Friday, 3 September 2010

32 Counties and 40 Shades of Green. We're the greatest pair of liggers the world has ever seen.

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I humbly introduce you to the last in the series of blogs. This entry will see our adventures wind to a close and see your dashing, if heavily bearded, heroes return to the fair city of their birth, the oldest, the greatest: Waterford.

After uploading the last entry, we ventured along treacherous motorways to Cahir, where we met up with one of our own. A member of team awesome: Anyone.

The bus arrived and she heard our "init whot, init. init. init. BAYYYYYBBBE" imitation before we were seen. Hugs were had and tears were feigned (nah it was good like.) The road was hit again, this time to Cashel we Rocked all over the Rock. It was awesome.

Post Rockage, we tucked into some dinneroni; a speciality dish containing eggs. This was incredibly filling, and it was real strugle no matter how much of a tasty burger it was.... not that burgers have anytthing to do with it.

We let the food settle, then, as you would do when in company... we hit the pub. Predrinking in the hostel was of course an item on the agenda... No matter how classy that might make us.

That night the sleep was mighty.


A stop of utmost importance, given the nature of one of our companions... was to call and visit and see and witness... Ballyporeen. The Ronald Reagan centre is now unfortunatly closed, however his name was enough for the photographs.

The leg of the journey took us to a dangerous place. We were going to Kilkenny TOWN, but the short path saw us dipping our tows in the nectar of Waterford. There was much scream and "NOOOO!!! DONT LOOK AT IT!" when passing the fateful welcome to waterford sign, but stubornness prevailed, and we pushed on to victory.

Kilkenny TOWN! saw us visit the historic Kilkenny Castle and us lazin' on a sunny afternoon in the well tended grass of the TOWN'S!! castle.

After this we struck out north to Ballyragget to meet some more friends of ours. These we going to accompany us for the evening. We caught some more rays, before adjurning to Jenkinstown woods for some frisby, chat and wrestling and deer watching.

From here, it was back to Rallybagget... I know what i said... here, myself and james were free to catch up on all our sleep (and then some) while the inevitable wait for the "young wans" to get ready to go out was indured.

Once the operations were completed and these amature artists and sculptors were satisfied with their self creations and facial mosiacs we again Jacked it to Kilkenny TOWN!!!

In the TOWN!!!! we went to Ivans place, who was very kindly putting us up for the night. And The we went out.

I wont go into too much detail on this. Needless to say there was drinking done, merriment had, and memories lost.


When we eventually roused ourselves from our beds we convoyed to Ballyragget to part our ways with Jess and Rachel before heading through Castlecomer to Carlow Town.

We went straight to the Dinn Ri, check in, and slept. There was a lot of sleeping... it was needed.

Once night had falling, concealing as it does all the blemishes of light we awoke feeling moderatley refreshed if a little hungry.

We had Quiche and Lasagne cold from boxes and were acosted by "little fellas" who wanted to F*ck sh1t up. Luckily they werent too excited by the prospect of being relieved of their shoes so they, like the problem they presented disappeared into the carlow night.


Sleep was had.


We delayed departure as late as possible, got the Welcome to to Wicklow sign then made a phone call.

On the Ray Foley show, they were discussing the heartbreak suffered by parents as they watch their kids go to school for the first time. They requested calls from people in that situation.

Naturally, we rang in.

Our name was Jim and we had a Daughter called Sally. They called us back straight away and we were back on the air.

The confession of who we actuially were didnt go down to well... however hilarity ensued... Check it out, the link is on our Face Book page.

Rolling into Glendalough, we checked into our hostel, the Glendalough Youth Hostel who very kindly sponsored us the cost of the nights accomodation.

We wandered about the round tower before heading off on a drive. We took in Wicklow Point, the most easternly point in the Country of Ireland (not the island), and Avoca... the Avoca village is better known to tv watchers as Ballykissangel. Photos were had then to hostel. We ate and were merry, then we slept.


up early on the final full day of our adventure. It was a sad yet fullfilling moment as we took the very last Welcome to sign... ironically there was a caravan in the background.

In the town itself, The Opera house let us have a wander around the auditorium... we are both professional door operators after all..

Then it was dunbrody, the campile german bombing site, drove to carnsore point for the most South Easternly point in Ireland, then we returned to wexford town.

We were a bit early for check in, so we took a couple of horseboxes in the Wrens Nest Pub... A horsebox is Black Tea with a shot of Captain Morgan and a Slice of Lemon... DO IT! It is delicious.

We checked in to hostel, food, had pints, hostel, movies, and slept for the Last night... we were saving ourselves for our return...


We were up early after our last night, to make our final journeys!

We took to the hook and its famous lighthouse, They very kindly allowed us the run of the place.. and afterwards provided the final shades of green that we required... All challenges were completed and we were on top of the world... if that was only 36m high...

We shtopped by loftus hall, then took ferry to passage, and made our triumphal return to waterford.

We made some rounds, caling to emma and to my place where we picked up Horsebox and hit the town for a shave

Turkish cut throat ultashave. JOB!! I was a bit regretful of the necesity of loosing my furry companion, but iwas after all a neccessary evil.

Post shave we hit Dungarvan. WLRfm was beconing to us. Ian Noctors show welcomed us to the airwaves for one last time... this time Live in the Studio.

We had a great chat and reminissed about the good times and the bad. One day we might be back... what we will be doing for that you ask? well... read on.

