There are times, just every now and again you understand,  when I surprise myself in a good way.

Oh trust me, there are plenty of times when I surprise myself in  a not so good way.  Times when perhaps I think or respond in such a way that is contrary to how I like to conduct myself or like to think.  And whilst these times are disappointing, even concerning, I seem to have almost accepted them as part and parcel of who I am.  That is not to say that I like them or simply accept them. Because I don’t.  And yes, they still bother me.

But when I surprise myself in a good way these times do tend to have a bigger impact or be more noteworthy somehow.

And yesterday (rolling into this morning also) was one such a time.  Let me explain…

My daughter Janey has flown in and is visiting with me at the moment. and one of the things that she is keen to do, whilst she is here, is to get me out of the house more.  And so she was keen that we did a few road trips, hiring a car just for that purpose.

At the same time, I have been really wanting to make this visit really special. And so – knowing that there are certain things which she has never experienced in life (or things which she only experienced when very young and thus can’t really remember) – we got in the car very early yesterday morning and went on a road trip.

I hadn’t told her where we were going, just that we were going on a road trip.  Which, I kind of thought was important for her to know, since I don’t drive an d thus Janey would be doing all the driving.

IMG_1081Off we set, bright and early in the morning and drove across Ireland – which, as most locals and visitors would know, – is particularly beautiful, stopping for an  early morning coffee at New Ross.

Before heading off again on our travels.  I have to tell you that I love these times in the car together. As additional to the wonderful scenery that we experience, it also gives us time to just sit and chat with little to no distractions.

IMG_1084Our fist main stop was at the wonderful seaside town of Dungarvan. As I wanted Janey to see a small Irish coastal castle.

Dungarvan Castle is a polygonal shell keep. An Anglo-Norman  fortification founded in 1185 at the mouth of the River Colligan.  ‘Shell keeps’ are fairly rare in England and Ireland alike and this one is even rarer as it is one of the few ‘Royal’ castle to be built in Ireland.

But this was, for Janey, on our road trip to be but a small taste of what was to come. As from here we drove the short 20 minute drive over to Lismore and to the much more spectacular and breath-taking Lismore Castle.

Lismore Castle

Here is a smaller IMG_1085pic that we took from the car as we drove up to it.

I can’t even begin to tell you the joy I got from seeing Janey’s eye’s light up when she first saw it.

It really is a very impressive building  The Irish home of the Duke of Devonshire.  Sadly it is not open to members of the public but can be rented out if you have the mind and wallet.budget to do so.

Suffice to say I decided not to rent the castle for the day on this particular occasion, LOL. And so, once we had viewed it, we drove on and to the destination that I had in mind for us that day.

One of the things which Janey only experienced when she was very young and thus has very little recollection or true appreciation of, was going to the zoo. And so when we drove up to the Fota Wildlife Park in Carringtwohill, County Cork and once she had realised what kind of attraction we were at, it was a real delight to see the joy on her face.  And that was something which continued as we experienced her seeing all the different animals up close (only 3 or 4 feet away) and personal.

Fota Wildlife Park – which I have never been to myself before yesterday – is set in some 70 acres.  And man was that one heck of a long walk.  Especially when you are built as heavily as I am and with the mobility issues that I have.


But the wildlife is extremely well cared for and have ample room to roam and to have a good and healthy and also -0 from what we could see – and interesting and well-cared for  life.

I have to say that I personally, am not a fan of zoos etc. Nor of keeping wild animals in captivity for that matter. But this is, as far as I could tell, a very well managed Wildlife Park with an excellent ethic when it came to animal care and offers an excellent education and presentation  of over 30 mammals and 50 bird species.

But that ‘ample room to roam’ that the animals enjoy whilst being excellent for them, did mean one heck of a hike for me.  And that is the part which surprised me in such a good way.

Thankfully the park also has plenty of benches and seating areas dotted about along the route.  And certainly we took our time going round the path. But man did it ever take a lot out of me an d this morning I am walking like a zombie.

BUT, and this is the huge one for me, I managed it! And additionally I am not in as much pain and not struggling as much as I thought I would be today.  Of course, I accept that it is still early and I realise that I usually get worse as the day progresses after such things.

Fota Wildlife Park

But I am claiming a victory here!  And I am so grateful to Janey for the encouragement and support that she is.  So yes, I have pleasantly surprised myself, and I am determined to achieve even more things today as well!