Ireland & England
August 2014

LAUNCHED: 6 September 2014.       LAST UPDATED: 7 September 2014

Accessed at least many times since 6 September 2014.

This was a short trip to the UK via Dublin. Chief reason for going at this time of year was to attend an Antarctic gathering in Plymouth in celebration of the centenary of Shackleton's departure from Plymouth on his Endurance expedition.

Sunday 3 August 2014. Left Jaffrey shortly after noon and drove to the Boston Express terminal in Nashua. Just made the 1:30 bus. $8.50 one way. Checked in at Aer Lingus and then had a relaxing and very good meal at Legal Seafoods (crab cake, shrimp, scallops, onion strings, two glasses of Muscadet). Through security very fast with no delays. Uneventful flight. Fortunately had an empty seat beside me.

Monday 4 August 2014. Arrived ca. 30" ahead of schedule because of good tailwind. Joe O'Farrell was there to meet me. Drove on to Enniskerry and was welcomed by Barbara and a good Irish fry-up. Then a nap until about 3pm. Had a drink and conversation, then around 8pm drove into Bray: Joe, Barbara and daughter Sarah. Big "Fun Fair" along the promenade. Some quite scary rides. Had a very good meal at the The Platform on the promenade, a lively place. Watched some quite good fireworks, topping it off with a gelato.

Barbara and Joe's house in Ennikerry.

Joe and Rob; and Barbara.

The Fun Fair in Bray.

Looks tame but a force of several Gs—I'm told.

Dinner at The Platform: Joe, Barbara, Sarah and Rob.

Enjoying gelato in Bray.

Tuesday 5 August 2014. Up around 8:30. Breakfast. Later Joe and I drove into Bray. He went to the bank; I bought a few necessities. Picked up Joe's dry cleaning. Back to Enniskerry. Lunch at the pub.

Lunch at the pub in Enniskerry.

Later in the afternoon we drove to Rosslare and after some delays got on the ferry (Isle of Inishmore) for Pembroke, Wales. Had a cabin for a couple of hours of lie-down.

Our cabin on the ferry.

Wednesday 6 August 2014. Drove off at about 12:30 am. Dark and rainy but no traffic. Past Swansea, Cardiff and Newport. Over the Severn Bridge and south on the M5. Weather improved as we continued south. By the time we were around Exeter it was clear. Detoured to Torquay and stopped at the Torbay Hotel where we tried and failed to get breakfast at about 7am. (Shackleton enjoyed a farewell dinner at this hotel when he set off on his Nimrod expedition.)

Joe in front of the Torbay. No breakfast here!

Headed west and stopped at the Royal Seven Stars Hotel in Totnes, a very attractive small town. Waited until 8 and had an excellent breakfast. (We'll be staying at this hotel on Saturday night.) Headed on and soon were in Plymouth. We went to the Duke of Cornwall Hotel and waited around until 11am when our room was ready. Nice, two-room suite. Had a lie-down for a several hours, then got cleaned up and headed downstairs where things were getting active. Got our registration packets and started mingling.

Shackleton 100 at The Duke of Cornwall Hotel.

Antarcticans congregated from here and there. Photo: Courtesy Devon & Cornwall Polar Society.

There was a VIP Reception in the hotel when Zaz unveiled yet another plaque.

About to unveil a plaque.

There was a talk that night but some of us headed for the Barbican and had dinner outside at the Seafood & Pasta Bar as we had the last time in Plymouth: Barbara and Michael Smith, Jim and Geraldine McAdam, and Brad Borkan. Walked back via The Hoe.

Dinner in the Barbican: Joe, Brad, Geraldine. Michael, Barbara, Jim and Rob.

Thursday 7 August 2014. A very nice breakfast including smoked haddock (which I had for all three days). First session was Michael Smith then Bob Burton. Both good. Had a liquid lunch as I recall, then the afternoon sessions which were good as well. Showered and changed into my tux for the banquet in the hotel, my quiz on each table. Had some drinks later in the bar. In bed sometime after midnight. Joe, Geraldine and Jim pop in as I'm stretched out. Geraldine jumps onto the bed. Am I dreaming? (I have a photo to prove it but gentleman don't show such things!)

Stuart Leggatt, Joe, Rob and Brad Borkan.

The Banquet.

My shoes were a great hit (I think). Photo by Jim McAdam.

