A Travellerspoint blog

The beginning of the end

Leaving on a jet plane

semi-overcast
View Neville's Adventures in the Moo-K on Buccas's travel map.

Final day of being tourists, and we were determined to make the most of it. Up and out of the apartment early-ish (early for tourists, anyway) and into town again, via the Mercy International Centre. Today the bus took us out to the Kilmainham Gaol for a tour and we learned about the prisoners, political and otherwise, who had been housed there. From people intentionally offending during the time of the famine in order to get one meal a day, to the political prisoners who ended up being politicians, there was quite a selection of 'criminals' on offer.
Lunch was at Fade St Social on the recommendation of Simon's telemarketer friend Kevin. Unfortunately Tiago wasn't working until later that night, but our waiter was essentially the Irish version of Anthony Callea. The meal was deeeeeeee-licious, a mouth watering assortment of local foods. So glad that our last proper Irish meal was of such a high standard - thanks for the tip, Kevin!
Time to wander the shops and soak up the atmosphere, and digest the dinner, and then we thought we'd explore Phoenix Park in more detail. So back on the tourist bus, where we consolidated our amazing knowledge of Dublin trivia. Bram Stoker's grandmother read horror stories to him as a child, and he married an ex-girlfriend of Oscar Wilde's. Oscar ended up in jail (tactfully undisclosed crime committed), while Jonathan Swift ended up the Dean of St Patrick's. He was thought to be mentally ill due to Meniere's disease, founded a hospital, was all for boiling children and feeding them to the poor, and wrote Gulliver's Travels as a scathing political commentary rather than light-hearted children's story. A descendant of Arthur Guinness paid for restorations to St Patrick's, and Christchurch was originally a wooden structure, until the Normans came along a replaced it. Factoid overload!
When we had finally facted our way to Phoenix Park, it had started raining. Quite a bit. Enough to make the idea of strolling about seem like rather a bad idea. Ice cream seemed like a much better idea, so for the sixth time we entered an establishment called Murphy's.
At last, it was time to give up on our tourist aspirations and walk back to the apartment and collect Hanz. With one final wave to Morris, we drove out to the airport. Hertz set a new bench mark for efficient rental car return, and we cruised through Dublin security. The airport seemed so quiet and small, almost like we were back in Melbourne at 3am. We had the compulsory pre-flight Mars bar, and then it was onto the plane for 21 hours (or thereabouts).
The flights were no more painful than would be expected - the usual combination of crying children, strange foods offered to you at strange hours, queues for the toilet, odd movies, feeling cramped and completely demolishing a good book or two. The highlight was catching a train between gates at Dubai airport - made the Belfast airport seem completely insignificant in comparison.
We arrived in Melbourne at an hour far too early to disclose, and again breezed through customs and security (obviously I looked much less suspicious this time around). Currencies were exchanged, and a bus to Ballarat found for Pat, and then Belinda, Simon, Neville and I were couriered back to Werribee by Sam. Not sure who was more excited to see us again - Di, Chuck or Ruby!
Time for a spot of faffing before heading home to Camperdown, where Neville made a triumphant return to Coverdale's place to watch the grand final with some of his fans.
And so we munched on little boys and party pies, watched the AFL and knew we were definitely back in Straya and the adventure was over. But who knows what the next adventure will be...?

