Thursday, October 31, 2019

Ireland Road Trip, A True Spooky Story for Halloween.

I said in a previous post that I would tell of a strange encounter we had during our time in Ireland.

We left the bed and breakfast in Cahersiveen to head for our next stay in Kenmare. The route we were taking was the longer one around the Ring of Kerry along the Wild Atlantic Way. Another storm had blown and it was obvious how the Wild Atlantic Way had got it's name.

The road followed the coast and even with the awful weather the scenery was spectacular. Sometimes the road hugged the edge of the cliffs and it felt as if we could get blown over the edge at any time.

The rain eased slightly so we stopped in Waterville and went into a shop to look around. The shopkeeper was very friendly and we stopped to talk for a while.
Then two Garda (Irish police) came in and we chatted to them.
We bought a Guinness Tshirt and a pack of playing cards.
All minor things but it shows that we do remember that day well.

We traveled on and I said it was time for a coffee.
Most places were closed being out of season and the bad weather.
Suddenly, driving through Caherdaniel I saw a signpost to a plant nursery and cafe, so we turned off the road and went up the track to it.
When we got there it said closed and was only open at weekends, so we drove back down the track and continued our way.

We had only driven about another 5 minutes, 10 maximum when I saw a big old building set on the side of the road.
It said pub, cafe and hotel, and more importantly it said "OPEN" so we pulled in.

There was only one car in the car park, a red one with the driver and front passenger doors wide open.
It was raining so hard again that it was driving right through the car.
We went into the cafe and the thinnest woman I have ever seen came and greeted us.
I told her about the car and she said her dog likes to sleep in it so she always leaves the doors open.

She told us to come into the bar as she had the fire lit in there and it would be cosier than the café.
We followed her in. The huge wooden door didn't as much creak as groan, and every floorboard we stepped on creaked too.
There was no lighting on and the only light came from a window at the other end of the bar.

We ordered coffees and she went off to make them while we waited.....and waited.
After about 20 minutes she eventually came back with them and stood watching us. We tried to make conversation but she kept watching us.

We heard the door creak again and a young American couple came in and also ordered coffees.
We said hello but they just stared through us as if we weren't there. I just thought they were not naturally sociable and thought no more of it.
While she was gone we started to drink our coffee. It was the most disgusting thing I have ever tasted! I think she must have gone outside and wrung out a handful of peat to get the water to make it!!

We were going to get up and go but she came back with the other coffees which took a normal amount of time to make.
I also noticed they got their coffees in take out cups whereas we had china cups.
I saw them take a sip and make a face, then they left taking their drinks with them.

She was back standing over us again waiting for us to drink.
Then the door creaked again and an elderly lady came in.
She told us that was her cleaner for doing the hotel rooms and she would just tell her what to do and be right back.

Where Ivor was sat was a huge ornamental vase. I told him to throw the coffee in there and we quickly left.

We drove on wondering whatever had just happened. I still wanted a coffee, but more so now to get rid of the evil taste from the tiny sip I took.
A few miles down the road we came to the village of Sneem with a cafe beside the village green.
We went in and I had what felt like the best cappuccino ever!
We had a bite to eat and made friends with the old ginger cat who welcomed everyone in.

This should have been an end to it, but after we got home I was asked where the hotel was.
I didn't know it's exact location but knew within about 5 miles where it was.
I did what I always do when I want to find somewhere and looked on google maps. I couldn't find anything within the area I knew that it was, just a couple of large pull off places along the road but no building.
Although I could picture the place plainly in my mind I wondered if it was set slightly further back from the road.
I knew it couldn't be far back because I saw it as we drove past.

I went into street view and followed every inch of that road from the plant nursery to where we stopped in Sneem for the good cup of coffee.
I couldn't find it so I went back along the road in street view and still no sign of it.

At this point I was becoming determined to find it. I knew without a doubt that it was between those two points.
I think at this stage determination gave way to obsession and I followed the complete road from one bed and breakfast to the next, all 48 miles of it in street view!!!