Currently, I am back at home, the 32 Counties, 32 Nights adventure is now behind me. There was a total of 3087 miles done on the clock. There was more tourist attractions visited that we even knew existed, 40 shades of green collect, the spiel repeated more times that there are grains of sand on woodstown strand, and more fun had than thought possible.


Our immediate future will see us hit the town for the "Finally Home Party" tonight. Were starting in The Munster Bar at 8... then seeing what happens.

Into the distant future, and possibly other expeditions... We were toying with the idea of 7 continents... 7 weeks...

Itd be a challenge, but I reckon we can Lig the shit out of it.

But for now, I will bid you all farewell. I hope that those of ye that were following, enjoyed the read and I hope to see ye out tonight.

Till next time,

possible expeditions.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

It was an Offally good time...

Westmeath evening

After writing the last blog that was uploaded, we left the house for some touring. The Joe Dolan tatue is located in Mullingar town, so we went in and stouched it, after this we watched the Man U game that was on then went out to Lough Ennell and the jealous wall.

In the house later on, I wandered out to the back and played some guitar, the evening settled with some television and eventually a good night’s sleep.


The next morning we got up late, enjoying the comfort of a comfortable home. A two course breakfast that beats the hell out of Leitrim Mammy’s was provided. Between the Sunday Dinner the night before and the breakfast of that morning, we had no need to eat for a week...

We reluctantly left, heading east to Meath. Our first port of call was Newgrange. The visitor centre there kindly sponsored us entry... even though we were wearing ridiculous hats and had Ronald with us. There was a bit of a wait before the next available shuttle bus to Newgrange, so we occupied the time with a tour around the exhibition and the AV show they have, as well as a Shuttle to Knowth. Once we had our fill of the rocks, we returned to the car.

That short walk was heartbreaking.

Ronald Died.

It is unclear at this juncture if he fell or if he was pushed, but regardless: his shattered body lay littered about the path.

It was with heavy heart that we posed for pictures beside the dead guy, picked up his remains and stole away into the sunset.

We moved to Kells. A bit of a wander found our hostel, where we checked in. The Kells Holiday Hostel very kindly sponsored the cost of the nights accommodation. Food was had in the form of WONG PALACE RESTAURANT. OMNOMNOM.

After the meal we were given some pretty interesting fortune cookies... we will never speak of this again.


After the meal, we popped in to Supervalu and sourced some glue. Ronald was welded back together using some serious epoxy. He is now in full health... however he is nursing a chip on his shoulder over the whole affair. (Didya see what I did there... didya see it? Didya?)

The sound track to the surgery was Hot Fuzz, which were on the tele. Damn funny shtuffs right there.


Next morning, we put off leaving as far as possible. The time, however, came and we had to journey forth to the start of phase four; the first county of Dublin: Louth...
From Kells we headed north east to Dundalk for a gawk... finding little there we turned the car southwards to Droghega. A wander around brought us to our hostel. The Greendoor Hostel very kindly sponsored us the cost of the nights accommodation.
As is our tendancy, we took a wander around the town, picking up food for dinner and goin to see the head of Oliver Plunkett. After we saw that surreal sight, we returned to the hostel to make the dinner. The remains of the day were passed by watching The Rose of Tralee.


We had to make an early start of it on the Wednesday; we had a lot of stuff to pack into Dublin.

Making our way through thick traffic, we parked in Huston station and walked to James’s Gate brewery where we were given a discount for the Guinness Experience. The gravity bar at the top allowed us to plan the rest of day and to see some of the sights we couldn’t get to see up close.

From here we wandered down to and through the Pheonix Park and to Dublin Zoo, who very kindly sponsored us the cost of entry. Animals were looked at and Minstrels were eaten. There was an awkward moment while we audibly debated robbing Kelly the Penguin... we decided against it in the end... we don’t want to appear unoriginal after all!

After a tea break in the Aisling Hotel, we hopped on the Luas to go as far as the Point. Here we we kindly sponsored the cost of entry to the “Eye of Dublin”. This let us see Dublin from the opposite angle as the Gravity Bar (no one would tell me why they called it that...)

From here we Luasd back to Abbey Street and a gawk around, picture by the spire and a look in some shops. On our travels we visited the National Leprechaun Museum, who very kindly sponsored us entry.

THIS PLACE IS FANTASTIC.... YOU MUST DO IT. It gives the story behind mythology and etymology of the modern leprechaun, going from its roots in Irish Folklore through to its evolution when brought to America where we know it today. At the end of the tour (which includes a giants causeway thats better than the real one... and a giant room where EVERYTHING IS HUUUGEEE.) you got the chance to sit around with a cup of tea and draw leprechauns... so we did... they even hung our pictures up on the walls for future generations to see!

On wards to victory!

We got back to the car and fought through more traffic to find Ranelagh, where we were staying that night. Don’t ever let anyone out in Dublin, because there is no one else to return the favour... except other non Dubliners...

Peter, our friend who we were staying with, showed us the place for food, which was duly bought, cooked and eaten. It was a fantastic idea to get pepperoni pizzas and to add burgers to them to make Pepperoni and Burger Pizzas... it were delicious.
Later on, we were brought out on the town. Templebar got an awful going over. The night saw us complete another couple of challenges which had been set to us... Busk in Templebar (thanks to random street corner busker who let me borrow the guitar), have a rap battle between me and james... and inform a load of people that “I have a massive ego”... (it wasn’t 100 people... but we got a good load in)


The next day, we had a late start... 11 o clock... shocking stuff. We hit the road, fighting as we would through traffic to head to the final county of Dublin; Kildare and the end of phase four. We banged out to Kill, where we set up shop in the Dew Inn with a cup of tea while we waited for our contact.

