A wonderful and restful week. I rented a car and visited Birr, Killarney, and Tramore (near Waterford). I stayed two days in each place, which enabled me to alternate a driving day with a sightseeing day. The weather continued to be hot and sunny. It was 27-29 degrees Celsius until the last couple of days (about 83-85 degrees Fahrenheit). The locals said: “It’s roasting.” Of course, I brought turtlenecks and sweaters! Not the typical Irish weather. There’s an old joke. How do you like summer in [Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales]? Answer: It’s the best day of the year.
Birr is a beautiful Georgian town in the mid-south. Birr Castle is still occupied by the original family, making it inaccessible, but the grounds are fabulous and go on for ever. I spent Sunday, May 20 strolling through the gardens, by the river. The rhododendrons were all in bloom and there was an amazing laburnum tree. I could walk by the river or sit before the lake.
I visited Killarney National Park where I discovered that rhododendrons are considered weeds because they are not native to Ireland and they are choking out native plants. A sad discovery when they bloom so beautifully. I drove round the Ring of Kerry and saw spectacular views.
My last two days were in Tramore, a beach town close to Waterford. The rain finally came, so I toured the Waterford Crystal factory and visited the Bishop’s Palace. The docent at the palace was totally passionate and knowledgeable about her subject. I think she was the curator. The details she knew were wonderful.
Driving around the countryside as I moved from place to place revealed picture postcard views of the green and rolling land. So beautiful.
Suddenly, it was time to come home. I’d go back again and see more or just rent a place and stay put. It was a wonderful week.