Saturday 16th September 2017
Left home 0615 and kept going until we got into Wales where we stopped for coffee and fruit toast.
Back on the road and completed the 255 mile easy drive to Fishguard, arriving about 1130. Went past the port and up to an old hotel on the cliff for a cuppa.
Down to the port, queued a while for a slightly chaotic embarkation. All good though, and onto the boat.
Smooth crossing in a bit over 3 hours. Had tea and paninis on board, and managed to find Dad a beer despite being told there was none on the boat.
Arrived at Rosslare around 1630 for a fairly orderly disembarkation and an easy 56 mile drive to our first house in Ballyfad, near Gorey. Stopped at a big Tesco on the way and got food
Got to the house around 1900. No sign of anyone in the main house and we had no information about what to do - we'd been led to believe we'd be met. Found the keys under a shell and let
ourselves in. The house looks great and is very rural with lovely views from several windows (I'd guessed it was probably on an estate from the AirBnB listing).
Quickly unpacked a few essentials and started making dinner - mince and new potatoes and loads of veg. Imelda turned up while we were cooking, was very bubbly and welcoming and helped us
out with a few pointers, eg. the WiFi password hidden in plain sight on an eye-level sticker on the fridge directly under the router ! Dinner was great - just what the doctor ordered.
Watched a bit of TV / internet and packed up reasonably early after a long day. All a bit knackered but mostly from a late-ish night and early start - the journey had felt very easy.
The weather's been a bit iffy. Cloudy and showers most of the day. Raining quite hard in the evening.
311 miles today: 311 miles total
Sunday 17th September 2017
Up late for a slow and relaxing breakfast and eventually got out of the house about 2pm. All feeling reasonably refreshed. Sun has been shining brightly all day.
Headed to Rathdrum to see the "Meeting of the Waters". It was a lovely little picturesque spot - very green and 2x very nice rivers merging. There was a memorial to
Thomas More there - described as the Irish equivalent of Scotland's Robbie Burns. Apparently it was one of his favourite spots. Walked around for 15 mins - it was only a small place.
Set off to find Aughavannagh, the start of the "Military Road" that runs North-South through the Wicklow Mountains. It got a bit confusing but we worked it out and went into the
Very scenic drive up and down through densely forested mountains - mostly fir plantations. Kept spotting the occasional trees with tinsel and other xmas decorations in them - in the
middle of nowhere!
Stopped at Glenmalure at the Glenmalure Lodge - a very nice (and popular) pub - for a cuppa.
Back on the road to Laragh where we turned west to see Gendalough and to drive the Wicklow Gap. Great views everywhere. Stopped at one place that had been an old lead mine. Turned
back via a small loop as we were leaving the mountains and returned to Laragh. Turned north to rejoin the Military Road towards Dublin.
Lots of great views again. Looks a bit like peat-bog, and maybe it is. Took a little detour to Sally Gap to see the lough. Very nice view looking down on it. Back to the Military Road
and continued north to around Glencree and tuned east towards the coast. Stopped on top of a hill with wide views over Dublin.
Hit the coast at Bray and started to look for somewhere to eat (about 7pm, and it's Sunday) while driving back south towards home. Went through town after town and had almost given up
finding anything when we reached Wicklow and found an Indian and a Chinese restaurant open. Went for the Chinese and had a very nice meal for a slightly pricey E80 + E10 tip.
Got back to the house a bit after 11pm. A great day with plenty of sunshine, all day.
154 miles today: 465 miles total
Monday 18th September 2017
Up and breakfasted and packed and out of the house at 1100. Took a few shots of our nice house and views before we left.
Took a gentle run up the main N11, M11, M50 route to Dublin. Really nice dual carriageway, that gently weaves around between the
Wicklow Mountains to the west and the coast to the east - and minimal traffic.
Reached Dublin and drove through the centre alongside the Liffey. Some nice buildings, some nice bridges, etc. We didn't stop - agreeing that we're not really city types.
Headed out of Dublin on the M1 for a few miles then headed to Skerries on the coast in search of tea. Skerries was very nice, a nice little harbour and a big free carpark overlooking
the sea. We parked up, had a wander around the harbour, and headed to a decent looking bar/restaurant with tables outside. Had a nice cuppa, and went back and sat in the car and
made/ate ham and cheese rolls for lunch.
Continued north up the coast enjoying the views and the nice roads, stopped at Laytown to have a look at the huge beach, through Drogheda and right back out to Clogerhead where we found
another remote little harbour. This was north enough so we started heading directly towards the next house at Shantonagh.
More great roads again, stopped briefly for food shopping, and we were soon there, except that the Satnav didn't seem to deliver us to right spot - we were looking up a nice drive to a
nice house, instead of a farm track. We carried on a bit and pulled into a space to check maps and AirBnB messages and emails. It was a bit of a puzzle but we decided to go back to
Ballybay and follow the provided directions from there. We turned round and as we passed the place where the Satnav took us I noticed a sign for Bluebell Farm - the Satnav had only been
about 5 metres out, but it had been enough to fool us !
Up the long bumpy track to the house - arriving a bit after 7pm. Charlie, the host, had already sent a message to say he wouldn't be there, but the door was open - just go in. We went in
and it was lovely and warm and cosy thanks mainly to a woodburner that was going nicely. Unloaded and had a look around - another nice place. Only one bedroom so I'm on the bed settee,
but that's no bother.
Cooked dinner in and had a good old feast washed down with biscuits and chocolate. Charlie (and Christina) turned up just as we finished dinner and were very nice and very helpful. I sat
up late-ish and started this diary.
Another great day with some nice sights and great roads again, and the weather's been great again - sunny all day.
192 miles today: 657 miles total