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!


No comments:

Post a Comment