Hiya, me again. The Blogger in Black reporting from Southern Ireland. In not so much black as usual. My poncey long black leather coat, jeans & boots have given way to cargo shorts and t-shirts. Well, it IS summer after all. Although, clearly Irish summers have a lot in common with their British counterparts. Because, yep, you’ve guessed it, it’s raining. It HAS been sunny though, but the legs clearly need some more sun on them as they’re currently paler than a 1970’s BBC presenter who’s just heard a police siren nearby….
Anyway, where were we? Ah yes. The rest of the ferry crossing was pretty uneventful - and stress free too as I didn’t have to open my wallet. We docked fifteen minutes later than planned due to, we were advised; adverse tides and the need to give a large gas carrying ship a wide berth. Fair enough I guess.
Our first stop was to be the Ferrybank Caravan Park in Wexford, mainly because it was only a about 12 miles from the port of Rosslare where we arrived. It was easy to find, being just across the bridge and with the taste of the paninis long forgotten (unlike the cost) set up was completed in record time and soon the burgers were sizzling away on the barbie.
We were to be here for just two nights, so the awning stayed in the car. The pitches are hard standing - proper hard standing. i.e concrete. You’ll need to be at the edge of the pitch so you can peg out on the grass if you’re planning on an erection…..
This was our first evening in Ireland and it soon became apparent that there were a few issues that the Nonsense! technical team (er, me then) needed to address. The telly soon found over 70 channels but none yielded a picture - only sound. The telly was retuned, - more than once - in the hope that by doing exactly the same thing the problem will somehow resolve itself, but to no avail. The TV is now packed away and will probably stay there.
My mobile was also misbehaving and resisting all attempts to load a web page or indeed establish any sort of connection to the internet. A while back I changed networks and signed up with ‘3’ thanks to their ‘Feel at Home’ deal that allows you to use your call, text and data allowances abroad.
The signal from the free WiFi on the site was proving weak and unreliable. So, with no TV and no internet we ended up actually talking instead. Well, one of us was talking and the other wasn’t listening. I’ll let you work out who was doing what!
Tuesday saw us in Wexford town - just a short and pleasant walk across the bridge to the waterfront - well, it would have been had we not go the car, the excuse being that we needed to stock on grub later. It’s a pretty waterfront too. Ships used to sail to Britain in Victorian times, but with the gradual silting up of the harbour, the quay is now home to mussel dredgers.
We parked up on the quayside car park, crossing the railway line that runs up the east coast to Dublin and was about to buy a ticket when some kind lady offered us hers. Being skinflints I was happy to accept. After calling in at the tourist info centre and emerging with a load of brochures and booklets we set off. There is a tourist trail indicated on maps dotted around the compact town and we followed that - at times anyway. The main shopping area boasts plenty of independent shops and there was plenty of people around too. I procured a SIM card for our WiFi dongle and we stopped for coffee and scones - and very nice they were too.
The afternoon saw us in Tesco’s stocking up. The guy on the checkout turned out to be from St Albans in Hertfordshire but had lived in Ireland for over 40 years, 30 of them in Dublin. He knew Brighton well and visited every year as his brothers ashes were scattered there.
He advised us to check out Kilmore Quay on the south coast, and after tea we did just that. A quaint little fishing village with - apparently - fish and chips to die for. We didn’t partake but plenty were judging by the queue.
It was such a nice evening so we stopped on the way back for a bit of research, sitting in the pub garden nursing a pint it really felt as if the trip had finally began.
Wednesday, and it was legs up again - Patsy’s not ours, for the 70 or so miles west to Co. Tipperary and The Apple Farm. And what a site this is too. Despite it’s name a variety of fruits are grown here and at the centre of it all is a beautiful campsite nestling amongst the trees. It reminded me of my old village of Histon in Cambridgeshire, at one time dominated by Chivers Farm whose fruit - particularly the strawberries, were delicious. It is, we learnt later on Dutch owned which explained the very un-Irish accent of the lady that checked us in and showed us around. A large barn area has al the usual facilities as well as benches for communal dining or just a natter. Every camper gets a bottle of fresh apple juice too and it is delicious. Moreover it’s excellent value too at just €16,50 a night with electric which at the current rate of exchange is around £13.00.
Without doubt this is one of the prettiest sites we’ve been on too, but have a look at the pictures:
Thursday, and it’s fair to say that we were a little sluggish after enjoying the generosity of more parents - this time of the kids on Trev’s bus - in the awning the previous evening. Nevertheless we stoked up Rosie and pointed her west, to the nearby town of Cahir.
Cahir Castle is the obvious tourist lure and we duly obliged. They were extremely sensible with the admission price and there was a discount for the Portly Partner too. I won’t go over the history - I would be failing in my duties if you actually learnt something from this blog - but it is well worth an hour or two of your time. A short film recounts the castle’s turbulent history.
Half an hour away - if you walk - which we did, surprisingly - is the Swiss Cottage whose connection to the castle is explained in the film. Again, well worth the sensible admission fee but you have to join a tour - you can’t just wander around on your own and no photo’s are allowed inside. They run very regularly though.
We returned to the car, relieved to find that we hadn’t been punished overstaying our welcome on the car park, and headed back to the site for a late afternoon snooze.
With still no word from 3’s technical team on the on-going problem with my phone I decided to take matters in to my own, hands. A factory reset, whilst wiping everything from the phone did the trick and I can now get on the net with it. It’s true what they say - if you want a job doing properly…..