We load the Peugeot and hit the road early. After the Subaru this thing is a bit ordinary and more expensive to boot. It obviously peak hour and it take us a while to escape Dublin. Where heading south on the N11/M11 but we soon turn off and follow the R761 passing through numerous small hamlets. It’s coffee time and Wicklow looks inviting.
We drive through town and don’t find a parking spot and end up on the headlands above the village. The view of the breakwater and harbour is picture perfect. It’s a beautiful day as well, almost no breeze and the sun is shinning. We walk around the memorial, as we leave we see a sign for the Black Castle and off we go. The Black Castle is an ancient ruin, little is left but it stands on a beautiful spot overlooking the sea.
On our way back through town we find a parking spot and enjoy a coffee and watch the locals watch us. The day is getting on and we decide we best head out on the M11 for an hour or so and get some miles behind us.
It’s late in the afternoon as we drive into Tramore. The weather has closed in a little, but it been a very pleasant drive. Lots of little hamlets, hills and stone fences. Anyway we spot a B&B next to a small hotel, so we try the Killerick and they have two rooms and we’ve settled in. The proprietor recommends a pub for dinner and some places to see around town.
We imagine that Tremore is the Irish version of a beach side holiday resort. There is a fair in progress and the place has a holiday feel despite being damp. There is a penny arcade type of thing with old style game machines, reminds me of holidays when I was a kid.
We go for a drive out towards three tall columns on a headland near the ocean. After a while we work out they are associated with assisting boats access the channel into the tidal cove. It all very picturesque and unlike anything we see in Australia. The tidal fall must be high as the boats are well up and out of the water on low tide.
We head for the Sea Horse Tavern and settle in for drinks and the seafood chowder. It’s a nice little pub and we soon have a glow going.
After our morning walk, it’s a full Irish breakfast which isn’t all that dissimilar to a full Scottish breakfast we have worked out and where off, heading west. We stop at Dungarvan for lunch in a little cafe. It’s a pleasant town lots of narrow street and interesting shops. Parking is a shocker but we eventually pay to park in a lot along side a garage. It’s a bit of a rip but we think it’s market day and the place is full of people.
We arrive in Cork mid afternoon, we decide not to spend an hour looking for a park and head on to Blarney Castle. If you are ever wondering where all the American tourist have gone we can tell you. There standing in a line holding there sticks and frames waiting to kiss the Blarney Stone.
We enjoy walking the Castle and grounds for an hour, but decide life is too short to spend the rest of the day queued behind the 7 bus loads of Americans and hit the road again.
It’s late in the afternoon when we drive into Tralee. We see a tourist information booth in the main street and inquire about B&Bs. We look at one but decide the Grand Hotel looks nice and give it a go.
It has been a long day and we decide to have a drink in the bar before going on to dinner somewhere else. Alas the beer is cold the wine is good and the bar menu tempting so we kick on at the Grand. A really nice hotel if your in the area.
We spend breakfast planning the day. Despite having to backtrack over the same road, we decide to give Dingle a go. We don’t know much about it but we like the name so we continue west. The road narrows a bit, but there is little traffic as we drive. The scenery is well worth the drive and we stop a few time just to take it in. The weather changes just as often, mist, sun and cloud all take their turn.
We arrive in Dingle before lunch and the place looks a bit quiet. Over the next hour tourists and locals seem to fill the place up. There are lots of little shops and Pam and Jenny are kept busy. The wharf area is full of small fishing boats all well painted and obviously in use. We manage a half good coffee, before heading back to the car. The Irish weather is closing again and we head out of town as the rain kicks in.
While we have enjoyed wandering Southern Ireland the lure of Dublin has captured us. The Ferryman has a couple of rooms waiting for us and we head east and start to make our way into the Center of Ireland. The further east we go the better the road becomes and the heavier the traffic. We call it quits at Portlaoise, staying the night at the Heritage Hotel. Actually a very nice hotel, but more a business conference center than a family hotel.