After breakfast, I was up in my room, working out my limerick. When I felt it was adequate enough, I got all my belongings together and made my way downstairs. There was no one in the lobby, which made me nervous. Outside, the bus, with almost everyone on it, was waiting. Dave was talking over the microphone about the day’s journey. I turned in my limerick and quick sat down, but still got teased.
On our way to Cork, we passed some statues and stone markings along the highway that Dave pointed out. It amazed me what a fountain of knowledge he was! The cloudy skies completely changed to sunshine and there were more forested areas with small meadows appearing, which reminded me of home in the Mid-Hudson Valley of New York State. It felt wonderful! When we got to Blarney, we parked in a big parking lot. In front of us was the Blarney Woolen Mills – a huge gift store. Behind us, through a park, was the Blarney Castle. We each paid our 13€ to get in, though first I tried using my travel agent card, to no avail! We walked through lovely grounds up to the castle and made our way up the circular staircase (where I noted that as a left-handed sword fighter, I could have advanced quite well against my defender, as the stairs circled up to the right). We rested in the kitchen (rather small), before we walked just a bit higher to the top, open level and then to the end, where there was a short line to kiss the famous Blarney Stone. When it was my turn, I laid on my back and scooted my butt toward the wall behind me, while clutching two bars in my hands. A older, distinguished-looking man held on to me, while another snapped photos. Lisa also was capturing the moment, but not fast enough, so I leaned back to kiss the stone again, smooching it for an extended piece of time!
I felt strangely victorious afterwards! We came back down and wandered the poisonous gardens for a while. There was a marijuana plant there, encased in a huge black metal net. Also a tobacco plant. There were signs not to touch or eat the plants. Lisa did take a bite of something that we both knew was not poisonous, though. Hee hee!
Lisa with Mary Jane
We walked back through the Castle gift shop and I asked the clerk if she had ever kissed the stone. She said, yes, when she was a girl, several times, as she had grown up in Blarney. So it WASN’T just for tourists! Next, we went to the Woolen Mills and many of us plunked down substantial money for gifts!
Back on the road, we drove through Cork real quickly, going by a couple of intriguing restaurants. We stopped again when we got to the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary. Sean, the other bus driver was washing the windshield on his coach and Dave told us Sean was making him look bad! We had some time to walk up to the fortress but decided not to go in. Instead, Lisa and I got to meet an authentic Irish Wolfhound and then we walked along the outside of the walls. I got pictures from the parking lot before boarding the bus.
Dave determined that this was the moment he would read our limericks out loud. I was a bit sheepish to hear mine, though there was a small noise of appreciaton from the group. Apparently, few people wrote true limericks – I was not one of them. But one of the two winners went something like this: There once was a driver named Dave, who on his coach had a knave. Said Dave to the knave, you better behave or you’ll end up in Sibelles Cave!”
Then we were on the final leg of our trip to Dublin, though we did stop at a rest area right before the city limits, in case we got stuck in traffic. We got to the suburb of Killiney, where the Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel, our accommodations, was located, around 5pm. We got to check in right away and I was delighted to find a bowl of apples and a petite box of chocolates with a card from the hotel manager. How sweet, literally! I shared my goodies with friends.
Shortly thereafter, Mike, Michelle and I headed down the hill to the village of Dalkey. It was easy to spot the purple house where we were to turn right. We decided on the Queen, a fancy pub, for our evening repast. Michelle and I had glorified (but very tender) fried shrimp, while Mike had a steak on a stone – the rock was very hot, and so the longer he kept his steak on it, the more it got cooked. I had my final Guinness there. On our walk back up the hill, there was a local who was walking at a brisker pace, so we let her pass and she started talking to us, asking us if we were staying at the castle and then ended with “I’m Joy.” Then she turned and walked on. Such friendliness was really so refreshing! I retired to my room and took a nice, relaxing bath in my luxurious tub. Sigh! What a life!