Friday, June 19, 2015

Ireland: Day One!

Greetings, all!  I know I've been my usual MIA-self lately, but this time I had a good excuse -- I was traveling through Ireland for 11 Days!  I've been back for a few weeks now, and I'm finally working on editing and culling the 2400+ photographs that my friend (henceforward to be known as "Chris") and I took.

So, while knitting is still going on (as it always is), I'm going to divert from my normal topics and regale you with stories of my travels.  Sound good?  No?  Too we go!

Chris now lives in the Detroit area so I flew from Denver to Detroit on Sunday, May 17.  The next day, we headed off to the Emerald Isle with only two carry-on's and two backpacks between us for 11 days (impressive, I know).

Ready to leave for Ireland!

We arrived at the Dublin Aiport on time and with hardly any travel drama (there was some rushing through security and to our gate during our layover in Chicago, but we made it).  Off we went to get our rental car, Chris all the while psyching himself up for driving on the left side of the road and the right side of the car.

Pedal to the metal...

After a couple missed turns and some extra trips through roundabouts (but no accidental right side of the road driving!), we got out of Dublin and made our way to Kilkenny.  Our first stop, of course, was a pub where we had our first truly Irish beer (a Smithwick's, which we came to know more fondly as a "Smitty's") and our first taste of Irish food (delicious).

First beer in Ireland

Afterwards, we headed across the road to tour Kilkenny Castle.  Kilkenny Castle has been restored for the most part and is decorated with furniture, art, and tapestries from its golden age.  It's quite lovely, but it was probably my least favorite castle that we visited (I'm a bigger fan of the ruined, not restored except for what safety requires type of castle).

Full view of Kilkenny Castle

Next, we headed off to Cashel to go see the famous Rock of Cashel.  Unfortunately, we had not yet gotten used to the navigation app we were using on my phone (it's called Here and if you're traveling abroad and want a good nav app without having to use your data, you must get's brilliant).  So, we had serious trouble finding the right street to turn on to actually get to the castle.  We could see it, but could NOT get to it.  We finally figured it out just in time to watch them close the gates.  We still decided to take a little walk around the outside (and jump a fence to get some pictures of the nearby Hore Abbey).

Hore Abbey

We also drove a little down the road and parked in an empty lot to capture some shots of the Rock of Cashel up on the hill.

Rock of Cashel

We were lucky enough to even get a shot of the castle with a rainbow going INTO it!  Talk about being in the right place at the right time.

Rock of Cashel with Rainbow

And, of course, we had to get a picture of us in front of the castle.  Luckily, we had a tripod with us so no selfies!

We were at the Rock of Cashel!

Then, we headed out to go to our final destination of the day, Waterford.  This was our most adventurous drive of the day during which our app, while trying to find us a legal place to turn around after we missed a turn, lead us through what seemed suspiciously like a farmer's field.  We also encountered some sheep in the road, one of which had gotten its wool attached to a tree.  Fortunately, it escaped (taking an entire branch with it) before Chris had a chance to jump out of the car to save it.  We then tried to turn around next to a fence, behind which were more sheep.  Apparently, our close proximity made one of them very cranky and she proceeded to stick her head through the fence and practically into Chris's window to BAAAAAA! at us angrily.  I was too busy laughing until I cried to pull out the camera and snap a picture.

We did escape, however, and finally made it to our hotel in Waterford.  After a quick freshening up, we headed out to The Reg for dinner, beers, and some good traditional Irish music (Trad).  It was a lovely end to an amazing first day in Ireland!

Happy to be settled in for dinner and a beer

Like the pictures?  Want to see more?  There are loads posted to my Flickr photostream, but to see what I consider the best of them go straight to my Best of Ireland 2015 album.  I'm adding more every week!

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