Hello hello hello! A week has passed and I am back from my mini break. I am going to indulge in a little travel report here, so those of you who have no interest in sitting through someone else’s holiday pictures – no offense taken, I totally understand! – please just scroll down to where you see the header for the round-up. All your tumblr Armitage needs will be satisfied down there 😉.
Tbh, it was lovely to leave the confines of my home town and finally venture out a little bit farther afield. In fact, it only occurred to me as we were on the road, that I hadn’t left Dublin at all since mid-January 😱. Ireland is not really that big – it reaches about 500 km (300m) from top to bottom – but the terrain here is characterised by rocks and hills, which makes for small, windy roads, especially as the infrastructure does not need to be as car-friendly as in other, more populated countries in the world. So don’t be surprised if you see the estimated travel time in the map below.
Yes, it takes more than 4 hours to travel 287km (178m) in Ireland. 😁 If you look really closely at the map you will actually notice a black jagged line running through the land. That is the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. Our route this time took us the Northern Irish way, crossing into NI near Belturbet and then exiting again via Pettigo. The border is still “green”, i.e. there is no visible sign that you have actually moved from one jurisdiction to another. (I can usually only tell by the difference in road surface 😂 and the fact that the speed signs are suddenly in miles/h and not in kilometer/h any more. It’ll be interesting to see the Brexit regulation work out the issue of the United Kingdom’s *only* land border while keeping both EU customs rules as well as inner-Irish peace…) This is the shortest way of getting up from Dublin in the centre of the East coast, into the Northwestern corner of Ireland, which is part of the Republic and called County Donegal.
Our journey took us even longer than the estimated 4 hours, but then we also had to switch drivers in order to relieve my mother-in-law (77) and take a lunch break. We eventually arrived in Dunfanaghy in the late afternoon where my father-in-law had specifically booked rooms with a view in the plush Arnold’s Hotel. At first I was a bit taken aback at the layer of dust in our otherwise lovely room but then I realised that it meant the room had not been used in months and we were the first occupants since reopening the day prior, i.e. no lingering viruses there… From our luxurious king-size bed we had views out to the beach. (Click all images to enlarge!)
I have to say I was a bit skeptical as regards the attitude of the holiday makers towards keeping safe from the virus, though. Dunfanaghy was packed to the gills with tourists, particularly from Northern Ireland. (The weekend actually coincided with the traditional, Protestant celebrations of the Battle of the Boyne on the 12th of July every year. This is a significant date in NI, marking the victory of Protestant king William III over Catholic king James II, celebrated with drums, huge bonfires and marches by the Orange Order. It continues to be a controversial tradition within NI, with (some) Catholics offended by the celebration of this victory, while (some) Protestants insist on their right to express their traditions.) As part of the UK, NI has had a different approach to the Covid crisis than the Republic, and tbh I was not really that impressed with the general lack of social distancing displayed last week. (It goes without saying that it was *not only* NI people who were far too close for my comfort; there obviously were also plenty of Irish holiday makers there, too.) Within the hotel, there were hand-sanitisers at all exits and corridors, so it was easy to keep hands clean. In the restaurant, the staff wore PPE masks and the guests were seated well apart as fewer tables than normal were set up. So I felt relatively safe in there. But I hardly saw any face masks worn in the village, people were congregating in big groups outside pubs and shops, and it felt as if there were no covid restrictions at all. All that made me very angry. On our walks, particularly in the very busy Glenveagh National Park, people would not keep distance even though the paths were more than 2 meters wide, and on the parking lot, cars parked directly side-by-side. But then again, at least we were outside, and Glenveagh is an absolutely stunning place.
I have been to Glenveagh a good few times before. It’s a stunning valley with a 19th century hunting lodge castle at the centre. There is a formal garden through which you enter the castle grounds, but what I had not see until now was the amazing kitchen garden. The little gardener’s cottage under the large tree somehow reminded me of Bag End.
The best thing, of course, is the beaches and dunes and the mighty North Atlantic.
I was thinking of Squirrel/Radagast who had commented about wild flowers before I left for the North, and I took a good few photos of flowers.
The weather was – Irish. We had two days that were predominantly dry, with only a little bit of drizzle here and there. Only on our last day the weather really turned against us, which was annoying as we had planned to go walking with my in-laws a bit. But well, a bit of wet doesn’t deter my hardy in-laws. There is no bad weather – only inappropriate clothing. So we trudged off on a two-hour walk in the Ards Forest. I think I was the only who got drenched to the skin.
Yep, even after 20 years I still haven’t learnt… or bought the right equipment.
However, we did also get a bit of sunset in, and so the trip’s best memory is this – a sundowner from Horn Head with the ragged shape of Tory Island in the background.
So, that was my summer holiday 2020. Four nights away with family. It was actually really lovely, especially as my f-i-l is now getting really old. This may have been his last trip up to Donegal. It was lovely to spend time with him and my m-i-l who are still very active and who are interesting to chat to. I was especially delighted that Little Miss Guylty came along, too – not just for myself but also for the grandparents for whom her presence is particularly special. And I had four nights of sound sleep that really recharged my batteries. So much so that I can now jump energetically into this week’s tumblr round-up:
- Badtennantwolf has put together a set of icons. I am including the set here for the first four pictures of RA at SDCC in 2015 as we recently had a chat about that occasion (and the famous dragon beanie throw) elsewhere
- Richardarmitagefanpage reminds us of a Hobbit Extended Editions rewatch organised by One Ring Net for 21 July
- Some dramatic Guy of Gisborne gifs, season 3, by riepu10
- LOL. Including this mainly for the spot-on caption by thewarriorandtheking
- *sniggers* Mezzmerizedbyrichard has come to the aid of many hot and bothered Mr Thornton admirers…
- I have always been somewhat intrigued by that pock mark on Richard’s arm. Maybe he had it removed or something, because I also remember pictures from around the same time where he sported a blue plaster on his bicep. Picture posted by hobbitoferebor
- Goodness me. 13 years ago. Yes, he looks a good bit younger. And full-on Gisborne-sideburns. Gifs by riepu10
- Eyelash porn courtesy by mezzmerizedbyrichard
- Ignore the wig and enjoy the nose! Richard as Claude Monet, giffed by mezzmerizedbyrichard
- Lehnsharks’ Thorin drawings
- BTS footage of Richard as Thorin was few and far between, so here are a few precious scenes, giffed by riepu10
- Daniel Miller/Trevor Price looking ominous… Gifs by riepu10
- One of nfcomics’ What A Guy Wants… interesting metaphor…
There we go. Sorry for the whole long holiday crap. I can faithfully promise that that is it for this year *sardonic laugh*.
However, before I go and more importantly, just a quick reminder:
It’ll be August soon and that means… RA birthday auction time!!! Donations of items have been coming in and it is high time for me to start organising and promoting, soon. Watch this space for more info!
Have a lovely weekend,