Rose had to go to Sligo this afternoon so,I took the opportunity to get a massage whilst she was doing her errands.
This particular massage was shiatsu therapy, which I hadn’t had before, so it was a very interesting experience. After sitting on a chair and having my back and neck thoroughly worked on, I then lay on the floor for the massage to continue. I became a little alarmed when I realised the therapist was standing on my feet but all was well! It wasn’t nearly as uncomfortable as it sounds or as I expected and I am just hoping it does some good.
Afterwards, I strolled around Sligo for an hour or so whilst waiting for Rose, stopping at a very nice cafe by the river for coffee and a scone (a late, very ‘healthy’ lunch!). We then went to the supermarket (again) before heading home, where we arrived at about 6pm.
Russ had started preparing dinner and we had Spanish omelettes to use up some of the many eggs that their chickens produce prolifically.
The day started very gloomily but, as the morning progressed, the sky cleared and it became another beautiful day. Rose and I spent almost the entire morning on the internet trying to book cars, flights etc etc so I now have the next couple of months organised, (Dorset, Portugal and then France) but there were one or two frustrating (or one could say extremely irritating) moments during the course of the morning, as websites wouldn’t do what we wanted them to do!
This afternoon, we were very domesticated and baked cakes, which is something I, at least, enjoy doing and haven’t done for quite some time. Russ had gone fishing and whilst we watched the most appalling programme imaginable (Made in Chelsea and so bad it was laughable), Finn cooked dinner.
As it was a perfect evening and we had hardly set foot outside the door all day, we decided to go for a walk up the lane and we were very glad we did as it was even more beautiful outside than it looked. There was no wind and the air was very clear so we could see for miles.
Today was an exceptionally lazy day, even by my current standards! Rose was working in Sligo all day, so I stayed at home and chatted to Russ, did one or two domestic chores and read. In the late morning, we battled the very strong wind to take Minnie up the lane, keeping an eye on the gathering rain clouds along the way.
I was leaving Sligo today and, after a leisurely start, we then had to rush to catch the train to Dublin at Coloonay, as we had started looking at Rose’s art work just before we were due to leave. Not good planning!
Russ drove us to the station and we caught the 11am train to O’Connell Street. The sky was looking decidedly grey when we left but, after a very smooth and relaxing journey across the country, we arrived to find blue sky in Dublin. As we were staying in Dun Laoghaire, we had an additional trip on the Dart train to Sandycove, which was the nearest stop to the B&B Rose had booked. After a short wait in Dublin (enough time for a cup of coffee!), we were off again and travelled all along the coast, past the ferry terminal, to our stop. Once there, it was a short walk to the Ferry B&B, where we were welcomed and shown to our large room in the slightly old fashioned establishment.
We couldn’t waste the day, so we immediately set off for a walk along the beach front. The wind was quite strong and cool but the sun was hot as we strolled along, admiring the view and the houses.
Some of the gardens were spectacular and I was surprised at the presence of cabbage trees and other varieties of plants that are prevalent in N.Z. There were a large number of container and oil ships out in the bay and, when we reached Forty Foot, a number of very hardy swimmers going into the sea, which appeared to have quite a swell.
We wandered as far as Dalkey, where we walked around the small harbour to a point on the far side where an enormous number of seagulls were perched on the rocks.
When we arrived, we realised that there were also a couple of seals (or maybe sea lions – I can’t tell the difference) in the water. We stood, absolutely riveted, for the next 20 minutes, watching, as the sea gulls and seals fought for the fish that must have been plentiful under the rocks. Time and time again, one particular seal dived for fish, almost at our feet.
It was chased off periodically by a dog that was rushing from rock to rock, barking and generally being driven demented by the seals, but the seals, of course, were not going to be thwarted by a dog, and were far more interested in their dinner. Unfortunately, much to my annoyance, my camera battery died, right in the middle of all this activity, so I didn’t manage to get a close up picture.
After all this excitement, we walked back to Dun Laoghaire and the mundane world of Tesco, where we decided on salads, strawberries, raspberries, stilton and a bottle of wine for a picnic in our room. It was excellent, we ate too much and felt sick afterwards, but it was a good end to the day.
At 6.30am, we woke to the sound of running water and it wasn’t due to the torrential rain outside either! There was a steady stream pouring onto the third bed in the room, which luckily for us, at least, neither of us had chosen to sleep in. A bit more unlucky for the owner, however, as, by the time we woke up, the mattress was very wet and would take some drying out. Having put a bowl under the stream, we went back to bed, as there was nothing we could do at that point.
At breakfast, our host, Eamonn, was very chatty and said we could move to another room, whilst he sorted out the leak, which seemed to be coming along the wall (although goodness knows how it leaped from the wall onto the bed!).
