Monday, July 18–Waterford City, Co Waterford

Driving through Mooncoin and Carrick-on-Suir to the Rock of Cashel; lunch at Granny's Kitchen; iced coffee at Costa Coffee; dinner; hanging out in the hotel's bar & residents' lounge

Dooley's Hotel

Black VW Passat sedan



Today was rather odd in a couple of different ways but turned out to be a pretty good day over all.

I fell asleep shortly after going to bed last night. Before doing so, I had decided I probably wouldn't make the trip over to the Rock of Cashel on the way to Kilkenny today.

I woke up sometime between 3 and 4 AM, however, couldn't get back to sleep and was actually pretty awake as if my body had decided I didn't need to sleep anymore after my nap yesterday morning.

It was while I was looking at my schedule again while killing some time hoping I would be able to doze off again that I realized I almost had misread my own schedule and that I'm not leaving for Kilkenny until tomorrow and so still had today and tonight here in Waterford. That's the first couple of ways today was a bit odd.

I had breakfast downstairs and was having some stomach problems again this morning so I decided I'd just hang out here in my room until I felt better, which I finally did between noon and 1 PM. I paid my discounted parking fee at reception on my way across the street to my car and tossed the token they gave me in the machine to exit the parking lot.

The next way the day was distinctly odd and rather unpleasant is the route the Garmin sat nav sent me on to get between here in Waterford and the Rock of Cashel. It was actually rather pleasant and featured nicely paved, wide, two lane highways between here and the very nice town of Mooncoin (great name) and the also very nice small to medium size city of Carrick-on-Suir which I know from my guidebooks and research while planning this trip has its own attractions and is supposed to be quite well worth the visit on its own.

After that, however, the route became quite horrible and featured what seemed like an hour's worth of poorly paved, bendy, bouncy single lane country roads including a fairly long stretch on gravel–the kind of road that for some reason makes me feel I need to void my bladder a lot more frequently than usual. And part of the route was under repair so there was a detour that was very poorly marked with no sign as to which direction Cashel was after the detour.

I was getting to the point where I was ready to just pull over somewhere relatively safe and try bringing up my hotel here in Waterford on Google Maps on my Irish Android smart phone in the hope that any route it found back here would be better than the roads I had been on when I finally saw a sign informing me Cashel was less than 20 km away.

There were lots of tour buses in Cashel itself so I didn't stop although it seemed like a pretty town and has its own attractions as well. I missed the turn the Garmin kept directing me to take up to the Rock itself but I finally saw a sign pointing the way to the car park below the Rock and just unplugged the Garmin and followed those signs.

The car park is a decent size and there was actually plenty of parking available, much to my surprise. It's at the base of the hill right below the Rock with an amazing view looking up at it, and the road from there up to the Rock although steep wasn't too long and was manageable. On the way up, there was an attractive woman sitting on a bench below the Rock and playing the fiddle.

There's a tour of the Rock in English at half past every hour, and I got there in time to join the tour already in progress about ten minutes into it and just followed along from there. I know I didn't see everything as usual but also as usual what I saw was stunning, beautiful and impressive. The Rock itself is a knob of limestone carved by the glaciers out of the surrounding softer material and sits a couple of hundred feet above the valley farmland directly below and has an amazing 360 degree view on a clear day like today.

I hadn't eaten anything beforehand because I wasn't sure about how my stomach was doing when I finally go to the car park. I felt OK as I was leaving and had an OK late lunch at Granny's Kitchen, a small, nice café right by the car park. I had another very bland sandwich–cheese and tomato, with not particularly memorable cheese, good tomatoes, and apparently no mayonnaise or seasonings but it was as filling as it was bland.

I'd been really hoping that the Google Maps on my Irish Android phone would come up with a better route back here to Waterford than the horrible roads the Garmin sat nav had sent me on to get there, and it did. From the Rock of Cashel to the pretty town of Rosegreen, to the small to medium size city of Clonmel which also has its own reasons to visit, back through Carrick-om-Suir and Mooncoin all the way back to here in Waterford the roads Google Maps had me driving on were well paved, wide, two lane roads with the rare stretches through the city streets.

I got back here to Waterford before 5:30 PM and had the final reason the day was kind of odd. As I mentioned, when I left the parking lot earlier this afternoon I had to toss the token the reception desk in the hotel had given me into the machine at the lot to be able to leave. By the time I got back all that had changed; they were in the process of switching the whole lot to having to pay for parking in advance and then display the receipt on the dash of the car. This caused a great deal of confusion for everyone who had been already parked there while the change was going on as well as those of us who were returning after leaving earlier in the day. A guy I'd seen working in the lot told me it had indeed mostly been completed since I had left. They still hadn't installed the meter/receipt dispenser at the exit/entrance closest to the hotel so he took my 4.50 euros and walked down to the ticket machine at the far end of the parking lot and brought my receipt back for me, answering questions from confused people all the way.

There was one really good result of this change, however. I was able to park in a spot almost directly across from the hotel and right by the exit so all I have to do tomorrow is just leave.

For some reason I keep losing my USB to micro USB cables and was down to two of them, when I actually have three devices that use one to charge while I have plenty of wall adapters to plug the cables into so I wanted to pick up at least one more cable today if I could before most places shut down at 6 PM. While wandering around yesterday I had noticed that Waterford has a branch of Argos, the electronics warehouse sort of place I first went to in Armagh, so I was heading over there when I noticed one of the many cell phone stores was still open and they had the cables so I bought two. It was still too early for me to even think of having dinner since I'd not eaten lunch until 4 PM but I did stop in a Costa Coffee for an iced coffee on the way back to my hotel.

For some reason the wifi connection here in my room which has been excellent while I've been here has been very bad tonight. I can't connect to the Internet on my laptop, my Irish Android smart phone, or my Kindle Fire from here in my room but could on the Kindle Fire and smart phone when I took them down to the lobby, which I'll have to do with my laptop if I want to check my email and send my notes from today to Michael, Tim, Renee and Kelly as usual.

It was quite lovely when I headed out around 8 PM to find somewhere to have dinner. I found a very nice Asian place which is right across the street from the hotel on the side away from the river and had a very nice chicken chow mein and a couple of wonderful pineapple and banana fritters for dessert.

It's almost 11 PM. I'm going to finish these notes up and take my laptop and my Kindle Fire downstairs to the lobby again and see if I can connect to my email on the laptop and watch something on Netflix on my Kindle Fire before coming back up to go to bed. I hope I'll sleep better tonight than I did last night.

I should have a much easier day tomorrow than I did today, especially since apparently there's not a whole lot to see in between here in Waterford and Kilkenny city. The monastic site of Kells in Kilkenny is sort of on the way between here and there, about half an hour from either end, and from what I was able to find out in the brief periods I've been able to connect to wifi here in my room is a site worth detouring to see.

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