Ireland Road Trip Day 6 – Sat 16/4/2016

After the dull weather of the last few days and the rain last night, I woke to a beautiful morning at my first b&b in Ireland on this trip.

Then I scalded myself in the shower !

It had one of those concertina type doors that I hate as you get wet just turning the shower on. I let the water run for a minute or so and then got in and closed the door. Suddenly the water temp shot up to way above a safe level and I had nowhere to hide. I was being scalded everywhere it was hitting me and without my glasses on, I couldn’t see which way to turn the temp knob and in any case, I needed to just get out !  Quickly.

The door made this very awkward as it opened inwards, thus keeping me in the firing line even longer. My feet were burning as I was in the standing water which was hot enough to boil an egg ! My language was just as hot !

Finally I got out and looking like a lobster in places, I sat on the bed just to get my feet off the floor. After some time, things improved a lot and I decided I’d had enough of that shower and just got dressed and went to breakfast. My feet and parts of my back were pretty tender for the rest of the day but there were no lasting effects.

I told the owner what had happened and she said the showers had all been checked just recently and she didn’t know how that had happened but all I can say is that no shower should be able to get to those temps even if turned to the highest setting – imagine if a child had been in there ! Maybe there are no Health & Safety regulations in Ireland.

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After breakfast I decided to pay yesterday’s M50 toll charge online (€3.10) before leaving the b&b in case I didn’t get wifi again before the 8pm deadline. Last night in Wexford I’d used an ATM to get enough Euros to last me the rest of the trip. I’d used my “special” European credit card for this transaction which has no fees and just gives me the current exchange rate so I needed to  pay that off before incurring any interest.

I tried to do this online at the b&b but the Barclays app didn’t like the slow wifi speed and wouldn’t let me do it !  Pah.

All these unexpected tasks delayed my departure from Ferrycarrig Lodge and I didn’t get away until just after 10am.  The driveway ended at the R730 so I just turned left to rejoin the N11 towards Wexford and came to a lovely view across the River Slaney to the N11 road bridge I’d crossed in the drizzle yesterday before finding the b&b.

It looked much better with a blue sky background.

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I’d seen enough of Wexford last night so at a roundabout before the town, I took the N25 towards Rosslare before taking the R733 westwards as I was heading for Hook Lighthouse, only a 45 minute drive from the b&b and a scenic drive before going to Waterford for the afternoon.

I’m deliberately adding a lot of details from this post onwards as I really believe if anyone is planning to do a road trip around the south and west of Ireland, they couldn’t do better than follow my route.  I loved every single kilometer of it and if you have more time than I had, then just add to the roads I travelled on and you’ll have a fabulous drive.  I was also very fortunate with the b&bs I found but experiencing them as a not very fussy single guest, I’m not in a position to recommend them for couples or families. Every b&b was ensuite and had free wifi which were my two basic requirements ! 

Before setting off from Leeds, my resolution was to hug the coast wherever possible and go to the end of any peninsula that permitted a car to do so…..even if that meant leaving the normal tourist road and going down a dirt track ! This didn’t apply at Hook Head peninsula as a decent road led right to the end…..and to the lighthouse. I’ve always felt that if you reach a lighthouse on a peninsula you’re pretty much at the end of it !

I turned left off the R733 onto the R737 to go south to Hook Head. This was an area of rugged rocks and shingle bays just with the lighthouse in the distance. I almost typed “looming in the distance” but this was one of the least spectacular lighthouses I’ve ever seen and it definitely didn’t loom.

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Hook Head is the oldest working lighthouse in Ireland although according to the info at the place, it’s the oldest in the world. I prefer my title of it being the least looming !

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Those buildings give some sort of scale but honestly, it’s almost as wide as it is tall but then it is high above the water and can be easily seen for miles which has to be the main reason d’etre for a lighthouse !