After this excitement, we ventured out into the rain and caught a double decker bus into the city. For this, we had to have the exact change and no notes. The bus company is obviously working on the assumption that every tourist arriving in town is aware of the fare amount and has coins, which is extremely helpful (not)! Rose therefore had to ask one of the other passengers if they could change a note for us as we were 10 cents short of the required coinage. (The fare was 3.05 euros each, which seemed a most peculiar amount and caused us to wonder how they had arrived at that particular price point.) Apart from that, the ride into town was uneventful and we had a good view from the top of the bus as we drove along.
By the time we reached the city, the rain was easing and the sun was attempting to shine, which is just as well as we had planned a day of walking. We got off the bus somewhere near the National Gallery and walked along to Merrion Square, where artists were displaying their work along the railings. We were both particularly taken by one mixed media artist and we stopped to chat to her for quite some time, as it was an area in which Rose was especially interested.
After that, we walked through the park, headed for St Stephen’s Green and inadvertently stumbled across the Little Museum that I had read about and thought might be more manageable than one or two of the other bigger museums. We first had a coffee in the cafe downstairs (have to get the priorities right!) and then went into the museum, which is located in an old Georgian house.
The first room was filled with cartoons depicting the Viking history of Dublin, which was extremely readable and amusing and, upstairs, there were two rooms of 20th Century memorabilia. Whilst we were there, a guide conducted a tour, explaining some of the history of Dublin and pointing out particular items of interest in a very theatrical fashion. He was not only informative, but also very entertaining.
The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering around. Neither of us could be bothered to look at shops (of which there were many), so we stopped at Carluccios for afternoon tea and dessert (delicious) and then strolled through Temple Bar and looked at the Icon Walk, which I had also read about and which was in a very peculiar and dubious looking alley, which was rather unexpected.
After this we crossed the Liffey over Halfpenny Bridge and walked up to The Spire and O’Connell Street. By this time, our energy and enthusiasm were waning somewhat, so we caught another bus back to Dun Laoghaire, where we visited Tescos again for picnic food, and then headed back to our room.
After a bit of a rest and recuperation, we decided at 8.45pm that, as it was such a lovely evening, we should go for a walk along the waterfront. It was quite a cool and bracing walk, as we went right to the end of the pier, where there were, in fact, quite a number of people strolling/jogging/running. It was most enjoyable and we were very glad we had made the effort.
We had no water incidences in our new room this morning, so didn’t wake up until a bit later. After breakfast, we planned to get the Dart train to Malahide, which is on the other side of Dublin. However, when we arrived at the station, there wasn’t a train for another 35 minutes so, the unusually helpful and fairly witty ticket man suggested we bought an all day pass for the train and went to Howth first, as there was a train due in a few minutes. So, this is what we did.
Howth is right at the end of the Dart line and is a seaside fishing town, which we both really liked. After leaving the train, we walked along the west pier, where there were a large number of fish shops (tempting for me but not the vegetarian Rose), and fishing boats moored alongside. At the end, people were fishing and we spotted a couple of seals in the water, although they were nowhere near as close as the ones we had seen at Dalkey.
We wandered along the waterfront, stopping for a coffee (yet again) and then on to the end of the east pier, where we had a good view of Ireland’s Eye island, where there are reputedly gannets and puffins. As we didn’t take the boat trip, we couldn’t confirm this.
By this time, it was well after lunch, so we thought we would finally head for Malahide and the cafe in the castle. This required a trip back a few stops on the Dart and then catching another train.
Once at Malahide, it was an easy 15 minute walk to the Castle. However, we were somewhat horrified at the prices being charged for food, so we got a takeaway tea and spinach roll from another little cafe and went and sat in the Castle grounds to eat them.
Afterwards, we decided that we didn’t have the energy to look round the castle or the walled garden, (the whole purpose of coming) which also required an additional entry fee, so we had a quick wander in the grounds and then headed back to the station and caught the 4pm train back to Dun Laoghaire. This was a very pleasant journey as the route passes right through the City and along the coast on the other side, so we had a good view all the way along. It became quite crowded though after the City stops as commuters returned to the suburbs after work.
We arrived back at the B&B just after 5pm and relaxed for a while before going out to eat, having decided to have a change from Tesco’s salads tonight. We had checked out the restaurants a couple of days ago and had already decided on an Italian restaurant around the corner. The food here turned out to be plentiful and quite tasty but also very rich (my stomach suffered later!) and the staff were quite offhand, which rather spoilt the occasion. Afterwards, we took another bracing walk along the pier before returning to the room and bed.