And no, I still couldn't find it, just a bare patch of ground with some rubble on it.
I leave you to draw your own conclusions, but I promise you this account is 100% true.
Did we have a lucky escape with not drinking the coffee?
The proprietor seemed overly attentive watching over us and waiting for us to drink it.
Strange things are said to happen in Ireland and I truly believe we encountered one that day.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Ireland Road Trip Part 9 Rosslare

It was our last full day in Ireland and as we had an early ferry the next morning we had decided to book a hotel beside the port.
We set off late morning stopping at various places along the way.
When we were only a few miles from Rosslare and the port I saw a sign to "Our Lady's Island" so we decided to take a detour and have a look.
This is a description of it from the internet.
"Situated near Rosslare, County Wexford, Our Lady’s Island has a fascinating history. In the area, remains of a pre-Christian settlement have been discovered over the years, including clay mounds containing human bones and burnt ashes.

In the 6th century, St Abban is believed to have chosen Our Lady’s Island as the location for his monastery, and sometime in the following century, it became a place of pilgrimage.

Subsequently, Our Lady's Island housed an Augustinian settlement, and its church still stands today. Visitors can also view Our Lady’s Well, and the remains of St Vaughn’s Church and a leaning tower that dates from the Norman era."

The island is connected to the mainland by a wide man made causeway.
There was a huge number of swans living on the lake.
Well that is the end of our road trip around the west coast and Ring of Kerry and the cross country to the east coast. Despite one hurricane and two storms we had a wonderful time.
The final instalment will be on Halloween when I tell of our strange experience.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Ireland Road Trip Part 8 Dungarvan Second Day continued.

We had been told we couldn't miss the old mine workings as they were right beside the road.

They are the Tankardstown copper mine workings at Knockmahon.

We couldn't go in but could walk all around the area. There were seats there too so we could sit and enjoy the view.

Moving on again and yet another beach to stop at for photos.

The sea mist was starting to roll in, but it had stayed dry all day!

Time to go back to the B&B for a shower and get ready to go out for our evening meal.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Ireland Road Trip Part 8 Dungarvan Second Day.

We arrived in Dungarvan with apprehension.
We always book bed and breakfasts in the countryside for the peace and quiet, but two days before we had an email from the place we should have been staying telling us that they were still without power from the hurricane. As their water came from a bore hole it meant that couldn't be pumped up either and they had to get water from standpipes.

She said we were still welcome to come if we wanted to or couldn't find somewhere else. Obviously it would have been very difficult for her and us too. She told us the power was back in the town and I managed to find somewhere online.

It was in a built up area with a shop next door so we were expecting noise.
We needn't have worried though and it was quiet. The owner was very nice too and even offered to do laundry for us which I declined as we were going home in two days time.

Next morning after a very big breakfast we set off for the day.

The first place we stopped at was Clonea Strand and had a walk along the beach.
If you click on the photo you should be able to see two people in the distance walking towards us. We ended up chatting to them for about an hour.

All the seaweed is what was washed up during the storms.

Hurricane Ophelia had ripped it from the seabed still attached to the rocks it was growing on.

We went looking in rock pools to see what else had been washed up but saw no fish or crabs. They must have been washed out again.
We had been given suggestions of places to visit in the area so now we were going on to find an old copper mine workings.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Ireland Road Trip Part 8 Killarney and Muckross House.

Next morning we headed off towards our last bed and breakfast in Dungarvan.
We had decided to go via Killarney and see Muckross House on the way.

There were lots of horse drawn carriages called jaunting cars which would take you for a trip around the grounds or into Killarney.

Jaunting cars in Killarney waiting for customers.

Then it was time for a coffee and continue on to Dungarvan.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Ireland Road Trip Part 7 Kenmare Second Day.

After we had left Cahersiveen and headed for Kenmare, before we got to Mollie Gallivan's cottage we had a very strange experience. It was so strange that I am saving it for Halloween!
We reached Kenmare safely and were welcomed in to dry off.
The next morning the weather had improved again so we went off for the day exploring the countryside.
As you will see from the photos below, Ireland really is a land of mist mountains and lakes.
All photos, no words.

Then it was back to our bed and breakfast for the second night before travelling on the next day.