A Travellerspoint blog

The Long and Winding Road Home

Random memories of a month in the UK and Ireland

The wiff and me be leavin dis place at a wee early time in the morrow.
Da ting is ‘tis was a bery fun month.

It was really just three weeks if you don’t count the time on the Queen Mary 2. However, the QM2 was so English it counts as a week of UK prep.

There is a lot of history here (duh), and we need to learn more and be better educated. That said, our eyes rolled and brain clouded up every time we heard a guide say something like “... King Aethelbald 856 – 860 was the eldest son of Aethelwulf, Æthelbald was born around 834. He was crowned at Kingston-upon-Thames in southwest London, after forcing his father to abdicate upon his return from pilgrimage to Rome. Following his father’s death in 858, he married his widowed stepmother Judith, but under pressure from the church the marriage was annulled after only a year. He is buried at Sherbourne Abbey...” and then go on and quote the history, marriages, transgressions and battles fought by the next 65 Monarchs of Saxon, Normandy, Plantegnet, House of Lancaster, Wales, York, Ireland, Stuart, Commonwealth, Windsor....I’m sure I forgot a few, but you can understand the brain freeze.

“A cuppa tea” Sitting next to a Londoner on a bus in Bath, I asked her when the English most like to enjoy a cup of tea. She answered...”when someone has a baby, when someone dies, when someone gets a new job, when someone is sacked from a job, when someone gets married, when someone gets divorced, when someone graduates, when someone fails.......They do enjoy their tea.

Castles are impressive, but not that homey....I wouldn’t want to live in one.

1200 miles driven on the left hand side, one minor rim scrape on hidden curb on small back road on first day driving. I was relieved to finally return the car in Dublin and know we survived.

Walking 2 miles a day on the ship and 5-6 miles daily while in UK - so probably about 190 miles walking. Fat, but fit.

Cities we visited: New York, Southampton, Bath, Stow in the Wold, Chippingham, Cirencester, Bourton-on-the-Water, Moreton in Marsh, Broadway, Chipping Camden, Stanton, Broad Campden, Winchcombe,
York, Edinburgh, Dublin, Kilkenny, Cobh, Kinsale, Galway....

Most fun place: York and staying in The Gillygate Inn
Best accommodation: Intercontinental Dublin & The Park House Hotel in Galway. Both above our pay grade, but very enjoyable.
Best view hotel: Kinsale Hotel and Spa in the Kinsale countryside
Most historic city: Edinburgh
Best accent: The Irish taxi drivers and shopkeepers In Dublin.
Best food experience: Amarone Italian restaurant in Edinburgh.
Scariest moment: First day driving from Southampton to Bath.
Small world moment: hearing Pink Martini recording of “Brazil” while in our Kinsale Hotel and remembering my performances with them.
Favorite memories: The QM2 experience, driving through the Cotswolds with Connie and Jim, our arrival in York and tours of the York Minster, drinking some incredible Scotch at the Scotch Whiskey Society, pub crawling in Kilkenny, wonderment of just how many pubs were on every street in nearly every town.
As we have experienced on our other world journeys, people from different cultures are more alike than they are different. While each region has its own unique, wonderful customs, food and traditions - we still share the important things like love of family, desire for a better life for our children and pride in our own culture. Travel continues to make us better world citizens. We will cherish the memories.

Posted by Catnchas 11:51 Comments (0)

Ridin’ Da Bus

Life is like a box of chocolates

There is something great about riding a bus (as long as it’s not a school bus!).
Unpretentious folks ride the bus. They are going to work, going home, going to see the sights. I never know how much money to pay the bus driver, so usually I hold up the line while I fumble in my backpack for coins. I usually don’t have my glasses handy, so I pull out all the coins, drop a few and then put my hand out and tell the driver “ just take what you need”. People are relieved when I finally take my seat, but they are still friendly. I only have to say a couple words and they ask “what parta de states are ya from lad.”. Yesterday when I was trying to figure out which bus and how much it would cost, an older Irish lady said she had a senior card and it allowed her to take her spouse for free. She asked me if I wanted to be her husband on the bus, so I told Cathy tough luck and we saved three euros. Her name was Katy and when we arrived at our stop I said goodbye to Katy, thanks for the good time and hooked up with Cathy again three euros richer.
You can also see a lotta stuff when you ride the bus, and you meet new people. Here’s what you see on the big bus in Dublin.


Posted by Catnchas 14:16 Comments (0)

Last Tango in Dublin

“In Dublin’s fare city, where girls are so pretty...”

“I first set me eyes on sweet Molly Malone....”
(Note where folks have set more than their eyes on)

“She wheeled her wheelbarrow, through streets broad and narrow....

Dublin is very alive...much bigger and more cosmopolitan than the other Irish cities we have visited. We have a great hotel - (compliments of the IHG Rewards program) at the Intercontinental Dublin. However, it’s about a 40 min walk from the old city center and though we had the best of intentions to get a bus, we wound up walking. On the waywe passed through a beautiful park,
Visited the National Museum and learned about Irish art....
I visited Trinity College, saw the book of Kells, and marveled at the Long Hall in the Trinity College Library.
We managed to find a bus for part of the journey back to the hotel, but still walked over 17000 steps (8.5 miles) - our longest jaunt since NYC. Our legs and our waistlines are on two different trajectories- fit and getting fitter vs fat and getting fatter....(and then there’s Thanksgiving)
We have two more nights to finish exploring here, then the loooong flight home. Broke and happy.

Posted by Catnchas 23:22 Comments (0)

Galway Pubs and Glorious Sunshine

Lest you think we are drunkards, let me clarify the situation. I like a good pub, but I didn’t drink at all these pubs. I like to order a half-pint (I do like the local Guinness) and then talk to the locals - whom I sometimes can’t understand half of what they are saying due to their thick Irish/Gaelic accents. They are friendly and it doesn’t take long for them to break into some kind of tale about their sister, uncle, brother who went to the states and had adventures. The Irish are very friendly folk, and they do patronize their pubs.
To put it in perspective, all of the pubs below (and many others) are within a 3-4 block walk from our hotel.


Posted by Catnchas 08:19 Comments (0)


Fun party town with shopping galore

Drove the 3.5 hours from Kinsale to Galway on mostly very good roads. Here is our Irish chariot. Not the Ferrari we wanted, but it got the job done.
By the time we drop it off in Dublin tmro afternoon, we will have driven 1200 miles around the UK.

We are staying in the Park House Hotel. Nice place - right in the center of the action in Eyre Square. Lots of shops, pubs and restaurants all within steps.

After settling in we went on a search for traditional Irish music in the pubs. It was everywhere.

Also, couldn’t resist sharing the Irish political humor.

Posted by Catnchas 02:28 Comments (0)

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