Day 14 - Saturday, September 22, 2018 - Overland to Dublin, Ireland; Visit an Apple Orchard; Orientation Drive of Dublin
All was quiet on the streets this morning after the celebrations last night. Today was our final travel day on the bus. The temperature was 49 degrees with a chance of showers.
Our Black Cab driver told us there were only two kinds of weather in Belfast. “If you could not see the mountains it was raining. If you could see the mountains it would be raining soon.”
Our departure was late today, we had breakfast and then left at 10:00. Richard had loaded our bags on the bus for one last time. The roads on the route to Dublin were in excellent shape and well lined. The EU had invested a lot of money into the infrastructure of both regions.
We stopped at an apple orchard, the Armagh Cider Company, in Ballinteggart, Northern Ireland. Phillip Troughton greeted us and his wife Helen offered all of us a bit of shortbread and a taste of apple juice.
He told us of the history of the plantation settlements of Northern Ireland and the requirements by the English crown to maintain apple orchards to make cider for the army.
When the plantations were broken up and portions sold off, his great grandfather bought the property in 1898. The house on the land was originally built in 1766.
His father planted more orchards and when Phillip took over the farm, he and Helen began a stud farm for breeding show horses. The Troughtons have 80 acres of apple trees. The special climate of Northern Ireland makes it possible to grow apples this far north.
Continuing to develop the apple and horse business over the years, they turned the apples into cider and processed Bramley apples for export. After down turns in the economy, they decided to produce apple cider or apple wine. The alcohol value varies from 3.5% up to 7%.
Phillip told us that Brexit would devastate his business because he did so much cross border trade with his cider and the apple juice. He also told us that the apples were picked by migrant labor from Eastern Europe. He is afraid those laborers will not be able continue working on the apple orchards.
Danny, another employee, took us on a trip through the small processing plant and the bottling machine floor. They were not pressing apples today, but they did yesterday and the smell of the fresh apple juice was delicious. He showed us the huge storage cooler where they can store apples at 3 degrees Celsius (37 F) for up to one year.
After a delicious lunch at the orchard, Helen and Phillip brought one of their award winning Connemara mares and her seven-month-old foal for us to see. Phillip told us of their prize line of horses and as we left the farm we saw more mares and young colts in the pasture.
We thanked Phillip and Helen and then we got back on to the bus. We left Northern Ireland and returned to the Republic of Ireland and the capital, Dublin.
Richard made a 15-minute coffee and restroom stop on M1 before we reached Dublin. We were back on the bus at 3:40. Before going to the hotel, he drove around the city for an orientation to our new neighborhood.
Thomas told us a little about the capital city, one of the most expensive of Europe. He advised us that there were some homeless people begging on the streets, but many of the beggars were a scam and made 300 € per day off of the tourists.
He pointed out the National Stadium for hurling, the hospital, the Millennial Tower, the Daniel O’Connell statue and bridge, Trinity College, the Bank of Ireland, Christ’s Church, and then we took a drive through Phoenix Park.
There are 660 licensed pubs in Dublin. Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and several other tech companies have their European Headquarters here.
It was 5:00 when we arrived at the hotel and thanked Richard for his safe driving and we gave him a little gift, a Colorado T-shirt we had brought from home.
We checked in to the hotel and found our room. It took us awhile to get another chair for our daily writing but we ended up trading an upholstered chair for a smaller one with Joe and Barbara next door. We did have the "handicapped accessible" bathroom that was huge!
We took a walk about the neighborhood and found many Asian restaurants as well as many of those Dublin pubs. At 7:00 we walked back to finish the journal and to look at the photos of the day.
Accommodations: Hotel 7 - Meals included: B & L
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Nice pic of the goat, hope you took a few of the horses!
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