Sunday, August 21, 2016

Waterford to Clontarf (back to Dublin)

I really don't need one of these
I left Cobh yesterday afternoon and drove to Waterford, which is a medium-sized city about 100 miles southwest of Dublin; Waterford was my last stop before returning to Dublin today and ending my Irish adventure. Waterford seemed like a good place to break up the trip back to Dublin from Kenmare, and I also thought I'd like to take the tour of the Waterford Crystal factory. I got to Waterford around 4:30 in the afternoon, checked into my cute little room in a converted sack-dyeing factory, relaxed a bit, and then walked into the town center for some quite good Indian
Now I know where to get a giant crystal bear,
should the need arise.
food. This morning I got up and had a nice breakfast-chat with two other guests at the BnB, a mom and her university student son who were on holiday from Germany, and then walked to the House of Waterford Crystal; the next tour wasn't for another 50 minutes, so I walked around the showroom a bit which caused me to remember that I don't actually care for or about Waterford Crystal. The showroom is quite large and the things are pretty, they're just not my style, so I decided I didn't really need to know how they were made; I skipped the tour and made the two hour drive back to Dublin, which is where I am now, in a very nice, leafy neighborhood called Clontarf.


built in 1837, opened as a hotel in 1997
After I wrote all that, Clare, whose house I'm staying in, suggested I go to the Clontaft Castle Hotel for dinner, which is right in the neighborhood, and she offered to drive me there. Since I have been traveling all around southern Ireland for 10 days and not seen one castle (I could have, I just didn't see the point, although, no real point in a giant crystal bear either), that seemed like a good idea. I think a castle which has been turned into a luxury hotel makes a great point. So off we went; she dropped me at the entrance and I went into the Knights Bar for a steak sandwich and what I think was essentially a wine cooler. And just like with the Rolo-favored pudding, I don't care what you think, it was delicious. That's the second delicious fizzy pink drink I've had while traveling. Somehow drinking a local-brew pink wine cooler in Ireland (or the Bahamas) is less embarrassing than drinking a Seagrams at home.

And that's the end of the Ireland trip for me, I get on a ferry to Wales tomorrow morning. Here are some things I have learned in Ireland:

1. Most Irish people (there were a some exceptions, but very few) are extremely nice, friendly, and hospitable.

2. Driving on the left side of the road from the right side of the car, while unnatural and not the way God intended humans to drive, is do-able.
2a. Round-abouts are no big deal.
2b. Sometimes the GPS lady is just screwing with you.
2c. Keep left, keep left, keep left. 

3. The Irish countryside is spectacular; the cities... meh.
4. It's pretty easy to get just about anywhere if you're not in a hurry.