Day 6–Near Limerick— Up at 5:45am to get to all of our stuff together to meet one of several buses, trains, horse carts, rickshaws, bi-planes and/or any other form of transportation know to mankind to get to our next destination — Bunratty Castle. The reason for the early day is that this little tour we booked has tried to cram in every conceivable sight in one day. And, by God, they somehow manage. Still no sheep picture, though.
We’ve arrived at Bunratty Castle on the outskirts of Kilarney after a short drive down the street in Limerick where they filmed Angela’s Ashes, a movie based on the book by Frank McCourt. We pass Shannon Int’l Airport, apparently the first international Irish airport. During an international flight from New York in the early days, passengers arrived in Shannon so cold and frozen from their flight that the local bartender mixed up a combination of hot coffee and whiskey to help warm them up. And this is how the Irish Coffee was born. For 8-9 Euros one can be tried. My advice; wait till you get home and make your own for a buck and half. It’s coffee and whiskey and a dollop of whipped cream. Tastes good, but no big whoop.
Bunratty Castle reminded me of one of those Medieval or Renaissance Faire dinner shows they offer in Vegas. Turkey legs, mock battles, etc. It’s a quaint replica village surrounding the castle that is nice to walk around in. There is a wicked pony, pictured below, that tries to nibble your fingers off.
Upon leaving the castle the non-stop talking tour guide of 72, who claims never to have had a drop of alcohol in his life, had the bus driver stop briefly in front of a bush on the highway. This, he said, was a fairy tree. It’s an unremarkable looking bush but the story is the key.
On to the Cliffs of Moher, pronounced like more. This is an amazing sight. The tallest sheer cliffs in Europe with beautiful sights in every direction. There are several signs near the edges warning tourists not to get to close for danger of being windswept into the sea. It’s happened. I crossed the lines anyway to get a good picture. Not letting The Man tell me what to do.
Then on to Galway Bay, where we saw many Famine houses and the great limestone fields and quarries. The driver said that this particular area of Ireland was hit specially hard during the potato famine as the soil was not good for growing anything besides potatoes. Being literally 100 feet from the ocean, I wondered why the hungry folk didn’t just fish for supper — salmon abound in the area. The driver said they didn’t want to learn. So, rather than learn to fish they starved or emigrated to America. Strange.
Another train ride. Another hauling of luggage. Another hurry up and wait in queues (lines). Back in Dublin at the Ashling Hotel.