Ciara arrived and brought us to the Kill International Equestrian Centre.

At the centre, the “Kildare Committee” had set us a challenge. This was a messy challenge. We were to spent 32 minutes shovelling horse shit. I’m not going to sugar coat it; we were pretty horrified at the idea, but we rolled up the sleeves and got shtuck in. We had to move the shit from one pile, to another... a lot like POW entertainments...We shovelled at a fierce rate, with the knowledge that a reward was in the cards if we did well.

And well we did! Over the time, we shovelled the equivalent of 10 or so stables... smelly but satisfying labour.

Our reward for our back breaking work was first to see how it was normally done (JCB...) That was a demoralising show... and secondly to go horseback riding.

Our horses were Marge and Duracell, both fine animals with eyes wild and blue. I was on Marge and James atop Duracell. This was the first time James was ever on a horse, so he was nervous. I had been on a horse before... just been on one...

We were brought into the ring and mounted up. Walking was first, so we did a few laps, then we advanced to trotting finally trotting through steaks... I realise this isn’t fast at all, and the horses have a good few more gears, but to us inexperienced so and sos, we were travelling at lightspeed.

After this we took the horses on a river walk, as in walking through and along the river rather than beside it.

Look at me, look at yourself, look at me... look at yourself... Look at me... IM ON A HORSE.

After Dismounting (I Love the way I can say that innocently in this context) we went with Ciara to her place, which is on the Curragh... a fantastic piece of scenery. She brought us out mountain boarding on the hills there. Injuries were sustained, but none life threatening!

Dinner was cooked and eaten, then we were brought to the Court Hotel nightclub in Naas, where they let us in for free. After the nightclub we returned to the house... the taxi driver was kind enough to give us a discount... meaning we only paid 32 euro for the long trip.


By the time we got round to leaving Kildare it was late in the day. We went straight to the hostel... which is deceptive... it took us an hour to find the hostel, but it was worth it overall. Farran Farm Hostel very kindly sponsored us the cost of the night’s accommodation.

Our task for the evening, get the signs. As we were on the motor way on the way into Kildare from Dublin and into Laois from Kildare, we couldn’t stop to take the needed snaps. To rectify the situation, we found a road that crossed the border and took both the Kildare and Laois Signs.. it took us a while to find one with the signs... we ended up trying a few.

After this, we needed to get some food into us... so we went as far south as Ballyragget, where we also called in on a couple friends of ours for an hour before heading back to the hostel for the night. While the Hostel was fantastic, very comfortable and well equipped; we got no sleep. There was an under 14s Hurling Team sharing the hostel with us that night. Bloody hell, they were loud.


At about 11 we journeyed on to Tullamore. Found tourist office to try sort accommodation for ourselves. No cheap options on the table from there, but while wandering we found Loughrey’s, a pub where we are staying for the night... our second time sleeping in a pub.

A cup of tea and we were out the the direction of clonmacnoise. On the way we passed GAA grounds where they were filming Celebrity Bainesteoir. There was no way we could pass it, brakes were applied and in we went.

The two celebrities: Nuala Carey, weather woman from RTE and Derek from Crystal Swing. The other two members were there as well and we got photos with all. We had a great chat with Mary Swing about the last time we had met (while they were performing in the Theatre Royal in Waterford) and Nuala is going to give us a shout out on Tele Bingo the next time she’s on! Which is on Friday the 3rd... I think she said 1:45.. but that could have been 1:15... itll be up on the page anyway when we have confirmation!

In a buzzing mood on this dark horse of a county, we went on to clonmacnoise where they very kindly sponsored us the cost of the nights accomodation, had a look around, and came back to watch the Man U game.

Witnessed the second half of the game, and at about that point a familiar face from home came to see us and join us for the night.

Food was had, and then some socialising. While enjoying a quiet evening in the corner a text were received... Olaf were coming.

There goes the quiet night...

Olaf are the people who provided us with Ronald Reagan, and theyre a pack of mental bastards. No more on this will be spoken...

But I will say... it was an offally good night.

Next morning we rose in good time, had breakfast and hit the road for Tipp. As I write this, I am sitting in a Hostel I was in before. The Cashel Holiday Hostel, who are very kindly sponsoring the cost of the nights accomodation, was the ame spot I stayed in way back when, when I went on a charity cycle... Jayz that was a while ago now...

This is up to date for the minute. We have travelled over 2600 miles. We are into phase 5; the homeward stretch. Kilkenny, Carlow, Wicklow, Wexford, Waterford.
Only 5 to go!


Sunday, 22 August 2010

Ive a lot of catching up to do!

Up to The last time I added to our growing journal of adventure, we were taking our leisure in Armagh City. This time we are filling the inbetween in Westmeath on day 21 of the trip. Its a sunday, and were in for the sunday dinner! Weve been looking forward to it all week... some proper food to have a break from the ubiquituous box of Cheerios.

The story so far: we went for some serious kippage post sweet and sour dinner that night in Armagh after our trials in Down. *shudders*

The rain was pouring and inducive of an evening spent indoors. The next morning we arose with smiles on our faces. Today we were bound for Monaghan, bound for the republic for Day 16. The midway point.

One could say we went to Monaghan on holiday for a night, and took the long way there and back!

We rolled into Monaghan town, parked in a Tesco Carpark in the middle of town and took a wander. We got into our heads to look for what we called Mopey Hats... these are the knitted hats that have the dangly bits off them... plenty of pictures in the gallery on Facebook.

