Saturday, June 18–Trim

Picked up Dad's cap again; replaced tire; Monasterboice; Slane Castle; Hill of Slane; Kells; dinner at the Stockhouse

Boyne View B&B

Black VW Passat sedan



I was rather shaken up by my hitting the curb badly enough to puncture the tire on Friday, and must admit I kind of felt like I could just give up and go back home, but stayed much more realistic than that.

The answer to my question Friday night about how long the music and noise from downstairs would go on was until about 2 AM, when I finally fell asleep only to wake up about 6:30 or 7:00. I made myself stay in bed until after 8, since I needed to hang around the hotel until the clothing repair place next door opened and I could retrieve Dad's cap.

After shaving, showering, dressing, repacking, and taking a couple of my smaller bags down to the car I went next door to get my cap. They had done a very good job with replacing the lining, and actually used a prettier fabric as well. Now Dad's cap is good for a couple more decades (I've had it since Mom gave it to me a year or two after Dad died, and I don't know how long he had it).

A word about showers and bathrooms before I go on. I think there are several things that are necessary for a great shower in any bathroom–enough comfortably reachable places to put things, enough room to turn around and throughly lather up and rinse in, adequate hot water, and adequate water pressure so you feel like you've actually rinsed off all your shampoo and soap.

The shower in the bathroom at my hotel in Drogheda had adequate hot water and water pressure but was almost too small to turn around in and really didn't have comfortable places to put my shampoo and other stuff. The shower in my room here in the B&B has lots of room, plenty of comfortable places to put things, plenty of hot water, but barely adequate water pressure to effectively rinse off–what makes it adequate is it's a hand-held shower so letting you get the shower head close enough to make up for the low pressure.

After I picked up my cap yesterday morning, I checked out and had someone bring my heavier bag down to my car.

I still felt a bit uneasy about driving, but traffic around the hotel and over to the tire place was so slight that I was able to decide that what I need to do is :keep the center line visible right in the lower right corner of the windshield and that would ensure the left side of the car is far enough away from any curbs or whatever is on that side to be safe, and when driving on narrower, theoretically two lane roads in rural areas drive a little further over to the right until another vehicle approaches, slow down, and move a bit further over to the left only until the other vehicles had passed.

Friday night I had found one tire place when looking online but couldn't find it again yesterday morning, I found another one, which might even have been the place recommended by the Automobile Assistance guy who came to change tires for me. I think he had said McManus tires, but I'm not sure. The place is a bit outside of downtown, in a sort of industrial area, and seems to be in a warehouse–you drive or walk into a huge covered area and don't see an office but within minutes someone who works there comes to ask if they can help you. I had parked outside until I could find the office, so I pulled the car in after I'd talked to someone. They had two types of tires that fit, one that was about 60 euros and one that was 100. They took credit cards, so I had them put the more expensive one on since a) having to replace it was my own fault, and b) I'm still going to be driving the car for a long time.

One amusing thing about the tire place is that either several dogs live there or their owners bring them to work, and they were friendly as well. Not only were the dogs and human employees friendly but one of the other customers there talked with me for a bit. He mentioned that although there are several other tire places in Drogheda, McManus was the only place he and his father used and they'd been going there for a long time.

I left the tire place around 11. I felt comfortable enough driving the car to head on over to the nearby old monastic site of Monasterboice which is a short distance outside Drogheda. Once again the Garmin GPS I got with the car couldn't find the place but Google Maps on my Irish smart phone did. I really prefer being able to see a visual depiction while I'm driving but Google Maps gives repeated directions far enough in advance to make it comfortable to use.

Monasterboice is small but lovely with some ruins of the old monastic buldings and has a cemetery that is either still in use or was until recently. Many of the gravestones are newer looking and many had flowers.

I wanted to stop by Slane Castle and the Hill of Slane on my way here to Trim. This involved a lot more driving on narrow country roads–and I felt fine and confident. If I keep doing what I said I should do a few paragraphs ago, I'll be more than OK and perfectly able to keep driving around the country until August 1st.

Although the Garmin GPS didn't list the Hill of Slane, it did list the town which turned out to tbe the Castle. I eventually found the Castle but it was closed. I had seen the signs for the Hill of Slane while looking for the Castle, and backtracked a bit until I saw the signs for the Hill again and got there.

The Hill of Slane is a lovely place, and has the remains of a small monastic site and a still used graveyard which also had newer looking gravestones and lots of flowers. It really is a lovely place with excellent views all around and it's obvious why people have believed it's special for a long time before St Patrick and even the Druids.

I didn't stop to wander around the town of Slane itself, although what I could see of it while driving around was very pretty, attractive and charming with several appealing pubs.

While I was talking with the other customer in the tire place I had asked him what I should stop and see between there and Trim. I had mentioned I was thinking about stopping by either the town of Navan or Kells. He wasn't particularly impressed about Navan, so I thought I'd skip it and only go to Kells on the way which is what I did.

