26 May 2013, Sunday
We got up early to hustle east and get to the kennel, since they would close at noon. Ursula cooked us another wonderful breakfast. And at last I got to commune with her little cat that I’d seen across the road in the field.
It was very quiet in Mountshannon on this Sunday morning (very early!). So we stopped in the middle of town so I could take some photos, coming and going.
Because we’d come in to Mountshannon on the M6, the less desirable route, we hadn’t seen much of Lough Derg then. On Saturday we went down to Mountshannon’s small harbor for a few minutes and learned about the sea eagles. Later when we drove from the church to the hotel, we didn’t have time to stop to admire the view. I wanted to be sure we took a moment to do so before we left. After all, Derg is the second-largest lake in the Republic, and the last of the three largest lakes along the River Shannon. Check it out:
I know, I know: ever since I figured out how to embed the map, I can’t resist using it. (It’s not like it’s new technology, either.) But I can spend some serious time poring over a map (what is my obsession with knowing exactly where I am?), so you get to share the joy. 🙂
This time we took the M7 all the way back to Dublin. And we saw lots of interesting brown signs which have been duly noted for “next time.” (Brown signs indicate points of interest. Honestly, you could go with no itinerary at all and just let the brown signs lead you around.) One thing that caught my eye on this drive was a billboard out in a field, which was unusual because you just don’t see those. The Irish countryside is really unspoiled in that respect. And then we got close. It was an advert for the pub in Moneygall where President Obama had a pint last year. Monegall: “Obama’s ancestral home”! Oh my.
So we got to the kennel just before closing, to rescue Cleo (she had a grand time, really). And at Gerry’s place we got Bridie unpacked and settled and had a nice cup of tea. Remember that apple tart we bought yesterday? Mmmmm.
And then I commenced the second half of my vacation; this time I’d be staying in Dublin City proper. And I’d be driving in Dublin City. Ms. Emily GpS took us right where we needed to go, and after a little bit of “Here? Or there?” we figured out the parking situation. (With these things just tucked into every little nook and cranny, they’re just not always obvious to my American eyes.) Most fortuitously, I got parked without annoying the desk clerk (as I had at Bewley’s) too.
We were staying at the Camden Court Hotel, and already there was a difference: we were greeted with a cheerful smile and parking is free (highly unusual). I fully recognize these hotels each have a different trade; Bewley’s, near the airport, sees folks maybe for one night, businessmen who just want a room now because they have to catch a plane early. (The room here at the Camden Court was ten euro more per night, but we’d paid eight euro per night to park at Bewley’s; I’d call that a wash.)
Situated in downtown Dublin near the Grand Canal, the Camden Court has a different trade altogether, and we would learn about that soon enough—it caters to tour groups. So there were moments when the lobby was packed, but most of the time it was quite nice.
We will definitely stay here again. We got settled and then went out for a walk around the neighborhood to get oriented. Have a look:
Everything you might want was close by—pubs, fantastic restaurants, shops of all sorts (none of them touristy). The neighborhood (called Portobello) seemed to be quite multicultural, too, which I always enjoy. We stopped in an upscale grocer and bought fruit and cheese for snacking, and chocolate bars to bring home. (I also bought a packet of these. OMG. Seriously, the best mass-produced cookies I’ve ever had.)
We had a casual meal in the hotel’s pub, then we were in for the night. Gerry was working on the wedding video and I was editing (because, yes, I’d brought work with me).
Stick around, though: I’ve got a big day planned for tomorrow—and lots of photos!