Limerick and King Johns Castle

Khaleesi turns three on Friday and we typically designate a week plus or minus a bit  as a birthday extravaganza for the kids and we do our best to dedicated the time to adventures. Khaleesi asked to go to Paris for the weekend but the cheapest tickets available started at 100 euro. Michelle looked into a train ride somewhere in Ireland as an alternative. School starts soon for most kids in Ireland, and it’s still summer, as far as an Irish summer can be called summer. Michelle’s research showed most of the popular destinations were around 80% booked, and less then cheap.

Limerick hotels showed a far lower booking rate then anywhere else; Limerick it is.  Purchasing a family fare round trip ticket on the Irish rail mathed out to about 20 euro a head with an open ended return Ticket price. The same day return was significantly cheaper at 14 euro a head. Not sure where the price difference comes from but it’s a thing and I dislike it because we don’t want to come back the same day.

Basic route

To the station

We mostly packed up the night before, attempting to make it simpler to leave early in the morning.  Morning prep for our trip consisted of breakfast, packing a lunch, and a few other  last-minute preparations. Around 0830 we departed the house to the LUAS, final destination Heuston station. We took the green line LUAS to the current end at Stephens green in Dublin. After getting off the train and waiting for the crowd to clear I took out my phone and worked out a path across the river to the red line. The two systems are not connected yet, but will Be soon.

Stephens green LUAS stop

While I was on my phone Maddex busted out his Dublin travel map and laid it out on the ground. He says “ DAD!, look at the map let’s find a route” we worked out the same route I’d picked on my phone, on his map then stated walking. A few steps down and Maddex has a better idea. Pointing at the rail line in the street he says  “this rail will connect to the red line lets follow the train tracks” sounds like a logical adventurous idea to Michelle and I; approved. I’m super impressed with the love of adventure our kids are developing !!

Game of Thrones wax museum

Along the walk we were asked directions by a couple from Boston looking for their hostel. Do we look like locals? Or do we look helpful? Not sure which one, but either are not a complaint in my book. After running into the couple, we passed a large stone building with a huge entrance door and tour signs all over. Maddex and Mila both asked if we could go inside. Can’t turn down requests from the kids to explore. Turns out we’re at Trinity college, oh this is where that college thing is.

Heuston Train Station

We checked out the courtyard and map at the college then carried on. We’ll be back to explore further another time; we do live here now. The red line to the train station was a simple ride. Buying tickets at the station both of my US credit cards errored out on the ticketing machine saying they had reached their daily max; was not aware the cards had a max. Across the station was an ATM machine, insert ATM card, buy cash, find another ticketing machine, bought tickets with cash. The ticketing machine supplied change of 37 euro in 1 euro coins.

Our Train tickets and some other bits from my pack packets found unpacking after we made it home

We have time to kill before our train departs, so we used the WC then checked out the shops and picked up some drinks and crisps. We watched what we thought was our train come in, go out of service, be cleaned, have all of the doors closed then leave…. um, did we do something wrong here? Turns out we wanted the train behind us displaying Cork as the destination not the one we thought we wanted at station 6.  We’d read the destination board incorrectly.  Next train is an hour from now.  I guess Lesson learned. We sat on the empty waiting area for a bit eating lunch and chasing after Roxi.

Eating lunch with the kids while Michelle works out where our next train will be

We’re on platform 6 and the train we want appears to be on platform 2 now. We hustled over there and made the train with about 7 minutes to spare; glad we did not miss another one. Luckily the train was not fully booked and we were able to find two sets of seats on both sides of the train across from each other. I’ve been writing this post on my phone while Michelle is trying to snuggle Roxi through a cry to sleep.  Michelle will win, I’m sure, but Roxi is not making it a simple journey.

The girls on one side, Maddex and I on the other

Roxi won. She came and sat with me for the trip where she played and ate and squirmed about until five minutes before our transfer when she finally passed out in the pack. I’d given up trying to hold her 20 minutes earlier and put her in the back pack hoping she’d sleep in her happy place.  We’ve now transferred to a smaller train at limerick junction headed to limerick. Maddex ask where we are, I tried to bring up our Route on my phone but the internet is too slow to load the map. Note to self download the maps on the phone for future trips.

Maddex and Roxi both passed out on the Limerick junction and Limerick leg of the trip

The Irish rail trains are comfy, clean, and nice, but, there is always a but, they’re dreadfully stuffy.  No air feels to be moving at all inside of these things.  It would be horrid if it was hot out today. The smaller train has small windows that open but even open they don’t seem to help much. I’m longing to be out of here, outside where I can breathe better air. My throat is dry and I’m getting cranky. The kids appear to be un phased and sleeping

Limerick and the Maldron hotel

The Maldron hotel appears to have a spectacular pool in the online advertisement. When we found the pool it was nice and lived up to the hype. But it was part of a spa resort type thing attached to the hotel. You had to buy / wear a swim cap to be in the pool, lockers cost money to rent and towels cost money to rent. Ugggg this seems like a pile of work to use a pool that we figured was part of the room rate. We skipped the pool and went for a walk instead. Our walk took us to Tescos where we picked up some dinner. Cereal and milk and fruit for the kids and not much for Michelle and I.

