The Irish Adventure

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Jaws, Sep 14, 2016.

  1. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    I will start at the beginning .. Often a good place to begin !

    In the last several years we have taken the van to over 20 countries, but never Ireland, mainly due to the ferry costs.
    This year we decided to bite the bullet and go.. Apart from anything else it would give us the chance to stay with one of the Coven ( one of Maureens sisters ) for a couple of day so they could catch up a bit.

    So doing all the maths we ended up going all the way up to Cairnryan to get the P & O ferry from there.
    Taking in to account the distance and the diesel costs there was not a whole lot in it to be honest but £40 saved is better than nowt !

    We landed at Larne docks and the moment we got off the boat it started to rain..
    From Larne we went straight to Dungannon where said sister lives, skipping the pleasures of Belfast for the time being.
    Found here house and plotted up on the drive.. Spent two days there,,,just long enough for me to smash my bloody fone when it came out of my jacket pocket !!
    A quick trip in to the town and a replacement was sourced at a fairly good price ( Note 4, 64 gig £220 )

    So from Dungannon we went south west a little and in to southern Ireland proper.
    A quick check and we came up with what was supposed to be a cheapo site so we could top up water, empty loo and get on hook up for a few hours to top up the batteries.. We had been in Ireland for 3 days and still had not seen any sun, or indeed any period longer than an hour without rain.

    The camp site was at Gyles Quay.. Risking another soaking I parked up the van and walked to the reception..
    After about 10 minutes a chap stopped talking to a friend and asked what I wanted..
    Have you a place for one night ?
    Yes, 14 € if you do not mind parking on the road in the site..
    Not a problem !
    Went back to the van and got some Euros.. Back to reception again and the chap had been joined by a lady..
    I proffered the lolly and she looked at it, looked at the bloke and said something to him..
    She turned back to me and said it was 35 € a night !!!!!!!!

    In the words of the old style Sunday papers reporters.. It was at this time we left.

    BUT ! It was not all bad news.
    We followed the road past the site and along the sea front ( rather desolate to be honest ) for less than 1/2 a mile and found a massive car park there.. Complete with toilets, water and a great view out to sea.
    The car also had a height barrier in place .. DOH !
    But.... as I looked down the side of the loo block there was a second entrance in to a bit bit of land.. It had obviously been used by lorries for yonks ( BIG tyre tracks ), so we pulled on to that area and plotted up for the night ..
    The rain no longer kept us awake. The wind did that instead

    The following morning it had stopped raining !
    It was now blowing a hooly and the sky was darker than a witches cauldron ...
    We moved on from there and made our way to Dublin..

    Next installment to follow
     
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  2. glenn2926

    glenn2926 Funster

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    Love this, keep it coming.
     
  3. madgeD

    madgeD Funster

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    Yes the craic is good :LOL: keep it coming Im quite fancying going over next year.
     
  4. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    So we arrived at Dublin and pointed the GPS at a couple of places that were recommended to us..
    One turned out to be on a massive hill and the other was errrr.. Somewhat noisy as it seemed to be a coach station................ with a big NO OVERNIGHT CAMPING sign on it we could see very clearly through the rain :)

    Consulting the oracle ( canna remember which one ) we ended up at Camac Camp Site, about 5 miles west of Dublin.
    Yes, finally we were on a real camp site complete with hook up !
    Happy to recommend the place too.. It was clean well laid out, friendly and helpful staff and loads of room per unit.
    The staff gave us a welcome pack which included an info sheet on how to get to and from Dublin
    Basically it was out the gate, catch a 69 bus ( a number that will be etched in memory for ever I suspect ) and three € later you will be in the city centre.
    The following morning found us trundling out of the gate and Lo ! The bus stop was indeed right outside the gate.
    Within a a few minutes the 69 arrived ( almost on time so we hardly got wet at all ) and I proffered the correct lolly..
    About 30+ minutes later we were dropped of at College Green, more or less outside the Bank of Ireland .. ( Dame Street ? ).
    Before leaving the bus I asked the driver where we could catch the return ride from..
    Just over the road there, he said pointing.

