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IRELAND    TOUR   2006

From Monday 11th September to Monday 18th September

Just another treble then if its your round!!!!

 

Five members from the Gloucestershire MG Owners Club took their cars AND Wives to Ireland to sample Irish hospitality and the dark stuff. Tony & Jane, Graham & Joyce and John & Maureen left Gloucester on the Monday for an overnight stay in Swansea : meeting up with Graham & Pam and Trevor & Sue at the Forge Lodge Hotel at St. Clears where we all had coffee. The timing of the arrivals could not have been better even if  the “delegated non- volunteered” Courier had organised it !! Only one small problem had occurred----John’s nearside headlight failed: this was quickly rectified.


ire2It must be reported---as must all suspicious incidents--- that a member was coerced into a remedy for sinus pain by sniffing a burning Chinese herb;  yea yea yea,  but it worked and we continued on our  way to the ferry.     

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The crossing from Fishguard to Rosslare was smooth, sunny and uneventful: exactly as the Courier ordered.  We stayed the first night in Rosslare at The Great Southern Hotel literally two minutes drive from the port. Before dining, we all gathered in Graham and Joyce’s room to celebrate Graham’s 70th Birthday (actually two days earlier) with Champagne and birthday cake—better late than never !! Thank you Joyce.  Afterwards, still at the hotel, we  all enjoyed our first Irish meal followed by the evening’s entertainment. 3This was meant to be provided by the professional musician/singer engaged by the hotel:  instead certain members joined in the dancing with a coach party of +80 year olds. Graham B did not last long in the ring with these fit elders and even Trevor with his gammy knee could not resist joining them--- at breakfast next morning, it was heard Tony boasting he had “pulled” an 85 year young  lady from the harem---and he’s not 70---YET !!  The evening’s entertainment finished with a display, of what I would call the Irish equivalent of our Morris dancing, rounded off by folk-singing;  a pity we could not understand the dialect.`

 Next morning, nice and early at 9.30am and all fuelled up with cheaper Irish petrol we departed for Killarney 180 miles away ---it was bucketing down; so much that the “hood-downers” didn’t. At the special request of Sue, the Courier made arrangements to stop at the Waterford Crystal factory, where we all bought---- nothing. Maureen tried but the vase she liked was out of stock .   John offered to purchase the shop display piece but to his relief this was refused. We continued our journey and with the weather improving, the “hood-downers” did. Our luxury mid-day stop was at a newly built Tesco at Caher. We continued onto Killarney for our four night stay at the Killarney Court hotel, which lived up to the excellent description taken off the Net.

After settling in, I looked out of the  hotel window and could not believe my eyes----25 Morgans all lined up and covered for their overnight stay. They said they had no room for our MG’s-----Snooty lot they are with their wooden cars.

4Thursday,  we awoke to a sunny day with our objective to complete the Ring of Kerry. This day, after blowing off the overnight rain, we all had our hoods down and were able to enjoy the absolutely fabulous mountain and coastal scenery. First stop was at Glenbeigh where we  viewed the spectacular sea waves breaking onto the pebble beach. Then onwards for coffee and onto the car-ferry near Cahersiveen taking us to Valencia Island. Once again, the organisational skills of our Courier came to the front with no time  wasted  waiting for the ferry. After driving across Valencia Island we returned to the mainland over the bridge at Portmagee and onward to Waterville near where  we  stopped at the Smugglers Inn for lunch . With a table laid for ten (Courier negotiations again) an excellent meal was enjoyed----a pity we did not have time to sample their fish menus,  which if they used seafood any fresher, they say they would have had to cook it under water !!!5

                

 

Onwards around the coastline with its views;  photographs, digital or film and words cannot do justice to the scenery. From Sneem we climb the mountain to Moll’s Gap, stop for refreshments, tea and cake. It must be reported that not every one had cake---John didn’t !!! Then continue to Torc Waterfall and back to the hotel.

Tonight we decide to eat out and go into town, a 15 minute walk, for some Irish diddly diddly music and food in a typical pub, but only after celebrating   today’s  Tony’s 70th birthday. Jane had laid on Champagne, a really nice cake with a picture of Tony’s  car in the icing and some nibbles.  Two birthday parties in one trip, how often does  that happen ? Thank you Jane.

