Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ireland--Day One: A Coupla Castles ... and a Rock

Kathy, my good friend and travelling companion, snores.

My mother, who is reading this, at this very moment is remembering that time when she woke up in a hotel room we were sharing, only to find me sleeping in the closet in order to get away from her snoring.

What I'm saying here is:  I'm a hell of a light sleeper, and I find it damn near impossible to go to sleep when there's noise in the room.

Kathy and I turned in somewhere in the 10:00 hour, and by about 1:15, I still hadn't fallen asleep.  I even had earplugs (which I'd brought for the flight over), and I still couldn't fall asleep -- because when I jammed them in well enough to block out Kathy, I was distracted by the sound of my own breathing.

I must have eventually fallen asleep, because Kathy woke me at 7:00 -- after, thanks to the earplugs, I'd slept through two alarms and Kathy's shower.

There was an insanely easy solution to this problem, however.  When attempting to escape my mother's snoring on that trip, I'd ended up having to move to a different hotel.  Here, there was a single supplement of about $170 for the whole week.  (I even offered to pay this for both me and Kathy.)  As soon as we got picked up by the tour company, I asked to switch us to separate rooms, and it was a done deal.  :)

Accommodations thus settled, we joined our tour group:  12 of us and a tour guide.  (As it turned out -- 3 married couples and 6 people (now including me and Kathy) travelling alone.)  We all picked this company (Vagabond Tours) because we like tours that are a bit adventurey, a bit off the beaten path, and NOT at all 60 people on a tour bus stopping every couple hours for a photo stop.

The first day, however, was the most driving AND the most touristy.  But our guide (Rob) was right -- by dinnertime, this morning at Dublin seemed like two days ago.

(And, since there's internet access at tonight's hotel, I can journal with the photos RIGHT NOW.  'Course, I still can't remember all of it.)

First stop:  Dunamase Castle.  Looks like this:

Noteable because the noble running this location was responsible for bringing the English into Ireland.  (Story was that he asked England to help him fight a local battle.  And, of course, the English were more than willing to oblige.  And stay for a bit.)

Next stop was the Rock of Cashel.  Involved a cathedral.  Looked like this:
It was at the Rock of Cashel that I really started noticing just how green the country is.  I mean, it's so darned wet around here, even the insides of the walls are green.
From here, we piled back in the vehicle... (I think there may have been lunch in there, at a pub, where some nice folks explained the basics of the Gaelic Football match that was on TV) ...and drove on to Tourist Central ... aka Blarney Castle.  It looks like this:
Did I kiss the Blarney Stone?  No.  (What?  You want me to be more wordy?)  Truth is, I didn't even look at it.  You can't tell from this picture, but by the time we got to Blarney Castle, the sky was actually blue, with little white puffy clouds.  I weighed my options of climbing the steep and awkward stairs (after my ankle was already complaining, and I wasn't wearing an elastic brace) to look at a stone (whose only significance was in legend) against sitting outside in the pretty garden in what passes for a sunny afternoon in Ireland.  I went with the latter.  Kathy went on up to check out the stone, though no lip-to-surface contact took place.  (The doctor in our tour group wouldn't kiss it on account of germs, and most of us deferred to his expertise on this count.)

Continued on to ... where the hell am I?  [Looking at room key.]  Gougane Barra; staying at the Gougane Barra hotel -- a little B&B which is ... well, I can best describe the location by showing you the view from Kathy's window:
Yes.  Those are sheep.

And now ... to lay out my clothes for tomorrow and get a good solid night's sleep.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are living one of my dreams. (You can ask for the stone to be especially cleaned for your smooch, but still, no thanks.)