Irish Summer Holiday

Catherine and I hoped on a fast ferry from Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire for a few days break in County Wexford, Ireland last week. Her parents built a house near the beach in the late 70s in a remote area of Wexford up the coast from Kilmore Quay. The region is charmingly known as “Bastardstown”. The place holds many years of childhood memories for Catherine but she hadn’t been back in about 10 years. Despite some new houses blocking the view, the area still seemed quite remote and you normally had the beach to yourself. The weather wasn’t conducive to lounging on the sand; instead we went to a couple of local attractions. Original 1975 maps and tourist guides of the area were produced and we were assured that little had changed apart from the addition of the N11, which had been carefully added in biro to the map. Sure enough Hook head, described by Catherine’s dad with the immortal words “It’s just a headland”, still sported “The World’s Oldest Lighthouse” and a miniature version of Tintern Abbey; unimaginatively called “Tintern Abbey”. Johnstone Castle was convincingly castle-like and views from the lake and Rapunzel towers were pleasant enough.

The trip included many classic childhood adventures. A neighbouring kitten dropped by and insisted on attention - at one point I was witnessed running the kitten around the garden using a long piece of grass as a pseudo-leash|lead. The cattle grid did not disappoint either and soon enough was complete with a plump hedgehog that needed rescuing with an impromptu ramp. I was given a lesson in hurling by Catherine’s dad and our regression to childhood was completed by indulging in kite flying, collecting attractive stones from the beach and being coerced into household chores like cleaning out the guttering and trimming the hedges.

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