- Day Five: The Garden of Cosmic Speculation
- Day Six: John at 40
- Day Seven: Reach for the (Isle of) Skye
- Day Eight: A Day of Driving, Wool, and Goats
- Day Nine: At Rest in Edinburgh
- Day Ten: Definitely Not at Rest in Ireland
- Day Eleven, Part One: Regrets, I’ve Had a Few
- Day Eleven, Part Two: Regrets, I’ve Had a Few
- Day Twelve, Part One: Dingle on Our Own
- Day Twelve, Part Two: Dingle on Our Own
- Day Thirteen: Our Own Private Irishman
- Day Fourteen: Long Day’s Journey Into Doolin
- Day Fifteen: Mad Max 4 – the Burren
- Day Sixteen: Pressing Pause in Galway
As I said yesterday, we were up early this day to…
That’s right, yesterday. You want to fight about it, or do you want to read about our honeymoon?
So as I said yesterday… *peer*… we were up early to catch a flight back to Dublin. No problems there, and picking up our rental car was no hassle at all. Now, this series of blog posts has been pretty light on actual travel advice, but here you go, the literal payoff to faithful readers:
GET THE COMPLETE AUTO COVERAGE.
No matter how expensive it sounds, it is soooo frickin’ worth it. Hedge damage to paint, dings from concealed stone walls, under-carriage who knows what from innocent looking puddles that conceal 17″ potholes… the look on the guy’s face when we turned that car in after 2 weeks and he saw we had the coverage was worth it alone. Anyway.
We peeled out of Dublin, still fresh in the morning thanks to an early flight, but that’s good because we actually had a bit of an agenda for the day. First stop: Saint Brigid’s Well.
Kildare was lovely, although to be honest we were only making a pitstop there for the Well and thus didn’t see much of the town. For example we saw Kildare Cathedral but only from the outside, and the weather was turning so it boiled down to “pretty old building okay let’s go.” We had a spot to eat, though, and by then the weather had turned again, easing into a bit of sun for our actual … well, pilgrimage is a strong word, but Lisa had very strong feelings about being there, and so we went. It truly was a special place, whatever its provenance. (You can read more about what I’m talking about here; it’s a whole thing that would consume the blog.) I will say that the Irish seem perfectly at ease being Catholic while holding to some increeeeeeedibly pagan rituals. There were little strips of cloth tied to tree branches, set there as prayers for sick / injured loved 0nes. That’s in the Bible, right?
We moved on after Lisa got her fill of pictures and we sat quietly for a bit. Heading south we passed the Rock of Cashel. I am not going to relive this particular moment very deeply. Suffice it to say there were renovations, we had a bit of a mis-communication that quickly spun out of control, and a poorly timed attempt at theft disguised as a parking fee that sealed the deal. We drove on. Hopefully we can revisit the Rock next time we’re in Ireland.
Lisa and I are not ones for joke photos. There will never be a picture of us holding up the Leaning Tower (or turning it into a penis), or holding the Eiffel Tower between our fingers… if for no other reason than it’s been done. Nobody’s going to laugh, it’s just a check box: “yep, they got that photo. What else?” You can see where this is going… but yes, once I saw the signs for Tipperary I was not going to be denied. The one compromise was that, since it was nowhere near the direction we were going, I got “close enough” and did not ask Lisa to put up with going even farther, hoping for an even better sign.
After this it was back on to the M (a top-class highway, with ramps and everything) and down to Kinsale. Kinsale is a lovely little harbor town, very quaint and quiet, with tiny meandering roads tucked hard on a hillside that make for a somewhat mystifying but pleasant, almost maze-like environment of quiet and contemplation. Ooooorrrr the Kinsale Vintage Club can hold their annual rally that weekend and the place can be a maddening swarm of too many cars on too few roads, all barely one way, the drivers all drunk in the finest of local traditions, and we with no map because we figured data plans were too expensive in Europe. Never Again. Still, we eventually made it to the lovely Cloisters B&B, where our charming hostess took the dinner plans out of hands and directed us to Crackpots, where we had a relaxing, delicious meal (nothing of note, just well-prepared classics and good wine (I hear)). A new theme for our trip was quickly established – the driving in Ireland requiring so much focus, a day of that + site-seeing left us ready for sleep at an invariably early hour. No problem, we’ll hit a pub tomorrow.