    So off we went.. We walked miles sucking in the sites, the sounds, the rain water ( nooo.. must be fair.. it did stop raining for the day we had there ) and taking on board the occasional coffee and meal .

    By about 4pm we were pretty much tired out having walked what seemed like miles.
    We returned to College Green and started looking at the myriad of bus stops trying to find a stop for the 69.
    We asked bus drivers.. They had no idea where it stopped.
    We asked taxi drivers ( some of whom went on line to try and find out ).. no luck
    We asked other people waiting at stops.. A couple said they had seen the 69 on one of the stops but did not know which one.
    Now that main road goes from the quays on the river right up to Dublin Castle.. And it is on a steep hill too !
    We walked the entire length.. then walked down to the bottom..
    Only to be told once again it was 'somewhere up there' !
    So once again we walked the entire length .. up and down again.. When we got to the bottom we were seriously flagging.. I decided bite the bullet and get a taxi..then when both that I tried came back with a price of 40 € it was Woman who said sod off..we will keep looking !
    Eventually we found a couple of policemen.. A bit of work and they found out the 69 should leave from Fleet Street,, but that had been dug up !
    A bit more research and yes ! They now left from Burgh Quay.. About 10 minutes walk from where we were..
    Result !
    We found the bus stop and the digital read out told us the next bus was 30 minutes.
    Looking round we found a coffee shop and decided to spend some time in there.
    We stayed 15 minues as I really did not want to take the chance of missing the bloody thing.
    Back to the stop.. Stood there a few minutes.. Looked up to check the time again.
    THIS STOP IS NO LONGER IN SERVICE

    OH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Then our first bit of luck.. Another bus pulled up along the way.. I legged it and asked the driver for any info.
    Fortunately he was an ex 69 bus driver !
    Yes, it should stop in Fleet Street, but they have dug that up ( I KNOW !! ) and it now stops in Westmoreland Street

    Where is that please ?

    It is THERE he said pointing to the road that leads between where we were and where we had started so very long ago !!

    2 minutes later we find the bus stop, three minutes late we are on the bus !

    It was then I realised I had spent the € I had in change at the coffee shop.. We scrabbled around and between us cam up with 5.30 €
    The driver must have felt pity on our washed out look and said that was close enough !!

    So we had started looking for a return bus at around 4pm. It was 6.45pm by the time we got off out side the camp site..

    Dublin summed up
    A beautiful city.. with some of the friendliest people in the world as residents.. all of who seem to have NO idea where the 69 bus stops LOL !!
    We had expected things to be expensive there and to some extent were not disappointing .. We had a sit down fish and chip meal in a chip shop which set us back 30 € ( that was without a drink of any sort ) but to be fair the portions were big.
    A couple of ( really rather nice Latte coffees was not too bad at 9 € .. that was from a lovely converted tram carriage we found in an open square in between Jervis Street and Wolfe Tone street on the north side of the river Liffe near the Millennium Bridge.
    The visit was certainly memorable and one of the few delights of the trip.

    Oh, and the rain held off all the time we were there ! A major plus !!

    More to follow.. We visit a cave ( BIG, Dark and bat filled ), go to Waterford ( but see no crystal ) and to Cobh ( where we saw no Titanic )
     
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  5. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    After the half marathon we did in Dublin, we decided to look for somewhere to relax and pointed the van at the Waterford area.

    Pootling along we see a sign for 'Dunmore Caves', just off the N78 north of Kilkenny

    Always suckers for that sort of thing we diverted and soon found it.. and with the promise of a cave to keep us out of the ever present rain
    First issue.. Parking.
    There is lots of parking.... for any vehicle less than about 12ft long !
    It is all up one side of the small access road.. at the top of which there is no where to turn round either !
    Soooo.. reversed all the way back down and was about to give up when two cars at the very bottom of the line pulled out.. That left us lots of room to park length wise in the vacated spaces ( I should explain there were LOADS of other spaces all along the place but they were all single car slots, so we did not feel guilty about using the spaces we did )
    The place is run by the Irish version of the National Trust but instead of 'turn you off' pricing was very reasonable indeed at ( from memory ) 4 € per head for old farts.
    We was told a tour with guide was about to leave and we could join on straight away.. The tour usually too about 40 minutes.