Kells is a lovely small town, again with several appealing looking pubs and restaurants although I didn't stop in any of them. I had been looking for a place to park and eventually found the municipal parking lot at the top of the hill above the old monastic site and St Colmcille's house. Across the street from the lot is a small shopping center with a pharmacy, grocery store, and a small branch of the same bakery I'd stopped in back in Drogheda. By this time I was definitely ready for lunch, since I'd only had one of my Slimfasts for breakfast before leaving my hotel in Drogheda, so I had a quiche and side salad at the bakery and picked up some pastries for later.

I walked down the hill to the old monastery and St Columba's church and wandered around a bit and it was another lovely old site with ruins and a mix of very old and new gravestones, many of which also had flowers. I was very amused that while I was wandering around the old monastery and grounds of St Columba's church I could hear people working out in the gym just on the other side of the old monastery wall.

I walked around town for a bit, taking pictures of some of the more lovely or interesting buildings before going back up the hill to the parking lot and my car.

The Garmin once again failed me, or I still can't quite figure out how to use it. You might have to first tell it in what region or area to look, even specifying which town is nearest, then look for whatever place your destination is. With Google Maps, on the other hand, all I have to do is search for a place by name, such as Boyne View Bed & Breakfast. If there is more than one place with the same or similar name, Google Maps will provide details so you can select the right one. That's how I got here.

Going from Kells to here involved lots more driving on narrow country roads, and I felt fine doing so. I of course had absolutely no idea where I was but Google Maps said I was on the shortest, fastest route and as always gave directions far enough in advance to be comfortable using. (I just checked–about 40 minutes from there to here.)

The Boyne View B&B is on a farm which feels like it's way the hell out in the country but is only about 15 minutes from being in Trim itself. The buildings are a lovely and caring job of adding to or renovating the original old farm house and buildings such as stables, barns and sheds. They offer lodgings in the renovated farm house and have long term lodging in independent cottages.

It really is a lovely place, with a charming mix of old and new rooms. The room I'm staying in, up on the first floor, is apparently called Granny's room. When you drive around back to the side closest to the river, which is where the designated front and main door is, you see a lovely new glassed in room which is where breakfast is served. Wifi is a bit spotty, especially in my room since that part of the house has thick walls, so at the moment I'm using my computer at a small table on the 1st floor landing right next to the newer lovely tiled hallway with lots of windows facing the side away from the river.

The people here have been very welcoming and friendly as well. Today I met an older gentleman (OK, not that much older than I am) who might be Anthony, one of the owners, but I didn't get his name. I also met Claudia, a younger woman on staff who showed me to my room and apparently easily hauled my bags upstairs for me (I can take them down OK but I do have trouble hauling them upstairs due to my knee problems and poor balance). I also met Deirdre, the other owner. All of them have been quite charming and pleasant.

I asked Claudia about where I should go for dinner and she recommended a place called the Stockhouse back in town. I had also seen posters advertising Trim's Haymaking Festival, which is tomorrow, while driving here to the B&B, so I asked Claudia about that as well.

I didn't unpack anything then, but stretched out for a bit instead. I don't think I fell asleep but it felt good to give my knees a break. It was grey and cloudy yesterday, sweatshirt weather, but pleasant so before I went into town for dinner I just went for a walk along the road up to the old bridge which is about 20 minutes away. I had already had to replace the camera battery earlier today, and since the replacement battery also died while I was out walking, I came back up to my room and plugged the camera in to recharge the battery currently in it.

The Garmin actually was able to find the Stockhouse restaurant in Trim, so I used that to get into town. I didn't find any parking available on the street but went around the corner until I found a municipal lot. I was wondering how far away I was from the restaurant and how I'd find it again when I noticed that the building behind where I was standing had a sign for it. And the building right next to the restaurant also housed a pharmacy and a camera store, which is very handy since there are a couple of things I need to pick up at the pharmacy and if the camera store sells the battery I need for my camera and an Irish charger for it, I think I'll pick up another one. I have a third battery and US charger at home, but I seem to have left the small bag with it back home. That way I'll have a charged battery in the camera, a spare charged battery on me, and one in a charger back in my room.

The Stockhouse is a rather busy place and seems to have a large amount of regular customers who were there last night. I mentioned the place had been recommended by the people at the B&B to the hostess, who originally told me it would be an hour wait for a table inside. I tried the only available table outdoors but it wasn't enough under cover and it had started to drizzle a bit so I went back inside. I was telling one of the staff I'd wait inside when the hostess came to tell me they'd have an inside table for me very soon. I had a lovely dinner, with a local lager, their seafood surprise which I've usually heard called fisherman's pie (shepherd'd pie with seafood instead of lamb), and an Eton mess, which is a delicious combination of strawberries, meringue, and ice cream.

After unpacking and getting things sorted out, I stretched out on the bed. I was able to connect to the B&B's wifi in my room and checked out the program for thes haymaking festival, which looks pretty good. I read a bit and that was it although I did wake up enough long enough to get undressed and under the covers.

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