Saturday, May 29, 2010

Slán agat (Goodbye) Ireland

Hi Fans.

As most of you long suffering subscribers will no doubt realise it's been 9 long months since my last update, therefore the time has come to hit you with "both blogging barrels" as Mike Elliott would say.
It's as good a time as any for an update, as my overseas working days have come to an end. I recently quit my job in Ireland, and Sarah and I are heading home to Australia in mid July after a months well earned holiday in Europe. I am returning to my previous ATC job in Melbourne early August, where I hope to make enough money over time to pay off our little jolly around Central and Eastern Europe.

It's been a busy last 9 months in Ireland though so I thought I'd break it down into monthly installments. Mostly to make it easier for me, but also so you, the loyal reader, can enjoy it over several sittings and not miss any of the highlights! So without further ado......

AUGUST 09 - CORK and around.
The home county of Cork CITY, Michael Collins, and '3 bony fingered peninsulas jutting out into the Atlantic' - Lonely Planet (LP).

We went down for a quick 3 day visit to check out Irelands second biggest city (I think) and one that is staunchly Irish and proud of both its patriotic past and cultural present.

Michael Collins statue (n.b. click on images to enlarge)

We spent half a day at Blarney castle just out of the city where we kissed the Blarney stone. It is reputed to bestow the gift of the gab on anyone who kisses it. I kissed it when I was here in 2004 and asked the lady what happens if you already had the gift. She replied "to be sure it could do with a bit of recharging anyway!"

Blarney Castle
The next day we spent in town, sorry in the CITY, having a look at the main sites. The old Gaol was interesting. Same old stories of regular people trying to feed themselves by stealing a loaf of bread, being thrown in the slammer in atrocious conditions, then maybe being shipped off 'Down Under' or America etc. The 'Four Faced Liar', a church steeple with clocks on each of it's four sides which showed diferent times on each side was interesting. You can play the church bells on the second floor with a series of numbered strings attached to the bells. They have sheet music for all sorts of musical treats, including the one I chose - Meatloafs classic 'Bat out of Hell'.

We had a good night out at a funky pub, then the next day we headed home after a visit to the English Market, a big market in the centre of town which is probably the best one we have seen in Ireland, and we've been to a few.

SEPTEMBER 09 - Australia, New Zealand + Hong Kong
It had been over a year since Sarah and I had been home so we decided on a bit of a whirlwind trip back to our homelands with a stop over in Hong Kong on the way back to break up the flights. First was 6 days in Oz, where we tried to see as many people as possible.
Had a catch up BBQ at the parents place with a few friends and family. Spent a couple of nights with Jon G in Rye. Had planned to spend a couple of days with Col in Torquay, however he was being rude and was laid up in hospital with a Staph Infection after his knee surgery, so we had a brief visit, dropped off some Irish whisky chocolate and a dirty magazine and headed back to the city and the airport.

NZ was next where we had another all too short 6 days to try and see Sarah's nearest and dearest. We had a good night out with her friends in a couple of Auckland pubs. We spent a night north of the city in Puhoi with a couple more friends, and topped the trip off with a joint birthday party for her Dad and nephew, a combined 70th and 7th party. Kazuki, the 7 yr old, said to Alan, the 70 yr old, "I wish I was 70". Alan replied with a definitve "No you don't Kazuki!"

Hong Kong was next for a few relaxing days after the rush around that was Australasia. We had a nice hotel with rooftop pool and view of the city. Spent a night at the markets. A day of sightseeing. A day at the surreal ex-pat colony of Discovery Bay on Lantau Island, and an afternoon at a local pub watching the AFL grand final with an ex North Melbourne footballer. His name is Darrell (something) and he knows everything there is to know about football, and is now working for Coroma in bathroom fittings.

Hong Kong from Victoria Peak after cable car ride

OCTOBER 09 - Visitors
Not much actually happened in October so I am using my journalistic licence to make October the visitor section!

The 'murder' of Crowes arrived in June 09. Dale, Cath, Sophie and Jessica. We rolled out the red carpet, and the blow up mattresses for the girls, and had a nice couple of days catching up. They had just been to Midleton in County Cork where Cath's Dad was from, and we visited to Sixmilebridge in County Clare, where Dale's great grandfather was from.

