Before I get into this entry let me first apologize for not posting more sooner. It has been a very trying week between me getting a nasty upper respiratory infection, Melanie’s wisdom teeth coming in, and now Melanie having to endure the respiratory infection that I just got over. That plus traveling to France has made my time and energy for posting fairly obsolete… but I’m back and going to try to post several days worth of material today (9/2/17).
We woke up today feeling very refreshed, considering we finally actually had a decent sized bed all to ourselves, in addition we were starting to get adjusted to the time difference. We wanted to go sightseeing today so we packed up for our trip and were preparing to leave when our host (Valerie) came over with a traditional Irish breakfast. Let me tell you these guys don’t play around! There were 3 different meats: Irish bacon (which was like thick cut ham); sausage links; and white pudding (another form of sausage, but you don’t want to know what’s in it, at least that’s what we were told), there was also fried eggs. Man oh man it was delicious, I wish I took a picture but it was so tasty we just gobbled it up!
After breakfast we were off! We made our way to a local tourist attraction “The Rock of Cashel.” This was an ancient castle that was in ruins but still well enough intact to walk through portions. This was our first true castle that we had ever seen and it was quite magnificent. We skipped the guided tour and opted for the cheaper route (free) of a self guided walk around. The castle itself was pretty incredible and around the outside was a massive graveyard where people to this day can still be buried (I’d imagine for a hefty price). The weather was pretty incredible that day and set up for some amazing scenery for the distant mountains. We walked around for an hour or two taking in the sights and admiring the beauty. After that we walked down to a local pub nearby and refueled on some smithwicks (another common Irish beer brewed in Killarney).
After a delicious pint we walked to another nearby attraction “Hore Abbey.” This was an ancient monastery that was also left in ruins, even more so than the castle, but still had a sense of mystery and beauty. We walked around the abbey for a while taking a great number of pictures as well as doing a bit up climbing. We then decided that this would be a great place to have lunch. So, we set up a picnic on one of the end ramparts that over looked the rock of Cashel and enjoyed the amazing prolonged sunny weather (which is a rarity in Ireland) as well some sandwiches and fruit.
Once we finished our lunch (which was really an early dinner) it was around 4 o’clock and we decided it would be a good time to head back home. So we made our way back to the car, plugged in the directions to the gps and headed back. About 20 minutes into ride home (which was only about a 20 min drive) we realized that nothing looked familiar and that it didn’t appear we were going in the right direction. We pulled over and sure enough our gps was trippin and taking us to the middle of county Tipperary (not where we were staying). At this points both of our phones were at about 15% with no charger in hand and we were in the middle of the country with not much around us. We started getting a little flustered and worried because we were clueless as to how to get back so we pulled out a good ole fashion map and tried to navigate our way back home. Thankfully we got back on track and in the process got to see some amazing rainbow action across the mountains and sky. We actually straight up saw the end of a rainbow and both of course made copious leprechaun and pots of gold jokes. Sadly we found neither!
After an extra hour or so of driving we finally arrived back at our airbnb. We relaxed for a bit, recharged ourselves as well as our electronics and eventually ate some dinner. That night our host told us of a local pub where there was usually live Irish music as well cheap pints. Of course we had to go, so we walked into town and found the pub named McArthys and sure enough nearly the whole town was there. We order some pints and stood around listening to the music. Oddly enough there was no stage or area of performance it was just a table of about 11 people all playing various instruments and seeing (along with the rest of the pub) this was such a cool experience and one like I have never seen before. After a pint or two we loosened up and began talking to some of the locals.
There was one man in particular who was extremely chatty and would not stop talking about his love for speed (yes the drug) he must have offered a good 20 times and mentioned his love for it at least 100. We of course declined each time he asked but we did find his antics quite amusing as did the rest of the bar who knew him quite well and quickly alerted us that he was harmless. After another pint we actually ended up meeting the owner of the pub (funny enough one the main guitarist who was sitting down and playing) and had some great conversation with him and few others in the bar. We stayed until the bar was closing down and then stumbled our way back home enthused yet exhausted. All in all today was an amazing day!