    What seemed like 20,000 steps later ( but was in fact only about 100 ) we were in the bowels of mother nature.
    The guide turned out to be entertaining and a bit of a bat nutter ! He waxed lyrical about the furry wee beasties and the environment we were in for over 2 hours !!
    In all honesty I canna remember much of what he told us, but I can say there was a lot of laughter all afternoon :)
    As we were about to leave I spoke to the lady behind the desk about other things to see in the area.
    MISTAKE
    Our guide ( he who managed to make a 40 minute tour last two hours ) overheard us.
    He immediately started to get us copies of hand drawn maps from various draws and folders.. Not of the area we were in but of the whole of Ireland !

    It transpired he was originally from Derby but had been settled in Ireland for the past 25 years.. Most of which time he must have travelled around spotting interesting things to go and see
    An hour further on and we finally left ( well not quite as we made use of the very nice 'tea room' to get our parts refreshed and nether regions emptied :) )
    Dunmore Caves is definitely worth a visit if you are in that area.. And if you are lucky enough to get the same guide as us, you can look forward to a really interesting and entertaining time
    I do not suppose for one minute he will ever read this, but sir, if you do, many many thanks for all your efforts (y)

    We left and once more headed towards Waterford.. As we approached Woman asked what was there.. I explained about the crystal factory and was greeted with 'I know that.. what else is there?'

    Ummm.. not a lot really !

    Waterford ended up being bypassed as SWMBO really did not fancy the tour ..
    Which turned out to be a bit of a result really..
    We turned right at Waterford and headed down the E30, not really having much in the way of a destination in mind..
    Started seeing signs for Cobh.. Now I had heard mention of Cobh over the years but I really could not remember with what reference.

    We pulled in to the tiny town and saw signs with motorhome dump etc on them
    We followed the signs.. and just could not believe what we found !
    All along one end of the old deep berth docking area were marked out bays for motorhomes.. So right on the front, looking over Haulbowline and Spike Islands on tother side of the inlet..
    Haulbowline Island is an Irish Navy dock and Spike Island .. well lets say it has a whole lot of history and worth reading up on :)

    We parked up and I went looking for a ticket machine or something..
    Nope.. All laid of for free, with Elsan point, fresh water point ( completely separate and clearly marked ) and a grey water dump.
    AND IT STOPPED RAINING !!

    Along the sea wall several folk were fishing for and indeed catching, an awful lot of mackerel.. All were using shortish rods, spinner type reels and feathers ( apart from one chap who just used a lure but with equal success )

    After the first night there we walked the short distance to the nearest local museum..
    As soon as we approached it and I read the first word on the board I remembered why the name sounded so familiar.
    Cobh was the very last port of call the Titanic made on here fateful voyage
    Before going in to the museum proper ( which I believe was an old railway goods yard shed ) we took tea and scones in the excellent ,Titanic themed, cafe area..
    Entry to the museum was very reasonable at just a few € and the novelty factor started right there at the ticket office.
    Your entry ticket is a copy of the boarding passes issued to the Titanic guests complete with the name of who it was issued to.
    They had limited the names to those who, for one reason or other, had been mentioned in the story and history of the ship..
    Walking round the museum you could find direct references to the person whose ticket you held :)
    We spent several hours taking all the info in and really enjoyed our selves.. A visit is highly recommended (y)
    We returned to the van and spent a really lovely evening watching the world go by and chatting to our temporary neighbours ..

    The following day the rain returned but only in spits and spots, so risking webbed feet and or trench foot we decided to go for a walk in the town.
    What a delightful place Cobh turned out to be.. and there is a great ice cream vendor on the front who make their own ice cream to Italian recipes.
    On the way back to the van we popped in to the tourist information centre.. Picked up a couple of local maps and after chatting to the lovely lady in attendance was about to leave when she asked if we were in a motorhome..
    Yes, we are parked down there on the dock
    What did we think of it ?
    Fantastic !
    Any issues ?
    None at all, on behalf of motorhomers everywhere thank you for an excellent facility ..

