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First stop, Hong Kong. Drab, dreary Kowloon. Walked the streets b20170802_032906eing accosted every 3rd step by tailors touts, the day has passed with little to show for it except the street scenes below. Arriving last night the plane window view was speculator. Maybe the evening lights tonight will provide more opportunity from street level. Well that was the hope. Didn’t get into it in the end, will need to make sure on return journey when we have another couple of nights here.

Tomorrow we’re London bound.

And so it was, catching up with our fantastic family and enjoying the park walks and street scenes again for a few days.

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Fruiterers of Roman Road

arranging their produce as they do every morning about 6.00am.

Regents Canal around Little Venice, London where we did an evening canal ride and had a picnic dinner, with shot of Hertford Union Canal in Bow.

Failte,

Then off Ireland-bound. Leaving London was struck by the number of construction cranes on skyline.

Then arriving in Dublin, same thing. Cranes everywhere. Staying by the Grand Canal. Obviously an area of massive regeneration. Old brick industrial buildings being redeveloped as apartments mixed in with new modern apartment and commercial buildings. Wonderful wandering around the streets seeing the contrasts between the old row houses and interesting new architecture nearby. The great old Bolands Flour Mills Building is part of a large mixed old/modern redevelopment on one side of the Grand Canal. the canal is actually not that big despite its name and is surrounded by recent and new office/cafe and apartment buildings. its hard to escape the feeling that once again Dublin could be in midst of an over-development phase.Dublin, Ireland-22

On the more modern side the central city has the 120 metre high stainless spire seems to pierce the clouds above O’Connell Street.

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And then heres the harp shaped white bridge which stands out and catches any ray of sun that gets down to Dublin street level

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Samuel Beckett Bridge across River Liffey, Dublin.

A day spent of and on the hop-on bus including a couple of hours at the Guinness Brewery turned out to be an interesting day. Got my certificate as a fully qualified Guinness pourer. Great tradition. Did you know it takes 119.5 seconds to pour the perfect Guinness black drop? And, turns out its not to be sipped, that way you allow the flavours and nuances to escape!

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Some lovely parks scattered around this city, one claiming to be be bigger that all London’s parks together and more than 2 X New York’s Central Park. Impressive.

The Temple Bar area of the city is a tourist magnet comprises of a swag of “traditional” styled bars providing Irish music and food along with all the beer you can drink always including the iconic Guinness of course.Dublin, Ireland-10-2

Drive via the quaint town of Trim, do a Trim Castle tour and learn a bit about the area’s history since the 1100’s. Amazing what went on then. How’s this for an important piece of critical information, in those days to be able to put someones head on a stick (presumably after chopping the thing off) one needed a licence from the King which came at a price. Guess that would be called a head tax.

Countryside from Trim Castle.

Countryside from Trim Castle.

Getting to Galway for the night proved to be a fair trial as we encountered an horrendous level of travel slowing us to a crawl for several k’s from outskirts of city.

A drive along the Wild West Atlantic Way (WWW) beckons but we wake to a windy, misty and drizzly day. The WWW is essentially a coastal route of slow narrow roads with some amazing scenery, limestone rock formations essentially flat or strata rock walls. Key tourist features become a obliterated by thick mist. Today a stop to see the Cliffs of Moher prove pointless as visibility is down to a few metres. Abandoned that idea and moved on. Stopping briefly in the quaint town of Ennis before moving on to our nights accommodation, a B&B near Limerick.

Another day, another damp low vis day. Driving again along the WWW heading for the Dingle and the Dingle Peninsula.Dingle Peninsula, Ireland-82

Firstly through the Slieve Mish Mountains following hordes of cyclists on narrow roads. From the pass at top the view is quite spectacular, albeit through the mist.

After a stop to look both ways and a stop to talk to some goats Dingle is achieved.

Dingle Peninsula, Ireland-40A quaint old fishing town and centre for the peninsula is the start of our circular drive around more of the scenic WWW

The cloud and mist moves on in time for us to see some great coastal peninsula scenery.

Killarney is, our second to last stop before heading back to Dublin and our exit from Paddy’s Land. Ireland has certainly been Ireland. Its a place where they talk constantly about their lousy weather, where you can find a b and b with no breakfast, where laundromats are closed on the day of leisure, Sundays, and I’m Anne told me doing laundry was leisure, why else would she do it so often!!!

Ross Lake and Castle made a great early morning stop on our way from Killarney.

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Then on to the Blarney Castle, House and Gardens.

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Blarney House silhouetted back-lit by bright sunny sky.

The weather looked like it was to improve, though as we moved east it got worse, overcast with some patched of drizzle.

Wexford, described as a medieval coastal town is our base tonight while we watch the Irish Women’s Rugby team play Japan in the Women’s World Rugby Cup happening right here in Ireland. Spotted a bit of hurling in Waterford on big screen in the town square, don’t understand it.

County Wicklow, also known as Ireland’s garden county, certainly worth a visit, perhaps even the highlight of our Irish road trip. Unfortunately about about week is required to get near doing it some sort of justice. For our last morning we visit Rossborough House and Garden at Blessington. A grand old home dating back to 1700’s full of art, furniture and architecture each item of which has it’s own fascinating story.

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Rossborough library

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White marble carving adorning one side of one of the Rossborough House fireplaces

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Typical Irish sky and landscape through window of Rossborough House

There’s high gaiety in the pubs,typically and enthralling Irish I guess, too many to count on any street you see. Talking of streets, you’ll remember U2’s hit “Where the streets have no names”, well Paddy’s is a place where street numbers haven’t been invented yet. the streets have no numbers. They have street names that can change sometime 3 + times in a few hundred metres (in Dublin anyway) and there’s no numbers. Took our cabbie half an hour to find our accommodation when we arrived, ‘cos there where was not a fekking number, and that’s in a street he said he knew well. Just as well he had a constant stream of funnies to regale us with.

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And speaking of U2, as I did a mo ago, Bono is really God here. He’s everywhere you look. So it’s true, he not only thinks he is, I’m thinking he’s actually believed to be.

In spite of his enormous wealth though they have all the same problems we do. Housing, homelessness, politicians etc dominate the news in the land of leprechauns and the shamrock.

Next stop the Netherlands, slainte.

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