Leaving Ireland and Last of England

Galway, Killarney, Kinsale, to Kilkenny and to Dublin

Galway was a lot of fun as it was so busy for the races – 7 days of races! We went on night two.  The big days started the next day.  Caught a bus from just around the corner from the hotel to the race course and back.  So easy – they ran about every 10 to 15 minutes. But goodness, by the time we paid 9 euro return each for the bus and then 25 euro each to get in to the races……… an expensive start….. But of course we were sure we’d win enough to pay for all this. Cough, cough, splutter, splutter.  Not even one collect!!!!!!!!!!! 

Galway Races - Bookies and Crowd

Here is a picture of our first horse, walking past the finish line with the jockey beside him! 

Oh Dear - Our horse and jokey both walking past the finish line

We were also fascinated by the bookies, which of course are illegal in NZ.  They had a “Bookie Square” where dozens of bookies under umbrellas were calling and trading.  There was also a tote.  But so interesting compared to NZ.  Different bets allowed too.  Peter was a bit frustrated he couldn’t do his usual percentage bets.

We liked Galway.  They are so sensible there.  There is one main street for all the shops in the town centre called “Shop Street”. Good idea! Easy to find! We also had some great Thai food (actually twice!) – our first since we left home and we loved it. Fresh vegetables and everything!   What a change.  A river ran thorugh the centre and there was a group (flock?) of swans feedinga tht I stood and watched for ages.  Such graceful birds.

Swans feeding in Galway

We went from Galway to Killarney. We didn’t know it was the Irish Open starting the next day and the town was pumping.  It is a very beautiful setting and the golf course was stunning (no we didn’t play it! J ) We had a beautiful meal that night at the Smoke House restaurant with great service.  They had newly opened so we were pleased to support them.   On our way back to the hotel we stopped off to watch a band in the street.  Lots of dancing going on too.

The hotel we stayed in is a family owned one and has been for three generations.  Was nice to hear how proud they were of their hotel.  Quite a different feel than a chain hotel.  They couldn’t do enough for you.

Then from Killarney to Kinsale.  The roads!!!!!!!!! In Ireland rental car companies do not insure tyres – now we know why.  So rough and bumpy.  We were in hysterics for much of the trip as we bumped and jolted over holes, rough and gravel.  And this is on the major roads – not the pay toll roads of course! Then also Susie, our by now very friendly GPS, took us down some tiny little lanes that were only just one car wide but actually were two way!! We really thought we were lost but then we popped out of the trees straight in to the town. 

"Race Cam of a two way road courtesy of Susie!

We chose to go to Kinsale as our good friend Robyn, had had a house here when she lived in Ireland, and her mum was born here.  Robyn assured us we’d love it – and we did.  We didn’t know it was a bank holiday weekend here and they were holding a sailing regatta, and so it was so busy! But once again so buzzing. 

Entry harbour at Kinsale!! Beautiful.

 

Typical window boxes and houses - Kinsale

Houses and harbour, Kinsale

Kinsale is on the coast and is famous now for being the gourmet capital of Ireland.  Oh shame – of course I hated that!!! We stayed in a relatively new place called Friars http://www.friars-lodge.com/ It was great. We spent time tiki touring and exploring, me shopping and both enjoying the craic.  We caught up with a friend of Robyn’s and had a few drinks in the sun with her.  A great afternoon. 

Peter and Daphne in Kinsale

We went to the Charles fort built in 1600s and enjoyed the tour to learn all the history.  Not to mention the amazing views!!

Corner of Fort and harbour entrance

And ate such good food………………..  http://www.cucina.ie/menu_lunch.html this is the web site of a place we loved for dinner (and just looking now also see it is a B&B).  The owner / chef had trained with Australians and NZers and we had a great chat with her! She says she thinks NZ is 4 years ahead of here with food.  Even the pub food in Kinsale was great – well, more like the good fresh food we get in NZ – I even got a salad!

Then to Kilkenny and off to Dublin for flight to Gatwick.  We are in Brighton with Kate for two days to celebrate her birthday (and to do chores – haircuts, mailing stuff home, Peter’s blood test, etc). Also Kay’s daughter Suryana who now lives in England is coming over to see us and have lunch on Monday.

Update: It is now Tues evening and we have been in Brighton.  It was great to see Kate again and to catch up with Suryana who we havent seen for maybe 7 years! We had a lovely lunch at a new retaurant in Brighton.

Peter, Kate, Suryana and Jo at lunch on Kate's birthday, Brighton

In the evening we went out for Kate’s birthday dinner – 14 of us.  We had a great night at a lovely Indian Restauerant and we got to try all sorts of food we hadnt seen in Indian restaurants at home.  It was wonderful to meet Kate’s friends too.

Kate and Jo, Brighton on Kate's birthday

Kate and friends at birthday dinner

Tonight we are staying at Yotel.  A “hotel” in Gatwock airport itself! It is quite amazing – but check the website out to see the photos.  It is like a cabin not a hotel room, very funky, and very cleverly designed for a very small space. The web site is: http://www.yotel.com/?gclid=CLWl_ZCKnqMCFVeZ2AodRjBGqg 

Tomorrow we fly to Copenhagen to catch the Baltic Sea cruise.  We are very much looking forward to that also.  We hav chosen a small ship – only 640 passengers – not 3000! We anticipate less queuing etc.

Love to you all

Jo and Peter.xx

 

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