Anyway, no luck, so we went to the Monaghan County Museum for a gawk. Following this, we found the tourist information office, which incase anyone finds themselves in Monaghan town, is out the road from the town itself in a small office beside the leisure centre.

Jo, the lady in the office gave us a few suggestions for stuff to do so we set about it with cautious optimism. Out the road we met with Rossmore woods where the shell of a Microhyrdo electric scheme remains lurking in the trees. We took a stroll to there and to the walled garden trying to find the remains of the castle that is nestled among the same trees. However... we got lost and couldn’t find it, so we resorted to retracing our footsteps to get back to the car.

From here we went further down the road to an open farm, where upon discerning our educational backgrounds, gave an in depth history and tour of the machinery that littered the small centre. Quite informative.

From here we hit Clones, to wait in the Diamond for a call that was not to come! We also arranged to meet our contact for Monaghan in the diamond after they finished work. Little did we know, she was talking about Monaghan town and Clones (where we thought we had to meet her) both have A place called “The Diamond”.

Eventually Maggie, our contact, contacted us to find out where we were... and to inform us of our ridiculousness... sure don’t ya know theres only one town in Monaghan... Monaghan.

We picked her up and she became our tour guide for the evening. She showed us the King’s Castle... a house that has been built with ramparts, etc. to look like a castle. We knocked on the door to try get a picture with the king, but Alas he must have been collecting tithes at the time because there was no answer at the portal.
From here we ascended to “The Bog” where we visited the Penal Cross. There was a lot of views to be had atop the bog, and after we had a look we ventured forth to Maggie’s place where we would be staying the night.

After arriving, we set off again almost immediately; Maggie is the assistant coach to her Fathers coach of a local under 12s team. A match was on that evening that Maggie had to go to, so we went and got some food in Monaghan town. By the time we got back to the house, the match was over and all were at home again.

We were provided with beverages before being invited out to a lock in. A good night in Monaghan!

Have to give a big thanks to the Treanor House hold for all they did for us and the Children!

Next day we moved to Tyrone: The North. We weren’t looking forward to going back in, but in we must go. Gortin is a bit north of Omagh Town, so onwards and upwards we ventured.

We went to the Gortin Tourist Accommodation Hostel, who very kindly sponsored us the cost of the nights accommodation. Unfortunatley we were a bit early, so we had some pretty fantastic Tea and Coffee in a local cafe, and a good chin wag about Bowls of Ice cream with Rosie (I think... I hope, cause I’m not editing this if its wrong...).
To eat up the hours we took the long way to the Ulster American Centre, who very kindly sponsored us admission into the park. This park gives an account and a history of the reasons behind and what happened after Irish emigrated to America around the time of the famine.

We went from here to the Hostel in Gortin, were I used the time to work on a Report I had outstanding... then at 6 we ventured back to Omagh for the phone call that was meant to come the day before... you see, the only bad thing I have to say about Tyrone is that it has pretty poor mobile reception. Gortin was in an absolute black out zone.

We pulled in beside the Memorial for the Omagh Bombing and waited for the call. It came and we answered, going live on air for our 5th Live Radio Interview... we spoke our minds about the places we’ve been... hope ye managed to catch it!
After the interview, food was acquired, transported to the kitchen, cooked, eaten, and digested. I digested mine while working on the report... This took us up to about half 10 or so, so we decided to stay put for the night. Some boring pair of so and sos we’re becoming.

In the morning we headed straight for Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Last of the NI counties!

We found our way around, then took a drive to see the Marble Arch Caves, situated in an European Geopark. This means we have been to every Geopark in Ireland! There are two Geoparks, one in Fermanagh which contains the caves and the other is the Copper Coast in Waterford, which we went through on Day 1.

We were very kindly sponsored entry to the tour, so we joined that was taken once more into the limestone depths of subterranean Ireland. The cave system has about 5-6Kms of caves, but the tour only takes in about 1 Km of this.

We came back to Enniskillen, checked in, went to McDonalds for Dinner and Internet access... I emailed off that report! and we also decided to spend the last of our Monopoly money on seeing the Expendables in the Cinema. Good Film that, they don’t take themselves too seriously: there are a lot of jabs at each other about their careers and people... I love the line directed at Arnie: “What was his (Arnie’s) problem?”...”He wants to be president”

The cinema very kindly sponsored a ticket for Ronald Regan to see the film with us.
After all this we still had a load of coins left over, so it was to the pool table in the hostel! We had a few games... with the last one deciding who was going to have to complete a challenge that we have outstanding... more on this to follow... after it has been completed!

The next morning, we were pretty ecstatic about something we had been thinking about for days at this stage... we were now leaving; we were going to be OUT OF THE NORTH.... FOR EVER

Our first step in Stage 3 was to experience the All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil, which was this year in Cavan. We went straight there, where there was already live music playing (at about 11).

We got some tea and coffee in a cafe, which killed some time before we headed to the hostel. Our place for night 19 is the Sandville House Hostel, just outside Ballyconnell. They are very kindly sponsoring us the cost of the accommodation. I have to say, we were impressed by the kitchen here... there was just something about it... it almost invited you to cook something... so we did... some serious lunch/breakfast.

It is during the digestion of this lunch that I write up until this point, to be saved on the laptop until I can get to the interwebs again!. OMNOMNOM FRENCH TOAST.

Now, since writing that little bit of things we drove to Ballyconnell to get supplies to add to the stock of free food left behind by previous guests of the hostel (Which was mainly so many eggs that we had to use them...)We got bread and A LOT of meat... returned and made what we call super burgers.

