I accidentally picked one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland to move to. Initially I had been looking closer to Dublin where most of my family are but the closer you are to Dublin the more expensive the houses are plus affordable land is virtually non-existent. My sister helpfully pointed out that I was now a good two hour drive from my mother. I don’t think my mother was too impressed when she heard that I had replied “well she’s not going to be around for another 20 years whereas I may well be!”
I am right at the top of the Hook peninsula. If you drew a line south from my place you would hit Hook. It makes for a lot of wind and sea fog. However, within easy reach is the fabulous Tintern Abbey, the baby sister of the one in Wales. There is a beautifully restored walled garden here and if you take out membership for a small fee you can visit anytime with 5 guests. They leave the surplus fruit, veg and plants on a table here for you to take but just ask you leave a small donation. The little cafe has the most delicious homemade cakes in it – so good I go and buy them when I don’t feel like baking. And an added bonus when I went to buy some recently I had no cash. The cafe owner shrugged and said we’ve no wifi here (big thick walls) so the card machine doesn’t work. “Pay me next time you’re in.” He told me he has to say this at least 5 times a day and in three years has only been “done” half a dozen times………..
I am 5 minutes from the Ballyhack ferry to Passage East and then a 10 minute drive to Waterford city. Waterford is a fabulous city with loads of lovely restaurants, cafes and quirky little bars. It’s also the home of Waterford Glass and the tour is really fascinating.
If you are into John F Kennedy as lots of Americans are I’m close to New Ross and the JFK Memorial Park. There is also a replica famine ship in New Ross that you can tour.
On the road to Hook Lighthouse, Loftus Hall has the dubious honour of being the most haunted in Ireland but I really feel they are missing a trick by not offering historic tours rather than the scary nonsense. The staircase in it is one of only three ever made. One was in The Titanic, the other is in The Vatican and the third is here. It has an amazing tiled floor in the entrance hall, which when the two Italian craftsmen who designed it went to the owner looking for payment after two years hard work, had their hands cut off so that they would never be able to replicate it for anyone else. The history of the house ties in with both Tintern Abbey and Hook Lighthouse.
When I first moved in and the days were short I did a lot of driving around finding beaches and interesting walks. Now the days are long and the weather is good I have less time for exploring because there is so much to do outside.
I’m looking forward to exploring and finding more hidden gems when the days once again begin to shorten and by then I have everything done that I want to outside, but this is wishful thinking.