We had few expectations for our overnight stay in Cardiff and first impressions when we got off the train tended to confirm that these were appropriate.
However, I had read about the docklands redevelopment so we set out in search of it and after wearing out a little more of the soles of our footwear we finally saw an interesting building in the distance which turned out to be the Millenium Centre, a very impressive structure that was part of an equally impressive waterfront area on Cardiff Bay. The weather co-operated and a pleasant afternoon was had.
Monday was one of those days largely about getting from A to B. First we had a train trip from Cardiff to Fishguard. We showed our improving travel skills and muscled our way into some seats for the journey as again a reservation seemed impossible. We had a “reservation voucher” but the purpose of this was lost on us and every rail official we asked.
So far so good, then just as the train started to edge out of the station, three “ladies”, six young children and enough luggage to sink the Titanic (again) clogged the aisle as they broadcast to everyone that they were “lookin” for 9 seats all together. After about 10 minutes they came to the conclusion that it was a physical impossibility on a train and nobody else was moving to accommodate them. There were plenty of seats, but not 9 in a convienent semi circle around a table. Had we known what was in store we probably would have evacuated the entire car and left them to it.
The three ladies proceeded to sit in a four seat table arrangement and became engrossed in conversation, while the kids spread out through the car and became hell bent on creating unrestrained mayhem. It was an interesting trip and very entertaining.
A ferry crossing is a ferry crossing whether it is Cook Strait or the Irish Sea, swells, a boring horizon, but Ruth decided the Irish Sea fish looked hungry and fed them. The shade of green that she turned was appropriate given that we were about to set foot in the Emerald Isles.
The receptionsist at the hotel we stayed in overnight congratulated us on bringing the fine weather with us. Given that it was blowing a gale and rather overcast we assumed she had been sitting in the bar most of the day drinking the profits.
The gale had eased to a very strong wind by the morning with only frequent passing showers so our trip south through Cork county and then into Kerry county was punctated by me turning the car indicator on to clear the windscreen and the wipers on when we wanted to turn. As visibility reduced to near zero it then became a scramble to find how the lights worked. The cars behind probably thought that I had downed a couple of pints of Guiness for breakfast. Hopefully I will get it sorted.
The hosts at the airbnb we are staying in gave us GPS co-ordinates and I fed them into the Maps.me app which led us exactly to the accommodation. I have no idea where were are but we are beneath Irelands highest “mountains”, MacGillycuddy’s Reeks somewhere between Killarney (Taupo on steroids) and Killorgan where they are about to crown a goat as king of the town for three days and three nights in their annual Puck Festival, the oldest festival in Ireland. They have to go out and capture the goat so I am lying low after my initial driving efforts.
Speaking of our hosts, Riona and Paddy, they invited us over for drinks and gave us a great briefing on the area. Their “shed” is a very comfortable arrangement with a loft bed and a very pleasant kitchen, dining, lounge area downstairs.Amazingly stocked with food and as we are finding out, a great location, it and the hosts get top marks from us.
Day one in Kerry was a complete washout, biblical rain which did not upset us too much, a good excuse to not do too much. We did venture out in the afternoon to get some money and petrol and kind of hoped that the forecast clearance in the weather may arrive early. The traffic in the town was chaotic and rain still torrential so we gave shop browsing a miss, it briefly brightened so we headed up to Torc Falls, they should be pumping in this weather.
It was only 200 metres from the carpark to the falls, cool, the rain eased to steady drizzle so we went for it, but 50 metres into our dash it seemed as if we had run under the falls but no, it was a predicted heavy burst of rain that we were encountering. We grabbed a photo and sprinted back to the car, turned the heated up full and attempted to dry out on the slow trip “home”. I hope the brief exposure of my camera to so much water would not kill it as well.
We decided to have a shot at a road trip around the Dingle Peninsula today. In short, it was everthing you expect to see in Ireland. The barren hills with the cottages dotted across them, brooding clouds, the Atlantic smashing into the cliffs (not me), the fields separated by stone walls and we even discovered at times, the hedges were made up of fuschias which were flowering profusly. The weather stayed dry, we negotiated the, at times, very narrow roads, especially over the Connor Pass. We struggled to find a place to get a cup of tea and coffee in Dingle, if you had a thirst for a pint, this was your paradise, every building seemed to be a pub.
We popped into a shop to purchase a card we liked, both were dressed in three layers of clothes to keep out the summer chill. The lady in the shop commented on what a nice day it was but warned that we needed to make the most of it as it was not going to stay like this for long.
Lets hope the different shades of green on the ground, that were so dazzling today, are not overshadowed by the different shades of grey above.