[Guest Post by Jeff Lewis]
If you’ve been studying alongside, you’ll know final week was half III of Jeff Lewis’ epic Valley Vagabond journey to Ireland. This week we have now half IV the finale!
Besides our time in Dublin, Cobh was the solely place the place we stayed proper in the thick of an city setting. The view out our window was of the unimaginable St Colman’s Cathedral. Just 100 yards away was the Cobh waterfront the place the Titanic made its final port of name. Four days later, it and 1517 souls had been resting on the backside of the Atlantic.
Cobh can be the place the survivors and victims of the RMS Lusitania sunk by the Germans throughout WWI had been introduced. Just a half-hour away is the well-known Blarney Castle and the a lot kissed Blarney stone.
While we did drive out to the fortress grounds and had been most likely inside 100 yards of the fortress itself, we by no means truly noticed it! We decided to not do the entire Blarney stone thing-this being a pandemic, and sharing a rock to kiss with a whole bunch of strangers didn’t enchantment to us! Instead, we went buying! Ireland is legendary for its woolens and crystal, so we had to select up some souvenirs.
Once our wallets had been slightly lighter, we made the comparatively quick drive up the coast to the resort and fishing village of Ardmore and our keep at a B&B on the farm. From our second-floor suite of rooms, we may see the native farms and the ocean past.
The farm itself was a working dairy farm full with cows, chickens, donkeys, goats and a few pleasant canine with model new puppies! The city of Ardmore is fairly tiny however has a good looking seaside and waterfront stroll, which ends with a hike alongside the cliffs alongside the shore. High on a hill above city, one will discover the Twelfth-century ruins of a cathedral and spherical tower attributed to St Declan, who is alleged to have purchased Christianity to Ireland earlier than St Patrick.
Of all the cemeteries we walked by on the journey (they’re in all places!), this was one in all my favorites, with distinctive headstones, fascinating ecclesiastical ruins and a wide ranging view of the city and ocean. With a while on our palms, we may head out on some lesser traveled roads to seashores not seen by most visiting vacationers. Dinner was again in city at a 5-star restaurant, and the day was full.
The following days had been further particular as they took us to the county and city of Wexford-strawberry capital of Ireland, however extra importantly, the residence of the Irish National Heritage Park, the residence base for our daughter’s archeology mission.
Between Ardmore and Wexford is the world-famous city of Waterford, the authentic residence of Waterford crystal. Like the Guinness manufacturing unit in Dublin, we selected to not go to the crystal manufacturing unit. Instead, we spent our transient time in Waterford at the Waterford Treasures Medieval Museum because it had a lot extra to do with the Viking and Norman historical past of Ireland, which is what introduced our daughter right here in the first place.
This day additionally introduced us to one in all the most unimaginable B&B’s I’ve ever stayed in. Rathaspeck Manor home is a 5-star 300-year-old Georgian nation residence with its personal 18 gap golf course surrounding the property. While different friends had been staying at the manor, it felt like we had been residing in our mansion. Extremely pleasant hosts. Conveniently situated outdoors of city however near the Heritage Park. An hour or so from the coast.
This place was good in each manner. Spacious and cozy past perception! Because of a scheduling snafu, we arrived a day later than they anticipated, so our triple room was given to another person, however they made lodging for us at no further cost with my spouse and I having our suite and our daughter was in her personal room.
The plan was to spend the afternoon at the Irish National Heritage Park however not having realized our lesson about making reservations but; we had been turned away as they had been at their covid restricted capability for the day. Instead, we turned to the coast and the Hook Lighthouse, the oldest functioning lighthouse in the world.
It doesn’t sound like a lot, however the lighthouse, its historical past courting again to the Twelfth century and the really dramatic coastal setting, was properly price the drive. The drive was attention-grabbing as one passes by damage after the damage of settlements and castles that dot the countryside between Wexford and the coast.
Much of Ireland has comparable options, however this drive introduced them proper as much as the roadside. Due to Covid, the lighthouse itself is closed, however the grounds are open and loved by many overseas and home vacationers. The Irish appear to love visiting their shoreline as a lot as we do. This memorable detour was once more a testomony to the magnificence of getting a versatile itinerary.
Having realized our lesson relating to making reservations, we had been at the Heritage Park very first thing in the morning. The Park is a residing historical past park that takes guests by Irish historical past, beginning with Mesolithic occasions, by Viking and Norman occupations and at the moment.
Our daughter’s mission was excavating a 12th century Norman city and chateau with the final purpose of recreating it onsite. Like many castles, hers was located on a hilltop in the Park, so we headed there first. Lucky we did as we bumped into the Park’s grasp falcon handler who was on his approach to their assortment of hawks, owls, falcons and different birds that had been widespread in medieval occasions. We had been invited into the falcon middle and given a non-public introduction to the birds, together with a possibility to carry one in all his youthful trainee hawks!
After an hour at the falcon middle, we moved on to the discipline lab and workplace for the archeology mission that really led us to Ireland. We acquired a behind-the-scenes have a look at a few of the artifacts being cleaned and preserved from the dig websites. Next, we acquired to see the precise work areas and tasks our daughter had been concerned in. You couldn’t think about the delight and pleasure we felt at seeing some huge holes in the floor and a two-foot-tall fortress wall constructed.
Our final journey day earlier than returning to Dublin took us to the monastic metropolis of Glendalough, which was based in the sixth century. We don’t have a historical past like that right here in the states! Finally, it was again to Dublin, an evening again at Stauntons, a go to to Trinity College, and our return residence.
With tornados delaying our journey right here, was it any shock that there was a hurricane blowing up the jap coast of the US on the date of our return flight? Was it any shock that the airways booked our daughter on a unique flight from Newark to Chicago than us? Or that the limo service to get us from Seatac to our home upped their charges by 30% with out telling us? Suffice it to say we acquired residence and can dwell with a few of the most spectacular of recollections from a terrific journey.
My life motto is “He who dies with the best stories wins.” I feel I’m profitable after this superb expertise!