Friday 8 August 2014. Weather still very good. Excellent breakfast again. Wrap-up by Bob Headland and the speakers. Paul Davies announces the winners of the quiz. Off on foot to Millbay Dock to unveil a plaque (Zaz again) and see a replica of the James Caird

Endurance descendants and the new plaque.

Rob caught by Paul Davies.

and, at noon, to bid farewell to two boats: The Phoenix, a tall ship headed to Charleston, South Carolina, and the Polonus, a Polish sailboat headed to Antarctica. And a Scottish pipe band provided the music.

The Phoenix and the Polonus get underway.

The pipe band played on.

The Antarctic Adventurers in front of the Alexandra Shackleton, the James Caird replica.

Retrieved Joe's car and drove to the Victualling Yards where we joined the Taaffes, the McAdams and Jonathan & Daphne Shackleton for a nice lunch at the River Cottage.

Lunch at the Victualling Yards.

Back to the hotel. Came upon Zaz. She invited us up to her room at the very top of the hotel. Great view from the cupola. Had some drinks there. Later had a late dinner at the hotel and spirited discussion between Zaz and Joe.

Joe and Zaz in the dining room where her grandfather may have had dinner the night before the Endurance sailed a hundred years before.

Saturday 9 August 2014. Up and another nice breakfast. Packed up the car and Zaz and off to the Scott Memorial on Mt. Wise which Zaz had never seen.

Zaz at the Scott memorial on Mt. Wise.

Lovely day. East to South Milton where we spent a few hours with Paul and Andrea Davies at their house along with the Taaffes and the Davies' neighbors, Jen and Tim.

Horswell Coach House—home of the Davies.

Joe enjoying the garden. And lunch under Shackleton's gaze.

Drove on to Totnes dropping Zaz off at the rail station and then we went to the Royal Seven Stars Hotel and checked in. Very nice.

The Royal Seven Stars in Totnes. A good choice.

It was Saturday night and the bar was busy.

Totnes is a very attractive place, quite a contrast to Torquay over the hill.

In the center of Totnes there's a monument to local boy William Wills (of Burke & Wills, first to cross Australia).

Had a drink then a walk around the town which is quite nice without being too touristy. Later had a good dinner at the hotel. Noisy inside and outside the hotel until about 2pm.

Sunday 10 August 2014. Up and an excellent cooked breakfast. Off with a stop first at Dartington Hall, a curious place.

Dartington Hall. It has some interesting Boston connections.

On to the A38 to the M5 and north past Exeter, Carlisle, eventually to Cheltenham. Parked the car, wandered about, ending up at the Wilson statue (some cleaning up since I was last here) and then to The Wilson, the new name for the Art Gallery and Museum. Tourist office there as well.

The Wilson, the re-branded Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum.

Got directions to the Holiday Inn and fetched the car and drove there. Then walked to The Wilson to see the Wilson exhibit. Back to the hotel and a drink. Across the street to The Brewery where we had dinner at Prezzo. Heavy rain for a bit.

The open roof of The Brewery.

Monday 11 August 2014. Up around 6:30. Breakfast dowstairs. Headed off at 8am. Nice sunny day. Up the M5 to the M6, around Birmingham, then off at Exit 16 for Chester. Stopped at a McDonalds for a snack. Arrived at the ferry (Ulysses) fairly close to departure at 2:10. Crossing was uneventful. Very crowded with lots of children running about.

Leaving Holyhead and arriving at Dublin Port.

Drove to Enniskerry and Barbara was there with a drink all ready for me. A very nice roast beef dinner with turnip, potatoes, peas, et al.

Tuesday 12 August 2015. Starts off a lovely day. Slept to 9:30 or so! Joe and I set off for Athy via the Wicklow Mountains. Stopped at the German Cemetery in Glencree—a peacful place. Went to the Heritage Centre and attended a preview of Shackleton music which will be premiered at this year's Autumn School. Afterwards, dinner at Ngai's Restaurant, then a pint at O'Briens before heading back to Enniskerry.

The German Cemetery at Glencree.

Pulling a pint at O'Brien's. Frank and Judith.

Wednesday 13 August 2014. A relaxing day in Enniskerry. Joe took me off to the airport and after an uneventful flight to Boston, a busride to Nashua and then a drive to Jaffrey, I was home again.

All my trip photos—the good and the bad— are at