Craig and Crowes at Sixmilebridge

Ellanor, an Aussie teaching friend of Sarah's was also here in June. I was working, so Sarah took her to the standard sights, the Ring of Kerry and the Cliffs of Moher. By all accounts the ring of Kerry was exciting as they drove the opposite way to the hoards of tour buses that populate the route, which involves some very small and rough roads with plenty of twists and turns. The girls also enjoyed an Anne Somers (lingerie and naughty things) party during the visit

Ellanor at the Cliffs of Moher

July saw the arrival of Big Stuart Maxwell of Australian ATC fame. He stayed with the Kennedy's for a few days and played the role of part time babysitter and all-round-nice-guy. The first annual Big Stu Max appreciation day was held at our place, and drinks at a local music pub rounded out the visit.

Sarah's parents, Alan and Sue, visited for a couple of weeks in November. Again the Ring of Kerry was on the itinerary! This time however we went down the middle of the peninsula which is also very scenic and well worth the effort. We cruised around the Dingle Peninsula, which is also pretty spectacular and has a lot of ancient and historic sites. My favorite place though is a pub in Annuscul called the South Pole Inn. Tom Crean, a lesser known Irish Antarctic explorer, founded this pub and if you are a fan of Shakelton or the Antarctic you should read the previous link. Crean was a pretty amazing man!

Craig being an idiot in front of the Gallarus Oratory in Dingle

Blarney Castle was next, although this time I opted out of kissing the stone and had a nap in the back of the Kia.I worked the next week so the Easteals hired a car and went into the beautiful Connemare in County Galway for a few days.

The almost Swedish Troy Saxby also graced our shores a couple of times. He was over here at the control centre doing some work on the new ATC system that's being introduced here late 2010.

NOVEMBER - Lanzarote (Canary Islands)
We went on a cheap one week package deal down to Lanzarote, one of the Spanish controlled Canary Islands off the coast of NW Africa. A popular destination for pasty white Englismen to have a cheap trip away (as well as pasty white Australasians when residing in Ireland)

Tapas - Yum

We expected to sit around the pool for a week in the sun, however were pleasantly surprised at what the Island has to offer. The Islands number one son is (was) artist and architect Cesar Manrique who created an amazing array of wonders and tourist attractions. 'The Island (also) has a unique natural beauty and great contrasts in scenery. It is known as the Island of fire, as a result of the worlds longest ever volcanic eruption - lasting 6 years from 1730'.

Timanfaya - spent volcanos

Manrique used the Islands nature to create interesting cave like houses and grottos, including one which was owned by Omar Sharif. He also created a great viewing station within the cliffs on the northern end of the Island, a massive cactus garden in the middle and there is numerous sculptures of his dotting the Island. Because of the natural wonders, and interesting areas all over the island Lanzarote was declared a UNESCO protected biosphere in 1994.

Cactus Garden / Omar Sharif's House

It turned out the weather wasn't great but the many attractions on the Island made for a great little trip.


A pretty quiet month except for Santas visit on the 25th. We unfolded and erected the plastic tree, decorated it with tinsel and my new Guinness Bauble, and invited all the stray expats over for a slap-up Christmas dinner. Good fun, and too much food and drink, was had by all!

JANUARY + FEBRUARY 2010 - Turkey + South Africa
I took a few weeks leave at the end of Jan and start of Feb and we hooked up with a few friends for a trip to South Africa via a week in Turkey.

Mosque (striped beanie) / Galata Tower (green Beanie)

Istanbul was first for a few days. We had a nice little hotel which was even better after an upgrade to a bigger room. We had a walk around the general area for a bit of sightseeing and shopping. A BIG night out followed which ended at the Cuban bar and a BIG hangover the next day. This day was a bit of a right off with a late departure from bed.
The next and last day in the city was a big sightseeing day after wasting the day before. Istanbul is a very interesting and old city with a myriad of amazing sights including grandiose Mosques, aqeducts, markets (souks) and a lot more. Istanbul, where East meets West, has always been a very strategic overland point between the East and West worlds, and was the objective of the allied invasion in 1915.
Next day was Sarahs birthday. We hired a car and headed for the Gallipoli peninsula. It started to snow lightly as we left the city and got progressively worse as we got further south. A 300km journey, plus a ferry ride, took the best part of 8 long hours slipping and sliding on the icy and snow covered roads at 40-50km an hour and even less at times.

Attaturk Memorial - (click photo to read text)

Gallipoli the next day was very interesting and moving. I was glad we were nearly alone on the whole peninsula so we could get about easily and not be bothered. We spent the whole day exploring the various battle sites, cemeteries and memorials which really gave me a much better appreciation of what happened there. There is too much info to go into here, but it is well worth the visit if you can.
The Gallipoli campaign is sometimes refered to as the last of the 'gentlemens wars' and is said to be a main building block of both the Turkish and Australian nations and identities.

