Donie’s Ireland 5 Star Spots

        Friday 16th September 2011       

Dublin Zoooooooooo

Heidi the hippo happy with her new water baby The first hippo calf, pictured with its mum Heidi, born at Dublin Zoo in 10 years

THE first hippopotamus to be born at Dublin Zoo in a decade is starting to find her sea legs just days after her proud mother Heidi gave birth.

The female calf, weighing 30kg, is the third “zoo baby” to be born this autumn. Two red pandas were born in August. But the little bears have been hard to spot until now as their mother kept moving them to hiding places to protect them.                 …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….  What a Weekend I had in Cork                                                                          *****    *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****                            `            Friday 1st. July,                                                                                                     When Trevor my son invited me and Veronica my Wife, Enda & Elaine to a poetry reading by him and his NUIG graduates in Cork, I thought this was a good opportunity to go there and see for myself what changes have taken place in that part of Ireland since I was there some 28 years ago.

In the first place the three of them (Trevor & Enda) were quite small and Elaine was not born so it was an event to re-hash with them what we did then. I told them I drove a Ford Sierra with a 5 berth caravan towed behind all the way from another beautiful part of the world (the Yeats county of Sligo). Now that was not an easy job because the roads were not as good then as they are now, they were then very windy lots of pot holes and plenty of hills especially down around Kerry, I will never forget the MacGillycuddy Reeks, trying to negotiate those Mountains with a caravan on tow was like driving a donkey somewhere he did not want to go?

Saturday 2nd July:.                                                                                       But we made it then and we will make it now after all we have The City-Link luxury buses to get us there, and with their WI- FI service on board I could browse most of the 3.5 hours away.    I stayed in Galway in a B & B because busing it all the way from Sligo to Cork in one day would be a lot of Bus.

In Galway on the Saturday night we had a few drinks in that famous Heritage  pub of  O’Connors  in Salthill.  photo/image          I was very impressed by the great displays of implements from the early 1900. Singer sowing machines, Horses and donkeys harness attire, thousands of farm working implements,  and willow pattern delph-ware of all shapes and sizes not to talk about the pottery Whiskey Jars that intoxicated our fore Fathers and all visitors to these islands.  

Sunday 3rd. July:                                                                                        On Sunday I boarded the Blue & Yellow elegant City to City transporter to our destination the land of the rebels that is Cork. The journey was fairly smooth and trouble free while we passed the many landmarks of the journey south like the Rock of Cashel in Tipperary, the Rock of Cashel is the most visited Heritage site in Ireland. Rock of Cashel we passed Charleville and Mitchelstown where most of our Butter and Cheeses are manufactured. 

Hurrah we arrived in Cork via that famous old route of Patrick’s Street. I dismounted the Bus at the appointed CityLink bus stop along that  famous great banks of the River Moy Keys. Trevor and his friend Sandra were our guides to get to get to our place of accommodation for the two nights  Sheilas Hostel in 4 Belgrave Place, Wellington Road, Sheilas Hostel Cork - Exterior  Oh that very steep hill was difficult for the first time to climb but at the top I could see that  we were at the correct Hostel, what a relief?

I checked into the hostel at 6pm. the reception woman was nice and business like she listed out a few house rules and whats where before giving out the keys and the late night passes.  When I was about to go to the room I discovered something was missing? it was my Finepix Camera, I must have left it behind me on the bus so after a few queries about the with the hostel Girl I headed straight for the City link bus stop. there I spoke to some people waiting on other buses about the bus times of The City link Buses but nobody was too sure about the times,

Anyway I decided to wait a while at least until the next City link bus came, every bus driver that stopped I asked them but nobody could tell me for sure what the time schedules were they were all very helpful until a mini bus driver from Cork who was stopping off with 10 or 12 tourists for a meal across the road at a restaurant  there. This man was very friendly and helpful and went out of his way to ring up two City link drivers, their numbers he had on his mobile he said for me to wait for a return call from one of them,

I did this and while waiting this other City link bus stopped, I asked the driver who was a Lithuanian man if he could help me after explaining what happened. He said hop in and I will be be finished soon and |I will take you to the Marina where the buses are parked, I said that’s good so he dropped his last passenger  off and then drove to the Marina where there was one other City link bus parked there, I said to myself I hope this is the bus I came from Galway  on or goodbye Camera?