    She BEAMED !
    Apparently she was one of the instigators and it had more than doubled the revenue of an awful lot of places in the area.
    She asked how long we were staying, I said we would be leaving the following day as we did not wish to break the 48 hour rule.

    You stay as long as you like.. No one will hassle you.. The rule is there to stop a certain type of motorhome and caravan user from making the place a permanent site !

    So we ended up staying another day, spent more lolly in the town and enjoyed yet another wonderful evening.

    Tomorrow ( or maybe Monday ) we move on to Skibbereen and I relate what was almost certainly the most dangerous drive of my life !
     
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  6. Anthea M

    Anthea M Funster

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    An amusing, often hilarious read thanks for sharing , I look forward to the next instalment!!
     
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  7. Derbyshire wanderer

    Derbyshire wanderer Funster Life Member

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    Hi John, really enjoying reading about your trip. It is on our 'must do' list :cool:. Do you have any photos to add?
     
  8. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    Yes lots of photos but I will not publish them until the end.. Might seem a bit perverse but there ya go LOL !!
     
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  9. Irishrover

    Irishrover Read Only Funster

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    @Jaws ...Great reading about your Irish adventures thus far...We stayed at that Cobh Aire last month before setting off.....Great stopover in a lovely location... cobhcamper.jpg cobhaire.jpg
     
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  10. GWAYGWAY

    GWAYGWAY Funster

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    It never stops raining there from my experience, it Rain with intermittent showers or showers with occasional rain.
    Before I went over I joined Motorhome craic and got all the wild and sit parking points on there website. It was worth joining just for the parking infomation. Aires are around in NI the best was at Portglenone at the marina, there was a bunde with waste, drinking water and power hook up with a token from the lady who mans it. Same facilites as the boats get on the river.
     
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  11. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    After three nights and delightful days we up sticks and leave Cobh.. It is one of those places we were quite sorry to say goodbye to.

    We decided a good place to be for the next couple of days would be Skibbereen.. Why ? 'Cos the two Irish lads who won the silver in Rio came from there and word was the town was in full party mood !!

    ( Found this on YouTube.. Got to be one of the funniest interviews I have ever seen !!
    )

    Arriving at Skibbereen we decided to do a bit of wilding down the river ( sorry, no co-ordinates ) for a day or so.
    Exploring the town was great fun ! Banners and good wishes for the lads everywhere.. And no matter where you went, everyone wanted to talk about the heroic deeds in Rio !!
    After a couple of days we decided to pop in to the local camp site to get washing done.
    The site is VERY near the town anyway, but as was the case on most sites we visited the price was 20 € per night ( no hook up ) ... Mind you, the facilities were good, very clean, and the shower block was lovely and warm !

    The next day it was time to move on.. Sneem looked like a good bet

    Looking at the map the roads seemed ok.. so given we use a Garmin Motorhome GPS and a TomTom as well, I did not forsee any issues at all..

    Fool !!

    We started out well enough, but somehow made a massive oops! at Ballylikey.
    We found our selves on a quite small road, but with no way at all of turning round decided to plow on..
    I have studied the maps, scratched my head ( and other parts, and am still baffled as to how we ended up where we did..
    The road just got worse and worse.. It ened up as a dirt road with loose, fine, grit all over it.
    And it went UP.. Boy did it go up.
    If you have ever watched one of those videos of people in Peru doing the high mountain passes and thinking sod that.. you will know what we faced
    In places the hills were about 1:3. We grounded out the exhaust every couple of hundred yards, the sump pan and chassis every other few hundred yards.
    There was times when I had one wheel rubbing on the rocks and the other barely on the road at all..
    There was times when both front wheels were spinning which caused us to slither from side to side on the track
    There was times when I was 100% sure there was no way we would make it.
    There was times when new underpants were gonna be a must...

    Woman had long since covered her face and if she was a screamer I am sure I would have been deaf.

    If anything had been coming the other way we would not have stood a chance in hell.

