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St George’s News - Waterlooville’s Parish Magazine

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Lent and Easter 2021 issue

The Happy Wanderer in Ireland

Working clockwise my next stop was at the little fishing port of Kilmore Quay although it was pretty and interesting I stayed only a few hours before moving on to Tintern Abbey which was built on land given to the Cistercians in1200 by William Marshal Earl of Pembroke. A lot of conservation work has been going on since the early 80s, so you get a good impression of what it must have looked like in its heyday. Moving on again to Waterford, you’ve guessed it I went to the Waterford Crystal glass factory, which I found interesting, but not enough to want to buy anything.

It was then a meander along the coast road to Cork which I really did like as it is a lovely town and there was so much to do and see. Including visiting the nearby port of Cobh from where 2.5 million people emigrated, many during the potato famine, this was also the last port of call for the Titanic before her fated trip to America. The Titanic museum there is a must if you are ever in the area. Just outside this harbour was where the Lusitania was sunk during World War 1 with loss of 1,198 lives. On a lighter note Blarney Castle is near-by and the blarney stone is at the top of the tower, yes I did go up, no I did not kiss the stone! I think I have enough of that already.

On along the south coast stopping at Charles Fort near Kinsale this is undoubtedly one of the finest 17th century fortifications in Ireland. The small coastal towns of Kinsale, Clonakilty and Bantry in Bantry Bay where the French tried to land a force of 14,000 troops in 1796 which failed due to bad weather, are lovely and also well worth visiting. Then onward round the Beara peninsula where I managed to get a good day’s haddock fishing out of Castownbere “I know fishing again”, well someone has got to do it and it might as well be me. “It’s a hard life being retired”!

Next the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle peninsular, lovely scenery and narrow roads which have a constant stream of tourist coaches coming round in an anti-clockwise direction, which way was I going, you’ve guessed it, this caused a few interesting situations and the loss of one wing mirror. There is so much to do and see in this area including boat trips to see the seals and other wildlife. Dingle itself is a lovely little seaside town, a real tourist hot spot.

Next port of call visiting a castle or two on the way was Limerick where I wanted to visit yet another castle, King John’s Castle. Looking at the map I worked out my route of how to get there without too much trouble, so I thought! Following the river Shannon through the town with castle in sight up a one way street, what do I meet? A 2.5 metre bridge, how tall is my motor-home? 3 metres; ever tried to reverse a large vehicle back down a busy one way street the wrong way, “very interesting”. I’m sure there must now be another limerick circulating after that. St Johns Castle and Limerick were worth the time taken to visit.

Continuing on along the coastline of County Clare stopping briefly at Kilrush and then on to the Cliffs of Moher, a popular beauty spot which had a large car park, costing 4 euros, which was pay as you leave. Well the two Paddies in the kiosk were so busy chatting to me that the cars behind started hooting their horns for me to move on, “so I did” hearing a scream from the kiosk as I did so, they had only forgotten to raise the barrier and I had managed to drive through and over it, I had tears of laughter running down my cheeks all the way to the next camp site as the last sight I had of them in my rear view mirror was one holding up his hand stopping the cars and the other standing holding the broken off barrier in his arms, I still smile to this day when thinking of it and it happened two years ago.

In the same location is an area called The Burren which is a barren, deeply fissured limestone plateau many miles across. Close by are the Aillwee caves, which are caused by rain water eating the limestone away over millions of years. Not forgetting all the Stone Age Tombs and chambers, including the famous Poulnabrone Dolman 25000BC. Altogether it was a very interesting area to visit.

After that it was on around the West Coast visiting Galway, Westport, Newport and Ballina all different but interesting towns each with their own character and a popular Salmon fishing area. It was while I was in Ballina that my back started playing up again, so the sensible thing to do was to get over to the east coast and Dublin in case it got really bad and I would have trouble driving; even then it took me two days to get there. Once there I rested for several days and I am glad to say it improved enough to go sightseeing.

Dublin is a beautiful town divided by the river Liffey with many bridges each with its own character and style including the Half Penny bridge which used to be a toll bridge, “I will not say how much the cost of the toll was”. There was so much to see and do along the river, seeing many statues including Molly Malone’s, visiting the Guinness brewery and Old Jameson distillery, “pity I don’t like whisky”. But the Guinness went down OK.

My conclusion is that Ireland is a lovely country with great scenery and so much to see, but it is anti motor caravaners “if you have a large van” as there were so many beauty spots I wanted to stop at, but found it impossible to stop due to height barriers everywhere or boulders blocking lay-by’s, this is done to stop gypsies camping but must be also stopping motor caravaners going back and them warning their friends who may travel there in the future of the problem. But saying that, I really did enjoy my holiday in Ireland. Will I go back? Perhaps one day, to Northern Ireland and complete my circuit as there is still a lot to see north of the border.

As always there were many more places that I have not mentioned but précising it down to four pages and keeping the story interesting, means that there will always be a lot left out.

Christine Culley

From the Archives, First published Christmas 2007

The first day’s travel was down to the south west tip of Wales, to a camp site near Pembroke ferry port as my ferry was leaving mid morning next day. On this trip I left my car behind as some of the roads I was expecting to be travelling, were not suitable for towing a car, mind you that had never stopped me before.

My first stop in Ireland was on a smallholding near Lady’s Island not far from Rosslare ferry port belonging to an acquaintance of mine, we were hoping to get a couple of days fishing in, but after two days of strong winds making it impossible to take the boat out I decided to move on.