Sunday July 6
I had promised everyone we would loaf this day, and the kids could sleep as late as they wanted, Colin slept quite late, and Emily woke early but read late. I took Colin out for a walk about town, to a nearby park with a play area (and lots of caravans/campers filling it up for a bluegrass festival that was taking place this weekend). We found a butterfly house which Colin was eager to visit, but saved it for later when we would all go, and we walked along the waterfront looking at boats. There is considerable tidal change in the Conwy river estuary - it was low in morning, so we could walk on some parts that would be underwater later. Colin was quite taken with the Gray Lady, one of the larger boats, resting high on the beach (and perhaps no longer seaworthy). The rest of the day we read the paper, browsed all 5 channels on TV, and Colin watched one of several videos in the house and played with the box of toys there (they were for younger kids, but he didnt care). We prepared our own dinner for first time in too long - simple pasta with sauce, but good.
Monday July 7
In the morning we wandered around Conwy, visited the Butterfly House (similar to the one we had gone to at Turtle Bay in Redding, Calif., but with some fancier butterflies, and very hot and humid). Walking outside the castle walls, Colin found an old hand-operated crane to play with. In the afternoon we drove over to the nearby town of Colwyn Bay to try to locate an Internet Cafe and laundry that looked to be near each other - there were none of either in Conwy. We found the launderette, but the Cafe was closed Mondays. We settled for doing our laundry, and Rich had a nice chat with owner while I took Colin down the street to shop for towels, and Emily read the latest Harry Potter. Then we found our way with some difficulty down to a long, clean beach, the Promenade, and took the waterfront road back towards Conwy. We stopped to get Colin a pail and bucket, since I had promised he could have one if we got to a nice beach, and he was happy playing in the sand and collecting shells. We all speculated about the makers of thousands of poop-like sand extrusions- clams, perhaps? The ocean was very mild here on the sheltered Irish Sea, and it was odd to be on the beach with a wind blowing and not be cold as we would be on a PNW beach.
We drove on along the promenade to Great Orme, a huge limestone mound projecting from the coast, and after a long hike downhill from the parking lot, we rode an old tram up to the top. The view was great, and there was a very nice playground for Colin and Emily too. The visitor center was very interesting, too, with lots of information about the area. But it was very windy - the warm sea breeze turned quite chilly, and I wished we had brought jackets. It ws only a 600 elevation, but that made a big difference in the comfort level! We took the second to the last tram down, then drove back to Conwy, with no time for anything else that evening.
Tuesday, July 8
We decided rather late in the morning which of several possible day trips to take; we really should have made the decision sooner, because we went driving through winding mountain roads to Llangollen, for the first day of their big international Eistefodd (Music Festival). We stopped at a glass blowers on way, Glassblobbery, and I got my first personal purchase of the trip, a glass unicorn to add to my collection. Emily got a small glass heart, and Colin got a wooden egg cup with his name engraved on it. (Egg cups are standard kitchen dishes here, and for sale everywhere).
At the festival, we arrived in time to attend the childrens matinee. The performances included a Welsh schoolchildrens choir; two very good university choirs from Perth, Australia, a mens and a womens; and Romanian and Brittany dancing and music. There were also many crafts booths, and of course food for sale. We wandered around a bit, watching people in various ethnic costume also wandering around (the performers and contestants), then we managed to lose Rich, and didnt get back together again for the better part of an hour. After that we went down the street to a Dr. Who exhibit that all of us had wanted to see, but alas, it had closed early due to the festival, and more specifically, a parade later in the day that would close the access road to the exhibit. There was also a functioning toy factory in this group of exhibits, which we wanted to visit for Colin, but it was closed too. We ran into the manager, though, and on hearing our plight he very kindly gave us a personal tour of the machines and scale-model railroad cars they made. The machines were not running, but it was still quite interesting, and nice of him to do it.
After all this we drove off in search of a raised canal aqueduct Rich wanted to photograph. We drove around in circles for an hour, trying to follow directions that didnt work, and finally stopped by the canal itself and watched canal boats much like that we were scheduled for in Ireland. We finally found the aqueduct nearby, as well as an even more picturesque car aqueduct, so Rich got his photos. Then we circled back to a pub with very good rates and got a good but cheap (!) dinner, and headed back to Conwy rather late, by the highway, not the mountain road!
