Chapter 2 (continued)
United Kingdom/Ireland

Our 67 day Expedition Cruise


Monday 24 Sept
Douglas, Isle of Man
We arrived in Douglas in the morning; the tourist info here was right in the ferry terminal where we were docked. Unfortunately, David & I ran into one of our little differences, as I wanted a few minutes to actually look at the stuff I picked up and he was ready to simply head out into the unknown. After walking for 15 minutes or so toward the wrong rail station, we sorted ourselves out and made it to the steam rail station, where we bought tickets and boarded the little steam train to… unable to decide, we had bought round trip tickets to the end of the line, in Port Erin.

Good timing, it turned out, as the rain began in earnest after we boarded. Most of our ship cohorts got off in Castletown; we rode to the end, where we found wind, rain, and a coffee shop. Took a quick look around town before boarding the train again.






We got off at Castletown on the way back and ended up at Castle Rushen, a wonderfully restored and presented medieval castle.


As we were due back on board at 4:30, we had a tight schedule and basically just managed to arrive in time to sail.








Tuesday 25 Sept
Cork, Ireland
Arriving late in Cork, we had also been informed that our stop in Galway had been cancelled due to some mix-up about tenders. Speculation ran rampant about union issues, political toe-stepping, etc, but the fact was that we wouldn't be able to go there. After several changes in the ship's frequently "flexible" schedule, it was determined that we would stay in Cork until 11:00 pm, which allowed for rescheduling of a previously cancelled excursion and, more importantly, meant that we would be able to have dinner ashore.








We had booked an excursion to Blarney Castle, which was very nice - we did the touristy thing and kissed the Blarney Stone (I even bought the picture!).




After the castle, we wandered through the Rock Close, a magical area of Witches Stones, Druid Caves and Fairy Gardens.What a great place this would have been to be a child!



Our last activity at Blarney was a chance to shop in the woolen mill : ) So far, so good - I have yarn from Iceland, Scotland and Ireland. My evolving plan is to make an afghan or some such thing using all the yarn I find on this trip.

We wandered back into Cork looking for a place to eat, ending up at a little restaurant with a "Restaurant of the Year" plaque, where we had the place totally to ourselves. Good food, good wine, nice folks. We rolled back to the ship, hoping we were ready for our 5 day North Atlantic crossing. The evening's entertainment was a pair of musicians and some more dancers - a thoroughly satisfactory end to our first visit to Ireland.

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