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MARCH 2004
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  Wales
St. Patrick's Day Parade
More Dublin

Sat 13-Mar 04	Manorbier/Lydstep - Cardiff, Wales  

We arrived in Ireland to begin our OE 13 months ago today (after visiting Canada for a week on the way).  Despite it being the 13th Month on the 13th day of March, we had a great day.

This morning we again did some doubling back before going forward!  First we headed down to the beach at Manorbier to see the castle and get our first real (non-hazy) views of the Pembrokeshire coast - Manorbier is within the Pembrokeshire National Park.  It was a nice fine morning.

Next we drove back towards Pembroke and out to the Bosherston Lilyponds - one of the places where King Arthur's sword 'Excalibur' is supposed to be.  There were no Lilies at this time of the year, but it was a very pretty area just the same.  We then went back to Pembroke for a quick wander to photograph Pembroke Castle, before then going eastwards again (the end of our doubling-back).

Map of Wales

Manorbier Castle
Manorbier, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Beach at Manorbier

The Bosherston Lilyponds, south of Pembroke

Pembroke Castle, Pembroke

There were some great coastal views between Lydstep and Tenby.  We had a quite drive through Tenby, with it's cute medieval town centre and walls.  We carried on along the coast (or as close as the road went to it) towards Cardiff, through the outskirts of Cardiff and then up to Caerphilly to see the absolutely amazing and enormous Caerphilly Castle - it is the second largest castle in Britain after Windsor Castle.  It is even surrounded by a large moat (but no crocodiles though).   

Caerphilly Castle, Caerphilly

Portcullis and entrance to Caerphilly Castle

From Caerphilly we then went to Caerleon to visit the various Roman ruins there.  First was the Roman Bath House which was okay, but certainly not as good as in Bath!  The Amphitheatre and the Roman Barracks remains (foundations) were quite interesting to see also, as was the Roman Legionary Museum with some cool artefacts.  After a very nice morning, the weather had now packed it in and was raining quite heavily, and besides the sun was also beginning to set, so we drove back to Cardiff for dinner, find our accommodation for the night and return the rental car.  This was our last look at Wales as tomorrow I headed back to Dublin! 

Roman Bath House, Caerleon, Wales

Roman Amphitheatre, Caerleon

Caesar was here!  Roman Legionary Museum, Caerleon

Sun 14-Mar 04	Cardiff - Dublin, Ireland   

Flying Pig at Dublin Airport
(taken with a very tiny, cheap and nasty digital camera!)

Wed 17-Mar 04	Dublin  - St. Patrick's Day  (Jason)  

St. Patrick's day today!  Met up with a cousin and her husband (Tina and Mark) at the corner of O'Connell and Parnell Streets (outside the Ambassador theatre) to watch the parade.  It was quite a hot and sunny day today - enough to get a little sunburnt, and not much need for the underwater/waterproof disposable camera that I was using!  (my camera died in Paris back in January).

The parade was reasonable, although not overly Irish or St. Patrick related - Lots of American and other foreign bands and floats.  It was definitely hundreds of times better than the parade we had seen last year in Cork!  We then went to a bar for lunch and a couple of pints, as is practically compulsory on St. Patrick's day (there were plenty of Gardai around that I'm sure would have viewed you suspiciously if you didn't look thirsty for a pint). 

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Dublin
(Parnell Square East)

Sat 20-Mar 04	- Linn Harder Born!!

Linn Wictoria Amalia Harder was born today to Jessica and Daniel Harder - friends that we had visited in Stockholm back in January.

Mon 22-Mar 04	Dublin  (Jason)

Random wandering around Dublin using up the disposable camera film and taking photos of things we'd seen dozens of times but never got around to photographing!

Wed 24-Mar 04	Dublin  (Jason)

I (Jason) made the final decision today to actually head home earlier than originally planned - will work until about the end of April and fly early May, instead of remaining in Ireland until early July.  Eventually worked out dates and booked flights on the 30th to fly from Heathrow on the 14th May '04.

Also finally had a nosey in the Celtic Whiskey Shop - very cool.

Sat 27-Mar 04	Dublin  - "Are You Experienced" Jimi Hendrix Tribute Concert  (Jason)

I felt like doing something tonight, but couldn't really decide what!  First I went to the Arlington Hotel / Knightsbridge Bar in the hope to catch some traditional music and dancing, but it was too packed due to an Ireland/Scotland football match on today - it was full of Scotsmen in kilts!  Next I went to Darkey Kelley's for some very good authentic Irish music and a great atmosphere with many locals getting up to sing also and then had some dinner at the Castle Inn pub just around along the road from the apartment.

I finally remembered about a Jimi Hendrix tribute concert that was on tonight at the Olympia Theatre, so I went off and bought a ticket (luckily it was a late concert, i.e. starting at Midnight).  The concert ("Are You Experienced") was very good - a good concert of Jimi's songs.  A good guitarist and singer that even looked a bit like him!

Sun 28-Mar 04	Dublin  (Jason)

Today I decided to go for another semi-random wander around Dublin to pass some time and see/photograph things that I had never got around to before.  First I discovered a memorial statue to Veronica Guerin in the Dublin Castle gardens which I'd never known was there, and then went on a long walk following the River Liffey down-stream (finding a Viking boat replica on the way) to the Grand Canal and Grand Canal Docks.  Quite a nice and interesting walk.

The River Liffey, Dublin
(from City Quay, with the Custom house in the distance)

Famine Memorial
Custom House Quay, Dublin

The Custom House, Dublin

Mon 29-Mar 04	Dublin (Jason)

The Smoking ban started today in Ireland - Totally smoke free pubs and restaurants from now on!!

Tue 30-Mar 04	Dublin (Jason)

Booked flight home from London (Heathrow) to Wellington for the 14th May. 
I also handed in my notice at Microsoft to finish work on Wednesday 5th May.
One and a half months left in Dublin/Ireland.


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