We both got on the bus to search and as he was about 6′-2” he could easily see overhead the bag luggage area that it was not there, and I tried to remember which side I was sitting on and I remembered it must be around here and sure enough there it was the black bag with the camera in it. I was very relieved to find it as we were to visit Phota Wild-life park and I wanted to get good quality photo’s of some of my favourite animals there.

I got back from the Marina by a taxi after walking a distance it was lucky because I was to join up with the rest of my family for a meal. I had learned earlier that the restaurant was Currans Restaurant Adelaide Street, Cork.    So I asked the Taxi driver to take me there, he did that after one false stop it was only 5mins away from the marina. I was just in time for the meal as the rest of the family had ordered theirs and I was very hungry by now. Currans Restaurant was chosen for our meal because it was recommended and they were correct, everything was spot on with a good fast service Prices are reasonable with an atmosphere of a well run establishment.

The interior of the restaurant theme was based on the use of seating from a Church mainly in its original state, a very unusual theme, it also had  a wine license.

After our nice meal we went to a Pub called The Pavilion  in Cork City it is located off Carey’s Lane for a drink , Dave Trevor’s friend from Cork and his girlfriend Christina joined us as well. this pub had some music    entertainment and there was a bit of  life around this place, some hen and stag groups and parties all in good spirits. after this we parted our ways and retired for the night.       Scotts Bar & Nightclub, Caroline Street, Cork City, 

Monday the 4th.                                                                                                                             I was up early with the gang and had breakfast in the Hostel before heading off for the Foto wildlife Park. We met up with Sandra and Trevor and got our tickets for the short train journey about 15 mins. to see the wild-life at Foto Island, Fota Wildlife Park I was really looking forward to this visit as it was about 28 years since my family’s last visit there and I had a better camera to get get good shots this time. We got off the train which  conveniently stops near the Park and the six of us went in to a park that looked much different than before, there were more shops cafes and better facilities all round.

Some of the gang got Ice cream to cool down as it getting very warm and approaching 12-30 the sun was getting higher in the sky. I started taking some photo’s with my FinePix sl 9600 but the batteries went flat there and then. I got told that I could get some batteries in the souvenir shop but it was half way around the circuit, anyway I went there and got a 4pk. of Duracell’s and put them in for action.

First action was getting a group of 3 different animals, the towering Giraffe’s Zebras  and a group of Oryx  with their long and dangerous fighting horns who were basking in the the midday Sun. all of these animals were close by the perimeter fence and it seemed as if they were posing for all the camera that were clicking around them. I continued going back to meet up with the gang again having got my batteries,                              on my way there I got a pair of young Cheetahs one of mine and Trevor’s favourite animals    again basking not in the Sun this time, but in the shade and under a big oak tree cooling down,          I got near to the wire perimeter fence to get a couple of good shots of them and then proceeded back to where a single Emu  was entertaining a group of people including a 12yr. old boy who was trying to defy the Emu with a stare into his eyes, but he was persuaded not to do this as the Emu  could easily have had his eyes for lunch.

I joined up with the rest of the gang shortly after this, at his point there were lots of Ducks, Geese, Swans and lots of other feathered friends running around not far from their habitat, but I was surprised when I saw a couple of black mute swans in the small lake among their white cousins because I never thought they existed,  In the same area there were 5-6 small monkeys  Colombian Black Spider Monkeysputting on a trapeze act show for the large gathering of onlookers, and they seemed to be enjoying it “that is the Monkeys” I mean  Here we see two Black-capped capuchin monkeys comparing notes. 

After this we headed towards the so called Orange route I think and there I saw about a half dozen of Bison happily grazing in the summer Sun,I got a few good shots of these hardy and durable animals. There were a couple more Cheetahs further on in a very secured compound who were finding it very  hard to get shelter from the glaring Sun.

As we moved on we heard that the Meerkats were out of there dens to see what was going on but when we got there they had gone back into hiding, I would have loved to see these very cute animals standing up on theit back legs.         A sneak view of the Meerkats. My next treat was to get glimpse of the Red faced Panda hugging the branches of a large oak tree one of them would not move mainly he was having a nap but I got a good photo of one of them Red Panda I would have loved to snatch one of these cuddly animals for my back garden  (Dream on Donal).Of course among all the good looking and much admired animals there is always the not so pretty one like the Brazillian Tapir who like the wetlands (It could be at home here)


One response to “Donie’s Ireland 5 Star Spots

  1. Just saw this now. Sounds like ye had a fun and eventful time in Cork. I think you need a neckstrap for that camera!

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