Friday 3 May 2013

Ireland: Day Eleven - Blarney, Cahir, Cashel and Kilkenny

I spent about an hour writing a nice long and detailed post - only to have it get deleted on me. Grrrrrr!

Last night was fun - a group of us hung out at the hotel with some people, one of which was hilarious and telling some awesome jokes. The tour guide even joined us for a bit.

Anyways, we were up early this morning to make our way to the Blarney Stone in hopes of getting a jump on the other tours. I had been looking forward to the stone and planned on kissing it, until I got there. Before we departed the guide told us it was a very bad idea to go if people were:

A) Not good with heights
B) Claustrophobic

I am both. So I passed. I afterward saw pictures from people who did do it and am I am super glad I didn't... I would have been really freaked out, especially with the whole laying down and someone holding your legs. Out of the 40 people on the tour maybe 10 did it.... I heard a lot of complaining about having to pay $10.00 to kiss a stone, and the people who did it were unsure if it was even a stone they were kissing. Instead, a group of us hung out and wandered around town.

Our next stop was to see the Cahir Castle which is said to be Ireland's best preserved castle. This was a really enjoyable visit. It was great to walk through and see how it would have been used and the history that surrounds it. I think dad enjoyed it, but his initial question was "Is this something with nice furniture or just another skylight?" Referencing all the castles that are basically in ruins. It was a bit of both - limited amount to furniture and some ruins. I still really enjoyed it, but can see why dad prefers visiting the more palace/modern castles. They are a little more fun.

We stopped at the Rock of Cashel for a quick photo stop --- so quick I missed it. I was actually engrossed in "The Breadboy" trying to finish it so I could give it to the guide. I didn't realize that was what we were stopping for until we left. Oops! Alvin (someone in the group of people we have been hanging out with) said he would email me a copy when we got home. (I did actually finish the book just after the stop... It was very enjoyable!)

Aside from the limited stops, we did a lot of driving today. I am officially sick of the bus. We noticed the further away from the north we go, the less sheep we see. Don't get me wrong, we still see a lot... But not millions of them like the past few days. Actually our guide was talking to a group of us last night about the sheep industry. Years ago when he was younger his family owned 200 sheep. Back then it cost $1.50 to sheer them and the wool sold for $5.00 leaving you with a $3.50 profit. Now it costs $5.00 to sheer and the wool seeks for $4.00 leaving you with a loss. Wool is only a byproduct now, as lamb meat it the focus. If I didn't already not eat lamb, I never would again. Apparently the lambs only live 90-120 days. This made me incredibly sad. When I expressed it to my lamb loving mom her response was initially, "at least they get 90 days!" Apparently I am the only one bothered through since lamb was on tonight's dinner and most people chose it. Embarrassingly enough, I also got a lesson in cows. I never realized there was a difference! A few people at the back - including Dad - had a laugh over my cluelessness. Brian definitely would have been tweeting me today :)

We got into our hotel in Kilkenny where we will be for two nights. Its a beautiful hotel, but very busy - and near enough to the downtown area I can hear a group of very likely drunk people partying from my room (as I write, I am hearing them chant "take it off" to presumably someone else in their group....)

I went for a swim but it was a disappointment. I had to buy the bathing cap for one; which I will never wear again. Plus it's a pool/gym that outside people belong to. So the pool was crowded and people kept talking to me. It was exactly the way the Pickering Rec gets in the afternoons - social time. When people heard my accent they started asking me questions, and telling me about the people they know in Canada. My swim ended up only being about 25 minutes.

After dinner dad headed to a pub with some people but I opted to stay behind... Oddly enough it's their Country Music Festival this weekend so apparently there won't be much of a chance to hear Irish music. Tomorrow I think dad and I are both bailing on the tour and staying in town. We are going to Waterford which initially I was looking forward to but I read how it's basically just a small museum and store --- a total tourist trap. Kilkenny looks really interesting, so I'd rather have a chance to really explore it....

Photo One - Another Erin store!
Photo Two-Fourteen: Cahir Castle
Photo Fifteen-Sixteen: My hotel room

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