Eating cereal out of mugs using tea spoons.

After diner we left for another walk. On the way out we stopped by the front desk and asked for a crib. Michelle did all of the talking. Then we walked around the block to purchase some ice cream Lollies for the kids at Aldis. On the way back through the lobby the front desk gal flagged us down and asked what room we are were saying in. She says  they took the crib to room 116 and it was occupied by a confused nearly sleeping  business man.  Michelle and I both said sorry 116 is our apartment number we’re in room 27

Walking around Limerick

Friday morning Maddex and I woke up before everyone else and snuck out of the room to find food.  We walked across the street to the Tesco looking for some donuts and a drink. Tesco does not open until 8 here; a few hours from now.  It’s Khaleesis birthday and  she’ll be wanting a breakfast fit for a princess, Donuts and cup cakes. We stopped into one petrol station and found cup cakes and fruit, then walked about until we found another station with a RE. Store. The next station had donuts which finished off our morning supplies.  Made it back to the room around 7, feed the clan and we’re out the door shortly after 8

Breakfast in bed for my princesses

From the hotel we’re on a mission to walk about 1.8 miles to King Johns castle on the River Shannon. Khaleesi made it about a mile and a half to the water front before she asked to be in the pack on my back. Impressive work for her short legs. On the walk down through a shopping area and was forced into a tool shop to look around; TOOLS. I asked the shop keeper for thin bungie cords.  He didn’t have any, but knew where we might find some. He sent us around the corner to Radar Stores a hiking shop in the Fox Bow.

Super Awesome hiking store

The  owner gave me a meter of cord saying just take it no charge. I bought some spoons I was after anyhow to say thanks for her gift.  The cord is going to be used to tie Maddex’s blanket to the bottom of his pack. We walked from there to the river along the water chasing birds, snapping pictures and checking out the sites until we passed over a foot bridge, through an old potato market and and found the castle tour office.

It’s hard to read but it says Potato Market above the opening the wall

King Johns Castle tour

The castle tour is self guided and costs 22 euro for the six of us. Not too bad for a few hours of history.  The tour starts out in a Museum setting with artifacts, videos and stuff to read then moves into a view of some old unearthed foundations eventually making It to the castle court-yard which is wide open to explore.

The castle court yard

From the castle court yard we went into rooms and toured a masons shop, a coin keeps shop, some bedrooms, an armoury and we were able to climb up to the top of the towers and view the river.  What a spectacular view! The narrow spiral staircase in the towers scared Mila a bit, but she reported they were her favorite part of the tour; funny how that works.  Maddex was difficult to calm down and keep slow and Khaleesi was on my back asking to touch things.

Khaleesi on my back with her crown being carried around a castle

We ended our tour in the gift shop around 11 which was starting to cut us close to check out time. The hotel is 1.8 miles away, we can do this.  We made it to the hotel half 11, snacked, packed, and checked out shortly after noon.  Sadly from the hotel we had to end up back where we just were. Another mile and a half walk back to the train station where we able to check our bags.  Wish we’d known we could check bags sooner would have saved us a few miles walk.  Lesson learned.

Khaleesi drinking Fanta eating her Pizza

Khaleesi wanted pizza for lunch and momma and I wanted to walk about the city and visit some shops. We found some school uniform bits in a thrift shop, a purse for Khaleesi and an angry birds hat for Maddex then we had pizza, fries and I ordered a burger at a papa johns. The toilet door near us on the second floor was protected by a code.  We must have provided the code to at least 10 people while we were there eating. After pizza we headed back to the train station.  On the way we stopped at a spar to pick up some 99” ice creme cones we ate on some steps.

Khaleesi eating her ice creme

Lessons learned

Help the kids pack better – Mila brought a snow globe with her and Maddex brought a magic 8 ball. They didn’t have trouble with the bags getting to the hotel.  But it was a bit much for them to put on the miles after we checked out of the hotel.

Left luggage – left luggage does not mean lost and found it means leave your luggage here for a few euro while you tour around the city. Brilliant for us considering the extra miles we walked to leave our stuff in the hotel.

More pictures

It says Peterson we had to get a picture
Kids and some armour in front of the GOT museum
Maddex is not a fan of selfies
Mila next to the train we should have taken
Michelle working out where we should be
Maddex not looking at his phone
Sleeping kids !!
Made it to Limerick station
A betting bookie with a store front – don’t see that back home, next door to a booze store
Fox Bow where we found our hiking store
Dad and two princesses and a unicorn
Something is missing in Michelles pack
Castle can alomst be seen in the back ground
I love stone bridges
Love castles too !!!
The normans have borrowed my childrens heads
Castle court yard form above on one of the towers
Looking up river at a church and cemtery
View down river
Across the river, bridges are cool
Sadly she escaped
Mila ready to fight off invaders
the kids all said SAVE THE CLOCK TOWER
girls awake  on a train
girls passed out on a train

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