Bits and bobs

Random thoughts about random things by a random person


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Day 16 (Sept 27/19): Killarney – St. Mary’s Church of the Sloes

This was my last day before going to Dublin.

I had originally thought to do a bus/boat tour to another part of the National Park today, but the weather was on-again-off-again rainy – again – and I had had enough of being wet the last few days, so I stayed around Killarney.

That’s not to say that I completely avoided getting wet – I didn’t. But I was able to trot back to the hotel to change and warm up, rather than spend the day in wet clothes.

I mostly just did some more twacking around, finishing up some gift buying.

I also went into the church across the street from my hotel – St. Mary’s. I had posted a picture of it previously when I was here two weeks ago. It’s really quite lovely. Below are some pictures of the windows inside.

Before I forget, and to keep in line with the unintentional theme for this trip of “Switches”, here’s how the Killarney Plaza Hotel deals with lights: You have to insert your room key in a slot in the entry of your room in order for any of the lights or anything to work. It’s a neat way to reduce electricity wastage!

And, speaking of the hotel…it was really quite lovely itself. I quite enjoyed hanging out on here to read and write for a bit while it was raining outside.

And so closes the Ring of Kerry chapter of my holiday!!


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Day 15 (Sept 26/19): Killarney National Park (Part 2)

I promised pictures of Killarney National Park and, at long last, here they are!

The first place we visited on the tour was Muckross Abbey. The walk from the road to the Abbey was so pretty. It was an on-again-off-again rainy day, so the skies were grey all day, but everything was beautifully green.

Then, of course, there was the Abbey itself. Most of it was built in the 15th century, with some small additions built in the 16th century.

On one end of the Abbey was a field. Check out the warning sign below. Not one I’d seen before, so I thought it was kind of fun. 🙂

After that was the walk over to Muckross House, which was about a kilometre away. It was so beautiful and serene. This walk was one of my favourite parts of the visit to the Park.

The house itself was (as you can see) quite something itself, but I didn’t go in other than to visit the loo. The natural setting held my attention much more, I have to say.

The bus picked us up from there and then we headed to Torc Waterfall, which is about 200 metres along a trail from where the bus dropped us off. The walk was even more beautiful than the waterfall itself and is why this was my absolute favourite stop on the tour. Most people booted it directly to the waterfall, though. I get it – it was raining. Not the best weather for a leisurely stroll, but it was so. dang. beautiful. It was only 200 metres, but it probably took me at least 20 minutes to get up there because I kept stopping along the way.

The colour was indescribable. The photos really and truly don’t do it justice. There is a moss or lichen or something that grows on most of the trees, giving everything this soft, almost glowing green colour. It was spectacular and beautiful, and felt reverential and ethereal. I could imagine Tolkien characters fitting in quite nicely there. 🙂

From there we were off to Ladies View. It had been raining quite hard for a while by then and the driver asked if we just wanted to go back to town. I would have been fine to skip the last stop, but the couple who was also on the tour wanted to go on, so we went.

The roads were really narrow and we had a tough time at one point when we (a smaller shuttle bus) were facing a full-size tour bus coming from the opposite direction. I had taken a couple of pictures to show you just how very tight the squeeze was for us to pass each other, but somehow or other I deleted them. D’oh!

At any rate, the view there was lovely and it wasn’t raining by then (just misty at most). There was a restaurant there where we had lunch before heading back to Killarney.

OK…that’s it for Killarney National Park!

If you are ever even sort of close to it, you should really check it out!!


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Day 15 (Sept 26/19): Killarney National Park (Part 1)

I arrived in Killarney much too early Thursday to check into my hotel, but I was able to drop my bags off there and head out.

I was, however, early enough for the Killarney National Park bus tour that I had scoped out when I was here two weeks ago.

It wasn’t a great day for weather, but it wasn’t awful, either. Plus the forecast for Friday was pretty well the same, so no point waiting. Carpe diem, right?

We weren’t many on the tour and it wasn’t a regular kind of bus tour. I had expected some bits of info shared by the driver, or another person on the bus for that person, but nope. Nada.

Well, he did stop at one point while we were en route to point out a herd of deer that were laying about and/or grazing in a field just off the road. But there was no commentary about the area or anything.

I suppose maybe it was in the name – it was a “shuttle” as opposed to a “tour”, so I guess that was it.

I had checked in at the Irish tourism office before doing the tour, and while the man was pleasant, he wasn’t super helpful or forthcoming with info. He and two other colleagues had been chatting when I approached, so maybe that was why – he just wanted to get back to the chat.

I’ve found that fairly common, actually. Not brushing you off to get back to a chat, but not being very forthcoming with info. I understood it at the train station two weeks ago – the guy gave basic info in Dublin and I had to ask for some more specifics. But the train isn’t tailored for tourists. It’s just a regular mode of transport.

But a shuttle bus/tour of the National Park…well…um…that’s geared towards tourism. Even if there are locals who do use it repeatedly, it’s safe to assume that tourists (particularly those in the tourism office asking questions don’t know the “normal” way of doing things.

