Warning – trying something new. This post was 100% written and edited on the day with my iPhone
Picking up a Van
Michelle’s brother Brian, his wife Lisa and their two kids Andrada and Everett are visiting us for a few weeks. Our first big outing is a five night road trip around the island. Maddex, Mila and I picked up our Peugeot 9 passenger van last night from the a car hire near the blue bell red line LUAS stop. I’ve never driven on the wrong side of the road and was a bit nervous. When we started going the kids argued a bit over a drink which stressed me out. I explained to them I was nervous and asked that they be calm pretty please. Surprisingly they were perfect the whole drove home – thanks kids.
The van is huge with a massive boot; so much room for activities. We normally do our best to pack super light and only bring one suitcase for our adventures. With the tremendous boot we went crazy and packed everything. Plus some extra things.
First stop for the day is about an hour and a half from home. Most of the drive is on multi laned motor ways. Oh ya, we’re headed to Kilkenny castle; as Colin puts it “a proper Irish castle” The motor way is grand for me to become comfortable with lane positioning and over taking on the wrong side of the road. Straight away I was a bit confused about where to over take and which lane was the granny lane. I texted Colin, my boss the local and asked. He said I was right. “Keep left, Over take on the right and mind the sheep.”
The motor way was a great opportunity to build some confidence before we embark on the narrower country roads that are hardly two lanes wide boxed in by stone walls. Where I’m told the speed limit of 80 or 110k in some places is not a limit but more of a speed challenge. Like can you make it to the speed and not die. Even more challenging with adults and kids all making sounds and messing with the radio in the car .
Roxi is still working out the car seat. She isn’t used to being tied down in a car. Total for the drive She cried for about 6 minutes struggling before taking a nap. Other than her one loud cry and the semi truck coming at us the drive was pleasant. It’s been a month since we had rain in Ireland. You can really see it in the county side. We’re more of the brown isles then emerald right now.
Kilkenny is a proper looking stone castle on a river with large green grounds to the front and the rear. The castle has arrow slits in the sides and turrets on top to keep out the bad guys. Truly grand looking from the outside. Sadly the owners ran low on money start of last century and auctioned off everything not bolted down in the 1930s then slowly let the castle fall apart. It was bought in the 1960s with and roofs and considerable water damage. The pitchers had to fully restore the castle and redecorate. The current interior furnishings are not original, save for some massive stone tables too large to move, but they are period correct.
The stand outs of the castle for me are the moorish stairwell and the picture room with its massive ornate ceiling and beam work and paintings. The impressive view from the upper floor bedrooms is dominated by the number of massive stone church’s. Quick count I see about seven massive tall churches. A bit shocking a small town could support so many churches. One of the tour guides mentioned most of the churches are built-in catholic and Protestant pairs to please the Irish argument over the better
After the castle I took the kids to a play area in the castle grounds while the adults went for coffee and snacks. I wrote while the kids played. I looked up a few times and listened for screams to make sure the kids were alive. Next stop Waterford to tour the factory and round up some lunch.
Waterford lunch stop
A short thirty-minute drive from the castle and we’re in Waterford looking for a place to park. For some reason the open air carparks all have a an enforced by steel beam height requirement. We drove by three of them before we slowly braved our way under one and parked. Waiting worked out because we parked right across from the no car shopping street in the town center.
We had lunch at a place called Heerys. Good seafood from what I am told by those who ordered fish and chips or seafood chowder. I had a chicken bacon wrap with a salad. Was excellent. Ate half and saved the rest for dinner. While the adults ordered I walked the girls back the way we came and bought them nuggets and fries from McDonald’s. Figured the 20 minute walk would give food time to arrive at restaurant and make eating more enjoyable. my plan kind of worked.
After lunch we toured the Waterford Crystal show room. Managed with five wee kids to look at most everything and break nothing! Yeah. Brian and Lisa spent more time looking And talking themselves out of buying anything while the kids and I ran around in front of the building where there were fewer things to smash and break with car sized price tags on them.
Millstreet county Cork at the Lodge
We had 98% perfect kids for the two and a hour drive from Waterford to our house next to Drishane Castle in Millstreet. Good thing the kids were in pleasant moods because I taped some bushes with the mirror making room for semis to pass the other direction on the narrow roads. Driving a big van on tiny roads is a bit stressful. The 100kph speed limits on the narrow roads is truly a challenge; it’s not a limit for me. Brian had his phone setup a few times to capture a video of me over taking a slow hey semi on a narrow road, but I never had the opportunity to overtake
Our house is huge, like eight bedrooms setup as a bed and breakfast. Not sure what Michelle did but we have the entire house to our selves. More than enough beds for all of the kids to be in their own beds. Bonus, mom and dad get our own room too. Chances are we won’t end up alone in bed by morning, but we might manage a few hours of kidless sleep before we’re invaded
tomorrow we drive around the ring of Kerry
The rest of the pictures