Day 13 - To Donegal
Our breakfast was full of the stuff that made it into my dreams last night - completely gorgeous.
The morning sun was strong, the sky was powdery blue and there wasn't a cloud to be seen, it was perfect. My jeans and trainers were still a bit wet from the hawk walk last night but I was more than happy to swap them for sandals and half mast jeans - to take a summer stroll through the gardens. Yes, we felt like royalty :)
Later, we took the paths through the woods and marvelled at all the old gnarled trees. Unfortunately, the weather last night had left huge muddy puddles, thinking I was being clever I tried to circumvent them and ended up in something like a peat bog, which came way past my ankles and covered the bottoms of my jeans. Obviously, this was met with much hilarity (from everybody but me). I had black Birkenstock on but the thick black mud that covered all of my feet made it look like I was just wearing black boots - it wasn't a good look. I couldn't possibly have walked back up the several flights of stairs back to our room like that so dh went in and asked for some help. Several minutes later someone appeared with a bucket and towel, when I say covered in mud - I actually mean caked and it was clear that a solitary bucket wasn't going to make much difference. A few attempts later, we were ushered to a corner where a hosepipe appeared and I was hosed down like a horse. Again, this provided excellent entertainment for the rest of the family.
All packed up, we set off for our final leg of the holiday - Donegal. The sun was still shining so we stopped off at the beach at Mullaghmore. This was without doubt one of the cleanest beaches I've ever been on, it was spotless. The wind had picked up a little and the sand on the ground blew around making pretty patterns, it was amazing to watch. A big sandy, wet dog later we resumed our course for Donegal. Due to a mix up with our last booking (bet you're surprised at that!) we didn't actually book the last cottage until the morning we set off from the UK and due to our lack of data it had been difficult to contact the owner. She'd sent a couple of emails asking what time we would be arriving as someone called Seamus had the keys and would leave them somewhere safe. We'd text her to say that we'd be there about 2pm. The cottage wasn't our first choice as it was one of many, situated in the grounds of a manor house. We usually prefer to be away from it all, but at 6:00 am when you're setting off for a ferry, it would suffice. We arrived at Rathmullen House and the cottages looked ok, there were about 30 spread throughout the grounds, they just looked like A-frame wooden lodges (but built out of stone).
We went into Rathmullen House and had afternoon tea outside on the lawn, it was delightful and there was a sandy beach at the bottom of a wooded trail, perfect. But we still couldn't contact the owner or find Seamus. Now finding an Irishman in Ireland called Seamus was relatively easy, and we met at least three in the grounds of Rathmullen but unfortunately none of these were our Seamus. We checked with reception and they also knew a couple of Seamus' but after a couple of calls, these weren't our Seamus either. Armed with a picture of our cottage, dh and I took a walk to see if Seamus was hanging around in it. We did indeed find the cottage, identified by a large colourful rose bush outside - but no Seamus. At this point we thought we might be stranded in Donegal, but the sun was still shining so it wasn't time to panic yet. We could see through the patio doors that the cottage was immaculately clean so I was beginning to feel better. Dh had a good idea, the owner told us that Seamus would leave the key somewhere safe so we lifted up the plant pot and the key was indeed there. Bingo! We let ourself in and dh went to bring the car and the bags round. I went to use the bathroom and as I was spending a penny, noticed that there were toiletries in the bathroom. You can imagine how quickly I got off the loo, a quick check in the kitchen cupboards confirmed my suspicions, this cottage was actually occupied and I'd just had a wee in their toilet. I removed myself as quickly as I could, put the key back under the plant pot and high tailed it after dh, I've never moved so quickly in my whole life. I'm sorry for using their bathroom but who keeps their holiday home that tidy it looks as if it's just been made up? - someone without children, I suspect!
We quickly gathered up the rest of the brood, crammed everyone back into the car and decided to leave the grounds whilst we thought of a new plan. Obviously there was no mention of the bathroom visit as they'd be sure to say it was karma for yesterday. By this time everyone was hungry so we stopped at the Silver Tassie hotel and restaurant for dinner and to work out what we were going to do next. The food was awful, we got 2 portions of potato skins to share for starters - they usually come in 4's but here we got one. The kids faces were a picture! The main courses had been deep fried to within an inch of their lives, taken from the fryer and then put back in it to make sure that inch was refried (but it did have wifi!). There were more important things to worry about though, it was looking increasingly like we had nowhere to stay tonight and as it was dusk, we really needed to get a move on. Dh set off, leaving us in the restaurant (in case the owner responded to email) back to Rathmullen House for one last attempt at locating Seamus and if not, trying to find a b&b on the way back. As soon as he'd left the owner called me and apologised for forgetting to give us Seamus' contact details. Now I had Seamus' contact details but couldn't get hold of dh as his phone was going straight to voicemail. I spoke to Seamus and explained dh was on his way and would be driving round aimlessly looking for him. At this Seamus jumped in his van and went in search of a rogue Hyundai traversing the grounds of a manor house. The plan worked and Seamus found Michael in the grounds where he got the key for the right cottage.
By the time we got unpacked and settled, it was more or less bedtime.
I was a little bit cross as it felt like we'd wasted over half a day and when you've only got 2 full days left, time is very, very precious...