travel in 2006 Ireland and Wales


The ninth day 30th June (Friday) click on the blue frame picture, you can enlarge it.
today's course   Downpatrick --- Monasterboice --- Drogheda --- Newgrange --- Dublin ---
                                        Dun Laoghaire 〜〜 Holyhead --- Betws-y-Coed
today's distance   275km   today's pedometer   14,600steps

Pheasants' Hill Farm
It was the day to visit Irish capital Dublin today, but nevertheless it was the day to leave Ireland.
It was likely to rain from morning but we were certain of being fine shortly. We have heard that it rained a lot in Ireland, but we were caught in a shower only one day, in Wicklow Mountains、 Glendalough、Kilkenny. We were very lucky to have many lovely days in the west Ireland.

Pheasants' Hill Farm

In the morning, we went down the stairs to the dining room at 8 o'clock to have breakfast, but nobody replied to our morning greeting.
Moreover the dining room was in complete darkness and it didn't seem to be able to have breakfast in it.
We knocked strongly the door leading to the back room in doubt, when a woman like the servant appeared.
I told her "We asked the girl to arrange full Irish breakfast for us at 8 o'clock, last evening."
Then she replied " Now I'm cooking. Have some cereal on ahead, please."
While saying so, she turned on the light in the dining room and disappeared into the back room in a rush.
It was rain out side at that time, there weren't any flowerpots or a garden around the house, so that we could not but wait.
Of course there did not have even one drop of milk for the boxed cereal and a glass of juice. The landlady didn’t show herself to us to the stage to pay the rate after all. I could not hear about the words of the welcome either. It was the worst accommodation I've ever stayed at in U.K. and it was lowest service so far from five diamonds of AA.
We will never come back here. Somehow, I felt sad.

We continued to drive on A25 to the west from Downpatrick, then the road changed A1 for N1.
In other words, we passed across the border. But we couldn't watch any checkpoint or signboard neighboring area.
We had quite a few information about Monasterboice ,which was the monastery trace that has an old round tower and high cross-built in the ancient times. A feel was in a state, and we finally arrived on a narrow way for the spot.
As for the preceding visitor, a florist was giving a flower to the grave and turning around. He put many wreathe of flowers and bouquets to new grave.
Seeing that a tent was pitched at the corner of the area, I thought there might be a funeral today.
For a while we were watching his action astonishing the amount of flowers.
There were a round tower and a high cross in the normal graveyard that we could see in Japan here and there, but they were magnificent.
The entrance of the round tower that was built in 5centuries was high, in order to keep away the surprise attack of the Viking.
It was 35meters high, higher than the tower of Glendalough.(The tip collapsed now.)
A magnificent high cross was standing among the same cross. That was the Muiredach cross, which was built in 10centuries.
That Celtic cross was the most dignified I've ever seen. A state of the Christ crucifixion was carved with in the middle of the cross of the west aspect. An episode of the Bible was sculpted other aspects with Celts pattern.
It was said that those pictures had preached the teaching of the bible to the people who were not able to read and write.
There were two old famous crosses, named The Tall Cross and The North Cross. The atmosphere made me feel the fear of God, so that we decided to go away hurriedly.

Monasterboice Monasterboice Monasterboice

Drohedagh Drohedagh

We drove in Drogheda,a foothold city of the remains group sightseeing of Boyne Valley of the world heritage.
There were so many road works here and there, that we were caught in a great traffic jam. We gave up to have a short walk in the town center, only had a watching from the car window.
While we drove without understanding where we were, we went through The St, Laurence Gate that was built in 13centuries, furthermore advance St, Peter's Church of Ireland appeared suddenly. A lot of cars and people filled the road, it seemed to be vibrant with life.

Newgrange is one of the remains group of world heritage Boyne Valley, which was ancient tomb in 5000years before, older than The Pyramid in Egypt.
It is said that it was designed in order that solar light enters the grave room only on the day of the winter solstice.
At that time people must have had high culture and technology.
A rich green grassy plain spreaded out when we advanced from Drogheda to the west along the Boyne river.
I looked hard and looked around it, there seemed to be a lot of remains, though they were only low hill or common rolling stones. Then we found two small hills that looked like the real remains.
We drove ahead momentarily, then we met Bru na Boinne Visitor Centre, which looked like a entrance of a park, good maintained beautifully.
At soon as we entered there, we were astonished by a great deal of coaches ranged themselves on the vast parking space.
I understood the fact immediately, The Newgrange was the most popular sightseeing place in Ireland. There must be many tourists from England, Europe and U.S.A.
A great many people, got off the coach, were walking to the entrance leaded by the guide raising a flag.
The visit was only a guided tour, and there was a limit in the number of people that once can observe, and it seemed to be it in serious waiting time.
I thought that the largest difference between England and Ireland about the sightseeing was the degree of freedom.
We were not permitted by free visit, only by the guide tour in many places in Ireland.
How good will it be if a visit is possible freely?
I think that the development and the maintenance were overrun in Ireland like Japan.
I thought England had mature culture totally. The symbolic phrase is "At your own risk."