7Onto town  where we ended up at The Danny Mann. A fantastic venue with food, drinks and a different band/group every night. Our Courier negotiated with the Manager and again secured a table for all ten of us, together, in a prime position in front of the band but not under the loudspeakers. The band, Wed the Shamrock, somehow knew it was Tony’s birthday and gave us a rousing chorus of “ Happy Birthday to You “

After the previous two days long runs, we were ready for a rest day  HA HA HA

 

 

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Trevor and Sue decided to go for a  walk but later in the day were seen by the rest of the gang in their car !!!!  Into town we went when John noticed an “oldy worldy” mini-bus which was advertising  :- short trip in the bus, 7mile ride in a Jaunty Trap and Horse, ride in an open boat through the lakes and return to town in the bus, all for 25 Euros each. All agreed---off we went---emptied out of bus at the Jaunty ride: bus returns to town: then we learn we have to pay an extra 20 Euros each for the  Jaunty ride----------off we go through Dunloe Gap in the mountain. At each steep climb, we are requested, nay demanded, to dismount and walk up them, thus giving the poor horse an easy pull.   In the second cart carrying the two Grahams and wives, their driver actually rode in the cart up the steep parts!!  Our Courier’s reputation reached rock-bottom and was not allowed to recover for the duration of the tour!  “ I’ve been for walks before but never up steep inclines like here and NEVER had I to pay for the privilege” was typical of the remarks repeatedly thrown at our unfortunate now despondent Courier.

9Arriving ultimately at Lord Brandon’s cottage, we had refreshments and loaded into the open boat for the trip through the lakes. Very scenic, very relaxing and with the nods and winks and jokes from Paddy we arrived at Ross Castle where the mini-bus was waiting to return us to town.

For the evening entertainment, the Courier had arranged with Tony to book tickets for  Riverdance  at the IEC in Killarney. He tried to emulate John and managed to also arrange free transport to and from the theatre.  Again another treat for us.

 

 

 

Saturday, we planned to tour The Dingle Peninsular, which is mainly coastal. Unfortunately the weather turned  really bad and the hoods shot up. What we could see through the rain and mist, showed that in good weather this would have been, again, another scenic ride. Cannot blame the Courier this time.  How ever, it was dry for lunch ---inside the pub.

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In the evening we returned to The Danny Mann, where again we managed to sit together at the same table we had previously: this time it was due entirely to our Courier’s expertise. The group this time was The Molly Maguires.  Part-way through the evening, the band leader requested John Child from the Gloucester MG Owners Club to the stage. Once there, he announced John was now a Leprechaun, the first one from Gloucester and was presented with a Leprechaun hat in appreciation of the work he had done in organising the tour. Very much embarrassed, John thanked him and on return to the table, also all his friends. At every opportunity John had visited many shops to try to buy such a hat but had failed. No one owned up to who had planned this surprise but a surprise it was; thank you all.

6Sunday and we start our journey home. We decided to return to Rosslare by a different route--- via Cork. Although we planned to visit Blarney on the way, some how we got separated and only Tony & Jane and Graham & Pam managed it. With them not supple enough or brave enough to kiss the stone, perhaps it was a wasted diversion.  The others continued on their way, stopping at another newly built Tesco at Midleton for elevenses. After we had eaten our small cakes, Joyce bought herself the largest ice cream I’ve seen and

 I’m a connoisseur. By the time it was eaten and the melted bits wiped off  her clothes, our restart was delayed by ummm  ten minutes !!                                                  

We all met up at Dungarvan where we had lunch overlooking the marina and boats. Graham S was satisfied now that he had had his daily fix of boat-life!    Onto Rosslare where we stayed at the Great Southern Hotel again. Being Sunday, there was no evening entertainment giving us the opportunity of an early night.

11Next morning, onto the ferry to Fishguard for another smooth crossing. We were very lucky John had ordered good weather for both crossings!!   All parties arrived back home with no major breakdowns with their cars.  Depending on which car you looked at and where you started from, we completed about 970 miles overall.

An excellent tour, good company and looking forward to the next overseas trip---perhaps Jersey next year.  If you stay at home---you don’t know what you’re missing !!!

 

 

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