Recreated trenches - Sari Bair
(High point of the peninsula)

The next morning we went further south to Troy, of Trojan horse fame. It's an interesting city of ruins. It is a city built on top of another city times by about 8. We had a quick look around followed by our 300km journey back to the city and flight to Johannesburg. We arrived at the airport about 5 hours too early thanks to me being overly cautious about the bad roads. Turned out they were fine and we had a long wait ahead! We were told on booking in that there were no 2 seats together which didn't help our mood, and waited at the check-in desk for over an hour while the Turkish air flunkies tried to reorganise the plane. Finally we got boarding passes and continued our wait. At the departure gate we were told we had new seats, initial disgust at the though of seperate seats subsided when we were told we were now seats 1A and 1B - Business Class! Was it wrong to tell them you are on your honeymoon?

We arrived in South Africa in 10 hours and got picked up by Adrian, our tour guide from 'Adrians African adventures'. Adrian is actually a friend from Oman who, along with wife Ingi, organised the whole 2 week trip for 6 of us friends from Oman days.

'Tour' Group outside Sun City complex

The first day was a bit of a blur as we were whisked away to a small game park just north of the city. It was a good little taste of the native aniamls before our 3 days at a game lodge.

Sarah + Cub / Veronica + Giraffe (Gerry)

A local show exploring the various different native dances rounded out a long first day. We spent a few more days in 'Jo-Burg' which was quite interesting, with the best bit for me being a day trip into Soweto (SOuth WEstern TOwnships). It's a famous township, probably most famous for being the place where Nelson Mandela lived (Outside of the 27 years he spent as a 'guest' of the government on Robben Island)

Next was a 3 day Safari with home base being the 5 star Ivory Tree Game Lodge in the Pilansberg National Park.

Relaxing at Lodge (Nat Geographic: Kudu) / Real Kudu
(Sarah didn't let me eat any more Kudu Biltong after seeing the Kudu in the park)

The park was a couple of hours north of the city and is the crater of a long extinct volcano and an interesting place by itself, not to mention the variety of animals filling it.
We saw 3 of the 'Big 5'. The elephant, Lion and Rhino. We missed the notoriously hard-to-spot Leopard (pun intended), and the Buffalo were away in the hills somewhere making little buffalos.

Impala - 'McDonalds of the Bush' (Can you spot the Big M?)

On the last day we got stuck in a huge storm on our evening game drive. Amazing Adrian assured it would be over in 10 minutes, and 2 hours later, drenched to the bone it did!

Leonard with elephant cake / Rhino

After our soaking we returned to the lodge to a tray of cognac and hot chocolate. Sarah's hot chocolate contained a bank of staples down the bottom which was a bit of a surprise! We weren't sure how they got there, neither was the staff, however it meant free drinks all night from a very apologetic management.

Next on the grand tour was a flight south to Port Elizabeth and the start of the garden route which goes coastal to Cape Town. To cut a long story short we spent a few days travelling along a very scenic coast where we stayed in some nice places and drank plenty of cheap wine. Also the food in South Africa was the best that I have eaten anywhere. We can't remember having one bad meal for 2 weeks. One memorable stop on the way was Ronnies Sex Shop. A local iconic pub inland of the coast and a frequent stop for thirsty bikers, and ladies who gift their bras to hang in Rons bar.

We finished in Cape Town where we spent our last week. Highlights were a day on the harbour, a day in the wine region, a scenic drive around the cape and climbing Table Mountain!
Adrian, Ingi, Sarah and I were guided up the mountain by Adrians neice who is a regular walker/climber. The way was actually quite hard with a good deal of actual climbing and scrambling around steep ledges.

Mountaineers - Finish of a 3+ hour trek/scramble

We spent a day out at Robben Island 7 km's off the coast of Cape Town, home of the prison that held Nelson Mandela and many other political prisoners during the apertheid era. It was a very moving experience to say the least. All the tour guides are former inmates which makes the experience a bit more real.

On our last day we went to another wine region where we had a bit of a tasting before heading to the airport. We said goodbye to the team and raced to catch our flight. No upgrade this time, only an emergency decent on the Jo-Burg to Istanbul leg and a return to Jo-Burg! No apologies or information from the crew, no food as it had been reheated and stored again and was now bad,
and no idea if we would make our connection in Dublin. We finally got going, made Istanbul and our connection there after 17 hours on the plane, then made Dublin just in time for our connection to Shannon - A long day!

