Pete & Lesley Go to Ireland
The Itinerary

The evolving story and some pictures taken along the way

It was Monday so we set out from home after coffee on a brilliantly sunny day and headed for Newbury.
The A34 was quiet and lunchtime approached.
"Off the motorway" suggested Hilliers garden centre at Hermitage, where we got a nice cooked lunch.

Onwards west on M4, past Bristol, the continuation over the new bridge - 5.60 if you please.  But we were in Wales!
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Puzzled by welsh road signs written in strange tongue.

Then it all slowed to a crawl, well it was coming on going home time, Eventually we passed the steelworks at Port Talbot and on to Caerfyrddin. [no I can't pronounce it either]

After Cardigan our spirits rose
(sorry for scruffy photo - it was a quick grab shot off the line at the roundabout)

The road got less crowded and we zoomed the remaining 45 miles to Goodwick (aka Wdig) (near Fishguard) and The Seaview Hotel at the foot of the hill down to The Strand. We were hungry and tired so had a bar meal and an early night.

In the morning the breakfast was excellent, really nice bacon, and an experimental tasting of white pudding was most rewarding. All served by a lovely lady who had been an ballet dancer, and knew Edinburgh well. Breakfast was followed by a leisurely repacking of the car and off to the ferry port at 10:30 ish on the misty morning.
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The huge steel Stena ferry set off at 13:10 and steamed
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past a barely visible lighthouse and into the Irish sea, which was almost flat calm

We had paid the premium for lounge access etc, but were disappointed to find that the lounge didn't have windows with much of a view out. Lesley went exploring and found a small lounge aft of the Barista bar with comfy seats facing a spread of rear windows where you can sit happily looking at the ocean where the ferry has just been. We enjoyed watching the blue sky and sea.

After a couple of hours steaming it was clearly not going to get lumpy so we ventured a good lunch. (fish and chips with comforting mushy peas for Pete)

Soon after lunch Rosslare arrived, the sun was shining and our premium fare meant that we were amongst the first off. So out with the Ireland Road Atlas, [thanks to John and Judith for lending it to us.]

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Lesley was driving,

as we followed a bunch of German bikers up the main road (N25) towards Wexford. We found out that in Ireland all roads have numbers, like N25 for the main roads all the way down to narrow lanes eg L43562. [I wonder if there are special meanings if a road is labelled with a prime number?], More of these numbers anon

We soon turned left onto the R733 and headed west for Arthurstown along a pleasant country road, with long straight sections. We were to notice that country roads here seem to have more long straight sections than back home. Did they have Romans here in the distant past?  We also noticed that there are a number of nice new houses set on their own beside the country roads, which seem to be miles from anywhere.
Clouds grew, and we passed through Colman (aka Arthurstown) to Ballyhack and onto the floating bridge

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Ferry across the estuary of the river Suir which leaves frequently from Ballyhack

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to Passage East, where we swapped drivers in The Square.

The road continued to Tramore with blue skies to welcome us to this small seaside resort which was to be our base for the next two nights.

It was Tuesday evening when we arrived at Cloneen B & B in Tramore, our hosts had come to Ireland from UK 30 years ago, Having lived in Sipson - but a stone's throw from the old EMI Labs where Peter worked for 27 years.
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Our room had a flower crested balcony.

On Wednesday we went on an exploration of Waterford about 10 miles away.

The overcast had other plans and took over all 8 oktas (eighths) of the sky [Meterorologists are like dancers - they only count up to eight] .
We found an oldish town, with mostly narrow streets and small shops and a lot of full parking bays.
We found the Apple Market - (nobody there selling computers). It is an old square with pillars holding aloft a huge modern roof the underside of which is a huge triangular plane mirror. it is claimed to feature excellent eating places around the periphery. It is an outdoor venue for music, song, leaping about and general frolicking in the hours of darkness (beyond our bedtime).
Sorry no photos but see here

Then it rained, we went in search of lunch in the suburbs and found a number of modern shopping plazas, all very American. Found lunch in one of the bars - very dark inside, with tall stools with short backs drawn up to the bar also just like USA. South again through the drizzle and found Dunmore East

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View of Dunmore East in the rain.

The nearby golf course gave shelter, provided tea and biscuits and a view of friendly Rook.
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Rook on a table.

The drizzle continued until lights out.

Thursday was an improvement. Blue sky, and puffy clouds. Paid up, packed the car, bade the hosts farewell and set off along the Copper Coast

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towards Youghal along the R675.

