute and knew nothing about the sights or indeed the actual route. After first dull village simply cut across country to go to our second last scheduled stop and no coastal drive. Why? So we could sit in bus for 30 mins waiting for the 7 suckers who took the 11:30 inland route . They then crammed into our mini bus! All this with no word of explanation from driver . Onto Kylemore Abbey which of course is impressive but of course also at present has 50% covered by scaffolding. The gothic cathedral was impressive but the gardens dull and we had 2 hrs here . Then onto my highlight of tour , a visit to Cong where The Quiet Man was filmed . We drove around town once and showed us statue and then the closed QM Museum and gift shop. Then parked at opposite side of town and said you have 20 mins here . This was at last the quaint village we had been looking for but no time to explore . Then back in bus and drive home to Galway an hour earlier then scheduled. Worst run tour ever been on

Day almost saved by the beers we had in Taaffes with excellent Irish music also . Then a very good Italian meal before the long trek home to ascend the stairs to the furnace

Look, we are having a great time and love the country and people but am struggling to name that memorable natural attraction at present . Both day tours have been dull with long periods on a bus before hurried time spent at an unexceptional “ must see “ sight

Off to Killarney tomorrow for 4 nights in hopefully rather luxurious hotel and a more relaxed pace . After all by Saturday won’t be able to use my catchcry anymore

#almost60alreadyfamous

And for the fans. Get a world clock so you don’t jump the gun early ok 😏🕺🏼👴🏻

Good old internal heating in Europe. Go to bed rugged up like Nanook of the North only to wake up sweating a few hrs later when the husband comes home. Oops, that was only a dream sorry. The heating is automatic of course so like a cyclist on a cobblestone street there is no way to control it. And they can be noisy . Especially when they fall off and hit those pesky cobbles. But man is it funny . Cyclists are right up there in my top 3 hates in the world. The other two are Lycra and helmets .

We leave Dublin today and catch a train to Galway for two nights and into a true B&B . There was a fear I may be fading away so thought it was time to add in some “traditional” full Irish breakfasts to assist the usual pint quaffing during the day . Has been a great few days but hard to pin down exactly what makes Dublin ….. well Dublin. It’s a gritty city in parts but also has many large green areas. Plenty of pubs of course and friendly locals but no real distinguishing architecture. Lots of bridges on a very pleasant river . Good public transport and an easy walking city . Loved our time here but hard to think of a particular thing that would draw you back again. Has a homeless problem like all major cities . Food is great, beer plentiful and varied and coffee passable. As in , pass that shit down the table and give us another beer ok.

There is another sheep graziers alert for next few days as cold weather comes in from Siberia but not convinced whether that warning is for humans or a more general standing one for sheep ? Ya with me.

But first a last stroll around Dublin on a brisk morning looking for breakfast, a good coffee and the “ Tart with a Cart” . Tick Tick Tick. Found a place that served Cortado which has rarely let me down. We also found the 4 Swans memorial which I assumed was from their AFL Premiership a few years back but was clearly wrong. I suppose the best thing about Dublin is everything is within easy spitting distance

Apparently

Train left on time which is always a good sign . As is the one with your names above your prebooked seats and no ignorant clown is sitting there already . Trust me it happens. Clever how they knew CLP preferred to be on top 🤓 Should I be concerned that the new bride from yesterday is on same train ?

Still a glorious day when arrived and after a quick check in time to check out the city. This won’t take long it seems . As weather so good and clearly not heaps to do just in the city we booked a bus tour tomorrow to Connemara.

Galway Cathedral was impressive across a raging river. We had a couple of beers in different pubs with the Kennedy themed one the best . Then had a very ordinary fish type dinner before the 15 minute walk home which is actually 40 mins! Beautiful night though

The B&B is quaint I guess but glad only two nights . Small and of course can hear everyone around you . Nowhere to sit and relax in room . It has been a full day indeed so let’s hope can get some sleep tonight . Early indications are not good

Your more astute avid follower may have noticed no liquid black stuff had passed my lips yet in the land of said fluid. That is because , dear reader, have been saving up for today. The thing that strikes you in Ireland -apart from pissed off Leprechauns – is the overuse of the word “ traditional” . Every pub has “ traditional Irish food “ and “ traditional Irish Music “ . Then of course there are your traditional tourist traps ( TTT) so we thought we would visit one today – The Guinness Storehouse. Of course being 10% of rolling in it we are doing the “ Skip the Great Unwashed Connysewer Tasting Experience “ . But first we have the odd experience of trying to get into Gaol. The Killedwithjammieson Gaol visit would appear to a very popular TTT. They suggest book online but are basically booked a week ahead. Must be no sheep grazing paddocks this side of town 😏 There is a “walk up” option daily with a few tickets so thought in our general carefree nature that defines us would give it a crack . After all only a 20 min walk from The Storehouse and will try for the “ limp in “ angle and play on the pity factor . If that fails have two large potatoes to bribe the guard with

