Ireland August 2-7Again, very thankfully, another straightforward transfer and car pick-up from Hertz. These car hire people sure know how to increase the costs. We got a Satnav but at 12 Euro per day it's really expensive. Not just the cost but she's even flakier than Mary in the Citroen! Most of the time the routes are good but she's prone to getting you in the wrong lane and turning the wrong way. I suspect big hire companies get big job lots from the electronics companies and in turn, they provide a no-frills machine. We've come across so many roads not recognised they don't update the software very often. We had to change the car as the wipers were w***ed and you really do need wipers in Ireland. Ah, modern technology...I suppose there had to be a part of the trip that wouldn't turned out as well as expected and Ireland has proven to be it. Our trip to the West started badly as we never made the rendezvous we hoped for. Ros did get to see some of her parent's village and after a 40+ year gap some things were clear enough but others were different. Houses she'd remembered as big, looked really small compared to today's houses.My visit to my mum's village of Shranalee also proved a disappointment as it's a ghost town now, looking very sad and neglected. The Celtic tiger bypassed this village, big time. The river and lake were much as remembered and they could still be a great source of fishing fun if I'd had the time or tackle - all totally unchanged and still full of fish, I'd imagine.We decided to cut our losses and head back to Dublin when I spotted a Celtic round tower off the main road. This brought back a memory of my grandfather's funeral 50 years ago so we pulled off the road for a look around the cemetery. After a while we called off our search as we needed to get on the road again but just as we were going through the gate Ros spotted the headstone. It was difficult to read and had lichen on it but it was my Irish grandparents grave alright. Funny how it gives such peace of mind, finding out your ancestors resting place.Ireland has been disappointing weather wise, no surprise, really but it's not much warmer than NZ. It was 15C at lunchtime yesterday but I have managed to wear my sunnies for a couple of hours. Things are twice the price of NZ and for many things, half the value, too. The standard of service is generally poor and the quality, low. All this represents very poor value for money. If NZ looks towards Ireland as an economy worth copying then I'd have to say we need to look elsewhere as we haven't seen many examples of excellence, here. We did have an excellent Irish stew last night, though. Another really positive thing about Ireland is the driving - for the most part drivers are very courteous and the roads aren't too congested. Seems the further West you go, the more tolerant the driving.I'd had this need to go back to see the old places but perhaps you shouldn't go back - just leave the old memories intact. Roll on Paris.