Newgrange Newgrange Newgrange

Our next destination was the capital city, Dublin.
It was worthy to be capital of Ireland, because of the traffic jam toward the town center. We drove continuously with patience and care.
Certainly we crossed over The River Liffey, but we were not sure which bridge we had crossed over.
There was not the place to stop at to examine our location. My husband advanced the car along the right hand bank by his guesswork, then we found a station.
It seemed to be Houston Station (Heuston Station) somehow or other. I found a taxi that had stopped just in my face. We approached the taxi to ask the way for the city center, then The taxi driver who had finished collecting a rate from a visitor stopped us. I thought whether I was scolded for a split second, but the work that brought down a load from the trunk was left to him. He carried the big baggage to the station building and returned to us with a smile.
"Sorry I have kept you. Well, have you any question?"
He showed us our correct way kindly and left us saying "Have a nice trip." We walked in the town center watching the old building, windows of many shops, a lot of tourist and felt the excitement of the capital.
We met the lady who was playing the Irish Harp near Trinity College, and the pure harmony made me fascinated.

Dublin Dublin Dublin

Christ Church Cathedral
After a long walk to the east we saw Christ Church Cathedral. It is the right side part of the panoramic picture below. The left that was connected by the cloister is Dublinia and The Viking World. Christ Church Cathedral was the oldest historical church in Ireland, which was built in 1172.
Dublinia and The Viking World is now museum showing the old Ireland in medieval times and Viking.

Christ Church CathedralChrist Church Cathedral

Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle is near the cathedral.
The castle was built in 1204 by King John, it has been a symbol of taking control by England for seven hundred years.
Three pictures are the statues on the gate for Upper Castle Yard. The lady statue having a balance is called Figure of Justice.
The picture on the right is Dubh Linn Gardens that had the passage of the Celts pattern in the open grass space.
The grass seemed to withered up by the lack of rain. The place seemed to have been the origin of "Dublin".
The Viking who conquered here in the ninth century and built the fort, found the black puddle, and named here "Dubh Linn"(in Gaelic words means black puddle)
It was deserted place under the hot weather.

Dublin Castle Dublin Castle Dublin Castle Dublin Castle

Trinity College
We stood in front of the gate of Trinity College. I found a high bell tower in the center of the square over the gate.
We saw Graduals Memorial Building on the left and Old Library on the right.
The first floor is called long room that is the biggest library floor in Europe.(64meters×12.2meters). I had been longing to watch the Book of Kells in the library. We went straight to the entrance, then we were surprised to see the long line.
I understood the long line right away, because the book is most popular for the tourists.
We had to ride on the reserved ferry on that day, so I gave up to see the book reluctantly. Some day I will return.

Trinity College Trinity College Trinity College Trinity College

We came to Grafton Street to get a Irish music CD, but we couldn't find the shop.
Next we turned to Nassau Street, then we found the shop, where we bought three set of Irish folk song CD.
We had to hurry to our car for a long distance. On the way we watched a sightseeing carriage front of the cathedral, funny sculpture, and we were mended by the beautiful hanging basket.

Dublin Dublin Dublin Dublin

A guidebook didn't have it, but various buildings attracted our eyes.
The way to the ferry platform, which my husband had worried about, was very plain by the simple sign, we could arrive there smoothly.

Dublin Dublin Dublin

Stena Line
A lot of yachts moored at the port of Dun Laoghaire of the ferry platform. There were birds that didn't look cute, but their behavior was lovely. They didn't seem to be a waterfowl because they didn't have webs. They seemed to make friends with man. At last the time when we had to leave Ireland had come. We already had driven around the island for seven days.
I thought our schedule was very hard to see three world heritages and to visit five national park in Ireland, but we completely enjoyed all of them, besides we could drive safely all courses.
We got on the Stena line on schedule, then I said farewell to the island that became smaller and smaller.
We drank to our safe drive each other.

Stena Line Stena Line Stena Line

It took about one hour from Holyhead to Betws-y-Coed by car. We drove in Angleesey island, went over the Menai channel and advanced in Snowdonia that brought me back pleasant memories.
I felt in peace as if I were at home when I came back to Great Britain island.
Betws-y-Coed is one of the sightseeing base town in north Wales.
When we went through the village last year, we were attracted to see the beautiful street and felt an atmosphere of peace.
The bed & breakfast we had made a reservation was on the sharp slope with some accommodations.
The host of our B&B recommended to take the public footpath to the pub in the middle of the village. Though I thought I wanted to go there by car because I was exhausted with long walk on that day, he encouraged us to walk the rural beautiful footpath and we took his advice.
That was correct.
We went down the steep slope, advanced a narrow lane covered with grasses and then we found a suspension bridge that was as long as Carrick-a-rede near The Giant's Causeway that we had crossed the day before.
The current was Conwy River, which reflected blue sky and green trees. For a while we stood on the bridge to watch the sparkling stream.

Betws-y-Coed Betws-y-Coed Betws-y-Coed Betws-y-Coed

Stables Lodge
The pub that our host had recommended was Stables Lodge. Many people were almost sitting at the table outside. The people seemed to prefer outside to inside in this season. We also sat at the table in the nook.
The heater under the parasol astonished us with hot wind, which we didn't recognized for some time.
At first we felt hot under the parasol, but after a while that made us comfortable. We were certainly in Wales, where is the northern part of the country.
We ordered flat mushroom saute with gouda cheese and salmon fish cake. The side menus were fresh vegetables, chips and peas.
All of them were so palatable that we enjoyed much, talking with the people sitting close to us.
We made a return for the B&B around ten o'clock, then it was light enough to walk the public footpath.

Stables Lodge Stables Lodge Stables Lodge Stables Lodge Stables Lodge

Please look at our travel diary with many pictures
to calendar
22nd June
23rd June
24th June
25th June
26th June
27th June
28th June
29th June
1st July