Day 142 –
L: Aah, the bar-lady last night was such a little sweetie. She stands less than 5 feet tall and is this little old dear. She has been the bar-lady there for 50 years. Steve thought that she must be 80 though I thought only 70 +.
So now we know all about her, but yet we found it strange that she never asked a thing about us. We find it really funny that wherever we go, we get asked if we are Australian and then sometimes, Swedish, American etc.
S: Lesley just didn’t want to get up today…..
I made some buttered rolls and coffee and then she was ready for the day. I heard from one of my sisters, Nicky, about going to see the Newgrange monument.
On the way back to the car, I pointed out the washer, drier machines on the service station forecourt.
Then we set off through all the little villages like Mc Callagh, Nobber and Rathkenny. We traveled on to Slane before we realised that we needed to turn off to Newgrange before the village. In the town square of Slane, stand 4 identical old stone homes each facing the square from north, south, east and west.
L: Steve really wanted to go underground into the Newgrange monument, but I hate enclosed spaces so I opted to stay at the Visitors’ Centre while he took the shuttle there. You don’t drive there yourself, they supply the bus so that it is a controlled amount of traffic.
We had a bit of time before the tour so we stopped in at the little restaurant. I had said to Steve yesterday that I was so surprised that nobody had meat pies offered on their menus. Imagine my surprise when today’s special was Guinness and beef pie with salads – it was delicious. Steve had a sausage roll with his salad.
He set off and I went in to the auditorium to watch the 7 minute video on the history of the monument and the old superstitions that go with the beliefs that they had in those days. It was very interesting.
I saw all the exhibits and the carbon-dating system they use to determine how old the monument (tomb) is. There was a very interesting display of the clothing that was worn and you could touch and guess the animal furs used for the textiles. It is a well set out display.
The little gift shop is lovely too and I was so tempted to get myself a zipped hoodie that has Newgrange on it, but I resisted.
S: I went up with the shuttle and we had a guide show us through the tomb. It is really a tight squeeze to get in there, I had to take my backpack off and push it through in front of me and turn sideways to get my shoulders through. Yes, it was a good thing Lesley stayed at the centre. Once inside the tomb, they turned the lights off to show how dark it is and then switch on a spotlight to simulate how the sun shines in on one day of the year. Apparently this monument pre-dates Stonehedge and the Pyramids. Not sure how that is determined.
Before I left Lesley, I jokingly said that she should find us our accommodation for tonight. When I returned, we met in the cafe where she had all the leaflets of the accommodation in and around the area. The one she suggested turned out to be a great choice. Only 43 euros for a double room with en-suite so we drove down the road to the Newgrange Lodge. When we booked in, we were told that for an extra 3 euros each, breakfast is included – done.
L: I called the car hire company and extended the car until after the weekend as we are so enjoying exploring.
We drove back to Slane and went to the Old Post Office Bistro for a homemade burger and meringue with berries for dessert. Yum.
Steve drove to the top of the hill and I was amazed at the sight of Slane abbey which is a church built in 1512. It is crumbling now and the strange thing is that there are graves in the inside section of the church though it is now just ruins. The graves date back to the early 1900s.
Next door is the monastery where the monks used to live. There is a warning about falling stones, but we still explored the ruins. CCTV is running for 24 hours a day as there are reportedly thieves in action.
The sun was going down so it was lovely to see that behind the ruins. It is a walk up and then back down the hill. As we drove back to town there is a sign board that says “Use Crawl Gear”.
Yesterday we had seen “Go Mall” which we think means slow down – not go mal which is used as slang in South Africa for go crazy.
Back at the lodge, we unpacked and took everything in to our room. I went up the hill above the lodge to watch the sun set and take some pics with the Newgrange Monument in the background.
It was great to have a cup of tea and relax in our room. So far it is nice and quiet too.
Day – 143
L: We could not believe that it was after 8am when we woke up as the room was still so dark. It was really comfy and so quiet last night. We sure have caught up on our sleep lately.
We went off to breakfast. Seems the guy here, Thomas, is the chief cook and bottle washer as he does everything, even saw him collecting the used bedding for the wash.
Breakfast for 3 euros each is such good value – coffee or any kind of tea – herbal or English, that you can think of, with toast, croissants, Copenhagen buns, ham, cheese, cereal, yoghurt and stewed prunes.
We booked for another night and asked Thomas where we could do a load of laundry as we don’t have much of our little suitcase of clothes that is clean. He was so kind and directed us to the lodge’s washing machine at no charge. He told us that we could hang it in the boiler room, though it might smell of oil. We chose to hang it outside in the sunshine instead.
S: We went exploring the area again and couldn’t find Dunmoe Castle, but we stopped at a place called Dowth where there are a few tunnels leading to another underground burial site though they are all closed off with metal gates. It is similar to the one we went to yesterday except this one has not been restored like the others have. L: And you don’t go in and crawl under the 3 metres of sand over your head, just saying.
We stopped off at the Conyngham Arms Hotel for lunch today. Steve had fish and chips and I had the most amazing lamb shank. I must say that most places we have stopped at, the food has been really great.
We then went to Bective Abbey, an old broken down abbey, and walked around a bit.
The interesting thing was a diagram of all the renovations done over the years. Someone pointed out what looked like a fossil of a shell on the stone floor. There is also what looks like a carving of Saint Francis made out of stone.
After that we went to Trim Castle. Lesley only wanted to walk through the park and the outside of the huge castle, but I went on the guided tour of the Keep which was the original accommodation section. L: I once saw that Whitehorn (our surname) means keeper of the castle. My name, Lesley, also has the same meaning in some name books.
So here I am sitting on a bench in the Trim Castle grounds, amazed at the size of this structure built so long ago and still standing, having gone through centuries of heavy rain and blazing sun. It just makes me wonder why we hear of so many shopping malls or homes that fall down in a gust of wind. Maybe we overthink things these days……..just saying. S: The walls of this keep are three metres thick.
L: I was really happy that I had chosen to walk in the grounds of the castle and left Steve to do the inside tour when I heard the guide say that there were over 200 steps to negotiate. I am sure that he will enjoy it though and hopefully be allowed to take photos.
S: It was a really interesting tour and took over an hour.
The castle keep was built in 3 stages as each new ruler added to it. It formed a part of a gated city and there used to be a drawbridge to control the access too.
One of the things that was bizarre was that in this building, there are two toilets. One was on the north side on the third floor. It was just a chute that went outside. The other one was for the ruler and his family. It also consisted of a chute which ended up in another small tower. The ammonia from the waste was used to kill the bugs in the clothes and keep them clean. L: Sounds awful, I hope that the clothes were rinsed afterwards. That section of the castle fell down eventually…..
L: We had a lovely drive back home. Supper was use up the groceries that we have as we now have access to a kitchen. I made a pasta with sweet and sour sauce, peas and boiled eggs. It was actually not half bad. We chatted to a young couple, Nicole and Lucas from Munich who are on a road trip from their home through Europe across to the U.K. and into Ireland. They are not camping at all so staying in B and B’s or hotels. We swopped stories of our adventures.
We sat in the lounge area to catch up with the blog and our admin. Theresa from the lodge so kindly came and poured us each a glass of wine – that was cool.