Sunday, May 04, 2008

Chronicles of Ireland

We set off from home at about 5am on Saturday morning and arrived in Stranraer approx 3 and a half hours later. Once we were on the ferry at 10am we had a bacon butty as we hadn't had anything to eat. I then threw mine up after about 10 mins. It was a very rough sea and I hate boats at the best of times. Thankfully it was only an hour and a half crossing to Belfast. But then it took us about 5 hours to drive down to a little place called Dungarvan in County Waterford. Of course, no one told us there were two places called Dungarvan and the sat-nav had taken us to the wrong one. Luckily we were only an hour and a half away from the proper one. The owner of the cottage showed us around the place and once he'd gone we unpacked our cases quickly before driving in to the town centre to get some shopping. Once we got back to the cottage Craig lit the fire and we relaxed with a Chinese takeaway and a bottle of wine...

...and a roaring fire!
These next few photos are of Dungarvan. Below, the harbour. Dungarvan is a bustling seaside town and the administration centre for County Waterford. Its harbour lies on the River Colligan where it widens and enters the sea. The town's origins can be traced back to the 3rd century AD when a tribe called the Deise settled in the area, the surrounding region still bears this name. Dungarvan derives its name from St Garvan, who founded a monastery here in the 7th century.
and below some of the celtic crosses in the churchyard. The Augustinian Priory was founded in the 13th century. The 60 foot high square tower, was adapted as a belfry for the adjoining Catholic church. A tomb beneath the east window of the priory bears the inscription 'Donald McGrath 1490'.
On our travels we saw lots of lovely scenery.

This is the Round Tower (12th century) at Ardmore churchyard. This is one of the finest examples of this type of structure in Ireland. It rises in three steps to a hight of just over 29 metres. In the old days, if the monks were under attack, they would carry everything into the tower up a ladder to where the door was, on about the first or second level, then once all the monks and their things were inside they would draw the ladder up so no one else could get in.

Craig on Youghal Beach
We visited Blarney Castle (below) where Craig climbed to the top of the tower and kissed the Blarney Stone. It's supposed to endow you with the gift of eloquence. I told Craig I reckoned it would mean he talked more crap than usual. He wasn't too impressed. PMSL.

Below is the actual place where you lie on your back, butt hanging off the edge and bend backwards at a 45 degree angle to kiss this tiny little stone. There's a couple of handrails to hang on to and two blokes to hang on to you too, just in case. Needless to say I stayed at the bottom of the stairs - very steep and spiralling - under cover of the gift shop. We got drenched here.

Lismore Castle - built on a cliff overhanging the Blackwater River. The present castle incorporates fragments of the original castle built in 1175 by King John. The medieval cathedral has a splendid Tudor monument, Gothic vaulting and some elegant memorials.

This is the Hook Lighthouse, one of the oldest working lighthouses in the world.

Slade harbour

Tintern Abbey

On Monday evening we went to the Marine Bar at Ring (An Rinn - one of the only Gaelic speaking areas in the whole of Ireland) where they play traditional Irish music. Of course we had to go on one of Craig's magical mystery tours to get there, when in actual fact the pub is only about 10 mins drive from the cottage! Anyway, we got there nice and early so that we could get a good seat, and ended up being the only people in the pub for a good two hours. We didn't know that the music didn't start till about 10pm. We left when the music finished at midnight after a really good night. The musicians and singers, only the three of them, were brilliant and the accordian player could certainly play that thing.

Mahon Falls on the Comeragh Trail (above) and the view from the Falls car park near the top of the mountain. On the odd time that the cloud lifted there was a fantastic view. On the road to the falls there's a Fairy Tree, where if you stop and switch your car engine off, you go backwards UP the hill. It was a really weird feeling. We did it on the way back too - seeing as the road to the top of the mountain was closed for roadworks - and we went UP the hill forwards, even though the engine was off. We got up to about 10 mph that time.

Above - Rock of Cashel

Below - View from the Rock of Cashel

Above - Craig standing next to a crystal clock at Waterford Crystal

Below - Crystal coach and horses at Waterford Crystal


Anonymous said...

Oh my some of the pics take my breath away sis, just stunning.

glad you had a good time.

Lynn said...

sounds like you both had a great time Jacqui. I'll have the details off you so I can take the girls one day ;)

Christina said...

What lovely pictures. Glad you both had a great time.

staci said...

Wow, fantastic pics!

Karan said...

Great pics Jacqui. Sounds like you had a great time. :0)

Jennifer said...

Such GORGEOUS pictures!!!! It makes me want to go to Ireland even more

Rowyn said...

Loved looking at your photos of Ireland, and the story about the Fairy Tree. Ireland is a fascinating place - Loughareema (the vanishing lake in Northern Ireland) always intrigued me when I lived there.