MARCH 10 - Aran Islands + Croagh Patrick
The Aran Islands are a group of 3 Islands in Galway Bay. Inishmore (inis moir) the largest which we overnighted at, Inishmaan (inis Meain) and Inisheer (inis oirr). They are very interesting little islands full of history, where Gaelic is the number one language and also the home of the famous Aran Sweater. It's a big thick woollen number with different patterns signifying different families. We were told in the museum that often sailors or fishermen from the islands that had drowned were identified by their families pattern as that was the only way. A lot drowned too as it is a very inhostpitible place, the next stop West is America via the Atlantic Ocean.
Because it is so isolated there is a wealth of ancient treasures on the island like hilltop stone forts, old burial markers, little thatched cottages and perhaps the smallest church in the world, which Sarah climbed the hill to see while I retraced our bike path to find a lost bike key, maybe worth our 50 Euro deposit to replace.
We spent a big first day riding all over the Island as you are not able to bring a car over. It is a fantastic little Island to ride around though and we were exhausted that night and spent the evening with a quick dinner, a couple of drinks and then bed. The next day was biking again in the morning then the ferry back to the mainland and then home.

Croagh Patrick is Ireland's most sacred mountain and is the site where St Patrick banished all the snakes from Ireland would you believe? I'll let you click on the links above for more information on the mountain and the man, but needless to say it's an important site in Ireland! The mountain is called the 'Reek', and "On Reek Sunday, the last Sunday in July each year over 15,000 pilgrims climb it, some in bare feet!
I got half way up in 2004 with my tour group before the vote was to turn back, however Sarah and I made it all the way up this time. It is only 772 metres high however the last push is steep and covered with slippery shale and is quite difficult. We decided on descending on the other less popular side which was going ok until Sarah twisted and strained her knee on the slippery rocks. Like a trooper she carried on and we hitched a ride back to the car park and headed back home to a warm bath and a cold beer respectively.

April 10 - Northern Ireland and Sligo
At this stage we knew we were heading home soon so we went all out to see as much of Ireland as possible. Our first trip was a 3 day adventure to Northern Ireland via Newgrange,
and then taking in the Giants Causeway, Belfast and the scenic North east Coast.

Entrance to Newgrange tomb 2010

The outside of Newgrange was a bit of a dissapointment to me as it is a recreation of what the tomb is believed to look like. However the inside is very impressive. The size of the stones, and the engineering 5000 years ago to create the corbelled ceiling are amazing and well worth the visit! The passage tomb is still water tight after all these years.

Entrance in 1905

The Giants Causeway is very impressive and also well worth a visit. You can say that about a lot of Ireland! I'll spare you the scientific details of how the 'steps' were formed, and just throw in a few pics.

To cut a long story short we then headed along the north coast, down through Belfast and then coastal back to Newry and then the long push back to the West.

Sligo was next. I pushed for a couple of nights so we could see the amazing historical sights of the county. (If you haven't guessed by now I am loopy about all things old and stony!) On the way to Sligo Town we went to a hillside megalithic cemetery. 'Gaby' our new GPS directed us the shortest way, whereafter we climbed up the mountain on an old road, through sheeps and paddocks to reach the top and find a road that led there from a couple of kilometres further on. Good exercise anyway, and pretty impressive tombs also! The next morning was Carrowmore megalithic cemetary which is a large cemetary full of dolmens, stone circles etc....bored yet? (Sarah nearly was!)
The next stones were perched on top of Knocknarea, all 100,000+ tonnes of them! It was quite a strenuous climb to reach 'Queen Maeves Cairn', however the cairn was well worth the visit and the view over Sligo and Sligo county was very impressive.

Craig on Cairn (n.b Craig means 'Dweller at the Crag', a crag being a rocky outcrop, so therefore I was born to visit this stuff!)

There were 2 Canadian backpackers on top of the cairn who had walked out from town and then climbed the mountain and cairn. One of them surprised us both when he asked "Do you think this is natural or man made?". He hinted not so subtlely that he wanted a ride back into town which Sarah said we could do.
I thought such stupidity didn't warrant any more time with him, plus we were going the opposite direction so they descended and we ate our chocolate coated Brazil nuts and took in the scenery.

