Bits and bobs

Random thoughts about random things by a random person


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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 7 (Sept 18/19): A perfect night

Well, folks, the cloudless sky of earlier did not disappoint.

The sky tonight is, if you’ll pardon the pun, stellar.

Even though I’m still inside the village and there are a few lights around, the light pollution is really quite minimal.

If I walked just 10 minutes to the right of my place, it would be much darker, but like I think I said before, I’d also end up in a ditch or down over the cliff (it is the Cliff Road, after all). Even dressing in reflective gear wouldn’t help really.

And, really, who cares? The sky here is still beautiful. I know it would be even more spectacular if it were completely pitch black, but if we constantly chase whatever we think perfection might be, we miss out on what we already have.

And what I had tonight was fabulous. I stayed out looking up, wayyyyy up, until I got a kink in my neck!

The binoculars my brother and sister-in-law gave me for my birthday allowed me to see even more, too, which was great! (I had no idea how shaky I am, though!!! Even with my arm resting on something, it was hard to get it to hold still. I’ll be looking for a tripod adapter and tripod before too long!)

When Mother Nature decides to put on a show, she really puts on a show.

There was a star fairly low on the horizon, over the entrance to the bay that was so bright, it even reflected off the ocean! It might even be a planet. Venus and Mars are out and about tonight, apparently, so Mr. Google just told me.

I love looking at the sky and appreciating the beauty, but I am absolutely not at expert at deciphering what I see! Well, I can recognize a plane or a satellite…cuz they are moving, and I can find the Big Dipper and sometimes Orion’s belt, but that’s about it.

Anyway, it was spectacular to me. The beautiful show in the sky, complete with the Milky Way Galaxy, the ocean rolling gently onto the beach…

An absolutely wonderful way to end the day!!

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Day 6 (Sept 17/19): A beautiful evening

Waterville is located in the Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve.

A dark sky reserve (or preserve) is “a public or private land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural, heritage and/or public enjoyment.” (darksky.org)

I do enjoy a beautiful starry sky so I have been looking forward to seeing some stunning night skies while here.

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a clear night since I got here.

This evening, though, when I was out on the patio reading, it looked hopeful – a beautiful blue sky with only a smattering of clouds.

Having a read in my favourite spot

However, before too long, the clouds began to roll in from the east and my astronomical hopes were dashed. Boo hiss.

That said, the sunset was quite lovely. There were no bright reds and oranges – colours normally associated with stunning sunsets, but it was beautiful nonetheless. I’ve included a few shots and you can decide for yourself. 🙂

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Day 4 (Sept 15/19): Fixing the WiFi, more switches, figuring out the oven, locking a door, a walk, and relaxing

I’ve been playing catch up on my posts because when I arrived yesterday, the WiFi wasn’t working. When I was at supper last night, I posted some quick things to Instagram, but the WordPress app requires a bit more attention than IG.

I talked to the owner of the place today. She didn’t know how to fix it, but said she’d reach out to the guy who had installed it. She warned me, though, that he might have gone to Dublin for the football match yesterday and might not be back. Not a biggie…I could survive a day or so without Internet, right?

Before I go further, let’s step back. Remember the story about the light switches in the hotel in Killarney? Well, it turns out that switches are very popular here, too. Now, I haven’t found a master control light switch here, but alllllllll of the outlets have switches. One for each plug. So for each outlet with two plug sockets, there are two switches. You have to turn the switch on in order for that socket to work. (I imagine it saves on electricity, which is a great idea!! It just takes a little getting used to.)

And remember the windows without screens? From what I have seen nobody uses them. I didn’t see them on other hotels (or any building for that matter) in Killarney or on buildings (homes or otherwise) on the bus trip. This place doesn’t have them, either. A Google search has revealed that it’s actually common across Europe not to have screens. Apparently they don’t have as many mosquitos as we do in North America. Who knew!!

Now, back to the Internet. I had, like you would, done the unplug-and-plug-it-back-in thing with the router. It powered up. My tablet said I was connected. But there was no Internet.

While I was talking to Siobhan, I noticed that something else was plugged into the other socket where the router was plugged in and that 2nd socket switch was turned off. I turned it on. It didn’t seem to make any difference, so Siobhan said she’d try to reach that guy and get back to me.

About half an hour later, I thought I’d give it a go again and ta da! It worked!! So…that was fixed.

