The following is my day by day account of traveling through Ireland during the summer of 2009.
After peacing out of Limerick with the quickness, we hopped back on the highway and headed to Cork. Limerick if you read my previous post is often referred to as “stab city,” so coupled with that and the fact there isn’t much to see there, we took off. Well let me rephrase that, there might be great things to see in Limerick, we just had other things we’d rather do elsewhere.
So along the way toward cork, we passed by Bunratty castle, which 20 years prior we (the Breslin family) had enjoyed this cool (for a 7 year old) traditional dinner set in medieval times. Flash forward to today, and that same dinner now costs $90/person ($60 euro). $90 for something akin to medieval times/dinner show at The Excalibur in Vegas, hmmm let me think about that for a sec… nope, gonna keep driving.
So we decided that we were going to stop for sure at the Blarney castle, as my mother hadn’t kissed it 20 years ago (though I guess she didn’t need its “gift”). Quick sidenote: the Blarney Castle is most famous for its “stone” whereby legend has it, that if you kiss said stone, you will be granted the gift of gab. Being a fan of silly superstitions, i made the whole family climb the absurdly narrow stairways up to the top of this castle, and all get down on our backs, hanging 8 stories up to kiss this stone…. and then we all put purell on our lips. Quick tip: make sure you get the soft worn stone, and don’t worry about falling, no one has fallen that I’m aware of.
After exploring Blarney and its gardens, we headed back towards Dublin. Along the way we needed gas, so we stopped in the town of Cashel, where we ended up seeing the Rock of Cashel, and having one of the most amazing meals I’d had so far in Ireland. Scratch that, THE most amazing meal I’d had so far. Cashel Tip: Go eat at Cafe Hans, the cheaper lunch-only sibling of the ridiculously expensive chez Hans (both on same street). Oh yeah, and we couldn’t find any gas (apparently the one gas station I could find closed early).
Cashel is this beautiful shell of a cathedral/fortress which sits above the town on a rock/hill looking over everything. Most of the buildings on the rock date to the 12th century, but legend has it that the rock is tied to St. Patrick and his banishing of Satan to some nearby cave in the 5th century… Now I kinda wish I’d gone to see this cave!
After we explored the town of Cashel (not that exciting), we hopped back on the road to continue our search for gas. Unlike in the States, gas is rarely by the entrances to the highway, you have to go INTO town for it. So make sure you get gas before you absolutely need it, as you may not actually find an open gas station.
Next up: Dublin!