Friday, June 17–Drogheda, Ireland

Bru na Boinne; minor disaster; dinner back at the hotel

Westcourt Hotel

Black VW Passat sedan



Today was a mostly good day with a mild disaster towards the end.

I woke up early enough to drive out into the lovely rolling hills of County Meath to go to the Bru Na Boinne Visitors Centre. I was in time to buy a ticket for the 10:45 tour out to Knowth, followed by a ticket on the 1:15 tour to Newgrange with time for a very pleasant lunch in the very nice café in the Centre in between.

I did pretty well on the drive out to Bru Na Boinne, although the narrow, winding country roads are a bit hairy. I often found myself driving a little closer to the left side of the road than I should have been. When we were on the tour bus going out to Knowth and back and to Newgrange and back I learned that the secret is to drive close to if not a little over the center lane and only pull all the way over to the left when someone else is approaching from the other direction.

For most of the day I wished I had a camera mounted on the outside of the car the way Google does for Street View becausle the countryside was lovely and I often went past very pretty and charming houses and cottages.

Although you can spend longer at either place, the official tours take about an hour which actually gives you plenty of time to see what there is to see. The ladies who were my guides at each place were very good and informative, and seemed to love their jobs.

Even though visitors are not allowed to take pictures inside Newgrange, many pictures are available through the official Bru Na Boinne website. Not only is the passage into the center of Newgrange quite low in places, in a couple of places it is very narrow as well. I had to go through sideways and it was a tight squeeze–but there is still more of me around the middle than I'd like despite all the walking I've done over the last five years.

When I left Bru Na Boinne, I had planned on stopping by the old monastic site of Monasterboice which is a bit outside of Drogheda, going to Millmount which is across the river from Drogheda's downtown area, then walking on over to see a couple of the other churches which are up a bit of a hill from the downtown before dinner.

Unfortunately as I was going around a corner or trying to make room for a car coming the other way, I hit a curb and flattened a tire. I got out to look and make sure but wasn't certain but soon after I was pretty sure from the way the car was driving that I needed to find somewhere better to pull over. Also unfortunately I had left the paperwork for the car rental back in my hotel room with my other papers–from now on it'll be in the glove compartment–so I didn't have the phone numbers for Enterprise's roadside assistance. It took making about six calls to different numbers I found online using both my smart phones before I finally got to AA who sent someone to change the tire for me. I still had to wait for over an hour before he got there, though.

It was well past 6 when I finally got back to my hotel room. I still felt a bit too shaken to go out for my usual 45 minute exercise walk, so I decided to just settle for the two hours or so I'd been wandering around Knowth & Newgrange.

I did wander around for a bit looking for somewhere to have dinner and to my surprise there didn't seem to be anywhere within walking distance of the hotel except for the two places I've already been so I decided I'd just have dinner here in the hotel, which was excellent tempura-battered cod, some OK vegetables (my fault–I could have ordered some other side dishes), and some excellent ice cream for dessert.

It's now 11:15 on a Friday night, and I wonder how long the noise from the bar/restaurant downstairs will go on. This is the first night out of all three it's been this loud and noticeable. I think I'll watch a video on my computer before going to bed to try and get some sleep.

I'm spending the next two nights in the town of Trim over in County Meath, It's about a 45 minute drive from here in Drogheda to there direct, but I plan on making a couple of stops along the way.

Before I leave town, I need to pick Dad's cap up from the clothing repair place next door. Then I need to go to the nearest tire place to have the one I punctured today repaired or replaced–at my own cost, of course–so I have a spare before I leave town. I think I'll stop by the Hill of Slane and Slane Castle, famous for hosting major concerts among other things, and either the town of Kells or the hill fort at Navan on the way into Trim. If it takes too long to get the tire fixed or replaced, I'll just go to Kells and Navan on Sunday since I'm spending that night in Trim as well, and both are very close to that town.

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