Wednesday July 9
Emily did not want another busy day, so we hung around Conwy. It was sunny and warm most of the day. We went to tour Conwy Castle, and as we arrived a guided tour was just starting, so we took it. We were very lucky - there was only one other couple on the tour, so it was almost a private tour; the next tour was all schoolchildren! The castle is very big and impressive, and the tour guide told us lots of interesting history and bits of trivia. The castle was built by Edward the 2nd or 3rd (cant remember which - cant remember exactly which century, either, but it was probably the 1400s or so - I dont have my Wales material with me any more, so cant look it up), when the English were fighting to take over Wales, and was one of a string of defensive castles built around the coast. It was actually built in two parts, an inner fortress within the outer part which was especially for the English king, and could be defended on its own even if the outer fortress fell. I believe the king only used it twice, however. Unfortunately the battery on the camera died, so we didnt get as many pictures as we would have liked.
Then Rich went over to the Internet Cafe in Colwyn Bay, we stayed home - Colin napped, Emily & I read and dozed, and Emily worked on assembling a bubble machine kit we had purchased in Salisbury, which was almost together. After Rich returned, he and I toured the other site on our Castle ticket, Plas Mawr, a large Elizabethan townhouse which was recently extensively restored at great expense. It was very interesting, especially without the kids along to rush us! We actually got to listen to most of the recorded commentary. There was extensive decorative plasterwork, especially over the fireplaces, white painted and plastered walls much as the castle would have had (it was originally gleaming white, not dark stone as it is now), and period furniture in some rooms.
After dinner we all walked around by the waterfront again, and got expensive desserts in the best hotel in Conwy. We attempted to help the baby seagull by putting it up on a 5 stone wall against the building its parents were on, but the parents still would not come down to it.
Thursday, July 10
The seagull baby was still on the wall. We decided the only way the parents would feed it was if it were back on the roof with them, so Rich climbed up on the rock wall and heaved the baby (using oven mitts so as not to get pecked) up to a corner where two roofs joined, which was choked with vegetation, giving it a bit of a nest so it wouldnt fall back down. Success! By evening it was wandering around the rooftops,and presumably being fed. Our good deed for the week.
The weather was cloudy and tending to mist, with a storm front predicted to be coming in from the west, so it wouldnt be a good day to go to the mountains. Instead we headed to the west coast (about 30 miles away). Our first stop was the Isle of Anglesey. There is a lot to do there, and we could have spent the whole day, but our intention was merely to go to one of the ubiquitous farm parks which are all over the UK - farms which are set up to have some combination of petting zoos, animal feeding, train or haywagon rides, playgrounds, refreshments, and sometimes actual farm activities. Colin had seen flyers for them and was dying to ride a tractor, so we had promised him a stop at one. This one also had a chocolate shop for Emily- she had hoped to see the chocolate made, but the lady who made chocolates wasnt in that day. Of course, we all enjoyed the chocolates we bought!
Before we got the Ffoel Farm, we stopped in a town with an incredibly long name [LLANFAIRPWLLGWYNGYLLGOGERYCHWYRNDROBWLLLLANTYSILIOGOGOGOCH..really!] (all but the first 5 syllables - still a mouthful - were added to make it a tourist attraction) to wait for the visitor info. center to open. There was a large department store there and, figuring I really should have a Welsh tea towel for a souvenir, I found one that I actually liked. (Most have the Welsh colors of red, green and white, a combination I am not fond of, but this was soft images of wildflowers and some of the famous sights.
Realizing we were a bit early for the farm, we stopped on the almost-deserted rocky coast to walk and admire the views for a bit. Then at the Farm, Colin and Rich went into attractions for an hour while Emily and I took a walk, and read in the car.
Then we backtracked to the mainland and headed south to Portmeirion (The Village of Prisoner fame), our main destination for the afternoon. The weather was cloudy, but not yet wet. We couldnt see the mountains of Snowdonia at all, but the coast views were lovely as we drove, and we could see back across to the Isle of Anglesley. At Portmeirion, it very windy and getting colder - we gulped a fast lunch at the edge of the huge parking lot, then went in, where it was much more sheltered. We had a lovely time exploring all of this unique and charming town, really a huge garden folly, full of mini-follies. It was built as a planned resort town, and is chock full of amazing architecture and interesting pathways, as well as having a beach and a forest. There is a hotel and all the cottages can be rented out to stay in ($$$) - we would all love to do that some day. It never did rain, so the weather was merely overcast and cool, good for taking photos. We wandered in the woods a bit and found a playground for Colin to play on (it had a rope-climbing ramp which he loved). I slipped on a stone step-bridge and bruised my hip, which would hurt a lot later but didnt bother me too much now. There were some very old trees in the forest, some planted as early as 1835, including one huge Western Red Cedar much like the Octopus Tree on the Oregon coast, with multiple branches curving down to the ground then back up again to make more trees. There was much more forest available to explore, but with limited time we concentrated mostly on the town. As we left I purchased one nice little piece of Portmeirion pottery at the seconds shop, a bowl I will use for ice cream, though it was labeled a fruit bowl.
