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MONAGHAN TO DINGLE AND BACK AGAIN

After finishing the Caredoc shift at 6pm in Cashel we had a long 4 hour drive up to Monaghan Town, near to the Northern Ireland border, where we had a 2-week stint in a GP practice. We were accommodated in an apartment [with a kitchen - yippee] above the surgery in the centre of town, with a lake and a supermarket right next to us. Great to be able to put down some roots again for a while, as B&Bs are not our preferred accommodation.
Our apartment was in the blue block on the left, with the supermarket to the right

Our apartment was in the blue block on the left, with the supermarket to the right


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The early spring weather suddenly turned cold and we had howling winds and snow blizzards for several days!
Trying to capture the intensity of the snow-storm

Trying to capture the intensity of the snow-storm


It took another 10 days for the weather to warm up again. Over the Easter weekend David had 2 red-eye shifts at Newcastle West [NCW], which entailed a 4½ hour drive there, and back again, for the second time in a week. Long van journeys and Sandi's back are not compatible - so she feels like a crock after each trip! On the up-side, the daffodils are appearing, which is pure joy to behold.
Daffodils in NCW

Daffodils in NCW

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Good Friday is, surprisingly, not an official bank holiday in Ireland, although some businesses do close.
On Easter day, after a busy nightshift, during which neither of us got much shut-eye, we decided to explore the Dingle peninsula in Co Kerry. We drove through Tralee [The Rose of Tralee] and onto a narrow road leading to Conor Pass, where we saw warning signs saying vehicles over 2 tons could not traverse the pass. One of the GPs had recommended that we take the pass for its spectacular views over the peninsula. We didn’t want to get caught in a situation where we might not have been able to proceed or turn around, but eventually found a local farmer who assured us we would be able to get under the overhanging rock and through the narrow roads at the summit. In one section around a cliff the road was indeed only wide enough for one vehicle, and one could not see if there were oncoming cars around the corner. But we held our breath, put foot and got over.
There was still snow on the hills of the peninsula

There was still snow on the hills of the peninsula

Looking down the valley from halfway up Conor Pass

Looking down the valley from halfway up Conor Pass

Only one vehicle at a time could traverse this section of the pass

Only one vehicle at a time could traverse this section of the pass


The view from the pass overlooking Dingle and the sea towards the Ring of Kerry

The view from the pass overlooking Dingle and the sea towards the Ring of Kerry


We stopped in the pretty town of Dingle for a fine roast at Lord Baker’s restaurant, before proceeding further around the scenic peninsula.
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IMG_2195.jpgAncient stone walls and grazing sheep atop the cliffs

Ancient stone walls and grazing sheep atop the cliffs


Old "beehive hut" which was inhabited 4000 years ago. The stones were laid sloping outwards so the rain would run off

Old "beehive hut" which was inhabited 4000 years ago. The stones were laid sloping outwards so the rain would run off


Towards Blasket Island

Towards Blasket Island


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Then back to NCW for a few hours sleep before the next nightshift. Back in Monaghan, Sandi was making full use of the kitchen facilities, doing great Domestic Goddess impressions, producing fine meals from a frugal budget. Produce bargains can be found - it just takes time and culinary sleuthing to ferret them out!
Salmon, roasted peppers and asparagus salad.

Salmon, roasted peppers and asparagus salad.


We decided to celebrate Easter with bubbles rather than chocolates, as we had saved a very fine bottle of French champagne, which was given to us by a grateful lady in Cobh. When visiting the cathedral there, Sandi had found a handbag containing purse, cash, credit cards, diary ...... We managed to contacted the lady immediately, as she was local, and she arrived at the hotel where we were staying within minutes. She was so grateful to get her bag back, she sent a bottle of bubbly up to our room. It was utterly delicious!
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There’s little to see or do around Monaghan, so we visited St Macartan’s Cathedral above the town, which was actually quite beautiful, and also built in the last 150 years along Neo-Gothic lines.
IMG_2234.jpgModern tapestry behind the modern altar, contrasting with the old architecture

Modern tapestry behind the modern altar, contrasting with the old architecture

Ornate Victorian lighting

Ornate Victorian lighting


The weekend saw us traversing back down to NCW for one shift. The weather was lovely and sunny on the way down and we took a detour to view Lough Derg which is part of the Shannon River.
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We stopped in Ballina at the lower end of the Lough for a sundowner overlooking the Shannon river.
The bridge between the villages of Ballina and Killaloe

The bridge between the villages of Ballina and Killaloe

Houses across the river at Killaloe

Houses across the river at Killaloe

Posted by davidsandi 10:47 Archived in Ireland

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