Bits and bobs

Random thoughts about random things by a random person


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Day 11 (Sept 22/19): Another brother dinner and some live music

Before I get into today, I should finish yesterday by saying that dinner with Bill was grand!

It was fun to see someone I know, let alone family, after 9 days with strangers. (Nice strangers, but still strangers. 🙂 )

Turned out that because of the rain, he opted not to walk from Cahersiveen to Waterville. Instead, he roamed around the former and caught a local bus to the latter. And his injuries from his tumble a few days ago weren’t too bad and, other than some bruising in his eye socket, were mostly healed.

Today didn’t have much on my menu. I did some reading mixed with staring contentedly over the bay and watching a little Netflix. (I watched the first episode of the new Netflix show “Criminal UK”. I enjoyed that episode. Not sure where the show is going so I’m reserving judgement at this point. 🙂 )

Then I met Bill at The Lobster (restaurant/pub) for dinner as they were having live traditional music starting at 6:00. It was the same place where I had the Guinness stew and Guinness chocolate cake for lunch a few days ago so I knew the food would be good.

I was not disappointed and the music was great, too. There was a nice mix of traditional instrumental music, some folk songs and an older man who sang some classics, like Danny Boy. He also did my favourite – The Fields of Athenry – and, of course, I sang along. 🙂

Traditional music session, The Lobster, Waterville, Ireland

At one point three women came in and sat at the table next to ours. It turned out that Bill had run into them in Cahersiveen, too, and we all started chatting.

Two of them are from New Brunswick and the other is from PEI. Lovely ladies and it was fun to meet them.

The music eventually dried up and we all went our separate ways. Bill is heading out tomomrrow to Valentia Island, which is where he spent three months a few years ago.

I’m now watching (well, half listening to) the UK version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” and listening (as I always am when I’m here 🙂 ) to the waves roll onto the beach.

Life, my friends, is good!


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Day 10 (Sept 21/19): And now I’m golden!! Hello 50!!!

The day has come! The reason for this trip – my 50th birthday!! Woooohooooo!!!!!!!

After a full week of fabulous weather, it, of course, rains today.

I snapped the photos below during a pause in the downpour. No sooner had I taken them than it started up again. Good timing! There won’t be too many tour buses stopping today, I expect. Mind you, the Irish are built of sturdy stuff. Like Newfoundlanders, you don’t stop just because it’s raining!

And I’m not complaining. The view is still fabulous!!

Plus, the rain on the windows in the sunroom area sounds fabulous, too. So even though the patio door is closed so I can’t hear the ocean very well, I still have the soothing sound effect of the rain. Winner!!

The sunroom area – the whole space is open-concept, so it’s not really a “room” on its own, per se.

My brother Bill arrives today. He is doing a walking/hiking tour around most of the Ring of Kerry and arranged things so that he would be here in Waterville on my birthday. Isn’t he a great brother?!?

He’s also going to be a very wet brother by the time he arrives. He has the right gear for it and the company he used to plan it takes his baggage to and from the places he stays, so he doesn’t have to worry about his whole kit getting soaked.

But his feet…He already had a bunch of blisters from a few days ago. Being soaked won’t help that. He has another day of walking tomorrow, too. Ugh.

He had a bit of a spill one day, too, and got a bit scraped up. Sounded pretty bad so, being the older sister, I’m a bit worried about just how bad it was. I’m bracing myself for what I’ll see when he shows up!

Dinner is booked for 7 pm this evening at Dooley’s. Bill will be going to his B&B first to get cleaned up before coming here and then we’ll go for birthday dinner.

Thankfully, the restaurant is just down the road from me, so even if it’s still raining, I won’t get too wet!

Selfish? Yes…but it’s my birthday… I’m allowed to be!! 🙂


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Day 9 (Sept 20/19): A Friday night learning about the ecology of Lough Currane

Remember yesterday when I stumbled on the community garden?

Well, when I went online to find a link to Tech Amergin for the post about it, I poked around on their site and found out that tonight there would be a talk about a nearby lake – Lough Currane.

Snip from the Tech Amergin website, explaining the talk this evening

I fully realize that this is not most people’s idea of a fun night out on a holiday. But I was quite excited to see it! What an interesting way to learn about a place!

And it was. Quite interesting, in fact.

