Saturday, May 9, 2015

Ireland: Dublin, Kilkenny, Cashel and arrival in Blarney

Good morning, Ireland!

Ok, so the fire alarm in the middle of the night wasn't great. I was pretty tired when I took the shuttle bus from the Travel Lodge back to the Dublin Airport in the morning to pick up my rental car, but I wasn't in a hurry because I wasn't due to pick up the car until after 12.

I had a "full Irish breakfast" at the airport and then went to get the car a little early. Turns out that the car I booked with my prepaid Mastercard wasn't able to be paid for with that card, so I walked next door and got a car from a different company. No biggie. I ended up getting an upgrade to a Nissan Juke (which makes me think of Kriss who used to drive one). It's a manual transmission, black, diesel with a great stereo.

At some point (possibly when having my Irish breakfast), I booked a hotel in Kilkenny. Quick side note here: I never would have gone to Kilkenny if it wasn't for my hosts in Copenhagen who have a travel blog of their own.

So, in the car and off to Kilkenny

About an hour and a half later after driving in a heavy rain, I reached my hotel and was so exhausted that I made the executive decision to do a quick tour of the city, pick up supplies (water, fruit, lunch) and go back to the hotel, close the blinds and only leave for a fast food dinner, which was basically in the parking lot of the hotel. I needed (and took) a day off.

The next day, the sun was shining. I was well rested and ready to explore. 

These Irish towns love their colorful buildings

Isn't this just the most charming town you've ever seen

Kilkenny Castle
A garden behind Kilkenny Castle
Kilkenny Castle
Cute shop name!
This massive mural is hidden behind a wall with peaky holes in it. There are "wanted" signs
for Alice Kyteler on the wall, the first person in Ireland to be accused of and killed for witchcraft. 

Having finished my fun morning tour of Kilkenny, I hopped in the car and set the GPS for Cashel. I'd read about it, too, on my friends' blog and thought I'd give it a look. But first, I pulled over to chat to some cows. It started off where they were all spread out in a field, but once I got talking..

They got interested!

I have to say that meeting up with friends in France, Italy and Denmark was just the best. I would not have lasted as long on my travels if I hadn't had time with friends. Being alone does get lonely. But it also has some advantages, like sleeping all day or stopping to randomly say hi to cows. =)

Cashel is another super cute town. It's almost a little Stepford. EVERYONE is super nice and helpful and they keep the place clean. The Rock of Cashel is where I was heading. I showed up, bought a ticket and was told that a tour had just started (see, my travel ju ju IS back). I joined the tour and walked around Cormac's Chapel.

Have a read about the Sarcophagus and Cormac's Chapel here.

Local kids used to play in the ruins, when the roof started
 to collapse, it was removed for safety

Irish  Cross in the foreground, Hore Abbey in the background.
This is where Queen Elizabeth II visited on her first trip to Ireland.

A chunk of the roof that blew off in a great wind storm!

The colors are naturally made (From plants and animal blood)
The Cross of Cashel - 1200's
And then I had lunch and wandered around the town. 

After my delicious Irish lunch of roast potatoes, mashed potatoes, chicken battered and baked and vegetables steamed to death (all smothered in gravy), I got back in the car and drove through Limerick county to Blarney. 

I'm staying at an adorable B&B within walking distance of the town and Blarney Castle (which I will explore tomorrow morning). Tonight, I had dinner at The Square Table restaurant. It was INCREDIBLE. And the people behind me were raving about their food too. Highly recommend. And on the walk home in a beautiful sun shower, I took this panorama. Everything here is so green. I didn't want to overwhelm you with 48,000 pictures of grass. So, here are two pictures.

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