4th October 2019 - 3rd November 2019

We have left our lovely Manor and travel to Ireland the weather is getting slowly worse as the days shorten and autumn sets in with a vengeance, the upside of this is the changes in colours with the leaves being any colour from Green, red all shades of yellow and brown. Magnificent.

We drive to Holyhead in Wales to spend the night as the ferry leaves early in the morning. Our pub is on a one-way street and takes a bit of getting into the carpark. Ross gets direction but comes to the car saying he could not understand a word of it. The room when we arrive is large and clean the pub is the opposite, so we wander through Holyhead looking for somewhere to eat, not a very exciting town. We settle for Indian, it is the sort of place where if you order any drink other than beer the waiter looks at you and brings a beer anyway. We drink beer and have quite a pleasant meal.

A pleasant ferry trip followed by a race to Roscommon to see Father Norman, who is off on holiday the next day. We had a very pleasant visit and leave promising to return for his 100th Birthday in 18 months’ time. Our B and B that night was lovely if slightly out of our way. GPS issues had us lost on our return from dinner and me again envisioning a night in the car. We did eventually find it.

Ireland
Fr Norman at front door of castle
Fr Norman at front door of castle
Our B and B very nice if hard to find
B and B welcoming front door

A wet and windy trip saw us arrive in Kenmare where we are staying for 10 days. The house is on the main road and for some reason I go past it every time we return from anywhere. My cousin Paul and Jean came to stay, and we have a brilliant time travelling the Ring of Kerry with the “wow” scenery at every turn. The weather also put on a grand show with rain, mist, sun, rainbows and wind. Making the scenery magical and mystical. The rainbows in Ireland are the brightest I have ever seen one actually for a few moments had 3 arcs, I have never seen that before.

It is getting colder and the trees are wonderfully colourful, autumn is a wonderful time in Britain. After a few great meals and a fabulous afternoon tea at a hotel we would never have found, but one that Norma told us about we left Kenmore and set out to Derry.

After Paul and Jean left we had a few days by ourselves. A lovely trip on a cold but dry day saw us in Kilarney where I managed a bit of Christmas shopping. It is along the ring of Kerry so once more I could not resist the photo opportunities.

We had been told by a friend in Derry, who knows this area not to miss the afternoon tea at Sheen Falls Hotel. This turned out not to be very far away, but not a spot we would have normally visited. When we got there the hotel is on the river with the falls in it's back garden a beautiful setting. We were one table amongst mostly empty tables it being mid week. One of the tables was a bride to be and her family organising the wedding party. I so wanted to gatecrash that wedding in such a fairy tale place. 

Afternoon tea was great and very filling a short walk in the gardens afterwards (good for the digestive system), i was luck enough to see a rainbow over the river and was joined by a cheeky robin. I know robins are carnivores, so did not offer him any crumbs. 

A lovely trip, we find the roads in Ireland easy the scenery breathtaking and we found a place to stay the night in Galway. Galway was a very pretty town with nice shops and good pubs.

In Derry we were warmly welcomed by Roz and Colm and went out to dinner with them both and Norma at a beautiful gastro pub in the local manor house. The meal was great as was the service until we tried to leave. We could not find anyone to pay!! I ended up going into the kitchen to get some help and we managed to pay. If Norma had not known the owners, it would have been tempting just to go. President Clinton had stayed at the Hotel and Norma had met him. How good is that.

Next stop Ballyclare and a visit to Paul and Jean. Paul took us to the Titanic exhibition, perhaps not the best choice for people about to embark on a 40-day cruise to Australia. Having said that it was a great exhibition which we all thoroughly enjoyed. I particularly enjoyed the ride in a cable car around the “factory” watching the ship being built.

Onto the ferry again and back to England another night in Holyhead. We had much better accommodation this time and although it was raining walked to the local feeding hole down the hill. We arrived slightly damp to be told it had finished serving early as the season was finished and to try the local Chinese. Two local (quite inebriated) who had been smoking in the doorway and had joked with us on the way in asked why we had not stayed. On being told we were hungry and were off to the Chinese, they jumped into action. First, we got a list of all the better places to eat, the ones that would be still open (a smaller list) then the ones in walking distance (should perhaps have started with these), I guess the alcohol was not helping. While one of the men was ringing the closest restaurant the other gave us the 5th degree as to why we were not staying at his B and B. Eventually we were sent on our way with directions to those lights over there!!

We arrived the next day in Portmerion, the set for the series The Prisoner which Ross really enjoys. We had a fabulous meal in the pub that evening. Our taxi driver to and from tried to teach us Welsh and quoted poetry to show us how beautiful the language is. She was extremely proud of being Welsh and living in the area.