A couple of other “How does that work?” things also happened:

1. The door to the deck off the master bedroom would not lock, no matter how much I tried to coax it. Siobhan told me the tricks about that via text. (It wasn’t a big security concern as it’s on the 2nd floor, but I thought she’d want to know. I also didn’t want to end up having it look like I had broken it.)

2. I wanted to roast a chicken, but could not get the oven to work. Mary, the caretaker, dropped by to see how I was doing, so I asked her about it. She had no clue, beyond someone must have flipped the switch on the wall (again with the switches!!! Seriously – invest in switches in Ireland) and reset the programming on the oven. It’s not a fancy oven…I have no idea what programming is involved, but in any event, she said I should reach out to Siobhan, which I did, and she walked me through that fix.

In addition to working out those little bugs, I went for a walk today once the mist and fog cleared a little and did some colouring, totally relaxing with the sounds of the ocean. (You will hear me talk about that a lot…it’s one of my favourite things in the world, so yeah…it will be a repeated theme on this trip!!)

A foggy, misty morning today

On my way back from my walk

My perch, sitting on the rocks above the beach, across from my place

Some colouring after my walk


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Day 3 (Sept 14/19): Killaney to Waterville – the last day of travel!

This post was written on Sept 14/19, at various stages of leaving Killarney to go to my final destination of Waterville.

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Surprisingly, I slept better than I thought last night. A 5-hour time difference does do a number on you, but I think I’m good now!

My room booking included room-delivered full breakfast, which was definitely a great way to start the day. I forgot to ask for ketchup, though. Sausage without ketchup just isn’t the same, but I didn’t want to be a bother by bringing down for some so I somehow survived without!! 🙂

I toodled around again after breakfast before coming back to check out. There are loads of pubs and interesting shops – mostly geared towards tourists. I didn’t buy anything, but got some ideas for gifts towards the end of my trip.

Once I checked out, I left my bags at the front desk and headed off for lunch. I asked the girl at the front desk for a recommendation – there are loads of pubs around, but I wanted something different so I asked where she would go. She recommended the Cafe du Parc so that is just where I went!

I ordered the club sandwich. It didn’t come with anything, so I was skeptical as to whether or not it would be enough, but it was quit filling on its own. In fact, I only ate just over half of it. It was really yummy, too!

The club sandwich at the Café du Parc

After lunch, I scoped out info on some tours for when I come back in a couple of weeks, particularly for Killarney National Park because if I don’t go there while I’m in the area, my brother Bill might disown me. 🙂

Now I’m waiting for the bus to Waterville to depart. While standing outside waiting, I got hit on by an octogenarian (possibly even a nonagenarian) named Michael, so I guess I still got it…?

A little later…

While waiting my turn to load my bags into the bus, I saw a young fella putting a bag in the storage area. He had thick, fuzzy, fingerless gloves and I wondered if he was the bag loader, but he left and went back to the boarding line so I figure nope…he’s a passenger.

Then it was my turn to load and he came over and did it for me – before I had even started. So I changed my mind again and thought, ok, he must be the baggage guy.

But..the story does not end there!!! When I got on, there he was, a seated passenger.

He wasn’t the baggage guy. He was a nice guy who just took it upon himself to do a nice thing. And it wasn’t even as though I had been struggling with the bags. I hadn’t even started when he came over. He was just a nice young guy.

As I walked past him on the bus, I thanked him again. He chuckled a little, with a little shyness, and said, “It’s no problem…”

As it says in one of my favourite quotes:

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. (William Arthur Ward)

The bus ride itself was absolutely fabulous!!! If you are ever in the area, be sure to take a bus tour. It’s stunning. I didn’t take many photos – I thought about it lots, but just wanted to enjoy the view and not spend my whole time looking at it through my tablet camera viewer.

When I got to my place in Waterville, I unpacked, went for groceries, put those away, and then went for dinner at Dooley’s before hunkering down for the night. It was just soup and salad, but I tell you what – the dressing was delicious and the vegetable soup was the best soup I’ve had in I don’t know how long!

As an aside, from the time I arrived in Killarney and till now, everybody has been talking about today’s (Gaelic) football match between the Kerry team and Dublin. Being in County Kerry, everyone has been hoping for Kerry to win and green and yellow jerseys have been everywhere. Sadly, while I was eating, I could hear from the bar side of the restaurant that Kerry had lost.

As with all sporting matches — particularly rematches like this one – there was a super fun energy leading up to it the past two days since I’ve been here. Even the cashier at the grocery store was fully into it. She wasn’t thrilled about only being able to listen on the radio and not be able to see it, though!