Friday, July 11
Laundry and another stop at the internet cafe took up the morning. After lunch I took Emily to an art academy just around the corner, the Cambrian Academy, I believe, which had an art show going, with free admission. There were some lovely pieces, mostly of the Welsh countryside and people, and if buying art and shipping it home was in our budget there were a couple I would have considered.
We spent the rest of the day at Bodnant Garden, which I was determined to visit before we left. This is one of the major gardens of Wales, a huge estate garden set on a steeply-sloping site with some fine views across the mountains, and a small river, complete with waterfall, at the bottom of the garden. There is a huge manor-house on the site; I dont know if it is still being used at all. The gardens were large and lovely, with some beautiful borders, massive old trees, many formal lily ponds, and wilder areas, as well as lots of lawns for the kids to run on. It was a nice day, too, cloudy but not cold or rainy, good for taking photos.
Saturday July 12 to Tuesday July 15
staying at Jasmine Lodge
Saturday morning it was time to pack up again. It was nice to stay in one place for a whole week - well be doing more of that as our trip progresses. The weather was lovely, so we decided to pay a brief visit to the Snowdonia mountains before leaving north Wales. We took the same route through the western edge of the park that we had taken to go to Llangollen, and stopped at Betws-y-coed, about half way. None of the little railroads that run up into the mountains (including one to the peak of Mt. Snowdon, about 3,000 ft. high I believe) were available, as they run from the coast, but we found a hiking trail from the town that went to a nearby lake, and didnt sound two difficult (about 2k long). We packed up our lunches and set off - straight up, it seemed. The first half of the trail was very steep, and we were very out of shape for such stuff. But we finally reached level areas, then a lovely lake surrounded by hills (though rather noisy with a breeding colony of seagulls). We ate our lunch, then walked the path around the lake, with some fine views of three of the taller peaks (though not Mt. Snowdon itself). The peaks are not high by our Pacficic NW standards, but the Welsh make much of them, as they are the highest around (only surpassed by some in Scotland), and it certainly is pretty country. If we had been able to go higher and deeper in we would have seen more rugged areas, too.
Then we had a long drive out of the mountains (the kids slept) and into England to Cressage, near Shrewsbury, to stay in Jasmine Lodge for four days. It is a small two-bedroom cottage at the lower end of the garden of Jasmine Cottage, a thatch-roofed 15th century (I believe) house of some historical interest. We arrived fairly late, and it was quite hot - it had been much cooler in Wales, but England was in the midst of a very hot spell. We were welcomed by our hostess, Kate. We drove a few miles to the nearby town of Much Wenlock for a so-so dinner in a pub, and groceries for the next few days, and settled in. Laundry was interesting here - we hand-washed it in the tub, then used a nice little spin-dry appliance, and hung it out to dry - much better than having to hand-wring it, and the weather was plenty hot to dry it quickly.
It cooled off at night, and Sunday we went to Wroxeter Roman City, very nearby, which is the ruins of part of the ancient Roman city of Viriconium. As it happened this weekend they were having a special reenactment day, with Roman soldiers, a mock surgery (very gruesome), childrens activities, a falconry demonstration, etc. It was uncrowded and low-key, a nice way to see the ruins with some added interest. The ruins were quite interesting, especially one wall maybe 20 tall, that was amazingly still standing after all this time. Part of the ruins were baths, though much less extensive than those in Bath.
We left by early afternoon when it was getting seriously hot again. In the afternoon, the kids got to play with Kates 11-year old son Timothy, which they both enjoyed. Colin kept asking to play with him again, but unfortunately he was tied up in the evenings with rehearsals for a school play (they were in their last week of school) dramatizing the Battle of Shrewsbury, and unavailable. (As it happened, he had been in Conwy with a school group at the same time we were - perhaps we even saw him!) Rich worked on establishing an Internet connection over the phone line, and finally did succeed, our last time to get online, as it turned out, for some time.