A bit of a downer, though. It wasn’t so much a presentation of the environmental history of the lake as it was of scientific evidence of the increasing levels of phosphorous in the lake – starting around the 1970s.

The lake provides a lot of income to the area, so this can have quite a devastating effect on the economy.

As Dr. Treacy presented possible causes, I half expected people in the room to dispute them – to kind of defend themselves if they were in one group or another. But nobody did. Of course, I have no idea what the make up of the group was.

In any event, it was really interesting and I’m really glad I went. 🙂


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Day 9 (Sept 20/19): A 19th-century church

There’s an old church near where I’m staying – St. Michael and All Angels, Church of Ireland. It is also doubles as the Waterville Heritage Centre.

I’ve passed it a few times over the last week and today I decided to pop in.

Interestingly, there wasn’t anyone there. There was a bottle of juice and an open book on a desk, so someone had been there. It was nice, actually, to have the place to myself.

It’s not very big, but is still quite lovely.

Below are some pictures of the Church itself. The windows are really quite beautiful. Enjoy!

St. Michael and All Angels, Church of Ireland, Waterville, Co. Kerry, Ireland

The pulpit

Beautiful windows


Some information about the church itself




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Day 9 (Sept 20/19): Met a local artist today!

In my little walk-about after lunch today, I went into a building I’ve walked past several times since I’ve been here. I had no idea what it was, so I had no real inclination to swerve off my path to check it out.

Today, though, from the direction by which I was approaching it, I saw an open door and a little sign referring to gifts. Not having anything else on the calendar until 8:00 tonight, I decided to pop in.

Turns out it is the studio/gallery of a semi-local artist, Leo Quinlan.

I say semi-local because he was born and lived in (or near) Galway, but spends about six months of the year here in Waterville and his dad was from here.

I like to support local artists, so I looked around till I found an original that I liked and which I purchased (see below). Sort of unfortunately, the one I picked was actually by his daughter, Elaine, and not him. Oh well! (If you’d like to see more of her work, you can find her on Instagram at @elainequinlanart – I can’t find a regular Web link to give you for her.)

The piece I bought – It’s maybe 5″x7″, so not big but I really like the colours and movement. I’m sure I’ll find a place for it. 🙂
(clearly igned by Elaine and NOT by Leo,
but I didn’t notice the signature till later)

Anyway, we had a lovely chat. He had served in the Irish military back in the day and was quite happy to hear I am originally from Newfoundland. He regaled me with stories of a fellow he had met from NL when he was serving in the military somewhere. (He told me where, but it escapes me for the moment.)

We talked a fair bit about painting, too, and he was quite motivational to me. I get too much in my own head (as I think I may have mentioned in a previous post), thinking that everything needs to be perfect right out the gate.

That is such a bad approach to take with probably everything. It can be paralytic and make you afraid to even try.

I’m very glad to have run into him and will take his advice of getting lots of “brush mileage” in.

If this spurt of motivation stays with me after I get home, I might even finish a painting that I started well over a year ago!

You never know when or how that spark is going to be lit… Ain’t life grand??


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Day 9 (Sept 20/19): So glad I bought a cell phone and a keyboard!

My regular cell phone back home is a bit…glitchy and it’s not fancy. When it comes to cell phones, it’s completely about basics for me – text and call, primarily for travel or emergencies.

I have a simple pay-as-you-go monthly plan for $11.30 per month that includes a limited text plan.

That’s it.

Anyway, because I don’t have a regular monthly plan, I can’t get a temporary international plan added on and because the phone itself is glitchy, I didn’t feel confident about just getting a new local SIM card.

So….I opted for a whole new cell phone.

I wanted one because the place I’ve rented doesn’t have a phone at all and pay phones have almost completely gone the way of the dinosaur. I wanted to have something in case there was an emergency – just for a bit of security.

Since I’ve been here, I’ve had to call or text the owner of the place several times – to figure out how to fix the WiFi, how to operate the oven, and now today, how to operate the washing machine. (Thank goodness that the owner is such a nice lady!!)

No…none of them were emergencies, but not figuring them out would have put a real crimp in my plans. Particularly the washing machine bit. I had packed based on the idea that I could wash clothes half-way through my trip.

