I’ve already taken a couple of bus tours in Ireland and while doing so I’ve noticed the Paddywagon tour buses look much more fun that the tours I am on. For today my friend has booked us one of these tours. We are heading to Rock of Cashel, Cork City and Blarney Castle.
Our first stop is at Rock of Cashel, a place of religious significance in Ireland. St Patrick came here to try to convert a king to christianity. Today the rock are ruins that are fun to look at. It’s cool to wander around and wonder how it looked during its time.
The second stop is at Blarney Castle. Blarney castle is basically an old medieval castle. People come for the beautiful lure of the castle, the nice grounds around the castle and the most popular Blarney Stone. The legend is that if one kisses the stone they get the gift of gab, or ability to speak with eloquence. I don’t know about all that but I waited in a pretty long line to kiss the stone and not sure much has changed with me. My friend decided to forgo it all and I don’t blame her, who in their right mind would kiss a stone that millions of others kiss. Anyway I am here and I am doing it. As I wait in the long line I admire the castle but it would be nicer to see it without a line snaking through it. I get closer to the top and ask these two girls near me to take my picture figuring they would do a decent job since I see them taking other photos of each other. However at the last minute the man in front of me, also by himself, wants to work out an agreement that we take each others pictures. I reluctantly agree. They do sell photos here of the kiss but I want my own instead. When it is time for the guy to go do the thing he freaks out and cannot do it. We wait there for him to gain his composure which he never does. You see you need to lay on your back and lean your head over while one of the men lower you down. I can see how some would find this whole thing scary but I just turn off the fear switch and do stupid stuff like this so it is no sweat to me. Did I mention it is raining the whole time so everything around is like wet? He decides not to do it so I give him my phone making him at least hold up his part of the bargain. The whole thing happens so fast but I think I am really good at this and have reached down low. I pop back up and my guy says to me “I’m sorry I forgot”. What?!? He forgot to take my picture, his one job? I am annoyed and he is still up there contemplating everything and I resolve to buy the photo the castle takes. He eventually gives up and goes back down. I buy my photos since they are not too terrible anyway. Since I spend so much time in line I basically have no time left to explore the grounds. I head to the bathrooms to meet my friend and return to the bus. While I wait for her I look at photos on my phone and realize he did actually take some pictures. They aren’t the best but he wasn’t totally unsuccessful. Now I feel bad for being annoyed since his anxiety about the whole thing problem had him all out of sorts (plus language barriers). I’ve been there with the anxiety so I know. I feel fortunate that I am able to control my anxiety most of the time these days.
This is another I could have skipped the lunch days. We stop for lunch and the guide makes it seem like they’ve held some space for us at this upcoming restaurant so we can get in and out very quickly. What we find is an extremely busy restaurant packed with diners and possibly other tour groups. It is a buffet with a line out the door. However it is not an all you can eat, it is more cafeteria style where you pick out your main dish and sides. We are here for the long haul so I decide to eat. It is expensive and way too much food. I should have opted for a side dish like my friend. We finish early but have to wait around because the line was so long that some in our group just got their meals. While we wait my friend plays bus driver.
We finalize our day by a stop in Cork. We don’t have much time in cork because our long lunch. The roads are torn up in town and things don’t look too pretty today. I already know I am going to have to return another time to really see it. We just pop into a pub for a drink because its all we have time for.
We do stop at one more pub before we get back closer to Dublin. We sit down and chat with some girls from our tour and have a drink.
Soon we head back to town. Overall the tour is fun but the second half feels rushed. This is where a car would come in handy. I definitely plan to come back and do Ireland properly by car.
A late night Italian dinner is in the agenda. My friend is leaving tomorrow and I’m on my own again for another day. However I am heading back to the USA too. I will be taking a break from traveling to do some stuff back home. But first tomorrow is Howth. More on that later.