The next two days we spent at Ironbridge Gorge, our reason for coming to this area. This is called the Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, because serious iron-molding started there, and the first iron bridge was built there. There are a whole series of museums and exhibits, both on the various aspects of ironworking history there, and the people who lived there, as well as fine china that was produced there. Enginuity was a hands-on Exploratorium-like place which was the kids favorite, and there was a re-created Victorian village, complete with people in costume, performing all sorts of period crafts. The whole place was well worth visiting, very entertaining and educational. We got a pass for all the museums, a good value, and saw almost all of them (the tile museum, which I would have liked to see, was closed for renovation).
In between I took some nice morning and evening walks along Wood Lane from our cottage, up to a high point where the omnipresent roadside hedges cleared away and there was an expansive view across the pretty Shropshire countryside, dominated by the Wrekin, a nearby tall hill.
Wednesday July 16
We set off early for Cardiff, and stopped at Stokesay Castle, a very unusual hybrid castle/Tudor house, that has been wonderfully cared for and conserved over the years, and was very interesting to learn about (though of course the kids ran right by most of the really interesting stuff, and didnt listen to the taped commentary which told about the people who lived there at various times).
We had hoped to get into Cardiff early enough to see the Castle, but were not able to get a map before entering the very complicated downtown, and by the time we found our hotel, returned the rental car, settled in, and walked over to the Castle, we were about 5 minutes too late for their last entry time. (We were lucky to get lodging at all - Cardiff was very busy with graduations and a Jehovahs Witnesses convention, but we got a modestly-priced room at a Travelodge, only a couple of blocks from the train station, which was just fine). Next to the castle, however, was a very large park, and we walked there, enjoying animal sculptures climbing over the walls, the faint ruins of an abbey, nice views of the outside of Cardiff Castle, and a surprise perennial border which was very pretty.
Thursday July 17-Friday July 18
We loaded on our backpacks and headed for the train station for the 2 1/2 hour train trip to Fishguard Harbor, where we would catch the ferry to Ireland. The trip was pleasant, across pretty countryside, occasionally close enough to the coast to watch the ocean sights instead of hills and towns. The connection to the ferry was easy, in the same station. We bought a minimal lunch in the station and boarded the ferry, which was a huge boat of 10 decks of more (the bottom several for vehicles). When I first saw it out the window of the station I didnt think it was a boat but a building, it was so big. It had plenty of amenities, including a children's soft play area, lots of video games (which Colin enjoys just sitting and pretending at, even though we dont put in any money), restaurants, shops, a TV lounge (also a video going in the childrens area), and probably other stuff Ive forgotten. We went on the top deck to watch the slow departure from Fishguard Harbor, watching the rocky coast slip by until there was nothing left but a lone lighthouse at the end of the land. After that it was open sea until we came in sight of Ireland - the only bit of land we saw was a very small island, just big enough to hold the lighthouse perched on it. Colin spent a long time playing with other kids in the play area, something he has had little opportunity to do on this trip, until there were some tears and he was all hot and sweaty. Then we sat and watched Shrek on the video for awhile.
Despite the size of the ferry, the slight rocking and the somewhat close air had us some of us feeling a bit woozy after nearly 3 hours, so as we approached Rosslare in Ireland we went up on deck again, where the children had great fun leaning into the considerable wind, and we all felt refreshed. Rosslare is at the southeast tip of Ireland, and just beyond the peninsula was a larage wind farm, which I understand is up-and-coming technology in the windy parts of the UK.
After the ferry docked we disembarked and immediately caught another train, this a 40-min. trip to Wexford, where we were scheduled to spend the night at a hostel. Unfortunately I got my wires crossed again, and thought we needed to catch a bus on to New Ross, though we actually werent supposed to go there for two days. So we arrived in New Ross at 8pm, found no sign of the hostel, and finally realized what had happened. It would have cost too much to go back to Wexford, and then on to New Ross again, so we cancelled the hostel (the proprieter was very nice to let us do that with no notice at all), and started to look for a B&B. Things were not looking promising, when we passed the (closed) visitor information center, and saw someone leaving it. I ran across and explained our situation, and he was tremendously helpful, took us back inside and succeeded in finding us a room for the night. What we hadnt known was that this upcoming weekend was the big JFK festival in town - John F. Kennedy had family connections there, which are much celebrated locally - and most rooms were already booked up. We were doubly lucky!
