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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Still having data problems.



Saturday 14th July

And the day started so beautifully, 5.30am and the sun had risen over the harbour boats. 



 So why then were we awake so early? A loud banging and tapping noise could be heard nearby the Beast and we had visions of someone trying to tamper with the wheels. On investigation, it turned out to be nothing more than a hungry magpie trying to gain entry to a pizza box for a tasty morsel inside.



By 8.30 we were on the move. In the distance loomed black clouds and sure enough the further North we travelled and the rain set in.
Galway and PC World, that's where we were aiming for. My Asus tablet has given up the ghost so the only option was to purchase a new one. PC World stores are few and far between here in Ireland, but we did find one in Galway. Having settled on a Samsung 7" tablet the next port of call was to Glengowla and the mines. 

Put there for effect! Many miners did lose their lives though.


Candlelight was all they had to work by. This photo showing how difficult it was.

And the same photo but with the flash.


One of the mine shafts.
It was still raining as we left and instead of continuing back to the Atlantic Way we were on the lookout for somewhere to empty the loo. Yesterday we discovered the seal had gone on the cassette we had been using and the smell every time we opened the bathroom door was quite potent. Ian did a temporary fix by coating the slide with Vaseline and then changing it for the spare second cassette. But we needed to empty it so the fix could be done properly. Here in County Galway (as well as County Clare) finding facilities to accommodate campers and motorhomes is almost impossible. By Ian doing some serious research, we eventually found a place called Clifton where we could empty the elsan and discharge the grey water. Time was getting on and further research on the 'park for the night' app found this wonderful place next to a lake. What a perfect place for a BBQ...or would have been if the rain would stop!


 And I thought I would say a bit more of the saga on our data allowance.

 Having settled in and congratulated ourselves on finding this place, Ian went back online for his emails only to discover 3 have again charged us for data usage (£5) even after purchasing a further £15 for 5 GB. A long long argument to those Indian operators only to be told that wrong information had been given to us and we were still being charged £5 per GB used. Long story short 3 have agreed to refund our £5 but has also told us that any further usage will be charged per megabyte. Once we are back in Northern Ireland our original data allowance of 40GB kicks in. Thats why I had been silent for so long.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

A Goat on a roof!!!!

 This post is well out of date...in fact at least 4 days! Had trouble with our Three account again so much so that we decided that it wasnt worth the fight to continue using the net. So today (17th) we have crossed into Northern Ireland, and sitting at Asda car park with our origional 32GB of dataallowance Finally I get post this.

 Friday 13th July
The car park stopover at Inagh as mentioned in my last post ysterday.


Then as it got dark we had an eerie light shining into the Beast. Ian went out to investigate and lo and behold..could that be Jesus?.


It was back on the Atlantic Way this morning. We passed the Cliffs of Moher (payment was required to view the Cliffs so we didn't stop!) and headed for Doolen Cave.

This cave holds one of the largest stalactites that can be viewed in the world. The discovery was made by two Brits J. M. Dickenson and Brian Varley. Read about the discovery here

What an impressive sight. Although the normal stalactites and stalagmites found in caves are almost non-existent in this one, the sheer size of the monster made the fee all worthwhile.




Some of the rock formation when the ice was melting during the ice age.

The two passages, the top where the discovery was made and the bottom where the Brits crawled through to find the stalactite.
Leaving the Cave and what did we spy? Surely not a goat on the roof!


Following the Atlantic Way and we came across a Geological wonder. I have found too much about it on the web but it could be called the Burren Exposure. The rock formations give the impression of an ancient lava flow but this is a pure guess.



Blackhead Lighthouse.
Aillwee Cave and birds of prey was the next stop. This time the cave did have the stalactites and stalagmites but was not as impressive as the last cave.



The birds of prey demonstration was very impressive though.








And a few more wildlife photos




Friday, 13 July 2018

Them fairies get everywhere.

Not a bad night considering we happen to be right next to a busy main road. If one must stop in a car park then that's what to expect. Anyway, yes we did go to visit Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. Literally, 2 minutes from our night stop to the castle car park.

This place is just the best and definitely one of our favourite places to visit so far. Set in 25 acres and is a reconstruction of the homes and environment of Ireland over a century ago. Even at 9 am when the place opened the tour buses had arrived. Managing to get ahead of 90 school kids alighting from two coaches, the advice given when we paid our money was 'go to the castle first'. Very glad of that as trying to get up and down those circular castle stairwells with 90 kids all trying to do the same would have been very difficult. But we managed to be in front of them the whole time and was able to take loads of photos. Some I have put on here (all as a collage to reduce the file size due to only being allowed 5GB for the next 17 days) and the rest is in my Google album folder. To view all the photos click here 

THE CASTLE





THE VILLAGE


THE FARMHOUSES




THE FAIRIES


BUNRATTY HOUSE



We are still having great difficulty finding a place to stop for the night. Searching Brit Stop, Park for the night and several others that Ian has apps for do not appear to have anything much in County Clare other than South and a few further inland. So tonight it was touch and go whether we would still be trying to find somewhere convenient in the dark!. Got to a place called Inagh on the way to Miltown Malber to rejoin the Atlantic Way and an almost empty car park caught out attention. Next to a Spar, a Comunity center and church so we pulled in. Ian enquired at the Spar shop whether we could park and in typical Irish fashion said 'To be sure you can stay.'  Still next to a road but oh so much quieter than last night.

And some of the animals at the park



Thursday, 12 July 2018

We go back in time to the iron age


Wednesday 11th July
Leaving County Kerry as we crossed the River Shannon by Ferry from Tarbert to Killmer (a crossing of about 20 minutes )we landed in County Clare. 



Resuming our route along the Wild Atlantic Way first stop was at the  Vandeleur Walled Garden. What a disappointment. The maze couldn't be accessed because of a wasp nest, the giant chess pieces to play chess well, where were they??? Planting was nice and part of the garden had some colourful bedding plants. At least we didn't have to pay to get in. One thing I will say though is how helpful and friendly the staff were.  Outstanding as is all the Irish folk. Lovely people who always have a cheery smile and who like nothing better than to pass the time of day.


40 km drive was ahead of us as we drove south to Loop Head Lighthouse. Parking was easy....getting out after the visit was not! Anyway, first things first we had a guide take us to the top. Views were pretty decent and as we were almost to the top, the lens, as well as the 1000 watt bulbs, could easily be seen.


On arriving back at the Beast there was a car next to us, one in front with a motorhome next to that, a motorhome to the rear and two large metal posts to the side of us. Car park being very small, surely someone will come back soon so we could move. Nop...we ended up having lunch and still no sign of any vehicle movement.  In the end, all Ian could do was reverse as far back as he could and drive forward to turn the Beast over a grassy area.
By the time we returned not a space was to be had.
At the gardens we visited we picked up several leaflets on places to visit. Two such places were inland near to a place called Ennis. So we drove 70km to Quin and Craggaunowen to experience the Living Past. It's a recreation of Celtic Ireland exploring the roots of people, homesteads and animals from 1000 years ago.  Marvellous place and very well put together. 


Inside the castle
Different ways of weaving

The Crannog a reconstruction of a lake dwelling during the Iron Age



Wild boars were hunted for food.

And these Soay Sheep. Their wool was plucked and used to weave their blankets and clothes.
Had some difficulty finding a stopping place for the night. Lay-by's non-existent, and very few car parks that allow overnight parking. Good old 'camp for the night' app showed to be one in Bunratty behind the shops which was fortunate as Bunratty Castle Folk Park was on the doorstep. Guess where we will be going tomorrow.

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