Visiting the small fishing harbour at Dunbratin.
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With its diverse fishboxes
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The Tourist centre [in an unused church] informed us that in the past this coast was into mining like Cornwall. (Expect that geologists would tell us that the two were joined up in some bygone era).
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We drove past the Tankardstown engine house

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parked and went down onto Ballydowanie cove

where copper ore (the greenish hue) is visible at the base of the cliff.
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wandered along the beach

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and saw yellow lichen on the rocks

Looking for lunch at Dungarvan we found a pub where Pete was delighted with a snack of pork ribs.
Forsaking the main road we wandered the back roads to Ardmore, where the main road heads to the sea
Nearby a tearoom is run by a gent who disposed of his large shoe business when an opportunity happened, and now has a quieter and less stressful life providing tea, cake and nick-nacks to a diminishing (so far this year) flock of tourists.

The end of Thursday was at Eochaill (aka Youghal - give up? = Yawl) at the newly refurbished
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Devon View Lodge B&B

[ no not some atmospheric effect enabling 170 mile point to point vision at sea level. There used to be The Devonshire Hotel just across the road.] Run by a friendly Polish lady called Lucy who presented us with glasses of white wine on arrival
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and introduced us to her 18 month old daughter. We hear that Walter Raleigh lived nearby for a time after returning with the potatoes from the new world. He first grew them here. He was mayor of Youghal for two years - maybe this is the Devonshire connection.

Exploring in the evening beside the little harbour
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The sun was going down, it created an interesting shadow on a wall. near which we found Moby Dick's pub

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which had provided a key location in the eponymous movie.

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We asked there for Quequeg, but they'd not seen him since before the great storm.

Friday {although by now we were so relaxed we were uncertain of what day it was] was expected to be grey, but there were patches of blue. We had coffee at a pottery up a narrow lane
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We had a brief rainy spell around midday as we were approaching Midleton where we found a traffic jam and a Tesco for some shopping.

We found Cobh ( = Cove ) on an island just east of Cork set on a steeply sloping south edge of its island. The road layout is very reminiscent of Ventnor in the Isle of Wight.
We arrived at our digs in mid afternoon. Supper happened in the square
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with The Roscoff ferry passing by.

A shopping trip into Cork began Saturday under cloudy skies. We hed been invited to Lunch some miles to the south by Stephen o'Reilly and his good lady Louise
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After lunch they took us on a drive to nearby Kinsale....
Kinsale is a pretty port which has served in the past as a base for the Royal Navy, when it was guarded by twin forts.
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Kinsale from Charles Fort.

As we arrived in the town the sun came out and we enjoyed a walk amogst the brightly decorated houses. Click here for Kinsale images

Before leaving Kinsale, the call of nature revealed, on the inside of the Gents door
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the local preoccupation with privacy

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Sunday 17th saw us set out further west -

in sunshine, but with brooding clouds. By lunchtime we were in Clonakilty, where we found a small square and an excellent healthy lunch sitting outside with the occasional single raindrop.
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On the opposite side of the street outside the Sweet Shop, some Disney escapees were busking the crowds
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Driving on through the dzizzle we hurried through grey Skibbereen, to Ballydehob (yes it is a real place - not an invention by P.G. Wodehouse.) a village with a population of around 250, which sports it's own Jazz Festival.
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We found tea in a community cafe, which hadn't quite done with Sunday lunch.

And set out onwards to Bantry
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through the lowering clouds

To arrive at our overnight at Killaha East outside Kenmare in the rain, and to leave it also in the rain in the morning.
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Map of Iveragh Peninsula showing b&b stops at
a)Killaha East, nr Kenmare,
b)The Smugglers Inn,

Monday was our first day at the ring of Kerry. We had planned to drive around anti clockwise, but were advised to proceed in the opposite direction [in the same direction as the many visitor coaches - to avoid a deal of reversing on the narrow bits] So we set out over the mountain towards Killarney along the N71 upto Moll's gap
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with low cloud on the hilltops.
and then following the serpentine N71 road down the mountain to Killarney, - shopping and lunch, and onwards along N72 to Kilgorlin and then round the north coast of the Iveragh Peninsula on the N70. We were having a soft day.

About 3/4 of the way to the end at around tea time we came to Cahairsiveen - a linear village where we found a cafe
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and a surprise.