The B&B was about the nicest place we had stayed so far, with, *gasp*, [almost] modern plumbing even! Unfortunately it was booked the next night, but we were able to find another B&B with a family room about a mile out of town (we took a cab with all our luggage). So we stayed in town through Friday night, got our laundry done, did a little shopping, took naps in the afternoon, and enjoyed a bit of music in the evening as the festival really got underway (the music was followed by lots of drinking, apparently - the Garda (police) were out in force and there were barriers everywhere before the drinking started, even though in the early evening, at least, there were plenty of families attending. We left fairly early and slogged back to our B&B through quite a bit of rain, so we got to test our raincoats (Rich needs a better one, but the others are adequate).
Saturday July 19 through Friday July 25
By late morning we were ready to leave, and after waiting more than an hour, while the kids played with the cute ball-chasing dog at the B&B, we got a taxi to Graiguenamanagh (Graig), where Valley Boats is located (actually in Tinnahinch, just across the river). Valley Boats rents out narrowboats to people who want to travel the River Barrow. These are compact, narrow, low-riding boats with berths for from 2 to 7 people, kitchens, bathrooms, etc. The An Bradan would be our home for the next week. We left our luggage in the office, then went into town until 2pm when our boat would be ready, to wander around and get lunch and groceries. We looked through a cemetery at a nearby abbey, which had exceptionally nice carved Celtic crosses, but most of the interesting places were closed on the weekend. There was, however, a bargain book sale going on by the waterfront, and we each found something to read, expecting that we would have plenty of time for that during our leisurely cruise.
By evening we had been instructed in the use of the boat by Arnie, the owner, (and his delightful dog, Noel, a medium-sized terrier mix of exceptionally nice appearance and personality), had dinner, and gone through our first lock for practice. Then we tied up for the night just beyond the lock and prepared to sleep on our very narrow beds - only to shortly hear someone calling from the outside. It was a resident of the nearby lock-keepers cottage, inviting us in for a glass of wine. We left the children sleeping and gladly took him up on it, and spent a very pleasant evening chatting with Fergus and Evelyn from Dublin while four children (two theirs, two the children of French neighbors) toasted marshmallows. They use the lock-keepers cottage as a vacation cottage - it was bought by Evelyns aunt in the early 60s, and has been only minimally updated.
The River Barrow winds its way through southeast Ireland from the coast to a few miles south of Dublin, where it joins the Grand Canal. From a little south of Graiguenamanagh to that join it is navigable by small boats. The river has locks every few miles to raise the boats up around the rapids. At one time horse-drawn barges were a major method of transport along the river, so the entire length has a fine tow-path alongside the canal, which is much used by locals and visitors for walks, treks, dog-walking, fishing access, and even travel to Dublin if one wants to walk so far.
Each lock has two pair of lock doors, each door has two flow control gates known as racks, since this is their method of raising, to let the water through, all hand-operated. If youre lucky, the last boat through will have been going in the opposite direction and the right doors will be open for you to sail through. If not,you need to empty or fill the lock first. There is a long process to go through (going up, with an empty lock). The boat pulls over to let one person out (usually me, Signe), and that person makes sure the top doors are closed and the racks are down, then opens the bottom lock doors. The boat maneuvers into the lock, which has very low water at this point, and those on board toss up ropes to the top person for it to be moored closely to the side. Then the top person closes the lower doors, and gradually opens the racks in the top doors in a set sequence to let water into the lock. When the lock is full and the level equalized, the top doors are opened and the boat motors out. Both the doors and the racks can be very heavy and hard to operate, and the whole process involves walking around the lock several times to to cross over whichever pair of doors is shut. Sometimes someone on the boat can come up to help with some of it, and sometimes there is a lock keeper, or another boater, to help. Sometimes you do it all yourself. The water level near the locks is controled by weirs (spillways) placed across the river to set the level.There were 15 locks on the stretch of river we sailed (15 up and 15 down). [we had some hairy times when we went through the sequence out of order.]
Monday we went through 8 locks!