On tours I’ve done in other places, they’ve been really good about what you need to do, where you need to go, how to get there, etc.

Not a big deal – just interesting. Plus, maybe I have developed a face like a smacked arse and nobody wants to talk to me more than they absolutely have to? 😉

At any rate, I made it to the bus and the park. We had the same driver the whole day. He wasn’t very forthcoming at first, either, until I had asked a few questions. Then it became clear to him that he couldn’t just drop us off and assume we knew what the heck we were about.

There was an older couple on the bus, too, and they really didn’t know what the scoop was. It was obvious that the husband did not know much English at all and relied on his wife for that. I could tell she was struggling, too, even with the driver’s explanations of what time we needed to be back at the bus.

The lady and I chatted a little at one stop. I asked where they were from, fully expecting (from the sound of the language they were speaking) an eastern European country. Her answer almost stopped me dead in my tracks: “Dublin.”

Whaaaaaaaaat?

She followed it up with the fact that they were originally from Lithuania. “Ohhhhh…OK. That makes sense,” I thought. “They must have recently moved.”

Wrong again!

She told me they’ve been in Dublin for 30 years.

I became instantly grateful for the relative ease with which I learn languages. I can’t imagine living somewhere for 30 years and still be struggling with basic things like the time.

They seemed nice, but conversation was very stilted and limited to “What time…?” and “Awful weather…” The husband, bless his socks and slippers, tried to make conversation at one point, too, when his wife was off somewhere.

“You from Canada…In France?” I asked a couple of times to confirm that that was indeed what he was asking and I tried to explain that Canada was in North America, but I don’t know how successful I was.

But despite the linguistic challenges, we helped each other out. I was a bit of a go-between with the driver and the woman for some things and she came and alerted me at Ladies View to the fact that the bus had arrived, to make sure that I didn’t miss it.

As always, the people you meet add such an interesting dimension to travel!

This post is getting long, so I think I’ll count this one as done. I’ll post pictures in a later post (or two?). The image uploading options are better on my laptop than in this app, so I might actually wait till I’m home in a couple of days.

Before I close, though, I have to say that if you ever get the chance to go to Killarney National Park, please be sure to do so. As I’ve said before, my tablet doesn’t have a great camera, so the photos really do not do the place justice. But it really is worth the time to go there.


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Day 14 (Sept 25/19): Not quite done – Another beautiful sunset!!

I know I said that the previous post was likely to be the last one from Waterville, but on my way to The Lobster for dinner, there was another beautiful sunset.

On the way back afterwards, it was still stunning, but in a different way, so I snapped a shot of that, too.

And, well, it would be selfish of me not to share, right?

Since I can’t choose just one, you’re getting a few similar ones. 🙂


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Day 14 (Sept 25/19): Charlie has been seen. It is done.

The weather is better today than yesterday. Still quite wet and grey, but not nearly as windy. The sun even poked between the clouds around mid-afternoon. It’s raining again now, but it was still nice to see the a bit of blue if even for a moment. 🙂

I went out earlier with the last bits of rubbish from my stay and then went to see Charlie. Well, his statue. Unfortunately, he was being mobbed by tourists and, while I waited a few minutes to see if I could get a pic of him on his own, I eventually gave up and just snapped a pic of him with a couple of strangers.

Statue of Charlie Chaplin, Waterville, Co. Kerry, Ireland

I should, perhaps, explain what this is all about.

Charlie Chaplin started coming to Waterville in the 1950s as a vacation spot. He loved it so much, he came back every year for 10 years. Not sure why he stopped. Perhaps age? He would have been well into his 70s by then so making the annual trek might not have been as appealing as it used to be.

At any rate, the fact that he loved Waterville has become quite a claim to fame of the place. It’s, honestly, not hard to see why he loved it. It’s a fabulous place. 🙂

They even have an annual Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival.

So, while I am not a huge CC fan, per se, it seemed important that I take at least a bit of a gander at the statue before I leave.

Oh…I also finally figured out why I had passed by it several times and never saw it. There has always been a tour bus in front of it!! No wonder I only ever saw it before at night from behind. 🙂

After my pseudo-visit to Charlie, I went to the Beachcove Cafe again for lunch. The regular guy who I’ve seen there wasn’t there, which was a bummer as I had wanted to tell him thanks for all the great meals. But the food was still great and I decadently treated myself to another slice of that walnut coffee cake. Man, it is sooooo yummy!!! No food photo today, though!

Then I came home and have been catching up on emails and starting to pack since then. The bus to Killarney is 7 a.m. tomorrow so I have to get the packing done today. If I can get at least most of it done now, I can have a relaxing dinner out this evening. And I will have to go out for dinner tonight because all my leftover perishable food has been taken out in the trash!

So this is likely my last post from Waterville. Boy, that went fast!

I have truly enjoyed it. I am going to seriously miss being able to look at the sea from wherever I am and especially being able to hear it.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the ocean has a very rejuvenating effect on me and I feel very connected to it. That has made this holiday exactly what I wanted it to be. 🙂

Next up: Killarney Part 2!


