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Ireland: 7th-15th June, 2022

7th June, 2022

As part of our trip back to the UK, we wanted to spend time in Ireland, somewhere I'd never visited before. We were taking our car and decided on the Bilbao - Portsmouth route and then on to the car ferry from Anglesey to Dublin.

Arriving at our accommodation near to the port of Bilbao, we spent a leisurely evening watching port activity and watched our ship come in to be readied for our early departure the following morning.

8/9th June, 2022

Arriving in Portsmouth late evening, we made our way to an overnight stay. It was late by the time we checked in and as neither of us slept well, after a few hours rest we decided to check out and make our way to the port at Anglesey. The most expensive bed we'd paid, for 4 hour's kip, however it meant we had a leisurely ride to catch our boat across to Dublin.

After an uneventful crossing of an hour and a half, there was a long run in to the port of Dublin itself. Anticipating traffic and hold ups getting out of the port and through the city, we were delighted to have a straight forward run to our accommodation for the week. Navigation was simple; straight out of the port and on to a motorway skirting the city of Dublin completely.

Finding our accommodation and speaking briefly to our host, we settled into our cottage with the intention of exploring by foot the next morning, after travelling for the past four days.

10th June, 2022

The weather however, decided otherwise! Gale force winds were whipping the seas up as well as everything else which could move. There were clouds of sand rising from the beach so we decided to stick to the car and explore as best we could.

This is very much peat bog countryside with smallholdings defined by many stone walls.

Our drive around was very successful in that we were able to meet some of the local artists; the local blacksmith and a mural painter. Both had such interesting stories to tell. The blacksmith, Peter Folan is 5th generation at the forge and he happily chatted and let me wander through his workplace as well as watch him measuring out metal to make ornamental stairs.

Danny Wallace was painting a mural and I stopped to ask him about his work. Apparently it was a memorial to the husband of a lady who came out to greet me as well. It was the first anniversary of his death and Danny was just putting the finishing touches ready for a celebration later on. Although sad, it was also a fitting tribute both to her early life and that of their life together.

We found a little natural harbour which was protected a little and even caught a glmipse of a seal watching what we were doing.

An evening walk gave us the opportunity to explore the local harbour, just a 10 minute walk from our cottage. It was still very windy, however the elements didn't detract from the beauty of this spot.

We had already sussed out the local pub and after entering, we found out that it was traditional music night. What a treat! The duo were brilliant musicians and the singer had an incredible voice. When they learnt that we had travelled from Spain, a song "The Spanish Lady" was dedicated to me!

A truly fantastic night with lovely, friendly people, authentic music and a pub with real atmosphere - something I'd hoped I'd experience and here it was in abundance on our first full day in Ireland!

11th June, 2022

I understand now why Ireland is called the Emerald Isle; everything here is so much greener than other places I've been! We travelled away from the coast yesterday and went for a walk in woodland. Chris explained about the "Little People" who are everywhere and if you see one you must make a wish - I seemed to see them everywhere!

On the way back to our cottage, we stopped off at the village which had been the subject of the wall mural before returning to Spiddal and seeing the local harbour at high tide. It was still windy, however the sun shone at times.

We walked to the village pub in the evening and I experienced my first half pint of Guiness! We also stayed to listen to the Rock and Roll gig, however left after a while. The guy was a good guitarist and not a good singer; it was more entertaining watching a concerned son try to guide his elderly, drunk father through a the bar when he wanted to go to the loo!

12th June, 2022

A drive further around the west coast today. Delightful little inlets had us stopping the car frequently to investigate. Our destination was Dog's Bay Beach; white sandy horseshoe beaches over a mile long, are separated by sand dunes making a unique environment. However, the wind persisted and at times we were sand-blasted! It was an exhiliarating walk nonetheless and I was able to keep my camera safe whilst managing a few images.

We returned to our cottage via a more inland route and were treated to some spectacular mountain views across such green and lush areas.

13th June, 2022

Another memorable day as we took a ferry to the smallest of three islands off the west coast; Inis Oirr. It was a bit bumpy in big waves which caused some great showers of spray over the boat!

On arrival we hired some bikes and spent our time on the island cycling around, mostly on our own as everyone else seemed to stay in the more populated areas.

The roads were narrow and with very few cars. It was perfect cycling country and conditions. We stopped whenever something caught our eye and had a picnic sitting on rocks overlooking the great Atlantic Ocean.

We weren't the only ones tired from exertions on the last boat back to our local port! Heads dropped and eyes closed as we made a much smoother return journey to the mainland.

14th June, 2022 A full day through mountains and beyond. Diverse landscapes and even a sunset to view. Our last full day in Ireland didn't disappoint and we'll be leaving with a multitude of memories to take with us. It's been a thoroughly enjoyable time, however now it's time for a catch up with family and friends. This evening we'll be in the UK and the start of a north/south and east/west journey for the next couple of weeks.

15th June, 2020

Catching the ferry back to Anglesey we were treated to a flat calm sea. It meant that any creature moving was quickly spotted. We saw sharks and dolphins from our vantage point in the upper deck. They added to a sense of satisfaction at a really enjoyable trip. We will be back, I know!

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