Stuif's Adventures

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Ireland, December 2012
Ireland is one of the European countries I had never visited yet. My friends Pat and Roger have a daughter living there with her family. They stayed with them when I came back to Amsterdam, and they invited me to come and visit them.
I gratefully accepted their invitation, and I had a wonderful time.

I did not expect much regarding the climate. According to Wikipedia: "The climate of Ireland can be summed up as being mild, moist and changeable with abundant rainfall" After my visit I can add: and with lots of fog...:-).

So, don't expect many "touristic" pictures in this report.

As Bailieborough, where Angela and John live, is really countryside and not easy to reach, I was happy that Pat and Rocer came to the airport to pick me up. On our way back, they told me that that evening we would go to the church ...:-). Ciara and Roan, their grandchildren, were taking part in a Christmas musical organised by the school.

First we had dinner with my first glass of Guinness.
The musical was called "Nativity Rocks" and was a pleasure to watch. It was clear that the players had been rehearsing for a long time.

The next day started promising with the sun rising through the mist. We had a full Irish breakfast and then started our trip. Soon it became clear that the sun was losing the battle, so it remained misty with drizzle.


My first Guinness!
 

Dinner with Pat and Roger
 

Nativity Rocks!
 

Mary and Joseph
 

Roan and friends
 

The bungalow of John and Angela
 

Bringing the kids to school
 

Morning frost
 

A real Irish breakfast
 

White wagtail. looking for crumbs
 
We decided to change our plans and went to the Cavan County Museum. Cavan is one of the counties of Ulster. I must confess that I didn't know much about the history of Ireland, had never heard about the Plantation of Ulster, the Great Famine or the Anglo_Irish treaty, so this museum visit was very informative!

After lunch we drove around the countryside, visited some villages and a lake, but the weather did not improve, so we went home, to enjoy a real Irish dinner, prepared by Angela.



Cavan County Museum
 

Inside the museum
 

Bird Residential Area
 

Scenic landscapes
 


 


 

Old cottages
 


 

Goujon for lunch
 

Modern "cottage"
 

Swan mother and child
 

Many decorated shops
 

Home of John and Angela
 

Angela preparing dinner
 

Cutting the bacon
 
The next day the weather had not improved, so we decided to visit some small towns and have lunch in the Cabra Castle hotel. My general impression of the country is that it is poor. We saw many derelict housing estates. But the landscape is fascinating, the rolling hills, the trees covered with ivy, many lakes. The mist and rain added to the feeling of magic.

Bacon and Cabbage
 

Shopping street
 

Derelict housing estate
 

One of the many lakes
 

Another swan family
 

Beautiful
 

But not easy walking
 

Another old cottage
 
The Cabra Castle was a pleasant surprise. After a complicated history it has now become a luxury hotel cum museum. The food was good and not really expensive



Irish landscape
 

One year ago still a pub!
 

Cabra Castle Hotel
 

In front of the entrance
 

An Irish wolfhound
 

The hotel bar
 

Nice interior
 

Hunting trophies
 

Lunch in the library
 

Our lunch
 

More Irish landscape
 

Strange tree trunk
 

Austere beauty
 
After lunch, we visited the small town of Carrickmacross (those Irish names!). The rain had stopped, so we had a walk in the town and visited a few places. Interesting was the Workhouse, dating back to the Famine years (1845-1852), where poor people without job and food had to go to stay alive.

Carrickmacross
 

A pub
 

Collecting Christmas charity
 

Signs in English and Gaelic
 

Funeral undertaker cum liquor shop!
 

The Poor Law Union Workhouse
 

From the side
 

Chlidren's dormitory
 

Derelict part of the workhouse
 

The Fever Hospital
 
That evening we had a nice family dinner in Virginia. Because of the heavy fog we cancelled a plan to go to a pub with live music, instead we went home and spent a pleasant evening with the family.

The next day it was already time to say goodbye and take the bus to the airport. It will be nice to come back another time, hopefully with better weather.



Church
 

Another decorated shop
 

Dinner with the family
 

Black pudding with caramelised apples
 

Enjoying our food
 

The family in a mirror
 

Roan with his Titanic
 

Father and son with another Titanic
 

Granddad teaching Ciara a trick
 

Mother learning from daughter
 

Angela and John in front of their bungalow
 

Finally a view from the house without fog!
 
lightlingmk2 wrote on Dec 27, 2012:
Nice country Jan. Is this the Rep Ireland or British. The food is fantastic.

Kwai Loh wrote on Dec 27, 2012:
Hi KCLiew, My friends are living in the Republic of Ireland. They are planning to spend a few days in Belfast (Northern Ireland) but the situation there is at the moment not quiet (conflicts between Catholics and Protestants again).

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