An Irish Family Reunion

Day 6 – 8: Cardiff to Tremore to Dublin

The next day we headed off to Fishguard to catch the ferry over to Ireland. Here’s Michael at the train station in Cardiff, where we got the train that took us all the way to the ferry port door. That was kind of cool. And a picture of Fishguard from the boat.

From Fishguard, we took the ferry to Rosslare Harbour in Ireland. For anyone planning on taking this trip, note that while it is an international harbour (has boats from another country), it does not have an ATM. Make sure you get your money, which is a different form of money what with Ireland being another country, on the boat. I can’t stress it enough! Neither can Michael who had to run up the hill to the bank so that we could catch the bus that funnily enough only took the money in Ireland, not the money from England.
Nonetheless, we got to Waterford and then into Tramore. Here, we met Michael’s extended family and were at the camping ground for all of about 10 minutes before popping down to the local for a beer. We were in Ireland after all!

The next day was spent eating Irish breakfast at a local pub and going to the reunion, one of the sole reasons we went on the trip besides the fact that trip equals travelling. The evening was a night of singing, dancing, eating and generally being merry. It was great to see some of Michael’s family that I’ll probably never see again.

On Sunday, we went for a trip to Waterford with Michael’s family to see some of his Nanna’s favourite sites. Probably the most important of these was the house that she was born in. The photo below shows Michael and I standing in front of it here with his Nanna and her best friend from next door. The photo on the right shows how many people arrived on this small laneway at once, surprising most of the neighbours including the family that now lives at the house.

After this, we spent some time walking around Waterford and seeing some of the sights including the clock tower.

After almost walking past this building, we headed inside and found one of the most beautiful churches I’ve seen. We were also lucky enough to hear the pianist practising whilst we were inside.

We then stopped for lunch at an awesome little Irish pub, complete with the “money wall” and a nice little Irish poem. Michael and I enjoyed our first pint bottle, based on the recommendation of the owners of the pub in Tramore that we had eaten breakfast in. We had tried the same beer the night before but in a can. We established that drinking straight from the pint bottle is by far the best option.

After lunch we walked back to the cars to go back to Tramore. We managed to see a couple of cool sights. This bear was one of them. I’m assuming that it’s the colours for the local hurling team. Gorgeous! The photo on the right is an example of a new type of parking. If there’s no parks, park the car on the street. Oh, and make sure you leave the car keys in and the window down. Strange…

Heading back to Tramore, we decided to go and visit the Tin Man (below). Otherwise known as the Metal Man, it is one of the icons of Tramore that Michael’s Nanna has talked about for a long time. It is a large cast-metal figure pointing seawards, set on top of one of three pillars. It was erected in 1823 by Lloyd’s of London to warn seafarers away from dangerous shallow waters. Two more pillars sit on the headland opposite, Brownstown Head. There are many myths and legends surrounding the Metal Man. One such myth is that if a woman could hop barefoot around the base of the Metal Man three times she would be married within the year. Unfortunately (or fortunately), it is now blocked off and we couldn’t get there to try this myth out.

We then popped down to Guillamene swimming cove, where the boys on the trip had headed off a few times to go jumping off the cliff. Yeah that’s right, the weather may have just risen into double figures but Aussies and Yanks are a bit crazy and jumped into the water anyway. Guillamene swimming cove used to be a men only cove, as indicated by the sign below, however we bit the bullet and headed down anyway. I took a look out over the edge and quickly decided not to jump in. It looked absolutely freezing!

Then we visited the fair. Have I ever mentioned how much I love English seaside fairs? Even when it’s freezing and blowing a gale. Even when your partner makes you go on that ride you feel you shouldn’t go on. I made up for that one by beating him in a game of mini golf. We then stopped for some typical seaside fair food – candy floss and slurpies.

That night, we headed back to the pub to watch the football (or soccer if you’re Australian) world cup. I realised that this was the second world cup in a row that I was overseas for. Last time I was in Nepal. Again, the team that I wanted to win didn’t win, but a good night was had nonetheless. We headed home and went to sleep, ready for the trip to Dublin the next day.