Headed off early on a simply glorious morning and thought time to try out the LUAS tram system as have to use tomorrow and will drop us close enough to Gaol. Works well and fronted to Gaol around 9 am and informed we could in fact join the 10 am tour with the 12 other slack asses who couldn’t book online. Good hour long tour with informative host and stayed at end of field so could grab some shots of an almost empty Gaol. Some sad tales of woe also but then they haven’t heard mine yet #costanza

We then had about a 20 minute walk to the Guinness Storehouse for our Skip the Line connoisseur tasting experience. Certainly treat you special on this one with a superb bar that we had almost to ourselves apart from a recently married couple on their honeymoon. I would suggest she is a keeper Pal. Tried a variety of their products and the range surprised me . Their Quality Control in particular is impressive given they clean out the beer lines every 23 days in all the pubs that serve the stuff. They protect their reputation fiercely it would seem. Learnt how to pour one properly but of course then had to drink it. By now the wobbly boot was firmly attached and we still had a free pint in the Gravity Bar to follow . For some reason felt like Jack sitting in the bar from The Shining but that could also be my all work no play approach to life in general

Seemed it may be wise to have some food next so dropped into 1837 to soak up some of the alcohol and then onto the Gravity Bar . Guinness Stew may not have been smartest choice .Great views of Dublin in the GB but it was crowded not surprisingly . My head was struggling to fight gravity by now so it was time for some souvenirs before falling into a LUAS for trip home. Earlier plans to walk died after 3rd pint

So a great last full day in Dublin with the only negative maybe being spending so much time indoors on such a stunning, if cool, day . I feel a song coming on….

Against all better judgement we are doing a full day bus tour with The Great Unwashed up to Belfast today to see the Titanic Experience . Already experiencing a sinking feeling. Ah thank you very much, here all week, try the Veal. Also a visit to Giants Causeway, a Rope a Dope bridge somewhere and a possible GOT shooting location. Hoping it is where they shot the Ice Dragon as that would fit in perfectly with today’s theme of AVOID ICE! Hope bus driver is listening . Will be a long day but did have an early night . A short walk to our pick up point and head off @07:15 . That bus with the half cocky roo on it will suit the wild rover in me

Now first job on tours like this is pick out the clowns that will cause trouble . Easy. The mixed group of 8 Euro Trash Down the back – Ities I think but who cares. By mixed I mean both assholes and morons. Why are Euro trash so loud and laugh inanely like a brain dead vegetable? First stop was the Titanic Belfast experience. In a sign of what little research we really did for this trip it was mostly about the building of the rather inept Ice Breaker which is fair enough given it was Belfast . The display was large but not riveting which is odd given it was all about riveting. I got a million of them folks

Next on our way to our Friends in the North we drove through Ballymena – the birthplace of Liam Neeson and Poker machines. I wasn’t Taken by it. Then we got a flat tire and sat by side of road until a replacement bus could arrive for our full 60 seater . Note that number. It had a full complement of tyres but only 57 seats .3 people would have to miss the Rope Bridge. In hindsight I should have put my hand up . Many years ago at Carrick a Rede someone discovered there was a 20 foot gap between two large rocks so let’s string two ropes and a coffin lid between it and flog it to the Italian tourists . So basically you park the bus with the good wheels in the car park, walk 1klm out on a path that would test your average mountain goat , walk across a bridge for 20 secs, turn around, rinse ,repeat . Get back on bus . Beautiful scenery

Back on bus, wait 15 mins for the Pasta Pals to get back of course and then head off to Giants Causeway . Stop at top of mountain in bus park – our original bus was back now – catch a shuttle bus down with Ireland’s unhappiest worker for 1.2 Euro, walk on a lot of uneven rocks and maybe break an ankle , catch shuttle backup with Smiley and try to get something to eat as it is already 3 pm Cause Way too much time has been spent on the bus. You getting for these gems as I drop them ? The 1.2 Euro raises an interesting point. Would have been useful to be reminded in tour info that in the North they only really accept Pounds not Euro. I had really earnt my one and only beer for the day by now . Had a quick bite as time was limited and had to be back on bus by 4:30 pm for the 4 hr drive home. At 4:30 pm we were on bus and Euro T were just entering cafe to order some meatballs of course

Eventually on the road it was raining lightly by now. The weather was ok, grey and overcast all day apart from one hour of sunshine. Can anyone guess which hour that was. You win a used rivet if you correctly nominated “ Was it the hour you were sitting in the bus after Ballymena?” On the way home we did see the highlight of the day through a foggy bus window. Dunluce Castle used as House of Greyjoy in GOT

Back home by 830 pm and a brisk walk home had us snuggled up in bed just after 9 pm, a mere 14 hrs after we had left with high hopes of a once in a lifetime experience . Well, in the end they were right

Because I certainly wouldn’t do it again !