Heading west >>> ……..

Day 135 –

S: We had decided to go to Donabate as Lesley had so enjoyed meeting with the ladies last Thursday for a couple of hours doing their various crafts. I would visit the library for that time. We showered and had breakfast and walked to the station.

It seems Lusk and Rush are serviced by this one station so it is between the two villages. I bought one-way tickets at 2.15 euros each. Just after we walked onto the platform, there was an announcement that a train was coming through, so please stay back. Well, that was a shock – it was an express train which just flew through the station and gave Lesley such a fright!
L: I’ll say, gosh, is that even legal. I am really glad that I was not carrying a hot cup of the take-away coffee offered at a kiosk outside as I am sure that I would have dropped it with that whoosh going past.

After that we sat on the bench and waited, far away from the tracks. Once the train arrived, it took a whole 4 minutes for us to reach Donabate so that is an euro for each minute. Apparently the train fares are assessed by zones so on the edge it is costly, but evens out in places.

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S: We arrived in Donabate and literally bumped in to pastor Andy, coming round a corner. We had met him last week at Donabate’s Presbyterian church, but had not told him much about ourselves. Now we chatted and he mentioned that he had an uncle in Galway who let’s out his home to tourists so we took Andy’s e-mail address to get the details from him.
We enquired about Victoria, his wife, who is a week late with their first baby……

L: We popped in to the local wool shop to get some much needed wool, though it is really expensive here. The owner said that I should pop in when in the area again as she has some knitted woolen hats to add to my collection for the poor. Yes, Steve – it is starting again, even without a car, ha ha.

Elizabeth was already at the craft meeting so we caught up. She is so excited as they will be off in a week to visit their children and grandchildren in the States. I took her e-mail address in case we don’t get to see her again.

I was so excited when Enid, who I had met last week, came over and gave me a quilt that she had made to give to someone needy. Lovely.

Agnes and little Ivy were also there and we all had a good catch up. It was lovely to chat to all the ladies again and see what they are doing. Elizabeth is getting on so well with her crocheting.

We also saw Courtney who is from the States and living here and helping at the church for a year. We chatted and I gave her our blog as she said that she would like to hear about our trip.

We left and walked through town towards the station and passed the ice-cream shop. It was open this time so we went in and when we saw that they had fresh strawberry eaten mess we opted to share one as it was 3.80 euro, but yum, it was delicious and nearly enough for two of us.

Back on the station, we had quite a long wait for the train and when it came Steve asked why I was sitting for the 4 minute trip. I said at 2.15 euro, I wanted to get my money’s worth and at least sit in the comfy chairs.

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S: So we did the fairly long walk back again and although we had bought toiletries in Donabate we stocked up on a few provisions to take us to Saturday before we started the next leg of our journey. By now we had decided to rent a car for a week and travel to Galway and at least get to see a bit more of the country in case we decided to head for home.

Lesley made supper and later when Clem and Triona were home we caught up with them. They are having a few people to stay for the weekend, but are going to visit Triona’s folks so asked if we could please sort out a few things at the house, no problem.

We have really had a lovely time with them in Lusk in their comfortable home, shared with Alfred and Tippi……

Day 136 –

L: So today, I wanted to get the washing sorted while Steve organised a hire car and researched places to stay.

S: There were quite a few places on the AirBnB sites so we thought about which of those to take and eventually sent a request to an actual BnB that is now listed with AirBnB too.

We did not hear back from them in the evening so were uncertain of where to go, but now we had the hire car sorted.

I had a call from one of the recruiters, but she did not have anything to report yet.

We were all by ourselves this evening and watched a few movies and just relaxed, no long walks today.
Day 137 –

S: I had to catch the bus to the airport this morning to fetch the car. It was the closest depot to where we stayed. There is an app available for your phone where you can put in the bus stop number and get a real time estimation of when the bus is due at that stop. Each bus has a GPS installed and this is used in the calculation. All I can tell you is that it does not seem to work as my bus was ten minutes late and I checked the time fifteen minutes before it was due to arrive. That was not a problem, but paying for the trip was. You need exact change which I did not have. The bus driver was kind enough to make change of 2 five euro notes for my 10 euro note, but I ended up paying 5 euros for a 3 euro trip. I did get a refund voucher which I can claim in Dublin if I am ever there again.

