Thursday, 9 August 2007

Do The Strand

Last minute then, we decided to leg it down to Fishguard and catch the ferry to Rosslare. Madame S secured a tiny cottage six miles outside Waterford, so last Sunday I found myself in Kilkenny watching a young drunk man holding on to the bench he was sleeping on as if it was trying to buck him off.

I've worked in both Northern and Southern Ireland for short durations over the years and my family name is Irish, dating back to my paternal Great Grandparents and beyond, but somehow I'd never got around to visiting for leisure.

Southern Ireland I find a little strange. It almost looks like the UK and almost looks like a mainland European country, somehow falling between the two. The people are lovely and laid back, the road signs are printed in English and Gaelic and the radio presenters don't make you want fo smash your set. You're never far away from something interesting, but somehow it seems to take forever to get there.

I rather wish we hadn't had the cottage and had gone the B&B route, because there was so much I wanted to see. But the journey 'Into the West' could take up to five hours. And I really didn't want to spend all week in the car

Weather was glorious for the first few days which was something of a shock on the back of the hideous summer floods we'd left behind. So our first thought was to head for the beach. Luckily, your never far from one in Ireland, and having had a recommendation, we headed for Tramore, where I insisted on 'amusing' Madame with my hilarious song "When the moon hit's the sky like a big pizza pie...that's.. Tramore- ay?" Needless to say relations were strained for most of the week.

Tramore is a fairly traditional seaside town. It seems to be in the process of 'evolving' into Cornish seaside town. With a surf school and about twenty surf hire an clothing outlets, but no waves crashing onto the beach, which might not be good for business.

As you walk along toward the town past the funfair and circus it all starts to look a little like Bridlington. The sun kept shining however, and M'Zelle was so happy, she allowed the sun to burn shamrocks onto her feet.

We ate fabulous fish and chips on a little wall and went back to the cottage happy.

Further along the coast is Ardmore which is rather lovely. Just a small village with a large beach which has been largely left alone. Up on the hill they have a ruined church, with an old round tower.

We visited Cork City which was lovely, wandering around the shops trying to avoid the ones we have in the UK. Which was difficult. Back then along to Cobh, which has the distinction of being the last port visited by the Titanic (before the the one in Davy Jones Locker). The town doesn't make a huge deal about this. There is a monument to the Titanic, but the one for the Lusitania is about ten times bigger. Given the number of American tourists that visit Ireland, and the success of James Cameron's film, I'm surprised there isn't an interactive ride, and a nightclub with Celine Dion in residence.

Unfortunately five days doesn't go very far, and before long it was time for the ferry home, leaving much unseen. I think a further visit will be required, perhaps next year. Starting at the Ring of Kerry and travelling up around the the coast.

VS in the Irish rain on The Strand at Tramore-ay.


Ishouldbeworking said...

Loved the 'Shamrock Feet' shot!

Sounds like a lovely time, and nice to see that the Beautiful City (..."charming and pretty..beautiful city, my home by the Lee," oh you can always rely on the Irish for a damn good lyric) was well appreciated. Tramore has always been a bit sleepy apart from the racehorses, though it sounds like they may have been superceded by the inevitable surfies.

Getting further West is highly recommended; even before you get into Kerry there are some fine places around West Cork ( provided you don't mind dodging the hoardes of retired RSC actors who 'discovered' it en masse about 20 years ago). If you ever need a few tips...

I suddenly feel the urge to go back 'over the water' ( though I'll have to make do with the East Midlands this weekend. M'duck.).

Five-Centres said...

I only went to southern Ireland for the first time about seven years ago. I used to pour scorn on Irish pubs here, thinking they would never actually be like that in Ireland, crammed full of agricultural implements and pharmacy relics. But they were!

To me, as restful as it is, it's like it's a theme park created for Americans. I have to say I'm not a big fan of Ireland, though I thought Kilkenny was lovely.

Good to know what you look like Val.

Gwen said...

Nice to see a photo of your good self VS. Does Mme know that a link to a lovely photo of her lovely sunburnt feet is gracing your blog? I have never been to the south (only the north) of Ireland but everyone who goes highly recommends it. I'm sure I will go sometime. Of course being as how I'm actually very young I have a lot of years left in me to do it in!

Valentine Suicide said...

Actually the photo is of my stunt double, Vanity Suicide. It's far too dangerous for me walk across a beach. I probably couldn't even get insured..

Mme knows about the shamrock feet shot, I broke it to her gently and told her no-one reads this rubbish..

Gwen said...

Perhaps Mme should get into this blogging malarkey. Just a thought.