June 2, 3
Thursday June 2, we woke to sunshine. After an 8:00 breakfast of cereal, toast and poached eggs, we headed back to Glendalough. I wanted to try to get some photos of the upper lake with blue sky. I also got calm waters with reflection of the hills. Then we walked around the monastic site before the busloads of people arrived. It was nice and peaceful. Then the people started to arrive. We left around 10:00.
Travelling up the Military Road, we went through Sally Gap again. I took some sunshine photos this time. We passed Lough Bray Lower and I was able to get some sunshine photos of the lake behind Oscar Wilde's cottage as well.
We continued to the south part of Dublin and caught the M50 highway around the city and then the M1 north to Newgrange. We were quite interested in seeing these megalithic passage tombs.
When we arrived at the carpark at 12 noon, it was full. I was dreading the long wait we might have for our tours. But as soon as we went inside, a lady came over and asked if we wanted to see just Newgrange, just Knowth, or both. We said both. So she said we could see Knowth at 12:15 and Newgrange at 2:15. It ended up that we didn't even have time for a bathroom break before catching our shuttle bus as it was a 5-10 minute walk to the bus area.
We went to Knowth first. It was very interesting with one big tomb and smaller satellite tombs. We were given a tour around and taken in to the biggest tomb. The room we were in was not an original part of the tomb but we were able to look down the real passageway and take photos of it. We could go down it because it wasn't safe. We were then given time to wander around on our own and even climb on top of the biggest tomb.
A lot of people only go to Newgrange and not to Knowth, but I thought Knowth was more interesting on the outside. We had an hour there and then caught the shuttle bus back to the centre. It was now 1:30 and our Newgrange bus wasn't leaving until 2:30. It had been cloudy when we first arrived so we had our coats on, but then it turned very sunny and warm. Mike took our coats back to the car. This was the first day of our whole trip that we removed our coats outside! We ate a quick sandwich at the cafe and then walked to the Newgrange shuttlebus.
Our tour of Knowth only had about 15 people on it. But our tour to Newgrange was full with about 50 people. We were given a talk again when we first arrived, then the split us into two groups. Our group went into the tomb first. We walked the passage right to the centre of the tomb. We were not allowed to take photos inside Newgrange. Once inside, our guide turned off the lights and then a light was shone along the passageway to show what happens on the summer solstice. It was interesting. Then we came out and wandered around the outside and the other half of our group went into the tomb.
We caught the bus back to the centre and I bought a couple of books about the area.
We then headed off to Monasterboice. It is pretty close to Newgrange and had two ot the best high crosses in Ireland. I was sure Mike would be interested in seeing them and he was duly impressed. We got some nice sunny photos.
Finishing at Monasterboice, we caught the M1 down to Malahide. Without too much trouble we found our B&B, Evergreen Malahide B&B. The hardest part was that the sign for the street was only visible when coming from the opposite way from where we were coming from. So we went past it and had to come back. But we found it, arriving between 5:00 and 6:00 pm. Our hostess, Olive, showed us around and offered us coffee and juice.
We got talking to some other guests who were from Ohio. They went almost the same route around Ireland that we did. This B&B is very near the airport so a lot of people stay here on the last night before heading home.
We drove into Malahide and had dinner at an Italian restaurant, Il Sorriso. We shared a bruschetta and pizza. €32.55
Friday, June 3
On our last full day, we decided to go to Trim Castle. We had a nice breakfast in the conservatory of our B&B. Mike had scrambled eggs & mushrooms and I had 2 warm croissants. mmmm. Our hostess, Olive, was very helpful. She helps a lot of people getting to the airport for the flights home and looking up plane reservations.
Olive gave us directions to Trim Castle, but we made a wrong turn somewhere and ended up on the N32. So we took that over to the M2 and then took that up to the road we wanted. We found Trim Caslte and arrived in time for the first tour of the day. You can only see the keep by tour. It was very interesting. It is the biggest Norman castle in Ireland. The keep is confusing with lots of stairs going all different ways. Our guide grew up in Trim and said he used to play in the castle as a kid. At that time it was a private ruin.
We were still in Trim at lunch time, so we got takeaway burgers and ate them in front of the castle.
Then we drove back to Malahide, through town along the coast and out to Howth. We circled Howth and found it very busy, since it was a hot sunny. Finally we found a parking spot at the harbour and walked out the pier.
We then headed back to our B&B. We needed to repack all of our belongings so they would fit on the airplane in the morning.
We went out for supper. We decided that we would have fish and chips for our last night in Ireland. Unfortunately, the fish and chips were disappointing.
Then we wanted to do a trial run to the Dan Dooley Car Rental so that we would know exactly where to go in the morning. It did not go very well. We missed the first turn that we should have taken and ended up in a roundabout with no signs. I guess they had just built the roundabout and weren't using it yet. So we turned back and found where we should have turned. But then we ended up in the lane that ended up going onto the M1 and we also had to exit off of a roundabout because a truck cut us off. That would have been great to make it this far and then get in an accident. But finally we found Dan Dooley. But we decided we would do it over again to make sure we had it right. This time we were okay. With all that, we were exhausted. We chatted with another Canadian couple at the B&B about the challenges of navigating in Ireland. The roads are fine, but it is easy to get lost because of the signage.
At our B&B, there were 2 other Canadian couples and 2 American. Almost everywhere else we stayed on our trip, the other guests were German.
Our last morning we had the same breakfast as the day before since we liked it so much. Then, saying our goodbyes, we drove to the car rental to drop off the car at Dan Dooleys. No problems. Since we filled up the gas tank, they reimbursed us for the gas. Then they shuttled us to the airport. We got our boarding passes and waited for our flight.
The flight was full again (only 2 empty seats). We were about 1/2 late leaving (1:15pm) but arrived in Toronto on time (3:15). It was a 6 hour & 40 minute flight.
We got an Airport taxi to take us home and it was funny because our driver was Irish! He asked us a lot of questions about where we visited. He was very nice and we had a great chat on the hour drive to our house.
We were tired when we arrived home. Our son had thoughtfully made supper and then about 7:30 Mike and I could keep our eyes open any longer and went to bed.
We was a great trip despite the weather and we ended up with a lot of great photos. Some were even better than we expected considering the weather they were taken in. Most people looking at them can't believe we had such rainy weather.