Day 3- Killarney
So Gentle Reader,
With a long Day Two behind us, we hooked our train to Exclusive Resorts Once in a Lifetime tour. Exclusive Resorts (ER)Luxury Vacations, Residences & Travel Destinations | Exclusive Resorts is not a cheap option, but as one recent tour goer explained- it’s the Four Seasons of tours. On a Once in Lifetime trip, all I really need is my passport and a couple of credit cards and my kids- ER would figure out how to make me whole on arrival.
The tours are always wonderful and the planning is done for you completely. However, do realize that I am not everyone’s cup of tea. I always make room in my bag for a few practical jokes (rubber cockroaches and rats, the EviltronThinkGeek :: The ThinkGeek EvilTron, some non-tear toilet paper, etc), I only bring carry-on with 3 pair of shoes (running, flip flops, and a flat or low heel), I always bring workout gear, and there is required space for technology and cameras. In other words, I’ll forgo my make-up and a cute dress for my iPad and Kindle. ER offers trips to fashion weeks and Disneyland and I know that these trips would be very appealing to some folks- just not me. I prefer the dude ranch, heli-hiking or remote corners of the world and ER accommodates that wish beautifully. So, you can, Dear Reader, understand that Ireland was a bit like Switzerland not quite so polished nor totally informal- it was a bit of a mystery.
We met our tour guide, Sinead briefly as she sent Big C, Brown Bear and me off to a walking tour of Dublin (while Squeak and the younger three went swimming in the hotel’s pool) and then again we reconvened at dinner. Sinead is funny, red-headed, and full of pluck. She made us all feel at home immediately and showed us what the Irish are famous for- great stories and huge laughter. We had met a kindred spirit in Sinead. Our fellow travelers were lovely, but more reserved and more formal than, perhaps, I was accustomed to. Luckily, compatibility was unimportant as we were fortunate enough to have historian-in-residence Martin as our driver and a comfortable van to shuttle us around the Irish countryside.
From Dublin we made our way through lovely villages and castles to Kilarney. The Irish love a festival from Scarecrows to matchmakers to sheep there are festivals that last for days (truly a reason for the community to come together outside of the pub and celebrate).
We went to the Rock of Cashel Castle which is one of the oldest in Ireland. The gravestones went back to 1500’s. Our group settled into lunch after a tour of the castle and half way into our meal were serenaded by a wonderful Irish barkeep who had a voice for which Beiber would have pined.
After lunch, we had the choice… Kiss the Blarney Stone or go to a castle where the kids could run around and we could all explore. We chose the Blarney Stone (okay I lie), we chose the castle which was unexplored, unpopulated, and unaware of the screaming boys running through its hallways. The kids spent a good 45 minutes running through the trap doors, hidden hallways and high turrets. After which time Seabisquit might have too been tired and we returned to the cars and made our way to Killarney for the night.