But Sunday we took it much easier. We went a lock or two up the river, and pulled in by a picturesque 3-arch bridge for the evening. Knowing that there was a town nearby, and having some general instructions from a lock-keeper (only we couldnt understand his accent well enough to be sure of all of them), we set off on one of the two paths from the bridge, hoping to reach Borris, a nearby town. We started through an old Oak wood, a very rare thing in Ireland, and preserved because it was on the estate of the MacMurrough Kavanaugh family, one of the few such estates to still be in the hands of an Irish family, instead of having been taken over by the English. The path got narrower and more overgrown, until we wondered whether it was really going to lead anywhere. It was muddy as well, since there had been quite a bit of rain recently. Emily complained about the flies, the mud, and the plants and refused to enjoy the adventure at all. But finally we reached a high open pasture, and soon thereafter began to see signs of farming, including a young Christmas tree farm. Then we spotted a huge mansion in the distance. Taking the most likely-looking of several tracks, we began seeing more buildings, but it looked like we were going right into the estate, and we werent sure we should. Then we noticed people behind us, hurrying to catch up. Hoping to ask if we were going the right way, we waited, and it turned out they were wanting to ask us the same thing - they were a couple from California, canoeing along the river, and were also heading for Borris! Small world indeed. We proceeded into the estate, and asked a person holding a baby if we would get to Borris that way, and he said yes, not seeming to mind that we were going through. The estate is huge, dominated by a large, chimney-ridden stone mansion, and with dozens of outbuildings. Apparently the present owner is a simple farmer, and is having great difficulty keeping the estate up - he could make millions selling it to a developer, but wants to keep it in the family. I hope he finds a solution - it is a wonderful place. One of the former owners was quite interesting; born with vistigal arms and legs, he still learned to ride and shoot, and became a member of Parliament. One the estate was a large stone planter being torn apart by the roots of the huge tree within it; apparently he had it built in order to mount his horse from it.
Anyway, in time we reached a pair of large gates, and going through the small door set in them, found ourselves right on the main street of Borris, a very small, but nice, town. We picked up a few groceries, and asked if there was a better way back to our boat. Sure enough, there was, and if we had taken the second of the two tracks from the bridge, that would have been it - but then we would have missed that wonderful estate, as it never would have occurred to us to go in through the front gate!
Events along the river: A swan came floating right up to the boat begging for food. It would have stuck its head right in the kitchen window if the boat was riding any lower in the water! We also saw a number of swan couples with cygnets in various sizes, and one swan couple had a goose swimming with them. Blue herons were even more numerous tha the swans.
At one lock an elderly British gentleman was painting a lovely watercolor of the scene. He was retired after some 30 years as a Kew Gardens botanist, and had traveled all over the world on botanic expeditions. Now he gives talks about plants on cruise ships, so he can continue to travel, and paints, and visits his son in Dublin. I wish I had been able to talk to him longer!
Our furthest north port of call was Carlow town, the county seat. It is a large enough city to have lots of shops, so we spent part of the day shopping. Rich found a good rain jacket to replace his leaky one (which prove useful on Thursday, when it rained much of the day and he had to stand out in it steering the boat), and Emily found a pair of pants and a t-shirt (we had trouble finding her adequate travel clothing in and around Corvallis, especially since the two local department stores closed), and Colin got a pair of pants, too.
At one point we passed a Lime plant, and wandered around the outskirts a bit so Colin could see some of it. It was dusty, but we got some glimpses of the work inside. We also passed construction or dredging equipment several times, much to Colins delight.
We picked a nice bouquet of wildflowers as we stopped at locks on our way back downstream: Impatiens balsamifera, lovely blue Chicory, which I hadnt seen anywhere else before in the UK, and several not mentioned in my guide to British flora and fauna.
By and large the trip was as pleasant and relaxing as we had hoped. The scenery was pretty and unspoiled, with occasional cows, sheep, horses (all Thoroughbreds), mansions, ruins, hills, etc. to provide interest. The locks were more work than we had expected, and there were a lot of them, so by the time we got back to Graig we were pretty tired. We spent most of Friday getting our laundry done and wandering around the town. One place of interest that had been closed the previous Sunday was a woolen mill, so this time we visited the shop, and the prices were so good I ended up getting a beautiful soft blue-and-green plaid blanket, and Emily a scarf, which we had shipped directly back home for us.
In the evening we took a cab back to Rosslare harbour, and boarded the ferry for the beginning of our 16-hour trip to Edinburgh.