We each had two half pounder burgers with cheese, fried eggs and onions... They were awesome.. havent had a burger that good since the custom made burger I got in Burger King in Waterford on Day 1.

While we ate, we chatted to other guest, one was a family who were up so their daughter could compete in the fleadh the other a canadian tourist, from Canadia...

We cracked into Cavan town at about half 10 and stayed until the bus home at 2, we listened to many didily-idy and Dan O Hara Song. We chatted to people from all over the world. We had a mighty time of it.

Next day, we got up and used a load of eggs to make an omelette... I was set to drive that day... that say more about the night before than anything else...

So once we had eatten and got cleaned up, packed up and decided where exactly we were going, we hit the road like a tonne of bricks.

Today was Day 20. Longford. We went straight for the town, but somehow we missed the welcome to longford sign post... Wed come back to it.

A saturday, tourist office was shut... no accomodation sorted. It was like Down all over again.

To pick up our spirits we had tea and coffee in a pub, where we discovered that it was possible to stay in pubs in Longford!

That made our minds up, tonight we slept in a Pub!

We drove to find the Welcome to sign and then visited A Bog Trackway... its currently in the running for the DOH Award... come to our Auction when we get home to find out who wins this most prestiguous of tourism accolades...

The rest of Longford ran as follows: Back to town, found a pub to stay in, checked in, watched telly, got dinner, I Decided I was goint o watch kick Ass... so i rented it from Xtravision (had no account, no id, no proof of address... but we made it happen) Watched kick ass... which was fantastic! So much gore, brilliant! Saving private Ryan then sleep.

You can tell we were out the night before...

Day 21. Westmeath. 3 weeks on the road. Sunday dinner waiting for us. EXCELENT!!

We got up and hit the road straight away, we it the N4 heading for Mullingar. Enroute we took a detour to Lough Derravaragh for the Shwans (the children of lir?) onwards to Delvin and to our nights accomodation, The Carey Household; relatives of mine. OMNOMOMNOMNOM SUNDAY DINNER..

Already we have a list of places to hit, the first being Joe Dolans Tatue, Which we will Stouch.


Let the madness Begin!!!

1900+ miles done, 21 counties, well over half way on the shades of green, countless tourist attractions; the homeward stretch!


Monday, 16 August 2010

The System of a...

When I left ye last, I was sitting blissfully in Paddy's Palace of Derry City. Which I must say was a fantastic place.

Not long after I finished writing the blog, we went to to get some Monopoly Money from the ATM and we hoped in on the BBQ they were having at the hostel. £5 in and eat as many burgers as you possibly can!... So we did...

Ronald Regan got a serious outing at this BBQ... we went around to every single person there and demanded that the "stouch the tatue!"

We were joined in the hostel that evening by a tour of Australian and New Zealandish peoples, so we latched on to a ready made social group and went nuts.

We were told the place to meet up in town, so we wandered with some folks to that particular place, where after we made an error in judgement (we sang fields of athenry....) and a few beverages (in that order ill have you know...). Some of us headed to see the bonfire.

The bonfire, I believe i mentioned it before consisted of uprights driven into the ground, around which the bottom three rows of palets (on their edge) where places and back filled with tyres. Ontop of this structure was placed more layers of tyres, until the whole thing was the size of a large three story house... And then they covered it with the Irish Tri-colour.

By the time we reached the as of yet unburnt wood pile, there was drummers out in the Loyalist camp and creating a fantastic Din. While we waited for the appointed hour, I had a reat chat with a PSNI officer and a Bald tattoed Unionist that the PSNI officer was VERY VERY nice to... after the chat (which, those of you how know me will now exactly what I talked to this guy about... religion and politics), he gave me his name and waited until i could pronounce it right before leaving. His parting instruction: give his name if I get in trouble in the Loyalist part of Derry. I believe him completley.The crowds were being whipped up into a frenzy, with additional drummers occasionally appearing and joining the caucofany.

At quarter to 12, the drummers made their move. They marched through the gate we were perched above and did a circuit of the walled city. The steely beat reverbated off desolate church and shop alike. Just as the clock was being to think about striking midnight they returned to the camp. Their return was celebrated by the petrol bombing of the bonfire.

The blaze was something to behold.

The flags vaporised instantly, polyester ascending to the heavens above. The heat and the light however were but a candle to 1000 suns of the bonfire once it colapsed.

A crack and a groan and the almighty structure could hold itself together no more. In slow motion it spewed itself out and down, showering residents with the fruit of their labours. We had to hid behind the ramparts to shield ourselves from the Unionist blaze of hate and pride.

Joe, a great chap who works with Paddy Wagon tours... check them out... advised me two things at this point. That we all leave before things really kick off, and that I keep my mouth shut with the accent I have on me.

So we did, and I tried.

On the journey back to the pub, we met a crowd of young fellas... who over heard me southerning it up and came up to us. I could only defend myself with the worst Australian Accent known to man "Nah mate, Australian..."

They were drunk, so I survived. Pub for one to recover, then back to the Hostel to sleep.

The North seems to be pretty damn entertaining... so far.

Next morning, day 13, we head to belfast. We picked the right day to be leavin Derry by the sounds of things. As we left there was police everywhere. 3 Armed officers on every street corner... Today was the day of the Apprentice Boys march. Trouble was expected.

