Ireland - Day 4

July 16, 2009 (click here for pictures) The morning began with breakfast bars and another mostly sunny day. We were on the road this morning around 8 and made it to the Rock of Cashel around 9. There weren't many people there and we were wondering if it was open. It was and we practically had the place to ourselves as we walked around the grounds. It was very impressive.

We had another hour and a half to drive to get to Blarney Castle. The tourist were already there but it wasn't crazy crowded. We walked up to the castle and then climbed 100 steep steps in a tiny stairwell to get to the Blarney Stone. You have to lay on your back with your head dangling off of the side of the castle to kiss the Blarney Stone. We did it anyway-there was a very old lady on front of us who said "I came 6000 miles to do this and I am doing it." That is what I had to say to myself while climbing up all of the stairs. We stopped for some souveneirs and cokes when we left the castle. Then we had our picnic lunch sitting on the back of the car. And we had the stangest thing to watch-2 parents and 6 kids get out of a van, then they got out a mattress, loveseat, potty chair and toaster. They swept the van out and then put the stuff back in. They were still working when we left and we have no idea what they were doing.

I will eventually write a blog just about driving in Ireland. Or it will mostly be about riding in Ireland since that is what I (Tara) am doing. It is crazy and today was the craziest of driving days. After miles and miles of hairpin turns while dodging tour buses and pedastrians in a lane that was only 3 foot wide. Next, we made it to the Muckross House. And what did we see? More craziness: a picket line. The men were not going to move for us to drive into the driveway and the police man had to make them move. We asked once we bought our tickets what they were protesting: horse poo! The park/city/whoever is making the horses wear the things to catch their poo so the horse and buggy men were protesting. I tried to snap a picture on the way out but didn't get a good one since Robby was speeding out of the driveway!

The Muckross House tour was a tad on the long side but very interesting. An American couple eventually bought that house for their daughter when she married an Irish man. Robby was wondering why he didn't get a house when we got married. Anyway, we even toured the kitchen which is always my favorite for old houses. The guide asked us what some appliances were and we were the only ones to know-where are these people from? An ice cream maker, a juicer and a coffee grinder. I felt like Martha Stewart knowing all of that. It was drizzling after the tour but we were able to do a little more shopping before crossing the picket line again.

In the Killarney National Park, we climbed up to the Torq Waterfall. It was gorgeous even if it was a little bit cold. The moss covered the trees and the water rushed over the smoothest stones I had ever seen. We had some more crazy driving after leaving the waterfall. The GPS did better today but still doesn’t have many of the roads we are on-we are just following the signs. On this route, we stopped at Lady's View to take some pictures. Shortly afterwards, we saw some sheep in the road.

Again, we thought we had turned the wrong way and were about to turn around when looking for our hotel, but we saw the sign. We checked into the Parknasilla near Sneem. It is a hotel from 1895 and you can just imagine it years ago. It had trails that lead to swimming areas and little bath houses. It is a fancy dancy hotel-nicest place we have probably ever stayed (thanks Orbitz!). After exploring, we headed back to Sneem for a grocery store run and supper. We had supper at The Hungry Knight-hamburgers and fries. What could be better? Oh, and we must have left our lights on because our car wouldn't start when we returned. The people here don't have jumper cables sine they have standards but thankfully there was a garage a block away and they came to our rescue (after a small payment)! We drove around a little after that to make sure the battery was well charged and grabbed our bags to come in the hotel.

Yes, it is a super nice place. The Bellman offered to get out luggage when we checked in but that sure is a lot of trouble so we just repacked in the car and carried our stuff in the hotel inside of our backpacks. It wasn't worth us driving the car back to the front to have him get our stuff and honestly, who wants to pay someone to touch their stuff. And I had already used that money tonight on my ice cream sandwich I ate in the North Square in Sneem. It has been another good day and we have lots of driving tomorrow around the Ring of Kerry.

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