    To say it was without doubt the wildest thing I had ever done is an understatement of some magnitude..

    Look up Priests leap on Google Earth ( co-ordinates 51°47'38.23" N 9°28'20.32" W )
    That is the road we were on

    https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.7899372,-9.4664741,3368m/data=!3m1!1e3

    Us that link and zoom in and out..
    The pictures of the place do not begin to do it justice.. And by the looks of them were taken well away from the top of the pass.
    I am afraid we have no fotos of it at all as Woman was too terrified to move let alone think about taking pictures !

    I should also mention that, surprise surprise, it was raining.. hard !
    As we got higher and higher we went in to the cloud base.. So not only was the road absolutely treacherous, we could not really see where we was going !

    The road ( ! ) went on like this for about 9 miles.. And it was not until we finally reached the far end we found a large notice..
    NOT SUITABLE FOR VEHICLES OTHER THAN 4 X 4

    Jeeeze !!!!

    Boy did I get ear ache for that little jaunt.. I did explain that it was not deliberate and it was not something I would ever choose to do again.. but of course it all fell on deaf ears LOL !!
    Much later I did get a bit of recognition for the skills needed to get us over the pass..
    Basically it went along the lines of.. You are stupid .. you could have killed us, but you did OK I 'spose'

    Sooo.. when we finally got clear it was time for a quick stop and a nerve settling cuppa :)

    We eventually got to Sneem ( pouring by now and wind blowing a gale again ) and found a beautiful little private aires run by a the owners of the big pub in the middle of the town
    I was told not to use the 'lower' pitches as the river on to which the site was beside was in full spate and the lower bits were prone to flood
    We plotted up and watched the river rise over the next couple of hours.. We watched VERY carefully !!
    As we had been told though, it was only the very ends of the lowest pitches that went under water and we were a good 4 or 5 feet higher than that.
    The site can be found in Britstops and we were charged 15 € for the night which included hook up.
    We slept well that night despite the raging torrents of water cascading down a water fall just metres away.. Amazing how tiring it is keeping a constant flow of Adrenalin going !

    The next morning the sun was shining and the river had abated.. In fact it was a completely different place ..

    Tomorrow we visit Foynes and a BIG plane !
     
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  12. Anthea M

    Anthea M Funster

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    What a journey! Felt I was there to and not enjoyable!! But funny to read!!

    Saw the 2 Irish men at the olympics funniest yet!! True spirit of the games!
    Continue to enjoy!
     
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  13. DanielFord

    DanielFord Funster

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    Really sorry @Jaws but Ireland is very high up on my wife's list of destinations. I was chatting to her, and mentioned that you had done this tour, and that you would be at Lincoln! You may get collared by her - once again, sorry! :D
     
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  14. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    Great adventure John, we loved it when ww went. Managed 2 weeks with only 10 min of rain, in shorts the whole time, frightened to go back won't get that tyoe of weather again.
     
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  15. meanders

    meanders Funster - Life Member Life Member

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    Glad you are having a good time!! You will enjoy Foynes it is fascinating not too expensive and has a good coffee shop. Hopefully we will see you at Lincoln
     
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  16. Larrynwin

    Larrynwin Funster

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    Whoa what a trip. We have twice been in a road with no escape other than forwards, makes your cheeks tighten :eek:
    Hope it's better from now on (y)
     
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  17. GWAYGWAY

    GWAYGWAY Funster

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    I do not trust my GPS without looking at a map as well. I found myself at the top of a narrow cliff top road there in Donegal, and also going across the bog where the Alcock and Brown plane crashed near the Marconi wireless station was, it was flattish but rather narrow , about 6 inches wider than the van wheelbase.
     
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  18. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    Thanks for the comments folks,, but for clarification we left Ireland on the 3rd of September and then spent a week on Shell Island :)
    These tales are from our notes ( made in @Jim 's great travel log book which you can get from the Motorhome fun shop http://shop.motorhomefun.co.uk/ )..
     
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  19. Larrynwin

    Larrynwin Funster

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    Glad you survived then ;)
     
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  20. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    So are we LOL !!!
     
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