We left and headed north east. First stop, the giants causeway, where we met with the Australian Tour group (they were going to the same hostel we were, along pretty much the same route). The giants causeway is pretty cool, but also pretty small.

From here we went to the Carrick a rede rope bridge, there they very kindly sponsored us entry. Both places you have to pay in, then walk about a mile and a half to the attraction...

The rope bridge was quite fun... exhilirating... its a damn long way down!!

From here we went south to Belfast city, where after a lot of driving around, we found the hostel. Paddy's Palace Belfast, who very kindly sponsored us the nights accomodation!

We had a quick kip and washed up, then hit the town to explore. We took in the Harland and Wolff Shipyard the sights of the town itself, the botanical garden and even took a bus to the Shankill Area... we didnt get off the bus... we just had a gawk...

Unfortunatley for you guys... the camera ran out of juice while we wandered around the city, so theres only a few photos!

We went back to the Palace, and made ready to go out. We didnt spend too long on the town.. jst went down to the Crown for one. The crown is opposite, what im told is the most bombed hotel in the world...The Europa... which Bill Clinton always stays in when he is over... they even names the penthouse after him.

The next day... day 14. Down. after two good days, we were not ready for Down. We had no accomodation sorted for the first time on the trip and we were slightly nervous about this.

We journeyed south to DownPatrick and visited the grave of the greenfella... Downs only tourist attraction aside from the road to Dublin.

We headed to Newcastle, where we knew there was a hostel. We were told to go away and come back at 5. So we headed to Newry, had a look around. Did you know that Newry expects NO tourists on a Sunday? The place was shut up tighter than the government about the date of the Waterford By-election. In this day and age, you might expect that there would be some facilities for tourists on a Sunday... Nope. Not impressed by Down so far.

We managed to kill a couple of hours in down (how we dont know... we must have slipped into a coma) And we journeyed back to Newcastle. We took a wrong turn and end up on downs other tourist attraction... They were some blissful few precious minutes.

By the time we got to newcastle the place was buzzing. Think Tramore when the temperature goes a half degree above freezing but multiply it by a gazillion.

We fought our depressed way through the crowds (not only were in Down, but we stopped off in a pub to watch a bit of the Waterford game... not a good move)

The lovely ladies in the tourist office found us a nice camping place (hostel was full to the gills with not wanting to know) we could go to for the night. We had had no luck finding one ourselves.

We eventually found it... Road signs in (so far) the entirity of northern Ireland are a luxury. No wonder GPS yokes are so popular in the UK.

Tent pitched, food got, fire light, settled in with the Guitar and a vew suitable blues songs.

The one redeeming feature was that the weather that evening was absolutley beautiful. Hadnt seen a sky that clear since Inis Mor... it was fantastic.

Next morning, after we had packed up and hit the road, we headed through Newry to Armagh City.

Down claimed its last toll on us as we left...

We had pulled over to take a picture beside the Welcome to Armagh sign, and as per usual, I had set up the timer on my camera and had positioned it on the roof of the car.

While we waited for the snap to take, a passing convoy of love from Down whipped up enough hate filled Down wind to knock the camera from its perch and send it crashing to the hate filled Down ground. Bob the builder couldnt even fix it now.

We used James' camera which Ironically he had found that morning, and pushed on.

The Downer clung to us as we travelled.

Rolled into Armagh and parked, found a tourist office (was open) and found the hostel. We unfortunatley could check in as the reception wasnt open until 5, so we headed out to the Navan centre on the outskirts of town.

This fantastic little spot very kindly sponsored us entry, and we had a look around the self guided tour, where there was a lot of information about the Ulster Cycle, Chucullain and many other aspects of ancient Irish Folklore and how it applied to the Mound which is the whole point of the centre.

After the self guided tour there was a movie and then we wandered to the period dwelling they had set up. It was a brilliant, yet fantastic experience. We arrived late, so we didnt know what was going on at first. The three ladies of the house (wattle and daub over a wicker structure and a thatched roof) were in character. They gave us the history as if they were part of it and it was immersive, we were asked how many cattle we owned.. what are trades were the whole shabang!

By the time we had finished all that the reception in the hostel was open again, so we returned and checked in. The Armagh City Hostel is deffinatley a place I would come to again, its more like a Hotel than a Hostel.

We got some dinner, watching a GAA match from the windows and now we have settled in to enjoy the remains of the day.

What will tomorrow bring? who knows!

What I do know, is that tomorrow is Day 16, Monaghan: the half way mark. We have done nearly 1500 miles in the car so far, and over those 1500 miles so have seen so many different sides to Ireland that we never knew existed, we will never be able to look at it the same way again... for the better!

We are on the up and up again. The future is bright... the future wont be Orange for much longer ;)


Friday, 13 August 2010

Phase 2

Hello again, been a few days now... but weve been busy!

The last blog saw us at a low ebb, absolutley knackered... But we have picked up again.

We woke early in the centre of the Fox Empire had a two course breakfast, grabbed our freshly washed clothes and headed towards sligo.

Down the road we stopped of at Glencar waterfall for a bit of a gander, then moved on to the Welcome to Sligo sign. Emma had given out to us for being progressively more and more weary and bedraggled looking in the photos, so we put a lot of energy and effort into this one.


we moved towards Sligo town, only to buzz by and head straight to Rosses Point. We took a wander around the village, including taking the awesome picture for stitching... take a look at it... count how many there are of us.

We went back to Sligo Town and took a walk around before hitting the Lake Isle of Inisfree and nearby Parkes Castle. After this we returned to rosses point and checked into the Guesthouse for the night. Rosses Point Guest House very kindly sponsored the cost of the nights accomodation. I must say it was the nicest hostel/guesthouse that weve stayed in so far. Immaculate. You should get yerselves down there.

