Friday, March 23, 2012

9 Days In Ireland

Last week was Karen's 40th birthday so to celebrate we went to Ireland. We had a cottage booked Saturday - Saturday & a night either side just outside Dublin.
We had a ferry booked from Holyhead & having arrived early followed signs to Penrhos Country Park to give Crag a leg stretch before the sailing.
Zooming in on the port, we are travelling on the Irish Ferries ferry behind the Stena Line one
The beach enabled us to give Crag a good run
The ferry we are travelling out on is the Ulysses which is the biggest car ferry on the Irish sea, it cost €100 million & stands 12 decks high and its gross tonnage is 50,938 tonnes. Towering over other vessels at a height of 167 feet (51 metres) from keel to mast. With almost 3 miles of parking space for 1,342 cars or 240 articulated trucks per sailing, basically it is a beast of a ferry.
Looking back at Holyhead as we set sail
After a slow drive through Dublin in the rush hour we get to the Ibis where we are staying the night. This is not a van you would expect to see in the UK!
The next day we set off to drive across Ireland to Waterville where we will be staying for a week. As we drove around the Ring of Kerry the mist was drifting in off the sea.
The camera hasn't really done it justice, but it was impressive
After about 4 hours drive time we have arrived
That evening we wandered down to the centre of Waterville, the sun setting over the bay
The next day (following a recommendation from the night before) headed the 3miles to Inny Strand, a beautiful sandy beach that stretches for 1.5miles
It was great exercise for Crag who had been stuck in the car for most of the two previous days
The river Inny carves the beach in two
Looking out to sea
Then we retrace our steps back to the car, Crag is still chasing after the ball
Which you can see at the top of this picture, the ball has started to fall to bits so isn't very circular by now, but the ball thrower still gets it going a long way down the beach
Rock pools at the other end of the beach
Now Waterville stakes one claim to fame that Charlie Chaplin used to holiday here & there are plenty of reminders about this around the town
The rare museum is only open when they hold their annual festival
Countless coaches stop here for its occupants to pose with Charlie
Well that is one way to recycle last years poster!
Ireland doesn't have the ordnance survey mapping we do so the best map we could get was a 1:50 & they don't have the footpath network we do in the UK so walking is a bit limited on the mountains so on Monday we decided to do a walk from the house & follow some of The Kerry Way
Looking across to Lough Currane
Waterville in the distance
This is the summit we are aiming for Knag (208m)
As we get higher views down on Waterville & the bay
The route is easy to follow but a bit boggy in places
The beach we walked the day before is in the distance
Lough Curranen again
Looking back where we have walked, a couple of horses live up here
One feature of the walk was the number of high step stiles we had to get over, thankfully enough dog owners had pulled the fence away by each stile so Crag didn't have to go over them
Waterville now very much in the distance (about 3 miles away)
There was no summit cairn but we must have found it as we are now dropping down to try to pick a track up to take us back to the road.
We eventually find the track but then get stopped as there are cattle on it. After climbing a wall, a fence & quickly moving through a couple of fields we find the road (phew!).
This part of Kerry has a very warm climate as it is generally on the gulf stream. For example our daffodills are only just coming out whereas theirs have gone over, roses were in bloom too over there.
There are plenty of palm trees in Waterville & this?? we have no idea what plant this is
On the Tuesday we head over to Valencia Island. The house we were staying in was called The Quarters & was the officers quarters when the forth cable was laid across the Atlantic to allow telecommunications between Europe & the USA. This was in 1884 & Valencia Island boasts the first one completed in 1858.
Our first stop was to view the impressive looking Skellig Islands, it's a bit hazy
On a clearer day:
We then drove over to Geokaun Mountain the highest point on the Island at 266m. There are viewpoints to stop at on the way, the following views are from the Fogher Cliffs
Looking down towards Reenadrolaun Point
We then went for a circular walk which included the summit. Looking down on the cable house where the first ran from & where on 16th August 1858 the first message was sent across the cable, "Glory to God in the highest; on earth, peace and good will toward men." Then Queen Victoria sent a telegram of congratulation to President James Buchanan through the line, and expressed a hope that it would prove "an additional link between the nations whose friendship is founded on their common interest and reciprocal esteem."
From the summit looking down on Beginish Island
Fort Point lighthouse
We then drove down to Knight's Town where in the summer a ferry connects the island to the mainland (we used the bridge at Portmagee)
Waterville boasts a good beach at low tide & was only 5mins walk from the house
The large Butlers Arms Hotel dominates the front
This is The Quarters the house we were renting
It had a good run of garden at the side of the house, perfect for throwing sticks or balls
And looking from the front with two palm trees in the garden opposite
And to the right Knag we had been up on Monday
On Wednesday it was Karen's birthday, here she is sporting a new top & cards (this was taken with the new camera which was also a present)
Thank you to everyone who sent cards and messages
After changing out of pj's we headed off to the nearest town of Cahersiveen, we headed over to the ruins of Ballycarbery
We had hoped to get a bit closer but it was all fenced off
We headed back to Cahersiveen where we had spotted a dismantled railway which we had hoped would give us a good walk. This is the old barracks which is now a heritage centre
This is the old railway bridge over the Valencia River, however it was fenced off so that put a stop to our orignal plan.
We had a nice walk around the town park though
And Crag played in the river
Looking down the river with Ballycarbery Castle in the distance
The church in the centre of Cahersiveen
Back in Waterville again this building was a hostel just along from where we are staying, it has been converted into appartments now.
With an interesting folly appartment
Back on the beach again
The Atlantic batters the coast line here
The rural communities have a mobile cinema that visits it
The Saturday was:
We had to leave Waterville & travel back across Ireland to Naas a town just outside Dublin. The weather was interesting on the way over with plenty of rainbows, this one spanning the road
Naas was a really nice little town & where we had one of the best Indians out ever, yes an Irish Indian?
We had plenty of time on Sunday to catch our ferry so went for a walk along the canal
It was a road but with very little traffic
We caught the 2:30 ferry back, this time we were on the Swift which only took 2 hours to cross. We had a brilliant week, made by the fact we saw very little rain, looking forward to getting back to Ireland again another year.

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