'Cast a cold eye'.... William Butler Yeats grave

We also continued our passion for High Crosses during the visit. We stumbled across a couple about 6 months back and ever since were on the lookout for them. Even Sarah was a fan of these old carved stone crosses, and there was another one at W. B.Yeat's gravesite just up the road from town so a visit there was a no-brainer!

Here's some photos of some of the magnificent old high crosses we have visited.

One of our later Crosses at Kilfenora (Notice the book Sarah got me for xmas: National and historic monuments of Ireland. Maybe a bad choice of xmas present by her)


May 10 - Dublin + Wicklow

If you've made it this far congratulations, not much left now!
We had to hit the big smoke again before we left so Dublin it was, although via the Hill of Tara and more Irish history. There's a bit to see at Tara, however you have to decipher much of it yourself, and have a good imagination. It is believed to be a very important ceremonial place and I'll leave it at that.
It's not far from Dublin and after a quick look round we headed into the city and our hotel and got ready for a night out. We headed towards the very touristy temple bar area but stopped a couple of times at two good pubs. The first was Wheelans where we stumbled upon a great local rock band and settled in for the last hour of their set. Next was the shibeen bar and some trad music. Then we topped the night off at a tourist packed pub in temple bar where we could only stand 15 minutes and taxied back to the hotel! Was a great night and a big hangover for me the next morning. next day we walked through town towards the modern art gallery and a visit with irish friends of mine Anne Marie and Aaron. Spent a nice hour or so catching up and then hit the museum which was good for a quick look.
Next was a relax in the nearby gardens and and a quiet night around town.

County Wicklow was next on the Goodbye Ireland tour and a very pretty place it is too. Called the 'Garden of Ireland' it is very picturesque with loads of grenery, scenery and other stuff... (couldn't find another ryhming word).

Gardens at Powerscourt House

We had a nice day touring around, especially at Glendalough monastic settlement, and finished off in Carlow at the Browneshill Dolmen. (You don't think I'd miss a chance to see a dolmen do you?) The Browneshill Dolmen has the largest capstone in Europe which weighs from 100-150 tonnes depending on who you ask.

Powerscourt waterfall

Browneshill + Poulnabrone Dolmens

June 10 - GOODBYE.
It was time to say goodbye to Ireland. I finished work on the 4th. We spent 3 days packing up house and home. 1 and a half days cleaning. Then one BIG evening celebrating and saying goodbye to the good people and good friends of Ireland! A great night was had, lots was drunk and many laughs were had. It was sad to go but also it will be good to be back home and amongst family and friends again.

I'd just like to say thanks for having me Ireland, it's been Grand so!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Irish Music - (n.b click on photos for a better view)

Hello rockstars, I'd like to quote a famous Australian - Ronald Belford "Bon" Scott (9 July 1946 – 19 February 1980) An Australian rock musician, best known for being the lead singer and lyricist of Australian hard rock band AC/DC from 1974 until his death in 1980. He was born in Kirriemuir, Scotland, and emigrated to Melbourne, with his family in 1952 at the age of six. (*Wikipediea)

He used to sing:

Let there be sound, and there was sound
Let there be light, and there was light
Let there be drums, there was drums
Let there be guitar, there was guitar, ah
Let there be rock!!!

Well the last few weeks in Ireland have been all about music for us!

Although not quite up to the standard of the great ACDC, U2 another well known band with letters in their name, proved to be a good alternative! And as Bon said, there was sound, drums, guitars and more lights than you would see swirling round your head after 5 rounds with iron Mike Tyson, and the same sort of ringing in your ears afterwards.

We scored some expensive, last minute tickets to one of their 3 shows in Dublin's Croke park stadium, the major sporting venue in the Republic. After searching in vain for a reasonably priced hotel in Dublin, that wasn't booked solid for the summer weekend, we settled on university accommodation at Trinity College in Maynooth, which is about 30 mins by train West of the capital.

We hurriedly checked into the beautiful old building then raced to get the train into town to meet Sarah's cousin who she hadn't seen for 17 years! We were half an hour early which meant we had time for a pint before the meeting, and also meant we could have caught a later train and I didn't need to make Sarah get changed in a Maynooth hotel bathroom prior to catching the train! I blame the Irish rail website connection info, not my pedantic need to be on time for everything......(Although there happened to be another lady getting changed in the same hotel bathroom for a wedding, so it's not unheard of to have a bad boyfriend, or of a woman running late.....hmmmm did I really print that last bit)

We met with Tom and Connor, his 'Cute-as-a-button' son, and did a mini tour of Dublin city topped off with a frothy pint in the Temple Bar area. After a nice couple of hours we walked 25 mins to the stadium and settled into the bar for another pint, a glass of wine and our home made ham and salad wraps. We then grabbed another couple of drinks, headed outside (to some better seats than ours), and settled in for a bit of Kaiser chiefs warm up action. They were quite good and got the crowd going pretty well before the main act.

