11.04.2010 - 28.04.2010
David had a one day locum in the village of Borrisolane, between Thurles and Nenagh. So back on the road again, but it was nice to break the journey between NCW and Wexford, and we stayed in a B&B on a farm overlooking the Devil’s Bit.
According to local folklore, the Devil was carrying his wife home in a wheelbarrow after a heavy night out. He could not push her over the mountain, so he took a bite out of the mountain to make a passage through. The chunk that he spat out landed 50 km to the South and became known as the Rock of Cashel. The cross to the side is to neutralise the influence of the Devil.
We spent the rest of the week in Wexford at a cosy B&B called St George’s, which was relatively cheap [€25pp per night] but had everything one needs. The proprietor, Michael, was so friendly and helpful, which added to the pleasant sojurn there. We were very close to the original town wall and Selskar Abbey which both date back to mediaeval times, and the high street with many shops to browse in was just a few minutes walk down the road.
Once more the weekend involved a long trek back to NCW, so we decided to take a different route, towards Dungarvan, over the new Waterford toll bridge.
We then turned inland and happened upon the imposing Lismore castle on the way. The castle is the family home of Lord and Lady Burlington and though not open to the public, the grounds are.
The lower, more informal gardens are resplendent with spring blooms of magnolias, rhododendrons and camellias. All this enchantment had Sandi hopping about like a mad March hare, capturing as many floral memories as possible.
The upper garden is a 17th century walled garden, surrounded by defensive walls.
Our last locum was in a country practice at Fethard-on-Sea, on the Hook peninsula in Co Wexford. The practice was very modern and well organised, albeit quite isolated geographically. We were accommodated in a cute holiday cottage with full amenities. A wonderful respite for stretching out, hot baths, and relaxed cooking.
The hook Peninsula is very rural, with cultivated fields and cattle farms all the way down to the Hook Light-house, built in the 13th century, which makes it the second oldest working light-house in the world.
We took an afternoon to explore the JF Kennedy Arboretum located near the original Kennedy homestead. The extensive grounds are magnificent with about 4500 species of trees planted in groups. Unfortunately Sandi sprained her ankle near the beginning, so dispatched David back to the van to fetch the Helichrysum oil. Within minutes of applying a few drops the swelling and pain subsided, so much so that Sandi managed to hobble around a fairly extensive area of the park and still appreciate its beauty. The wonders of Nature - aromatic medicine and surprisingly fragrant magnolias - what more could we wish for!
Before leaving we drove up to the top of Slieve Coillte, from where one can see the whole peninsula, Waterford harbour and the Barrow river up to New Ross.
The weekend was again spent in NCW, but we discovered we could cut out quite a long stretch, via New Ross, by taking the ferry over Waterford harbour. It was expensive at €16 return, but shortened our trip by 50km each way, which at this stage we gladly paid, as the countless hours in the van, on the pot-holed roads, have long ago lost their rustic allure. We missed a turn on the way, so ended up barrelling along very narrow twisting country lanes for quite a distance [enough to put Sandi's back into spasm again!] We had planned to explore the Ring of Kerry and West Cork for 2 days before catching our ferry back to the UK, but plans changed as David had agreed at the last minute to go back to the same practice in Fethard-on-Sea for a day's locum on the day before we leave. So we took a slow drive back, visiting Killarney, driving over Moll's Gap to Kenmare and then onto the main Cork road.
Our last full Irish breakfast was had in a farmhouse B&B overlooking Bannow Bay. It was here that we discovered our first real toilet duck!
The hedgerows are now full of white blossom, called Blackthorn, which produces sloe berries.
Although the daffodils are starting to fade, the tulips, primroses, grape hyacinths, gorse and glorious trees filled with blossoms are appearing in gay profusion.
After finishing work for the day [the last patient arrived late!] we drove to Wexford, where we treated ourselves to delicious seafood chowder, Banoffee pie, and fortifying Guinness, before retiring for the night in the van [parked in the street]. Other than traffic, and a few early morning revellers returning home from the pubs, the night was uneventful [thank goodness, as we didn't fancy disruptions like the one experienced in the French Aire].
Early the next morning it was "Farewell to Ireland", onto the ferry towards Wales, England and home to Cape Town on 3 May!