Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ireland the Beautiful

Rock of Cashel

We're taking our first down-time break of the trip.  Not exactly a pub crawl, though that may come later.  

Blarney is a lovely village beset by tourists.  This time of year is usually crowded, but the economic downturn has kept away all but the most determined tourists, and many of them are avoiding the rain at the moment.  So things seem pretty 'normal' for a place this size, at least to me.  It's quiet, peaceful, and people are just going about their business.  At about 2pm our local time, the buses will stop running quite so often and the owners of the White House, where we're staying, tell us that we'll have Blarney Castle pretty well to ourselves.

Still not sure about kissing the stone.

So far my favorite place has been Cahir Castle.  Dungeon cells, tower refuges, walkways with no safety rails (take that, poopyheaded overprotective gov'mints!) and plenty of nooks and crannies, plus a healthy dose of history, made the castle very special.  I could have spent twice as long there, but as it was they locked us in and we had to be let out with one other tardy group of German tourists that ran around one of the walls taking pictures of each other hanging precariously out of various crenellations.  We wouldn't do anything nearly that silly.  Much more sensible to tickle each other while going up steep staircases or climbing onto narrow ledges off of towers.


The Rock of Cashel was also fun, but more crowded, and we weren't able to get up into the kewl parts.  They're still restoring the poor thing, which has seen better days.  Despite this, some partial paintings (!!) survived and were restored in pieces.  Others were so fragile they were sealed behind an opaque covering for future generations more clever than us to restore.  The Rock has a beautiful view of a Cistercian Abbey that we didn't have time to see, and besides, it looked like a long, muddy trek to it and it had been sprinkling off and on.

So many places to visit, all old, all beautiful and mysterious and interesting.  I'm looking out at Blarney Castle from our window, hoping the rain will give up soon.  The weatherman (aka morale officer) has been telling the locals we'll have better weather any time now.

Any time.  Really.

But honestly, it hasn't rained as hard or steadily as it does at home.  If they think this is bad, boy, they're got another thing coming if they visit our neck of the woods.  And yet, I hear tell that we have sunshine.  My garden has probably exploded!  I'm looking forward to the rest of our vacation, but I have to admit that sometimes I close my eyes and remember how my roses and peonies looked last year, and imagine Wizard in my lap purring up a storm.


Melissa said...

We've been having spring weather here...2 days of 80's temps followed by 2days of cold and wet (50's)with SNOW in the COAST range and Cascades, followed by yesterday where it was sunny and 70 again. Weird!

Beautiful pics!

Anonymous said...

Interesting lil trip. Fired up GE to take in the environs. South Tipperary has some of the worst satellite photos I've ever seen there, Cork OTOH, has some pretty good ones. PanOramio has a lot a photo posts there as well as Cahir/Caher. Kind of wondering at the damage, when the Wiki link said they always surrendered...


C.S. said...

DON'T kiss the stone.

It's peed on as well as kissed. Straight from someone who occasionally tour-guides there.

Kami said...

I've done worse, so I don't care. Besides, it was raining all day. Gorgeous castle, gorgeous gardens, and in theory now I'm a better liar.

Or maybe I lied about kissing the stone ...