Thank you for your kind comments on the first post - they will get shorter, promise!
We made our way back to base camp, (with three very happy children and a dog who was slightly stir crazy after living like a battery hen) where we bade a fond farewell to our noble steeds. I caught my eldest giving the horses a treat and pet when she thought nobody was looking - so there is hope after all.
We set off in fine spirits to Tipperary, our stop en route to Killarney - route planning is not our forte and the Sat Nav (which dh assured me covered all Ireland) is rubbish, we can't find anything. As I am now banned from ever singing 'She'll be Coming Round the Mountain' or 'The Deadwood Stage' again, an extra long version of 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary' took their place which obviously went down to a similar reception. Grandma joined in though :)
I don't know what I was expecting to find in Tipperary but I was disappointed - to be fair, basing expectations on a trench song is a tad extreme but I was determined to at least have my photo taken by the sign and buy a fridge magnet. So we searched (and searched) for said sign. I made dh drive in and out from every road we could see but still no luck. We couldn't find Tourist Info but we passed the Police Station and to my kids horror, I jumped out and asked the Policeman - who said he'd never heard of such a sign -but he did give us directions to Tourist Info. Undeterred, I marched the family round Tipperary (on the promise of a good lunch) until we found Tourist Info and a kind lady who did indeed know the sign and drew me a map. Next was to find a fridge magnet. There was a shop that had some souvenir t-shirts in the window so I popped in, no luck but there was an older Irish lady who advised us of a souvenir shop just up the road, where we could indeed purchase such a magnet. However, the girl on the till explained that the chap who owns the shop only opens on weekends or during really busy periods. At this, the older lady went ballistic, calling the man selfish and disgusting - when fine people like ourselves couldn't buy a magnet just because of his laziness. She pointed out an electrical store across the road that might have one. At this I left in a hurry, scared that if we talked any longer she'd arrange a lynch mob for the shop owner and a search party for a Tipperary fridge magnet. The electrical shop, bizarrely had one Tipperary fridge magnet - the lady had come along with us to make sure of it. We thanked her profusely and she promised to give the shop owner a piece of her mind the very next time she saw him.
We didn't see anywhere we particularly fancied for lunch so we headed for the sign and sure enough, it was there. Again, I emptied the car of everyone (except the dogs) for the photo op. In hindsight, it wasn't a great idea as it was on the side of a dual carriageway type road but hey we got some great pics and nobody got squished so it ranked as a major success :)
We decided to stop at a restaurant on the way - one in a beautiful location that served traditional food, where we could eat in the beer garden with the dogs. After an hour or so, a fish and chip shop would have sufficed (I was so hungry I could've eaten my own leg) but alas we must have taken the only route that doesn't offer food!
We arrived at the cottage and to say it was beautiful would be the underestimate of the year. It was situated high up in the mountains (well more of a hill) surrounded by farms; a picture perfect large white house with a thatched roof containing spotlessly clean bathrooms and enough beds to have a couple each.
My DD spotted the wifi code on entry and proclaimed her undying love. The ground floor bedroom had 5 beds in it, 3 of them doubles with an en-suite so we didn't see the girls for quite some time.
Bear in mind that I hadn't showered (couldn't do cold water) in three days and literally the only item of clothing I had changed or removed (due to having misplaced my bag in a 5 foot caravan and having sopping wet PJ's from night 1)) were my socks (and only because I stole dh's!), I was seriously offending my own nostrils. A mixture of campfires, horses, dogs and grit is a smell you just don't get used to so I headed straight for the shower and I swear it was the best shower I've had in my whole life. The girls who weren't so concerned with personal hygiene were forced from their internet connection and into the bath. Also just to add, on reviewing the (hugely successful) Tipperary sign post photo shoot, I noticed that I had my shirt buttoned up incorrectly - it was very much lopsided, which means it had been like that for 3 days and nobody had thought of mentioning it to me!
We went for a lovely walk to take in our new surroundings, the scenery was breathtaking and as it grew dark we ate pizza loaded with unmentionable goodies in front of the wood burning stove. All toasty warm and stuffed to the gills it was time to climb into a proper bed. Dogs aren't allowed in the bedrooms so we had to prise little doggy from under Grandmas armpit before retiring - much to both of their displeasure. Monster dog was just pleased to be out of the caravan and able to turn around.
It was a wonderful feeling to be clean and in a proper bed - I laid awake for a while, looking at the myriad of stars through the velux window above my head (I'm sure there are loads more stars in Ireland than England) and expecting to hear the tiny pitter patter of grandmas feet sneaking downstairs in the middle of the night to retrieve small dog, but to everyone's surprise they both survived a full night apart.
Full day in Dingle planned for tomorrow - hope the sat nav plays ball