Busy times in Ireland not much time to blog about it, which of course is a sign of a successful trip. It actually brings to mind a point that Sydney made the other day. I asked her if we were doing too much and should slow down or take some down time. She responded that this is a trip and not a vacation. She has an agenda and things that she wants to do and see. This is the way we travel, life is short and we need to see and experience as much of the world as we can. This being said we are in a wonderfully luxurious hotel in Cork and we will be sleeping in tomorrow. Here is a free plug for the Hotel Kingsley in Cork.
Yesterday was another busy day. Our wonderful Irish tour guide had to work during the day so we were off on our lonesome to explore the southeastern coast of Ireland. The first stop on our trip was Waterford. For all you fancy pants out there this is the home of the world famous Waterford Crystal and yes we went on a tour. Here is a bloke making some of the nice crystal
Here is where the smash they crystal that doesn't meet their high standards. I asked if I could have the cast offs, they said no
Here is a very nice piece that a crafts person is etching by hand. Very impressive.
Next we took some pictures with the first Royal Wedding in Ireland. I forget there names (I know very informative) but it is 11th century and it makes for cool photos.
Our next stop was in Dunmore East. A tiny fishing village on the South coast. It was wonderful, pretty much empty of tourists and we had a beach nearly to ourselves. Below is a photo of me walking knee high into the ocean, what you dont see a picture of is a mini rogue wave soaking my pants. The water is icy cold, take my word for it.
Final stop yesterday was New Ross. This is an interesting river city close to the coast with a vibrant history with a Canadian connection. Before we get into that I should mention that we have rented a car in Ireland and we are driving everywhere. The purpose for us is to see the Major cities such as Dublin and Cork but we also want to see the small places that most tourists miss. We want the true Irish experience and this requires seeing all of the Irish people (Which are so friendly and helpful). If I havent mentioned it yet, they drive on the left here, and it is prohibitively expensive to rent an automatic car. So, I am driving a standard on the wrong side of the road. Ireland also does not have a single intersection, they have roundabouts. It would not be an exaggeration to say I have been through 500 roundabouts already. The rules are different than home and of course backwards. In any case the driving has been interesting and the people have been very patient with me. I will not divulge this entire story yet but if you hear a news story about a stupid Canadian that had 2 different highway's traffic stopped by a police officer so he could safely get back going the right direction it wasn't me (but really it was). Sounds worse than it actually was and I believe I had it in control but thanks to that officer for helping me out. We do have a GPS system in the car (or a SAT NAV as the locals call it) and it has worked wonderfully except for our trip from Dunmore East to New Ross. We plugged in our destination as New Ross and things were going well until..... the GPS says "In 300 meters board the Ferry. What!!?!! Board the ******* ferry???? I dont think so. Will I take the car? Where does this ferry go? What does it cost?? Screw in 300 meters boarding any ferry. We eventually found away around the water and took the land route to New Ross. In later conversations with our Irish friend she said it is just a river crossing that costs 7 Euro and is a lovely little jaunt across the river with our car. Next time Sat Nav
Back to New Ross. First, this is the heritage home of JFK and his family had a farm in the Area. just a few months before he was killed he visited his family homestead and gave a speech from this podium
There is an entire JFK enterprise in this city if you are ever interested. More interesting in my opinion is the human transport of Irish people that came from this city to the New World Canada and US. After the Irish potato famine thousands of Irish people left for a chance at a better life on this ship
It is impossible to imagine how difficult it would be on this voyage. These ships were often called coffin ships as often these ships would end up in port in North American with dozens of dead. It was a sad tour of a history of a country that struggled to survive. So many people died and even more left the country. Just to give you an idea before the famine there were 8 million people in Ireland and today there are only 6 million. So many people left this land. Here are some pics of the dreadful conditions that people faced on this 6 week voyage
Today was mostly a chill day for us. We sadly left or Irish friend and will continue on the rest of the Irish tour on our own. I hate good byes and really had to suck in hard not to sob at the goodbye (I am such a baby). I hope our paths manage to cross again someday. We took the hour and 15 minute drive to cork, and spent the day touring the city. This city has a young and hip vibe but we didnt take many pics today. Here is a picture of our crepes for lunch and the Cork Cheese Museum. Take note of the 1200 year old bog cheese. Yes, bog cheese. Until next time all.