Posted by Buccas 04:05 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

O'Neill-a-rama

Everybody loves The Corrs

sunny

Today started slowly, and with great disappointment. The slowness was due to a significant lack of sleep (a direct result of heat + traffic noise), and the disappointment related to our inability to find Jeremy Kyle on television. *sigh*
We forced ourselves to face the day anyway, and walked into Dublin town - past O'Neill's pub. We boarded the tourist bus, which took us past St Patrick's cathedral. There seemed to be a distinct lack of Buccheri themed buildings, but at least Pat was made to feel welcome here!
We disembarked the bus at the Guinness Storehouse and toured our way around the magical land of Guinness. Simon finally started to feel like he belonged in Ireland when an Italian girl was assigned to teach us to pour our very own pint of Guinness. Belinda was an absolute pro - until she got cocky with the serving of her perfectly full pint. Regardless of how well we poured, it all tasted the same on the way down, and was complimented by stew and potatoes. Irishtastic!
The tourist bus then took us around the city, and into Phoenix Park - gotta love those cities that understand the importance of green space. Phoenix Park could fit Central Park inside it twice, to give you an idea of the size of it.
Next tourist stop - Temple Bar. Ah yes, this is where all the other tourists had been hiding! Simon had rather a close shave here - literally. A hot towel shave, which left him feeling very relaxed, and very smooth indeed.
We wandered the shops, and Belinda managed to give a fellow tourist directions - particularly impressive given that we had been in Dublin less than 24 hours ourselves. Grafton Street was the place to be for buskers, of varying levels of expertise. Butler's sold us The Most Chocolatey Milkshake Of All Time, and then we scored a free Irish coffee at O'Sullivans. For the record - not that great, whiskey tastes better on its own.
Dinner was at O'Neill's pub - a different one to the O'Neill's we had walked past earlier in the day! We were lured in by the promise of traditional music, traditional food, free wi-fi and a whiskey bar. Things started well, with the most delicious boards of cheeses and meats and deep fried deliciousness. Things got confusing when working out how and where to order further drinks, with staff claiming that we couldn't get this here and you couldn't get that there. Pat was denied the whiskey bar, at which point Simon went downstairs and possibly contributed to someone getting fired (or at least getting a good talking to from their boss). The main meals were not up to the high standard that entree had established, and the music hadn't started yet - and was not due to start for several hours. Instead we enjoyed the interesting selection of recorded music playing over the speakers. The playlist went something like this: Corrs, U2, Corrs, Rod Stewart, U2, Corrs, U2, Rod Stewart, Corrs, Savage Garden... wait, what?! Just when we were completely confused, The Pixies came on. And then it was back to the U2-Corrs-Rod Stewart mix. Brilliant. Belinda and I played "Tourist or Local" until we nearly got sprung, and then it was time to make our way back to the apartment. The boys decided to lead us on a "short cut" through Trinity College. Needless to say, it wasn't a short cut, but we made it out of the web of academia eventually and into the warm, warm apartment building that smelled faintly of chicken curry. Ah Dublin, you crazy city...

Posted by Buccas 03:11 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

It's getting hot in here

all seasons in one day

This morning we were driven back to Camp to collect Hanz, and put TVHC on a bus back to Belfast. He was probably our most cautious driver yet (apart from Buccas, of course!) - and even he was doing 65 km/h in a 50 zone. The conversation revolved mainly around gaelic football and hurling, very important topics.
Hanz was patiently waiting for us, but he seemed to have shrunk in size, or our suitcases had grown. Serious tetris skills required - and we made it work in the end. We drove to Cashel and stopped for lunch - sandwiches with a side of crisps, of course. Sightseeing today was at the Rock of Cashel, where Belinda demonstrated her prowess at hopping (which was supposedly related to her suitability for marriage).
Next stop, and our final destination for the holiday, was Dublin. We navigated the perils of busy traffic (including plenty of bicycles) and found our way to our apartment. Morris was ridiculously lovely, and the apartment was ridiculously hot. But of course, there was only a heater for making things hotter, and no cooling system available. Sigh.
We made a trip to the shops for supplies, and had a quick drink at Dublin's version of the H-bar before treating ourselves to a Chinese banquet of deliciousness. H-bar provided cocktail and whiskey opportunities after that, and full marks went to the waiter for giving us his Dorito's in the absence of any Tayto's. A very enjoyable evening, capped off with a documentary about bears. Nice one Dublin, nice one!

Posted by Buccas 15:43 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Curse of the yellow man