Having the phone meant I could pop her a quick text and within seconds she called and told me what to look for and it was done! (MUCH faster than if I had had to handwash everything!! 🙂 )

So while I hope the absence of emergencies continues, I am still very glad that I decided on the phone and already consider it money well spent.

Another techy thing I have to say I’m grateful I bought is the Bluetooth keyboard I’ve been using to write my posts.

I bought it on Amazon a couple of months ago. I don’t mind using the regular tablet keyboard when I’m just typing something short – like a post on Instagram or a quick email – but for something longer – like a WordPress post – I use my laptop at home. I didn’t want to bring my laptop, though, so I decided to get a keyboard for my tablet.

And boy am I glad I did! It’s tiny, of course, but still easy to use and so much more convenient than using the screen keyboard. Ugh. I can’t even imagine. Well, I just wouldn’t be writing as much. It would be way more of a chore and not at all enjoyable.

So if you’ve ever wondered about getting a Bluetooth keyboard for your tablet, I highly recommend it. I charged it once, before the trip, and haven’t had to recharge it again yet, so it’s got a lot of juice in it! You can see the one bought here.

My writing station!

Note: I’m not getting any sort of benefit for recommending this keyboard. I bought it myself and just really like it. It’s the only such product I’ve ever used so I can’t speak about it comparatively towards any other keyboard.


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Day 8 (Sept 19/19): You’ll never guess what I found when I dropped off my garbage

One of my planned outings today was to dispose of a bag of garbage. Not exciting, I know, but necessary all the same.

A notice here in the kitchen says that it’s to be dropped off at the community centre. That was easy enough to find on the ol’ Google machine and off I went.

I actually decided to take a different route than Google maps had suggested. The route it proposed was mostly the same route I’ve done for most other places I’ve gone whereas the other one would bring me somewhere entirely different.

Uh huh.

It brought me to the police station.

Not exactly what I was going for so I backtracked and took Google’s original route. Not that it mattered much. Yes, it almost doubled the time it took, but that only meant it took about 11 minutes instead of 6. Hardly enough to put a crimp in my day.

Anywayyyyy….on with the story!

On the other side of the road from the garbage/recycling/community centre is a place called Tech Amergin – a community arts and education centre.

When I crossed to that side of the road to head further back into the village, I saw a sign that they have a community garden and visitors were welcome.

I thought, “Hey! I’m a visitor!” So in I went.

If you’re thinking fancy botanical gardens of large urban centres, get that thought out of your mind. You’ll only be disappointed.

But if you adjust your expectations you’ll be charmed.

It was lovely. Nothing fancy and a bit unkempt in parts, but maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be.

In any event, it was a lovely and tranquil spot to poke around and sit for a little while. I’d have stayed longer, but it was quite warm out today and the garden was in full sun, with hardly any breeze – the trifecta of things that send me inside. 🙂

I snapped a few shots before I left, though.

Hope you enjoy them!

A babbling little waterfall
A chair being reclaimed
A dragon protecting the garden
Some of the miniature houses that were throughout this part of the garden
A seating area at the top of the garden
Not part of the community garden…just some palm trees I saw on my way to or from lunch

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Day 7 (Sept 18/19): End of trip plans booked – check!!

OK, so it’s now the end of day 8 and I’m only writing about this now, even though it’s about yesterday.

Because it took up a good chunk of the day yesterday, and I’m pretty excited about it, I figured it warranted a post.

(Plus, I haven’t thrown in the towel yet on hitting 50 posts from my last birthday till my next – which is this weekend. It’s now Thursday night and I only have 5 to go after this one!!)

Anywayyyyyyy……

I didn’t book things for the back end of this trip beforehand because I wasn’t really sure exactly when I was going to head to Killarney or back to Dublin. I didn’t know if I’d want to give myself 2 days in Killarney or 2 in Dublin so I left it.

A few days ago, I decided to give the extra 2 days to Killarney. As I mentioned before, I really want to go to Killarney National Park. I would rather do that than tool around Dublin for 2 days.

Nothing against Dublin. It’s just not where I want to spend a chunk of time this go round.

So I got on the Google box yesterday and started hunting down hotels.

I figured in Killarney I’d stay at the same place where I was last week. But the prices this are a lot higher than the rate I got for last week and I’m being a good girl and sticking within my budget.

