Well we returned onboard from our fabulous stay at Wooffys & Snuggles & had 4 weeks in Sallins looking after mum. We did let her out one day & she went off on a train journey seeing as cycling & cruising were off the agenda & there’s a very convenient train station in Sallins. We were still on county restrictions then so mum couldn’t go into Dublin so she headed out the other way taking in Monasterevin where we’ll pass through on our Barrow cruise if we ever get going, Kildare & Newbridge.
Monastarevin has the lift bridge pictured above which is operated by Waterways Ireland so until the lock keepers come back we won’t be able to go through there.
After 4 weeks mum decided to try a ride out on Falcon as she’d been eyeing up Blessington Lake on the map & decided it was just about doable. She ended up doing just under 50km nothing like breaking herself in gently. We give up telling her you all know what she’s like!
Set in the Wicklow Mountains, the Blessington Lakes cover 5000 acres water. The Lakes were formed 50 years ago by the building of the Poulaphouca Dam and hydroelectric station. The Poulaphouca reservoir is the largest man made lake in Ireland and is a great base for various outdoor activities. The road around the lake offers amazing views over the reservoir and the Wicklow Mountains & there’s the Blessington Greenway that you can cycle along.
Mum had picked a superb sunny day & was blessed at Blessington (see what I did there!) with wonderful view. She was also blessed with a wonderful lunch from the Texas BBQ bus but unfortunately we weren’t blessed as none of it made it back to the boat where we were left behind starving away.
As the bike ride was deemed a success & it was looking likely Ireland might see a bit of lockdown easing we decided we’d set off in the direction of the Barrow. We just went ten minutes up the Grand Canal as we’d heard a rumour of a new cafe at Digby Bridge and we weren’t disappointed. And best of all it gives out dog biscuits to well behaved dogs who visit that us that is!!!
We had a couple of days at Digby Bridge & Daquiri launched a major ball retrieval mission. Well this entails him standing at the edge barking at the ball until mum retrieved it with a stick. He was happy once he had it though he’s easily pleased.
We were luckily able to go up the three locks to Robertstown with Billie on another boat who had a lot of crew onboard. It was lovely to cruise in company for a change.
So Ireland has now announced some lockdown easing. We’re nowhere near the UK who have pubs & shops open but for us the waterways are reopening & the lock keepers are coming back which makes us very happy or it did till disaster struck.
That night after letting us out mum decided to take a bit of rubbish to the bin but ended up attempting a somersault up the towpath after tripping over the mooring rope. She knew she’d hurt herself but dosed up on painkillers immediately & went to bed. She awoke the next morning in agony so sent out a plea for help on the local boaters whatsapp group. Paul from Lowtown arrived fairly quickly & mum was whisked off to Naas A&E. After 4 hours there & an Xray it was thought mum had just got a badly bruised & swollen elbow so she came home with a sling on & painkillers. Of course its her right elbow & she is right handed. Luckily though we’re moored in quite a good spot as theres a tap here & 2 local shops & a takeaway & best of all just 100m back from the boat away from the road we can be let off lead as its no easy walking us one armed!
But the lack of Irish luck continues as mum got a call from the hospital recalling her as they’d found something on the Xray. This time it was Erin to the rescue. It really is a wonderful boating community here. Anyway the hospital gave mum the bad news that she’d actually fractured her elbow. She doesn’t need a cast on it but has to keep the sling on until her appointment at the fracture clinic ten days later, Needless to say she’s not happy! As soon as we can finally set off cruising after months of lockdown this happens.
So we’re now in Robertstown for a bit longer. Mum has also been able to register for her covid vaccine but so far has been rung up twice to clarify her details so we’re not sure if or when that’ll happen. She also has her followup appointment after surgery at the end of May in Tullamore so her diary is just full of medical appointments. Must be because she getting old!!!!
While we have been moored at Robertstown we’ve had the boat serviced & our gas switched over to the Irish bottles so that should make life a bit easier so Golden Boyz is ready to go when we can. Also we’re moored right next to a bus stop so mum has been taking advantage of that & going into Dublin now that county lockdown has been lifted. Shops & pubs are still closed but some of the museums have reopened. They all have to be prebooked online so mum has to be very organised.
So Trip one to Dublin mum had a quick walk along the Liffey up to Grand Canal Dock.
Then it was a visit to EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum It’s an excellent museum with a huge amount of interaction including getting a passport to stamp in each room. It’s the closest mum will get to needing a passport currently so she had great fun doing that.
She then wandered around Temple Bar for a while before catching the bus back.
Dublin Visit 2 mum went back to Grand Canal Dock but had more time this time to wander around & have lunch on the quayside. At some point in the future when boat rallies return we’ll join in the Dublin boat rally & cruise into Grand Canal Dock.
Next mum got her first glimpse of the Royal canal which comes out of Dublin to the north of the Grand canal & is part of the Green & Silver route which again we hope to do in the future. She also got to see the Effin Bridge which is the rail bridge that has to be operated by waterways staff to pass through.
Mum had booked a skyline tour of Croke Park. Croke Park is a Gaelic games stadium in Dublin, Ireland. Named after Archbishop Thomas Croke, it is sometimes called Croker by GAA fans and locals. It serves as both the principal national stadium of Ireland and headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association. To be honest mum wasn’t really interested in the sports side of it she wanted the views of Dublin & she wasn’t disappointed. She was the only one booked on the tour so she got her own personal guide. Obviously with no tourism currently everywhere is quiet so it is good to support venues reopening where mum can. Mum can highly recommend this tour & they offer dusk tours in the autumn so mum would love to go back & see the sunset over Dublin from above Croke Park as you know how she likes her sunsets.
Next it was a long walk to her next destination of Dublin Castle where currently you can have a wander around the state apartments although the guided tours aren’t back in operation yet. Erected in the early thirteenth century on the site of a Viking settlement, Dublin Castle served for centuries as the headquarters of English, and later British, administration in Ireland. In 1922, following Ireland’s independence, Dublin Castle was handed over to the new Irish government. It is now a major government complex and a key tourist attraction.
Then she finally just had time for a quick walk to find the quirky umbrellas street the most instagrammed spot in Dublin apparently! We have found no explanation or reason for them being there though.
So after a busy day mum was back onboard with a couple of blisters from so much walking to add to her ailments.
Now we’re awaiting the fracture clinic verdict on Monday to see if we can set off finally on our Barrow adventure. So keep your fingers & paws crossed for us everyone that we’ll be back to cruising again properly very soon.