Ireland (and the golf) continues

Trip Start Nov 27, 2012
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Trip End May 18, 2013


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Flag of Ireland  , County Clare,
Friday, March 22, 2013

.After leaving our overnight stop in Kilarney, Steve chose Lahinch golf course as the next one he would like to try. We first saw this links course on our day trip out of Limerick to the Cliffs of Moher and, from that moment on, Steve was smitten with it. So, with that in mind, we decided to 'backtrack' somewhat in order to include it in our itinerary.

Our drive took us to the small town of Kinsale. This is a beautiful village with its own port. It is also home to the golf course known as ‘Old Head’ which is just out of town. Sadly, that particular course was closed until mid April, but we did drive to its entrance and it would have been a great experience to actually play there. It is situated, quite literary, on the top of cliffs. (In fact, nine of the eighteen holes are along the clifftops, overlooking the sea.) We assumed that this may be the reason the course actually closes down during the winter months – the winds must be horrendous!

From Kinsale we spent the night in Cork, but this was purely to break the journey. We stayed at a hotel outside of the town so cannot really comment on the place. It was merely a means to an end.

Next morning we drove to Lahinch. This is a really (I mean really!) small town. It probably only consists of three streets and on this day we were met with atrocious weather – howling gale force winds, sleet and freezing temperatures. The beautiful, old Atlantic Hotel in the ‘main street’ provided us with our accommodation and this is truly a lovely, welcoming place to stay. Del had the best intentions of walking the golf course with Steve, but, in the car park had an abrupt change of mind and instead decided to go back to the hotel and enjoy the open fireplace! (What a strange decision for her to make!)

Now in all the years Steve has played golf and in all the years Del has known him, it has been unheard of for Steve to not finish a golf game. Well – here’s one for the record books! About an hour after Del had just settled in to the hotel – about her second cup of warm tea – Steve appeared (somewhat bedraggled) from the golf course, moaning about the terrible conditions! HE HAD ACTUALLY LEFT THE COURSE AFTER THE SIXTH HOLE. (This is not a typing error!)

After a yummy lunch in the pub though, Steve had second thoughts and ‘just wanted to drive back to the golf course’ to see if he could finish his round the next day. You guessed it – he finished that afternoon, after the receptionist at the course took pity on the poor, wet Aussie and allowed him to continue. It really is a wonder that he didn’t come down with man flu after being out there but it all ended happily. Steve played one of the most challenging courses he is ever likely to encounter and learned about playing in really tough weather conditions. (eg: One must wear complete wet weather gear when playing in Ireland.)

With that experience behind us we headed off the next day for our last two days in the emerald isle which were to be spent back in Dublin. On the drive there, we heard all sorts of weather and news broadcasts about how England, Wales and Northern Ireland had been hit with snow storms. Fortunately for us the weather in Dublin was not quite as bad as some other places – although it was still very cold, wet and windy. It certainly did not stop us walking around the town, seeing the sights and mixing with the locals. Our fast ferry back to Wales was cancelled and we were put on another, much larger vessel for our journey. We sailed back under gale force nine weather conditions with quite rough seas, but this huge ferry was more than up to the task.

We arrived safely back in Wales and drove all the way to Edinburgh. We had not expected to get this far but, despite the snow, the main freeways made for good driving.

Bring on Scotland, as our trip draws to a close.
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