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Day 13 (Sept 24/19): Crappy weather, but that didn’t stop me – today :)

As you may have read, yesterday’s weather was not what we would call great.

Today has been no better. In fact, I think it’s been worse. The wind has been a lot higher and more constant and the waves have been rolling in a lot harder, too. The rain hasn’t been as hard, but it’s lasted all day with only minor lulls.

In the morning, I still hoped it might clear up, but unlike yesterday, I was under no delusion today that it might really happen.

In any event, I would be going out today.

I have one day left in Waterville and the forecast for tomorrow is no better, so I don’t have enough time to be choosey about the weather.


I had garbage to bring out and there were several things on the Waterville Heritage Trail that I still hadn’t seen and I also wanted to check out the exhibit about the trans-Atlantic telegraph cables at Tech Amergin.

So, when the rain tapered off a bit around noon, I got ready and went out.

I brought the garbage to the disposal site at the community centre first, to get that done. Then I went across the road to the Waterville Cable Station Exhibition.

Left side of placard with key dates for the Waterville cable station

Right side of placard with key dates for the Waterville cable station

It was really interesting. Firstly, because of Newfoundland’s connection to the whole Atlantic cable thing. I’ve been to the  site in Heart’s Content, NL that was connected to another cable site near here on Valentia Island. It was neat to be at a site on this side of the Atlantic. And secondly, it was interesting because of where telecommunications are nowadays. It’s a really neat vantage point from which to look at it.

For example, I am writing this on a device the size of a paperback novel and, once I publish it, people all over the world will be able to see it at practically the same time. That is astounding!!

Especially when you think what was involved in getting international cable communication going. The Atlantic is a big place. It’s not just the distance as the crow flies, but also the depth of the ocean. And all the potential threats all along the cable. It’s amazing.

And that technology was state-of-the-art at the time for international communication.

Before that, it was snail mail, which could take weeks or months.

After it came wireless telegraph communication, which was also almost instant, but without the bother, risk and expense of the cables.

And look where we are now!

What will it be in another 100 years?

It’s worth the time every now and then to sit back and appreciate the perspective a reflection on the past gives us.

After the exhibit, the rain had picked up again, but I carried on to the other cable-related spots. They were near Tech Amergin and, as I said, tomorrow’s weather doesn’t promise anything better, so there was no point putting them off.

Two of the three main buildings (the “new” offices and the superintendent’s house) are up for sale. They are lovely stone buildings, but would likely need a lot of capital to make them habitable or useable. It’s a shame, but they will probably stay empty.

The original building is a B&B and restaurant, so it’s at least in use, and the homes that had been built for staff were sold and, I think, are still in use as residential homes today.

With those sites visited, and the fact that I had seen some of the other spots on my other jaunts, the only thing left on the Trail for me to see is the Charlie Chaplin statue.

I’ve actually passed it umpteen times, but never saw it. Even when actually looking for it. I only figured out where it is on one of my night walks, from behind. Of course. Why would I notice it in broad daylight from the front??

Anyway, by the time I finished with the cable-related sites, I was sufficiently drenched (only my legs and a bit of hair that refused to stay inside my hood, thanks to Eddie Bauer!). I didn’t want to go any further to see Charlie today. Instead, as it had been about 5 hours since breakfast, I went to Beachcove Cafe (which was on my way home) for another yummy, albeit late, lunch.

My lunch! I also had some fries (I forgot the salad was included) and a DELICIOUS maple walnut cake.

I had planned on going to The Lobster for supper this evening, and I would go see Charlie then. But it was just too gnarly out there and I couldn’t convince myself to go from cozy and dry to damp, cold and wet again.

So, I’m in for the night. Charlie will just have to wait till tomorrow!!


Some photos of the bay today. They don’t look as bad as it really was. It got worse this evening, but I didn’t take any pictures then. I snuck these during breaks in the rain. I tried to upload a video, but it didn’t work. You can see then on my Instagram account, though: @heresmeg1111


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Day 12 (Sept 23/19): Yucky weather so I mostly stayed in

I didn’t write yesterday because I didn’t do anything besides read, watch TV and do a bit of colouring. Not exactly edge-of-your-seat kinda stuff. But to provide a complete record of my trip, I might as well tell you a bit about the day. 🙂

The weather was miserable. Heavy rain for a good portion of the day. It let up a bit at one point and I was optimistic that it would clear up to a decent day. At least decent enough to do some stuff I still wanted to do.

Most days have been like that – even if it’s not great earlier in the day, it becomes nicer as the day goes on. So when it started to improve a little, I thought we were on that trend and decided to wait till it cleared up a bit more before going out.

But it didn’t. In fact, before an hour was out, it got worse again. It was a day of pelting rain.

It was better in the evening so I went for my walk at about 8pm. There was only a light mist and sometimes not even that. It was still a bit windy, but for all that it was warmer than I thought it would be from how it looked.

I was glad to have gone for the walk, too. I do enjoy days in, but the fresh air is always welcome. The promenade isn’t a long walk – only about 20-25 minutes there and back, but it is safely off the narrow roads, which, as you know, I’m quite happy to avoid!!

And so…there you have day 12!


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