After James had a Kip and I finished a book and did some work, had a shower etc. we went to visit the grave of Queen Meave. That was a bit of a walk, so when we got back we ordered in from across the road. CHICKEN! OMNOMNOM

We wandered up to the Yeats Country Hotel for some live music for the evening before settling down for a nice Kip.

Day 11 saw us nervous from the get go. We packed up, locked up and hit the road. Donegal here we come! North, the road bound. North, to Bundoran. En Route we stopped at the grave of WB Yeats for the photo op.

We arrived in Bundoran about lunch time. The Homefield Rock Hostel very kindly sponsored us the cost of the nights acomodation. We used the opportunity to do some Admin work on the interweb before a nap...

This nap was cut short by the fated knock on the door.

The lads from the hostel (who also run the Donegal Adventure Centre), we going to take us Cliffjumping.

We were hunted out of the warmth and marched up to the Adventure centre, were we suited up. and of course... took photos.

The walk through town in the wetsuits was uneventful... quite warm though. People should wear these things all the time.

The place where the cliff jumping was to take place looked alright from the distance. From far away. Very far away. Close up was a different story.

They started us on the smallest jump, from the diving board. Then the height was increased, and increased, and increased and increased.

The sheer terror got too much for mself so I had to stop, but James jumped from the highest jump..."Grass"... Twice.

Jumping grass involves running before the jump... so that you can clear the rock ledge below and actually make it to the water.

We were running on adreneline for the res of the evening.

After all the flopping around like carp was finished, trooped back to the Adventure Centre, peeled out of the wet suits... then TIME FOR FOOD!

Spagetti Bolonaise cooked in an industrial kitchen, on a gas stove that has two settings... OFF and FULL.

Turned out pretty well in the end, even though we lost half the pasta... it fell out of the collinder. It almost brought a tear to my eye to see food being thrown out like that.

After food, we joined Lisa for some Bowling... she was down visiting the perifery of her empire, so we said why not!

We joined the game 4 rounds behind, yet over took them and beat them altogether. GO TEAM AWESOME! Anything, Anytime!

From here, we were introduced to the Best Pint of Guiness on the planet. It was so good, it turned my opinion of it around altogether... It climbed a whole 7 pegs on the scale.

Unfortunatley we missed the meteor shower, wayy to overcast to see a thing. Pity that!

(Ahhh, now we are as far as today)

Day 12, the last day of Phase one of the trip, and day one of phase 2.

We started early, being served a fry up in Case de Decy! Cheers to ya, and your mam for making it!

There was a local wishing chair, so there was deffinate sitting and photos to be done!

Onwards, ever onwards.. this time to Malin Head! Weve gone all the way from the south east, to the most south west, now we arrive at the most northernly!

Ronald demanded photos, and photos he got. We also got a snap of the most evil cow ever... he looked at us with EYES OF HATE!

We passed through Muff. Theres alot of Stuff in Muff. Aparantly theres a big diving scene there... accoring to the lads in Bundoran there is! We didnt stay long enough to find out, we rolled straight into Derry, the First County of the North.

Parked, got some monopoly money from the hole in the wall, got a feel for the place then straight to the Hostel. Paddy's Palace are very kindly putting us up for the night, not only here in Derry, but also in Belfast tomorrow night!

Went back into the town, walked around the City walls. Theres alot of history in this City. We saw the largest Bonfire Structure ive ever seen, and some interesting shananagans with Ireland flags, by Loyalists... i think...

We wandererd in around Bogside, looked at the murals. Fantastic Stuff. The site of Bloody Sunday. We passed an exhibition, which documented peoples experiences from it and pictures from the day. It really made it real. We left a donation on the way out, it was touching stuff.

Back to the Hostel again... we do alot of that!

And we are now here, chilling in the common room, updating this!

Hopefully it wont be as long until the next time i get to update!

Right, im going to peel myself out of here and get some food into me... OMNOMNOMNOM


Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Gagging Noises

We left The Old Mill hostel and headed for the music festival. At the music festival we met two interesting characters: NJ and St Patrick Himself.

NJ is the name we gave to the REALLY drunk guy, who somewho reminded us of ourselves. The other, is this crazy old guy who dressed up as St Patrick... As ya do.

We stayed to hear the most interesting cover of Galway Girl ive ever heard... Ever wonder what happens after the end of the story in that song... well this band fills in the gap!

We turned in early that night, got up just in time for breakfast, then headed straight for Lough Key Forest Park, who very kindly sponsored the cost of the nights accomodation as well as donated a shade of green, in the form of tshirts!

We Pitched the tent and then headed into Boyle for a gawk. Kings House was closed so we wandered around, got some food and headed back to the tent, were James Crashed out for a while, and I read a book. We really needed to recharge after the weeks travelling.

At 2 oclock we got a phone call from WLR, we were going to be going live with Ian Noctor on his show at 4:50. I ripped James from his slumber with 5 minutes left on the clock and we settled in to wait for the call. The call came and we chatted to himself. Love his show!

After we did that, we returned to boyle and got a movie, Road Trip, which we thought was appropriate. SO we watched that, then slept some more! How interesting day 8 was.

We eventually got up the next day at 12, and headed for Carrick-on-shannon. Once we arrived on that epic 10 minute drive. We found and internet cafe, The Larder, who gave us some free tea and coffee and did some admin work!

