We made good time travelling from Chesham to Holyhead in Wales to catch the ferry to Ireland at 5.15pm on the 10th September 2013.

The captain warned us that the catamaran would roll a bit as the water was fairly rough going out of Holyhead but we found that it wasn’t bad at all and the journey only took two and a half hours. We arrived in Dun Laoghaire and drove the hour to our friend Mary’s house where we stayed until Saturday. A lot of her house is covered with beautiful Virginia Creeper which has already started to turn lovely shades of red.
The day after we arrived Maurice came down with an ear infection and he went off to the doctor to get some antibiotics so we had a rest day.
On Thursday we drove with Mary to Warrenpoint in Northern Ireland where we could look across the water to Southern Ireland. David a friend of Mary’s played host to us and gave us a very interesting tour of the surrounding area. A friend of his Marcus Hay who owns a castle called Narrow water invited us all for coffee so we sat in the drawing room of the castle and had coffee with him and his two dogs – a tiny Jack Russell and an enormous Irish Wolfhound called Shakti.
There were several wreaths opposite the castle on a fence and David explained to us that during the height of the troubles in Northern Ireland a British patrol of 17men stopped next to a large truck laden with hay. This was loaded with explosives and 6 of the men were killed.
They saw a fisherman on the opposite bank of the river and thought he was the one detonating the bomb so they killed him. He turned out to be an innocent British tourist who was really fishing.
The others took shelter behind the wall at the entrance to the castle which was mined and they were also killed.
David then took us up to Kilkeen where there is a large divide between the British loyalists who fly the Union Jack and the Israeli flag on many lightpoles and on the other side of town the Nationalists who fly the Tricolour and the Palestinian flag. It is sad to think of this great divide where never the twain shall meet and people that still today have such animosity to those with a different view.
We stopped for lunch at the “Old Schoolhouse” cafe and then made our way back through lovely countryside (a pity about the rain and the fog)back to Warrenpoint.
We stopped in Newry for a bit of retail therapy before heading back to Ballivor.
On Friday we set out late to Blanchstown near Dublin to the outlet stores where we made a couple of purchases before going home to make an Indian meal for dinner. There were nine of us for dinner including three of Mary’s sons and we had a nice evening.
The three days went too quickly and we left Mary on a lovely sunny Saturday via Trim for the hour’s drive to Maurice’s cousin Caroline and her husband Barney in Dalkey.    The sun was shining as we arrived in Dalkey.  On Sunday Barney and I got into gear and prepared the meal for lunchtime when we celebrated Maurice’s birthday a few days early.   Five of Maurice’s first cousins plus Caroline’s daughter Edwina and four other friends joined us and we had a wonderful meal of a large baked ham, new potatoes and Barney’s special green beans followed by a large array of deserts.

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