There was a tiny maritime museum to the left of those white buildings with some interesting local exhibits including a Bristol Wagon, a rescue vehicle used in the 19th century…………

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Looking to the left of the wagon there is an example of a rescue cradle which was basically a lifebelt as is still used today but with an attached pair of pants (or breeches, hence the name – breeches buoy) to make it easier (and more comfortable) to winch people off stricken ships after ropes had been sent across using rockets from the cart. You could sit snugly with your arms over the lifebelt singing sea shanties with your legs dangling from the pants and even have your family jewels well supported !   Luxury !

Reading the info on that top photo about how the breeches buoy was replaced by a helicopter must be an example of the most impressive update ever in maritime rescue equipment.

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Leaving Hook Head and heading for Waterford meant returning north the way I’d arrived as there was no bridge across the River Barrow which separated County Wexford from County Waterford. But about 10 minutes from the lighthouse I turned left onto the L4045, only because that’s the way Google Maps was telling me to go and as if it knew what I liked, I came upon a lovely beach.

Well “came upon” is a bit strong as I drove past the almost hidden turn off to the beach and only just caught sight of a sign saying Dollar Beach as I flew by. I’d been seeing lovely bays all along the road but this was the first one with a sign and a road of some sort down to it so I did a u-turn and headed down the narrow road, just wide enough for one car.

Just 100 yds or so down this road there was a passing point and from there, the road suddenly dropped down at 45 degrees to a dead end but I decided to go on anyway. I rounded a corner to find a car already at the end point but as I could see the couple on the beach, I parked behind their car safe in the knowledge that I could leave when they left.

I just hoped no one would park behind me !

The first photo was one I took out my car window in case I had to make a quick return without being able to take any more.

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I met up with the couple on the beach and told them I’d leave when they did and I had a lovely walk along the beach before noticing another car had in fact arrived and was parking behind me.

The 3 of us had decided to leave together anyway so we climbed up to our cars and found an American couple waiting to take our places but it took a fair bit of maneuvering to achieve this and I had to reverse up to the small passing area before being able to face the other way and return to the road.

It was all worth it.

The L4045 led to the R733 and this led back to the N25 which finally crossed the River Barrow at New Ross so I could turn south to get all the way down to Waterford.

When I got to the city I was pretty hungry and didn’t care where I ate…..and I also needed to pay off that Halifax credit card balance before I racked up even one day’s interest on the Euros I’d got from the ATM in Wexford yesterday.  I parked outside a Dealz store on Michael Street in the city centre and despite it being a pay and display slot, I saw no pay machines so after a few locals told me I’d be fine on a Saturday (?), I just took the risk and left to find food.

The first place I found that also had wifi was a Burger King so I ate there and then managed to pay off the credit card balance as the internet speed, although slow, was acceptable to the Barclays phone app.

I spent the next few hours exploring Waterford but I’m not a city person and didn’t see much to keep me there for longer. I left the city heading westwards on the R680 to join up with the N25 beyond the toll section (thank you TomTom), keeping an eye out for a b&b along the road. Less than 10 miles from my parking spot in Waterford I saw a sign for a b&b just a few feet off the N25 so although it was relatively early, I fancied a restful evening to have a meal and watch some shows on my laptop.

The b&b was a family bungalow called Dawn House and it was probably the most basic of all the b&bs I found on my trip but despite this, it was clean, was ensuite, had wifi and best of all had a shower that wouldn’t scald me and had a proper door on it !

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That was a photo of my room that is on the web site and one below is one I took today.

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I’d passed a small row of shops along the R680 just 3 miles before the turn for Dawn House on the N25 and I knew one was a Chinese restaurant/takeaway so after a bit of a rest, I headed back to it and got a meal which I ate back at the house.

Mountain View Chinese Restaurant

Then I lay on the bed and watched some shows I’d downloaded onto the laptop and after some noisy guests from New Zealand arrived late in the rooms across from me, I was asleep by midnight and all set for my drive to Cobh and then on to Cork in the morning.

 

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