Anyhoo…Here are some photos from today (Sept 14):

1. The bus

2. An ocean view on the route to Waterville

3. A video from my patio – the location is why I’ve taken this place. The sight, the sound, and the beautiful salty sea smell!

3. A sunset view from my place in Waterville

4. My dinner at Dooley’s


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Day 2 (Sept 13/19): More of Killarney!

(Written on Sept 13/19, as a follow up to my previous post.)

My room is lovely. It’s an older building but it was updated not too long ago. (The foyer, I should mention, is quite lovely – it was redone earlier this year, but I forgot to take a picture.) Three big, beautiful windows overlook a fairly busy street and let in loads of light.

The bed is quite comfy and there are at least two different types of pillows. That might sound weird, but I find that pillows are more important to a good sleep than even the mattress is. I’m so glad that hotels tend to provide different firmness options these days. (It’s the little things, remember?)

I’m off now to do a little exploring and see about a cell phone.

Much later…

After I got back, I lay down around 5:30 for a little nap, intending to get some juice back in my batteries before going out for supper and maybe checking out some local music. But that little nap turned into about 5 hours so, yeah, no supper and no music tonight!

I woke up in complete darkness and could not get any of the lights to turn on. They had been on when I first arrived, but it was such a bright day and the room was so full of natural light that I didn’t notice if any were on when I lay down. But when I woke up I had to use the light from my tablet to navigate around, flicking all sorts of switches. (There are an astounding number of switches in what is a relatively small room.)

EVENTUALLY I made it to the switches right by the door in the entry way and ta daaaaaa!!!!! It turns out that by the door, there is one switch to turn on the light in the entry and another switch that needs to be turned on in order for any of the lights in the room to work.

I must have turned it off when I went out earlier, meaning none of the lights would work when I got back. Mystery solved!! Not sure if that’s unique to this hotel or if it’s a common thing in Ireland, so I’ll keep that tidbit tucked away somewhere easily accessible in my brain for future use. 🙂

It’s quite warm in here, even though it’s a lovely cool night. But there aren’t any screens on the windows so I can’t leave them open. Several flies and mosquitos came in just in the maybe 15 minutes when I opened one a little bit ago. Ah well. I’m likely a bit too messed up now to sleep super well tonight anyway.

Plus…I’m on holidays in Ireland. So, really, who cares?


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Day 2 (Sept 13/19): From Dublin to Killarney

(This post was written on Sept 13/19.)

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The flight went well. An extra treat was that the seat reclined almost fully flat, which meant that I was able to doze a little on the flight. It was really nice and comfortable and I’m so glad I treated myself – I’m sure I’ll be equally glad on the return trip, too.

My comfy seat on the plane!

We arrived in Dublin as scheduled at around 8:30 am. Customs didn’t take too long and I easily found the Express Link desk and got my ticket to get to the Heuston Train Station. It was a lovely day which meant a nice drive through Dublin.

When I bought my train ticket a month or two ago, I got a flex ticket so I could take any train that day. I wanted the flexibility so that if all went well with the flights and customs, I could head to Killarney earlier. Which I did. Instead of having to wait around for the 1:00 train, I was able to catch it just after 11:00, getting me into Killarney about 2:15.

I found my hotel easily enough – less than a 5 minute walk from the station, past a few horse-drawn carriages – a sure sign that tourist season is still in full swing!

My room wasn’t ready so I’m having a bite to eat at the Sandtrap Bar and Grill, attached to the hotel, while it’s being prepared and then I’ll toodle around for a bit. From the quick look I took walking to the hotel from the train station, it looks like I’m in a good spot for twacking around!

Late lunch at the Sandtrap Bar and Grill, Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland

It will be an early night, though…As I said, I dozed a little on the plane – enough to keep me upright today, but I’m still pretty zonked. I’ve been up for about 28 hours so the betteries are definitely winding down.

There are so many similarities to how we speak in Newfoundland and how they speak in Ireland that I immediately feel at home. I don’t feel like I need to “edit” myself like I often do in mainland Canada. Of course, here I don’t want people to think I’m just mimicking them. They don’t necessarily know about Newfoundland like we in Newfoundland know about Ireland so it could easily come across that way. Hopefully not!

Well, my food is here (a yummy open-faced tuna melt sandwich with fries and a salad) so I’m off! More about Killarney to come!

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