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|
|A garden behind 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|
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.