4 years ago a lady from France came to Cahairsiveen, fell in love and stayed on. She now runs a Salon de The with real buttery patisserie

Duly refreshed we soon arrived at The Smugglers Inn.
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The inn is in a quiet spot close to the beach just outside Waterville. The nearby golf course seems to attract the famous. The Smugglers restaurant in the large conservatory offers views of the nearby coastline and islands whilst the menu prices reflect the clientelle. On the nearby beach, there is evidence of a recent nautical drama:
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We saw some interesting wildlife there on the grass between the pub and the sea. Peter went to look at the 'wreck' and had the good fortune to be approached by a young hare, which sat a couple of metres away looking at him and sniffing diligently. On the grass between the inn and the sea there was an abundance of pied wagtails. Later at dinner (from the less costly bar menu excellent Hake - fried in crispy batter. Seems that they just use flour, milk and seasoning - must try it) we were all blessed by seeing mother Hare and leveret scampering across the grass.
We had a comfortable room with a seawards view. Before supper we could see houses on the other side of the bay under low cloud, whilst in the morning fog obscured them entirely.

Evening view
Morning view

We set off again after breakfast to complete our trip round the ring. The N70 road round parts of the coast was shrouded in fog.
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The clouds had lifted by the time we reached Sneem, where the river is the centre of attention, with
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anglers fishing just below
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the rapids.
We drove 'the long way round' avoiding the tourist coaches on the serpentine road. We were slightly delayed in Killarney by the crowds and their vehicles queueing up for a wake (which we are told is part of the extended funeral formalities, beginning with paying respects, which was what we had stumbled upon) We arrived at Coolmagort
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where we were welcomed by Ulrike, a charming and helpful German lady who pointed us to Kate Kearney's Cottage at the foot of the gap of Dunloe for supper.

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Where Pete discovered Cabbage and Bacon

Wednesday 20 June dawned less cloudy, so we decided to have another look at the Iveragh peninsula via the 'middle road'
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Passing Lough Acoose

to The Climbers Pub for coffee
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at Glencar

Then a left turn onto a narrow road heading (don't recall seeing a number) for Ballaghbeama Gap, and on to the R568 to Moll's Gap
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A cyclist whizzing past having just come down the hill

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up to the gap
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and over the top
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View from lunch table at Moll's Gap restaurant
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Following one of the coaches down the narrow serpentine from Moll's Gap

We ended the day with a visit to Muckross park just outside Killarney.

Thursday 21 saw us turn north east towards Dublin, making for our overnight at Adare near Limerick.

On the way we visited Tralee, where they have a new display of their history in the Museum. We took a walk round this and in the reconstruction of a medieval street came across various lifesize plaster figures, very much like the characters from Mike's Coarse Acting book, complete with lighting effects!

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An Actor
An Actress
Over Actor Coarse Actor

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The afternoon took us alongside the mighty Shannon

Onwards to Adair and our most stunning B and B venue yet Click here for some images

Friday Morning after a nice breakfast, we set off for Dublin,
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joining the M7

As mentioned earlier Ireland has numbered roads - Seems like just about all of them, from motorways to three ply.
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Road number seen in Co Cork

I imagine that somewhere in the depths of the administration there is an office filled with lists of Irish roads.
There is an item on this in Wikipedia

We found our way to the Dublin ring road, and turned right - our hotel was some miles south of Dublin at Newtown Mount Kennedy. The Parkview hotel nestled in the middle of the village, with a terrace facing a small stream with a park beyond. (The other side of the hotel is entirely built up.) We sat on the terrace in the evening sunshine and enjoyed a drink, watching wagtails (both pied and grey) playing round the stream. We enjoyed supper in the restaurant. On the Saturday, Gill, a friend of Lesley's from way back came down to see us, with Lulu her little dog,

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Lesley Gill and Lulu

Gill drove us to some places of generally horticultural interest.
First for coffee and a huge cheese scone, and then to the splendid gardens at Mount Usher, which we wandered around until tea time.

Click here for some images

An early night and final packing were necessary as we had to catch the early ferry on Sunday Morning

We set off from the hotel at 06:15 and drove up the fairly deserted N11 / M11 and then following the ferry signs (carefully ignoring those to the old ferry port at Dun Laoghaire) wound up on the Strand Road at Sandymount, where we could see the spread of Dublin Bay in the low tide and the new powerstation, with glorious blue sky.
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Dublin Bay

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Following the signs through the docks brought us to the inevitable queue
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Boarding was painless, we found splendid seats with a view over the bow. And free cups of coffee. and a small cooked breakfast.
There was a delay while they boarded extra passengers and lorries as Irish Ferries (the opposition) - were broken down in Holyhead (much grinning by Stena crew). The sea was flat calm, there being no wind. Soon we were on our way following a truck ferry into the sparkling Irish Sea.
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In a couple of relaxing hours we saw Anglesey emerge from the haze.
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We landed around noon ... and then we drove home

(Quequeg was a starring role in the Mike Green classic Moby Dick from Coarse Acting played, if memory serves, before royalty by R Duval CBE)

30June 2018 look(8).html