Saturday, August 11, 2007


I'm back in the saddle after a 2-week break in the old country with my better half, sampling the cultural, geographical, ornithological, culinary and alcoholic delights of Ireland. So now I've seen the delights of Rosslare, Wexford, Kilmore Quay, Enniscorthy (taking in the 1798 museum and Vinegar Hill - which I would strongly recommend), Bunclody and the Blackstairs Mountains, New Ross, Carrick-on-Suir (free guided tours of Ormond Castle available and a square in the town named after its most celebrated citizen Sean Kelly, the greatest cyclist never to win the Tour de France - I won't mention this year's farcial event), the Rock of Cashel and northwards to Glendalough with its round tower and stunning lake and mountain scenery, Newgrange in all its Megalitihic glory (didn't have time to visit the nearby Battle of the Boyne site, but hopefully next time) , then Omagh (thanks to Mum and Dad for putting up with us), Plumbridge, Coleraine (thanks to DrJW for the plush riverside accomodation), Portrush and a tour of the Antrim coast encompassing the Giant's Causeway, Ballycastle, Rathlin Island (where gannets, guillemots, puffins and eider ducks abound) and White Park Bay, but not, thanks to my companion's fear of heights, the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.

The final leg of the tour took in Belfast - thanks to the Arm's ocasional guest writer Phil for his hospitality. The two-piece band playing in the John Hewitt performed an excellent version of Copperhead Road, plus as far as I can remember a few Bob Dylan numbers. And what a relief it was to have the place smoke-free! The city guided bus tour was interesting. I didn't know that Stormont during the War was covered in manure to make it invisible to the German bombers - nowadays you'll just find it inside the building coming from the mouths of the assembly members.

So now it's back to the grindstone. The Pembroke to Rosslare ferry was even a pleasant experience.

1 comment:

Lady Fotherington-Smethers said...

Yes, it was a very enjoyable trip.

My fear of the bridge was perfectly rational - huge sturdy looking bridges collapse on occasion let alone a flimsy looking rope thing!!!

Cycling on Rathlin was great fun, even though a certain person cycled VERY FAST up some steep hills making rude gestues at me as I struggled to keep up!!!!

Thanks to all who put us up (or should that be all who put up with us?!). Dr Loon and his very attractive spectacles, Larkin and his charming manners as well as CW's lovely parents.