Done and dingled

sunny

The final day of walking started well - we were up and away early, and chatted and sang as we strolled along the road. The chatting stopped abruptly when we realised that we hadn't seen our yellow man for awhile, and appeared to be walking away from the mountain we were supposed to be climbing. Feck.
We consulted the map (and a local farmer) and discovered, to our horror, that we were going The Wrong Way. Gah! Getting back on track was easy enough, it just meant we'd added a few extra kilometres. Not really what we were hoping for.
We stopped for 7up to celebrate going the right way again, and then headed towards Mount Brandon. It seemed to take forever to get there, and all the while we vowed we would never miss a yellow man sign again.
Once at the mount, we promptly ignored the yellow man sign. He was standing out in the middle of nowhere, and the other option was a well-formed track. We chose track - until the map told us otherwise. Yellow man then became a much more frequently appearing and easy to follow sign as we progressed up the shoulder of the mountain. Yesterday had been a "short, sharp" climb but today's was long and painful. Plenty of stops to admire the view along the way... and oh, the relief when we made it to the top! There were photos a-plenty, picknicking and reapplying of sunscreen - yet another gloriously sunny day. I would have appreciated the temperature being a few degrees cooler, but was quite happy about the lack of rain situation.
Yet again, the descent was nearly harder than the ascent - not as many prickles as yesterday, but plenty of holes and slippery rocks and sludge. Knees and ankles were really unhappy at this point, but we all made it off the mountain with all limbs still functioning.
As we walked towards Brandon, we got stuck in a traffic jam of sheep. You know you're in Ireland when that happens. At the end of the Brandon loop, we stopped for refreshments at our third Murphy's pub in three days. We then proceeded to miss our turn off. Again. Adding yet another kilometre to the trip. What a bunch of eejits!
The home stretch seemed to stretch on and on and on, but we stayed true to the yellow man this time and made it to Cloghane with triumphant (and tired) smiles on our faces. Made it!
The highlight of tonight's dinner was my entree - chicken goujons of amazingness. Best chicken goujons EVER. What a way to finish the Way! Zzzzzzz....

Posted by Buccas 15:20 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Mount Doom

Up Kerry!

sunny

I started the day in a different way today - with pancakes! Unfortunately they were not great - served me right for deviating from the routine. On the topic of deviations, our host convinced us to take the mountain option instead of the boring, flat road option. "Go over the mountain", he said. "It'll be fun", he said. So, with the promise of amazing views and less risk of being run over by cars, we boldly set off to climb our mountain. And climb it we did! It was hard slog, but truly magnificent 360 degree views from the top made it all worthwhile. Belinda took some stunning photos up there, but don't know that any of them really captured the pain.
Going up the mountain had been described as being a "short, sharp" climb, but getting down the other side turned out to be a "long, prickly" climb. The track all but disappeared, and was replaced by prickles and blackberries and bracken. And hedges. And barbed wire fences, which we were supposed to just leap over.
Basically, the way down the mountain was a badly described and completely unmarked route, full of peril and danger. Pat the Conqueror to the rescue! He boldly went ahead and fell in holes and was ensnared by blackberries and sliced through ferns twice his height - and then calmly pointed out the safest place for us to put our feet. Neville and TVHC had to get a lift in the backpack for this - their knees and ankles just couldn't cope.
Murphy's in Ballyferriter offered welcome respite - lunch, and the end of the juniors gaelic football final (up Kerry). Simon then changed his name to BuKerry and decided to stay and watch the seniors match, and booked a taxi to our final destination for the night.
The rest of us slathered ourselves in sunscreen, and were immediately spotted as Aussies for doing so. Off we went again, this time across much more benign terrain - along the flat beach, along the flat grass, and along the flat path.
We arrived at the pub in Ballydavid just in time to see the Kerry captain presented with the cup, and to hear his speech. Much, much longer than a typical AFL speech, and much more entertaining with the lilting Irish accent.
The next part of the route was along a cliff, which would definitely have required some serious fence action, had it been in Australia. We bravely took responsibility for our own safety and admired the deep dark blues of the ocean without falling off the edge.
We continued along the Way, even more than we should have. We realised that our accommodation was several OFF the Way. Turned around, went back, started grumbling. We then walked past what our instructions told us were the only places for dinner that night, which increased the grumbling tenfold - "I'm not walking 2km for dinner, I'm just going to eat Pringles, stupid restaurant" etc. Then, despite our very useless instructions, we found our B&B&B (not a typo - bed and breakfast and Buccas). Our host drove us back to Ballydavid to the pub for dinner, so the Pringles were spared. It was a slightly terrifying drive, but we made it there alive. Dinner was a great relief, but I was more than a little bit miffed when everyone else's salad had strawberries in it but mine was distinctly strawberry free. It was a tough day, but at the end of it all, nobody had cried and we were all still alive.

Posted by Buccas 15:19 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

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