Monday, February 21, 2011

Reflections on the Emerald Isle, part 4 Rock of Cashel

Oh, my.  Working full time, teaching two graduate level classes, recovering from surgery and planning a wedding are kickin' my tushie.  I see that there might be time to breathe come the last week of July...

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming! 

We woke up on our first morning in Ireland and set out for the Rock of Cashel, the beautiful ruins of an old cathedral. The site sits high above the little town below.  Legend associates the Rock of Cashel with St. Patrick, but the name comes from Caiseal, meaning "stone fort," and the hill was originally the residence of the kings of Munster. Excavations have revealed some evidence of burials and church buildings from the 9th or 10th century, but it was in the early 12th century that the Rock began to be developed into a major Christian center (thank you, Sacred Destinations) Despite a slight mist, it was lovely.  We spent quite a bit of time just roaming the grounds. 

At the time we were in Ireland, they were still recovering from unusually cold and snowy weather.  Much of the country had experienced a freeze.  Because it was an uncommon occurrence in the country, pipes froze and then burst once the thaws hit.  Many towns and cities experienced a loss of water and a water curfew ensued for several days.  The worst that we were personally hit was the day we were in Cashel.  Everywhere we went looking for facilities, we were told "we have no water".  You know, that's a little tough on someone who drinks just a few too many Diet Cokes (not me, mind you.  Blech).  Don't tell anyone, but one member of our little party had to desecrate the grounds of a national historic site.  Couldn't be helped.  Good thing the weather and the lack water kept most people indoors that day!

(More pictures below)

We ventured to find a tea shop to warm up and hopefully find a working loo.  On our way, we stopped in the Cashel Woollen Store and met Inge.  She was adorable and a wonderful delight!  She didn't care if we bought a thing or not.  Well, she probably did, but she didn't act like it. I purchased a lovely hand-woven scarf for my friend, Laura.  Should have bought more.

She kept us busy with her stories and her advice for our travels.  She told us all about the VAT tax and how to get reimbursed.  She advised us not to listen to anyone who said we had to spend 20 or 30 euros for a reimbursement receipt.  She said that they just didn't want to be bothered and hoped to keep the funds for themselves.  It was this advice that caused us to irritate a certain clerk at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin later in the week.  Tee hee hee.  She was great.  She had a German name, but she was as Irish as the day is long!

We found our tea shop and a loo, then ventured off toward Doolin.  We drove around Limerick, but had no time to stop.  The days are much shorter in the winter and we had our destination in mind.  This required that we boogie on down the road.  Again, we traversed the narrow fence and shrub-lined roadways.  Jim managed the roads well, but as the afternoon began to wane and light disappeared, the tension mounted.  By the time we hit Doolin, the light was gone from the sky as we made our way in the dark.  No lighted poles lined the roads as at home, making the drive a bit more harrowing. A light mist floated on the air and covered the dark ground with a moist reflection.  Doolin is a teeny, yet famous town.  The home of traditional Irish music had but three pubs to its name.  Our little car found its way to the middle one---McGann's Pub---and so, an unexpected adventure began.  Ever found yourself unexpectedly in the middle of a stag (bachelor) party?  Neither had we.

That story the next time...
McGann's Pub.  Ah, yes.  The scene of the crime.

Where Tami fell down and went "boom".

The aftermath---wiping the mud from her boots and jeans.  Just look at that sad little face.


1 comment:

The Japanese Redneck said...

I'm luving all the pictures.