So, the search continued and my patience paid off!

Remember the place where I had the big club sandwich in Killarney? It was at the Café du Parc, which is part of the Killarney Plaza Hotel and Spa.

Oddly, it seems a lot nicer than the first hotel but the price fits quite comfortably into my budget, so who am I to argue?

It’s also easy walking distance from the bus station and to the train station, and super close to where I’ll take the National Park tour and shopping.

Dublin was a little harder.

I wanted to find somewhere easily accessible from the train station and to the airport, as well as easy walking to something interesting.

I’ll only have the afternoon and evening as I have to go to the airport in the morning, so I wanted to get the biggest bang for my buck.

After spending some serious quality time with Google maps and Chrome, I decided on the Hilton Garden Inn Dublin Custom House and booked a nice room with a river view.

I was originally looking for something closer to Trinity College. I love old college buildings. But none of the hotels (that I would have liked) near there fit closely enough to my budget, so I kept looking and that’s how I found the Custom House.

While it’s on the other side of the river and a bit away from the “thick of things”, it is next to the EPIC Irish Emigration Museum and I’m pretty excited about that.

I do some genealogy, so I’m looking forward to what I might learn there about Irish emigration to Newfoundland.

I know…it’s not everybody’s first thought of fun things to do in Dublin, but I’m pretty excited about it. 🙂

I also booked the train from Killarney to Dublin. That was easy once I figured out everything else.

I’m glad to have that done. It was on my mind that I needed to do it and now I can push it to the side and enjoy the present without that distraction or reminder of the end.

I mean, obviously I know it will end. I just don’t want to think about it. 🙂

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Day 7 (Sept 18/19): Irish VAT rate – Why I may never complain about HST again!

(I just discovered that I hadn’t actually posted this last night when I wrote it…Oops! Not hard to tell why I’m not blogging for a living! 🙂 )

When I was purchasing some things in a gift shop this morning, the lady asked if I’d be claiming the tax back. I said I had planned on it, but didn’t know the process.

She helpfully explained it to me and gave me the card I would need.

She said it’s worth doing because even though I would get the full 23% back, it would definitely add up.

23%!!! I almost choked.

Before you ask, no I didn’t already know the tax was that high. Everything I’ve bought to this point was the price that was advertised so I had no idea how much of that was tax.

Anyway, it makes our 13% HST in Ontario seem rather paltry now…

I guess all things really are relative!

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Day 8 (Sept 19/19): The view from the window

Before I get into this post, I should say that I am not normally one to sit or stand at the front window and spy on my neighbourhood. Perhaps the anonymity of being on holiday has brought out the Nosey Nellie in me. 🙂

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After a decadent morning reading in bed, I came downstairs and opened the curtains across the wall of windows at the front of the house.

Almost immediately I noticed three distinct white spots on the sea at the horizon. I squinted a bit to see if I could see more distinctly what they were.

Then I remembered: I have binoculars!!

I grabbed them and headed back to the window.

There was a large white sailboat heading to the north and two motorized boats – one larger than the other – heading south.

No idea what they were, though. Something about the larger one made me think maybe Coast Guard or something. Don’t know why – I couldn’t see it that closely.

If it was a yacht it was a seriously beautiful boat!

In moving away from that, I noticed the beautiful waning gibbous moon.

Up to the eyes with the binoculars again… 🙂

It was very cool and fun to see so many more details and craters than the naked eye can see. I’m really enjoying this gift!!!

After that, I sat at the table by the windows to do a little drawing (I didn’t finish it, so no picture, plus it was just a learning exercist – how to draw a tree).

Not too long later, something else caught my eye: a guy out on a paddle board.

Out came the binoculars once more!

He didn’t look quite proficient at it and I would not have been surprised if he had gone into the drink. At one point he did sit down, but was up again before too long.

Good on him! I wouldn’t even give it a go.

I am not a fan of standing up sports/activities in general. I’d go arse over kettle on that thing before I got one foot off shore. In fact, probably even if I just tried to stand on it onshore!

I do better sitting down – which is why the recumbent exercise bike is my preferred activity of choice.

I left him to it – keeping an occasional eye on him while I was drawing, until he was safely on shore. 🙂

I’m pretty easily entertained, what can I say…

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