Then it was on the road again, this time to Manor-Hamilton... or however you say that, on the way we stopped of at the Arigna Mining experience, where they kindly sponsored entry on the tour, which was as fantastic as always. It was my third time on the tour, never gets old!

We went on to Manorhamilton and eventually found Lisa's house, a friend of James's from college, who is putting up for the night.

WE LOVE THESE PEOPLE. Two dinners they made, they washed our dirty laundry and had beers in the fridge for us!

After some dinner, we went for a "Sham"... a drive around to see some fantastic scenery. We got back to the house and now were just chilling out for the evening!

There we are, up to date. Its a quiet couple of days, but we needed a quiet day to get the energy levels up!

The next few days will be pretty interesting however! and looking forward to them!

Will pass on more as we have it!


Sunday, 8 August 2010


Howdi folks,

Currently sitting, resting sore feet in the Old Mill Hostel in Westport, Mayo. I do hope you are sitting comfortably, as I am now going to relay the story since the last time we spoke.

When I left you, I was using the computer in the Kilronan Hostel on Inis Mor, still recovering from the traumatic experience that was the ferry.

After all that, we went and got some food. We had good intentions of cooking up something that resembled a healthy meal, but we were so struck by the fact that this island in the middle of the atlantic had its own Supermacs, we felt compelled to eat at it.

After eating a bit, we took a wander around Kilronan Village eventually returning to our humble little temporary abode. We formulated the evenings plan: cans and a movie. A short saunter to Spar (yes they have a spar to!) saw us stocked up, and we settled in to watch A Clockwork Orange: a relaxing movie with little or no violence.

After this we popped round the local, Joe Macs pub. From here we also gained another shade of green. They very kindly sponsored us a green polo t-shirt.

We moved on in search of live music. The American Bar had a band playing, but as the name of the establishment might suggest, it was far from traditional fair.

Eventually we ended up back in the hostel, chatting and generally having a laugh with other guests. This polite and dignified activity soon devolved into seeing us and group of Clare Girls going paddling in the bay... which translates as being ankle deep in metallic grey sand and black engine oil.

Next morning we woke early to an unforgiving sun. We showered and hung around until the first ferry. The return crossing was uneventful. The water was like glass and we slept the whole time... SORTED!

We drove from Doolin to Galway, by way of first Lisdoonvarna, then a detour to a little place called Athenry. We got out of the car, and had a little sing song with a guitar and an obvious song! Challenge Complete!

In Galway City we parked and found our hostel for the night, The Galway City Hostel, who gave us a 50% discount on the nights accomodation, checked in and made the plan for the evening. Out to get the fixings for food first. We wandered through Eyre Square, our Ronald Regan Statue in Tow and found a Dunnes. Bought the missing ingredients for a stir fry... which is to say, we bought everything needed for a stir fry. In Dunnes, we were struck by the random hand of fate.

Who did we meet, but Collete from college, who just so happened to be in Galway on a bit of a holiday, and just so happened to be out to get food for her dinner as well! This is a crowd sorted for the evening!

We got back, cooked and sat down to eat. Turns out, fate always slaps you twice. Helena, a friend of mine who I havent seen for about 3421.543 years just so happens to be staying in the same hostel as us. BANG!

Chances of that?

After food, we wander the streets with our Ronald Regan Statuette, taking photos of it in various places and chatting to random people. We get as far as the Spanish Arch, where Ronald takes a photo of us (Camera timer, with Ronald left beside camera...) As we pose for the photo... a family who were behing us decide to jump in and put arms and legs everywhere... it was the most random moment ever. It was fantastic.

We notice that across the water on the Salthill Prom there is a road race in progress. Ronald Regan wanted a closer look, so we ventured across. On the way, we attempted to convince a Ban Guarda to be in a picture, holding Ronald Regan.. but she decined...

Instead, she points out a chap driving up the road, and advises us to follow him. The guy in Question is His Royal Highness, Michael Linsky, King of Claddagh, Irelands Last living King. BANG!

We pelt it up the road after his car, but it is gone before we can see where it disappeared to. We wander around, call for His Highness, but to no avail. Eventually we happen across an obliging local, she gave us directions to find this guys house... or castle if you will.

Arriving, we knock on the door, introduce ourselves and give him the story. We were then ushered inside and photos were taken!


We returned to the hostel and prepared to go out... I started teaching James to play chess, then we headed out to the Kings Head to meet Colette and her friends. They knew the places to go, so we resolved to stick with them!

Getting up this morning was difficult. We arose, trying to make little or no noise in the dorm, got ready, had breakfast, packed up and left.

We headed north west to Clifden, where we called into the Dan o Hara homestead, where they kindly sponsored admission.

From Clifden, we headed to Westport, where we checked into tonights Hostel, The Old Mill Hostel, who are very kindly sponsoring us the cost of accomodation. Straight away we stocked up on food, and headed to our challenge: Climb Croagh Patrick... barefoot.


The 32 Counties Team EVENTUALLY reached the summit of Croagh Patrick, it was cold and dark and we were both extremely sore. We were blessed by a group of passing monks for our barefootedness during the ascent.

At this point we both put back on our shoes (which were in the bags with the water and fruit) and came down as fast as we were able.

We collapsed into the hostel where we had showers and ate...

This brings us up the present... Im here, writing this epic. Well not any more, cause thats it for now!

We'll be heading out to check out the music festival they have here in Westport before crashing out for some serious ZZZZ



(The whole Ronal Regan thing is a challenge incase you were wondering...)