Ross Castle isn’t far from Swords, but it was far enough from Dublin Airport that we felt we needed another night close to the airport. So with some recommendations from Jackie, our B&B host, we set off to explore the area around Ross and on our way to Swords.

First up was the Fore Abbey. Unfortunately our app delivered us to a private address. It was a nice house, but we didn’t think they’d invite us in for tea. We continued on and eventually saw a sign pointing us to Fore Abbey, but it was sending us back the way we came. So we continued on.

Then we set off for Loughcrew Cairns. When we arrived in the parking lot, we were at an adventure camp/gardens/old church ruins. We didn’t see the Cairns and weren’t keen on paying the admission fee, so we returned to the car.

Trim Castle

Trim Castle

Next up was Trim Castle. And we’d finally found a castle worth visiting.  A relatively intact castle was surrounded by a wall and moat. Blue sky was scattered with white clouds with dark underbellies for added photographic drama. It’s also where the movie Braveheart was filmed.

Swords Castle

Swords Castle

Unlike the previous day, our arrival in Swords was earlier than anticipated. We’d only had two hiccups finding accommodation with the free TomTom app. Swords was one. Our directions took us to a wall behind the property instead of down the road the hotel was actually on.Strolled to town, stopping at the recently opened Swords Castle. It was built by an archbishop and never used for military purposes.

Admission was free and included archeological digging as they continued to discover new items on the grounds. The chapel has been reconstructed, and a tower kitty corner to it is also open for exploring.

We were caught in some torrential albeit shortlived rain. And thankful we had our umbrellas.

We still had lots of time to kill. We strolled through the big new mall, where a knitting store I’d wanted to visit used to be, but alas is no more.

Then went to the Old Borough Pub. It’s now part of the British Wetherspoon chain. You really can’t beat real ale for €2.50 a pint. But we didn’t want to give them money for food since their cheap prices are bankrupting the real local pubs.

Instead, we ate at the Carnegie Court hotel bar, where a group of women were celebrating something. They were just drinking, no food. They were hammered, loud, and regularly going outside to smoke. Likely as a result of that large group, service was poor, but the food tasty and well presented.

I admit that I finally missed North American tipping customs. They didn’t apologize for ignoring us, not bringing items we’d ordered. And we had no way to reflect that in a tip.

But the worse was yet to come.  We could hear the bass from the nightclub 2 floors below us until 3ish. Then the drunks stumbling down the hall.

The next morning we were able to scarf  down a bowl of granola, yogurt, juice and coffee, left at reception because we needed to leave before breakfast was served.

The front desk had recommended adding 40 minutes to the time needed to make our flight because we had to return the car rental. We were early enough and there were no issues returning the car. But geez Enterprise, please …. STOP SHAKING MY HAND!!!

20150829_100223Dublin airport was uneventful.  But the boarding passes for the Ottawa leg weren’t together, even though they were c and d. And I couldn’t believe how disorganized the boarding was in London. Just shocking for the Brits, who love to queue. In the end, an unaccompanied minor gave up her window seat for me. She was subsequently moved three more times.

Next post: All things Irish

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