I was dropped off near the airport and then I had a ten minute walk to the terminal buildings and a bit of a walk around when I got there to find the rental car place. Our rental was with Sixt. Their system is so slow it took about fifteen minutes to process each customer so I spent about an hour waiting before I got my chance. The rental price includes everything except excess in case of accident or theft. I opted to take the third party excess refund insurance option for 7 euros a day. Excess is 1400 euros. However as it is a third party insurance Sixt still reserves the excess on your credit card in case (1400 euros equates to R20 000. Ouch!!). It is for you to get the refund yourself from the third party insurance company if something happens. None of this is explained on the booking website where all the different car rental companies advertise. The good side is the daily rental is very reasonable and the kilometers are unlimited. With the insurance a week’s rental was 150 euros.

Once I had got through the paperwork, an hour later, I had to go downstairs and wait for the shuttle bus to take me to the car. Forty minutes later it still had not arrived so I got a lift with one of the other car rental companies. Nearly two hours later I eventually had our car and I was pleasantly surprised to see we had an upgrade, a Renault Clio, and not a Ford Ka or similar. It also has four doors and A/C.

I eventually got back to the flat about lunchtime and we packed the car and got going. L: Clem and Triona have a little blackboard in the kitchen so I left a thank you note and said “We arrived as strangers, but we are leaving as friends”.

S: Galway is only about two hours drive across the country on an excellent highway. We had to pass through two toll gates on the way paying a total of 4.80 euros. It felt strange to be driving a vehicle at such speed after doing over 16 000 kms in Africa averaging less than 50km/hour. Lesley kept telling me to slow down and I was not even doing 110km/h.
L: Funny, Steve, that was mostly because I couldn’t take photos through the windscreen at that speed.

By now we had heard back from the AirBnB that we had booked that the 30 euros on their website was not for the room, but per person. No, thanks. Oops, sorry is all they said so we got them to cancel the booking for the 2 nights as Triona informed us that that way we do not forfeit our booking fee.

Now, we were homeless in Galway when we arrived……. We decided to head to the middle of town, or at least that is where the GPS took us when we had no other address to put into it.

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Steve sent a message to another one and they were really happy to have us. We got the directions and went in to a little pub for a sandwich while we waited as they were only going to be home at 7pm. Steve had a sandwich, chips and a coke and I had soup and nachos and the bill was 30 euros including the tip. It is so expensive to eat out, but we did not want to buy too much as we weren’t sure about the new digs.

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We walked up the middle of town, Quay Street which has a market going every Saturday night, it was buzzing. The pubs and restaurants are all full and doing a roaring trade. There are a lot of people busking on the street and mimes etc. Great fun.

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Sand sculpture

Steve spoke to Veronique on the phone and got further directions though those didn’t help as we still got lost on the way there and eventually she and Shane came down to meet us. We followed them in and were so welcomed. They put the kettle on and we were soon settled with various drinks and snacks.

They later started a fire outside and we all had braaied marshmallows too. We met their two girls who are very friendly, Eimear (pronounced like Emma) and Alice. Veronique is French and Shane is Irish.

Shane made such a nice stir fry that I could not resist trying a little bowlful. Veronique laid on cake and choccie later too so we were thoroughly spoilt. Thank you.

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Day 138 –

L: We had breakfast with the family this morning after waking up quite late.

Shane took Steve and I down the road to see his Dad’s farm as the cows were getting milked. They are huge Friesland cows, so much bigger than at home. He told us that he had two sets of twin calves so we went to see the latest set, so cute, but mommy was not charmed.

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S: We set off to Moher Cliffs which is about 60 kms south of Galway. The road is really narrow and has a lot of twists and turns. The biggest joke is that the speed limit along these roads is 100 km/h. How anyone can safely travel at that speed is beyond my comprehension. At times you have to stop and pull over for a bus to get past.

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We stopped to take pics at Dunguaire Castle which is old and falling to bits. The castle is close to the ocean at high tide, but now the bay was shallow as the tide was out.

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L: We eventually stopped off at a Supervalu as we were not sure of shops further down. We thought that we would look for a nice fish and chip shop. The one in the town of Liscannor near the cliffs was closed so we went on and sat at the tables outside Vaughn’s. After both going in to the bathroom and back for some 10 minutes no-one had even looked at us.
I fetched some menus and we waited again.

S: We eventually decided that the 13.95 euros that they were asking was not going to sit well with us and by now the table next to us was moaning about the chips anyway.

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We left and drove up to the cliffs and made our own ham sandwiches and started the hike to the cliffs. It is 6 euros per person, but it is so spectacular and lovely to be able to walk for miles looking down on the Atlantic Ocean. The mist from this morning had cleared so all was good.

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There are so many people. We had to make our way home all too soon as there was still a long slow drive home. In hindsight, we should have found a place to stay this side and been there for a full day.

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S: We arrived back to a quiet home and started doing 4 days of blog, yes, we know…….
Lesley cooked chicken and mealies (corn on the cob) for our dinner. Feels like home.

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