If the weather today had been nice, warm & sunny I would have been very tempted to take the coastal route around to Waterford and stopped off to see the seaside towns and harbors of Kinsale, Cobh & Youghal but it was grey & cloudy with the ususal possibility of drizzle or rain later. I enjoyed Blarney and Blarney Castle quite a bit when my tour went there ten years ago, but since I've been there once and know that nothing much has probably changed at either place I decided to skip them as well and just make the hour and a half drive straight across to here in Waterford city directly.
I had breakfast downstairs in the hotel and then asked for some help bringing down my things so I'd only have to make one trip. Peter, the porter who came to help me, actually had one of their luggage hand trucks with him. I was just going to have him leave everything somewhere over by reception and I'd make two trips with it over to my car in the pay garage just down the street but Peter offered to just wheel his cart on over with me, and since I'd actually parked quite close to the pedestrian access on that side of the hotel it worked out really well.
I'd thought I was really lucky when I could park in a spot almost directly in front of the entry from the street but I was obviously having so much trouble trying to back out to where I could get turned around and get in the lane to leave the structure that the guy in the cashier's office came out and directed me to where I could turn around and also actually into the exit as well, which was very nice of him.
There's not really much to say about the drive from Cork to here in Waterford. I didn't drive through or by any mountain scenery, just through valleys through the rolling countryside between there and here. I know that several of the places I saw signs for on the way have sites of their own that are all supposed to be very well worth visiting but I didn't seek any of them out.
The road was on at least a two lane, wide, well paved highway for most of the route except for the usual narrow town streets in a couple of places. The town of Dungarvan set the record for the number of roundabouts I had to drive through just to stay on the same highwayseven in five minutes.
I got to Waterford and found my hotel quite easily using the Garmin sat nav between 1:00 and 1:30. The hotel doesn't have its own parking or even an unloading space out front but sells discounted tickets for the pay lot across the street. That was very frustrating. I found it very difficult that time of day to find an available space and kept having to back out of dead ends in the lot. I eventually found a space about a block away from the hotel down the long, narrow parking lot. I couldn't have left if I had wanted to because you have to put 4 euros into a machine before it will open the exit gate, and I didn't have that much change for once.
Dooley's is an older but still very nice downtown hotel right on the waterfront and has an interesting history and is currently owned and run by three generations of women from the same family.
I of course got here too early and my room wasn't ready for me to check in. I was sitting in the very nice lobby sending a text message to Michael & Tim to let them know I'd arrived when the woman at the reception desk told me the room was now ready.
I'm in room 85, on the second floor. It's quite a nice, spacious room with a nice desk and small table as well as several places to plug things into.
One of the interesting things about the history of the hotel is the system of numbering the rooms. I'm used to places where room 85 would be the fifth room on the 8th floor. Here, however, the rooms are numbered in the order in which the wings they're in were completed. 1-17 are on the first floor; 18-33 are on the second floor; 34-49 are on the third floor; 50-64 are by themselves on the fifth floor; 65-74 are back on the first floor; 75-94 including my room are on the second floor again; and 95-118 are back on the first floor. The guy on the reception desk whom I asked about the numbering system told me he sometimes still has to carry the little chart around with him.
I managed to lug all my stuff over from the parking lot and up into my room in one trip and then I was ready for lunch. I found a very nice seafood place, Sheehan's, a block or two up the street. I came back to my room here at Dooley's, unpacked, and around 4 I went for a walk to get my exercise for the day. It of course started drizzling while I was out and about but I didn't get too wet, which was good since my sweatshirt and my rain jacket were back in my room because I hadn't needed them. I walked from the hotel down to the Waterford distillery, then the other direction past Viking Waterford to the Tower Hotel and then back to my hotel.
I knew there'd be live music of some kind in the bar's bar sometime around 10 PM and so I didn't want to go out for dinner until 8 PM or so, so I just hung out after unpacking. When I left then it had stopped drizzling and although still cloudy was rather pleasant.
I went around the corner from the hotel and up a side street and found La Boheme in the original basement of a building originally built as the headquarters of the local water board (I think). It's a marvelous space, with an experience much like eating in the famous Café in the Crypt in London's St Martin's in the Fields. I had a very good, rather fancy but not too expensive dinner.
I hoped that the parking lot would have emptied out enough for me to find a space a lot closer to the hotel to move my car into, and it had and I did. I got back across the street to the hotel's very pleasant bar shortly before tonight's performer started. He was a younger guy, a good vocalist and an even better guitarist, Ross Kearley who did mostly covers of people like Johnny Cash, Kenny Rogers, and Cat Stevens but did some Irish tunes as well in the hour or so I was there. From the rapport Ross had with the bar staff it was obvious he's a regular and favorite performer there, and he had a great rapport with the patrons as well.
Most of the sites in the area I really want to see are within a short walk of the hotel, and there are a couple of boat tours I think I'll check out as well. I have to be up early enough to drop a load of laundry off downstairs at reception by 8 AM, so good night. I still have plenty of clean clothes but I think I'll get the dirty ones washed when I can since otherwise that might have to wait until I'm in Dublin which isn't until July 24.