*Stadium filling up / Kaiser Chiefs

These 3 Dublin shows were part of the 360 Degree tour which involves an alien like stage with a 360 degree outer catwalk and gangways that spin between the main stage and the catwalk for the band to walk along. Out of the top of the space craft comes a massive drop down all around screen with all sorts of flash and flashing lights, videos, and various footage and angles of the band. I don't think these Irish boys are short of a quid!

Bono (vocals and guitar), The Edge (guitar, keyboards, and vocals), Adam Clayton (bass guitar), and Larry Mullen, Jr. (drums and percussion) arrived on stage a while later and we retired to our ticketed seats, and the music started.

Two guys from work who went said that this show wasn't as good as previous years here, however we still enjoyed it, and so did the thousands of others that were packed in.

I was hoping they would play a few more older songs and took the opportunity to slip out to the bar during some of the newer songs which I am not so keen on. I'm not sure Sarah knew that I had actually left though!

After playing for about 2 hours and a short 3 song encore we all filed out to the streets of Dublin and went our separate ways. We caught our train back and sat opposite a couple of Irish ladies that surprisingly know a previous head math teacher from the Oman school that Sarah taught at, and had both travelled to Oman recently...small world.

We got a few tips off them for sights around Maynooth for the way home on Sunday and plugged them into the phone so we could remember them. Good thing we did as we went out for a couple more 'Jars' in Maynooth before retiring back to the university like naughty school children. Back in the room we upset the neighbors at about 0400 by pushing the 2 single beds together and carrying on like idiots wandering back and forwards down the hallways to our respective bathrooms. A good night was had by all! (Except maybe the neighbors)

Part 2 - Castlepalooza!

The next weekend, (1st & 2nd Aug - just in case I forget), we traveled to Tullamore, County Offaly, about an hour and a half drive East from Ennis towards Dublin. We booked a 'Couples Treat Yourself' ticket for 2 days of camping, music and frivolity at the Castlepalooza festival at Charleville castle. The ticket promised a set-up tent, premium champagne and chocolates on arrival, proper flushing loos, solar heated hot water showers that would never go cold, good deals on alcohol as none would be allowed to be brought in (3E beer cans, 4.5E pints etc) and great music and a relaxed atmosphere.

The chocolates and the champagne were there on arrival, as was the tent......however the tent was your classic 2 man job, aka a comfortable 1 man tent, the toilets broke down regularly (not surprising for a festival really), the showers never worked and the beer was 5E and 6E respectively! It's lucky that the weather was fantastic, the music equally so and the castle setting and the chilled out crowd made for a mostly great weekend!

*Champagne and chocolate - good stuff

After cramming our gear into our tent, then meeting the neighbors over a plastic cup of champagne, we went for a bit of an explore around the site. It's a fabulous old castle which is half restored and makes a great setting for an intimate 2500 person festival.

There was a main outdoor stage, an undercover indoor stage, and inside the castle was a number of activities throughout the weekend including a day spa, photographer, burlesque dancing classes and other various activities to supplement the music.

We didn't know any of the bands on the line-up, however during the course of the weekend we saw some great Irish rock, folk, punk and some interesting techno type stuff. Also on the bill was traditional music, various international acts (Americans ProjectJennyProjectJan being a favorite), poety readings, a rocky horror show and lots more.

*'So Cow' - Outdoor Stage / Rocky Horror - HMV Stage

*Trad band+dancers / 'Fergus' Simon + 'Paddy' Garfunkel
(with drunken cowboy in foreground!)

After a couple of long musical days, and sleepless musical nights (the HMV tent was shaking the ground until 0400 both nights!), we were more than ready to head home on the Sunday morning. The previous day we had moved the car closer to the castle so we didn't have to shuttle bus the few km's to the muddy car park to reload all our gear thankfully. The beauty of Ireland is that nowhere is too far away, so we were back home in a couple of hours, into the shower and back in bed for a well deserved sleep!

There's just one more thing to be said...........ROCK ON!!