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We were ready to head off early this morning to do a bit more sightseeing around Dublin but had to book a hire car so we could start the unplanned part of our tour.  By the time we’d booked that, we just wanted to go out into the country and explore, so decided to pick up the car and set off.  We had a bit of a relax for about an hour while I wrote a bit more and Wendy read some more of her book.

When we were ready, we went downstairs and waited for a cab.  Bewley’s in Ballsbridge was certainly a lovely hotel to have stayed in. A cab pulled up with a woman cabbie.  She said she hadn’t been called but she’d take us anyway.  We got in and she then spoke about how hungover she was after St Pat’s day.. Ummm great lol.  We drove through the town and made our way to Avis car hire to pick up our rental.

Cars here are much cheaper to rent than at home, however they add other costs on at ridiculous prices.  It was roughly 8 euro a day to rent the car.. but if we wanted a GPS that would be an extra 15 euro…. so the GPS is worth more than the car obviously.  We paid an extra 7.50 euro a day for no excess and the way it was worded on the website was that they normally hold the excess payment and this would free it up.. Of course, if you read it really carefully, thats not what it said at all, but it’s what they wanted you to think.  So when we got there, he said they had to hold a bond and I said no they didn’t.  It turns out they did but they wouldn’t accept a debit card, only a credit card.  So if you’re like me and don’t have a credit card, but have a debit card that looks and acts like a credit card minus the credit, you can’t hire a car…. UNLESS… you pay 16 euro a day for full insurance which of course we had to do.  Thankfully we were able to cancel the 7.50 a day insurance.  I seriously hate rental car agencies.

Anyway, on our way, we got about  10 minutes down the road when we saw an op shop.  (charity shop or second hand store) We had to pull in of course and managed to grab a couple of bargains.  Then on our way again.  We found our way out to the highway but after a little bit of driving we needed a ladies room stop so we stopped in at Kilcock…. at another op shop.  After picking up a few more things, we still needed that ladies room so headed out to Clane where we had lunch and that desperately needed stop.

In Clane, we went into the local pub and had a roast lunch.  OMG.. it was served with vegetables.  what a treat.  The tv show Neighbours was on the tv there and people were watching it avidly… Not us aussies though.  We left the pub and went to Aldi supermarket to grab a few things like water and some lollies for the car.  The lollies weren’t a great success but the water was good lol.  A little further down the road I remembered that we’d bought Caramello chocolate.. Yummy.. that would be good.. but alas.. it wasn’t.  Cadbury chocolate here is very different to Australia.  It has a much stronger cocoa taste.

Now before you all say well   duhhh chocolate is cocoa, I do know that.. but australian Cadbury’s is not as bitter as it is here.  By now we had a collection of half eaten lollies in the car that we didn’t like. The cashew nuts were good though, so all was good.  Along the way, I saw a sign to Portarlington and remembered I wanted to go there.  I grew up in Drysdale which is 10 minutes from a town called Portarlinton so I wanted to see it’s namesake in Ireland. As we were driving in Edenberry, we passed the Patrick Larkin’s pub so had to take a photo for my brother Pat.

While there I remembered that nearby was the Rock of Dunamase.  If you’ve ever seen the gorgeous movie Leap Year, the Rock of Dunamase is the castle ruins they go to while waiting for a train.  Such a beautiful place, when we finally found it. We wandered around up the top of the castle with the fierce wind cutting right through us, but when it stopped, it was instant. It was totally exhilarating though, until I got too close to the edge and the wind started up… I had to quickly move away.

From there we were tossing up whether or not to stop before we got to Galway but in the long run, knowing it was just over an hour away, we kept going.  The trip is supposed to take about 2 hours all up, but by this time it had taken us about 6.  After finding our way back onto the main road we were on our way again.

There are so many gorgeous little towns along the way.  I would have liked to have stopped at them all and gone perusing but we stayed strong and kept going. This trip is like a huge song list.. I grew up listening to a lot of Irish songs so was excited when I went past the sign for Athenry and started singing the Fields of Athenry.  when we went past the signpost for Sligo I started singing “oh there’s Kelly from Wicklow, Kelly from Sligo”.. Thankfully Wendy is extremely patient lol.

We finally arrived at Galway and decided to look for a MacDonalds restaurant so we could get some free wifi and book a room.  It was already about 8pm by this time.  We called in at a newsagency that was open and asked them where we would find the nearest Maccas.  The directions? Okay, drive out of here.. turn right, then left, follow it down a bit then turn left and there’ll be a Maccas a bit up the past the supermarkets.

Well, we missed the second left turn and had to go right up the road, turn around and come back to it.  So we did that, followed the directions and ended up on one way streets right around Galway.  We drove around and around with no way of getting off the loop we were on.  Signs don’t seem to be a huge priority here.  We stopped at a grocer’s and asked how to get back into town… Ah turn right out of here and then it’s left all the way into Galway. Mmmm sounding familiar yet we were nowhere near where we started.

After a few more loops with no hope of finding the holy grail of Galway, we stopped at a servo.  Turn right out of here.. then left at the end of the road.. Sigh.. AGAIN????  This time however, the directions took us where we needed to   be, right into a MacDonalds restaurant that had WiFi.

By the time we’d had a cuppa there and booked a room it was now after 9pm so we headed to the hotel, this time following Google maps.  We only got lost once coming here.  The hotel is a beautiful big place right on the Galway Promenade across from the beach.  It’s so windy and cold that we aren’t going to explore tonight.. besides, we bought a bottle of Southern Comfort at the Grocer’s and after the amount of times we got lost in Galway, I think we deserve it.

Tonight, we actually make it past midnight before we hit the sack but sleep isn’t going to be hard to come by.  We’re both exhausted again, but every step of this journey is worth the effort.