Subject: Back from Ireland
Hi Ziners.... Just got back from Ireland with a side visit to Manchester to visit friends last Monday night. Brief run down with full travelogue and photo album to follow....

UK...Main objective was hanging out with friends but managed to visit the Hatworks Hat museum in Stockport, very interesting! And visited Matlock Bath, a former Spa town. We walked the promenade, had lunch in a pub and went up to the Heights of Abraham on a cable car but didn't have time to investigate the mining cavern and other displays up there this time. Also drove through Eyam, in Derbyshire where the town isolated itself during an outbreak of plague and thus spared the surrounding area from contamination though many of its own residents died.

Ireland... Spent a weekend in Dublin with 10 friends at the Harcourt Hotel on Harcourt street... good hotel, about 90 euro per double room i think so reasonable. They have a late night residents bar where there is trad music played as long as there are people to listen to it. The main bar is loud disco music.

Walked around Dublin and gazed in admiration at the Georgian architecture, Christchurch cathedral with the amazing tiled floor, sifting through goods in a covered market (I didn't know there were *that* many flavours if Turkish Delight!), walking over the Ha'penny bridge over the liffy, watching the sunset over Dublin bay from Sandy Cove (near Dun Laoghaire), stunned at the complex intricacy of the Book of Kells.

We took a short Globus tour around the usual south east and west routes and jaw dropping Ring of Kerry, Jaunting car ride through the Killarney national park, watched Waterford Crystal being made which is a really interesting tour, developed a taste for Guinness in 250 year old thatched roofed pubs, braved the windy paths over the Cliffs of Moher on a brilliantly sunny morning. I know most of you don't take tours but we like to get a taste of what's there and now i know i want to go back to see more of Galway City, Dingle peninsula, the south coast, and venture further into the Connemara as well as spend a bit more time in Dublin.

I also spent a few days in Cobh, in county Cork which is a lovely (but steep hilled) town. we drove around the countryside a bit, explored the cathedral and i spent a lovely hour or two looking at the animals in Fota Island Wilderness park even if it did mean i had to go to Ireland to see Giraffes! :) I was really lucky with the weather and only had dark days mostly when traveling on planes and trains or a couple of days in Manchester that were spent shopping or visiting anyway.