We started out early from Waterford heading north west to The Rock of Cashel, wanting to get there before the usual rush of people and tour buses. I must say that seeing it sitting there, high on the hilltop, was very impressive. We chose to take a tour instead of our usual “wandering around looking at more rocks” and it was worth the wait. Hearing about the history and people who lived there helped to make the place seem more real and less another abandoned pile of rocks.
After wandering around The Rock for a while we headed east to Kilkenny to check out the castle. Once we arrived in the town Laura expressed the desire to stop and take a look in an interesting looking church, Saint Mary’s. That turned out to be one of our better random decisions. While the church itself was nice, we were feeling like some lunch so followed the signs for a tea room located in one of the church buildings. I expected some cute little old lady sitting in front of folding table with a hot water pot and a cash box. Instead we found a lovely hidden gem of a cafe. The food was all delicious and homemade, the coffee was real (not instant) and the prices were reasonable. Score one for following our bellys!
Then….. Then we went into Kellkeny proper in search of the castle. Then we ended up winding our way around the crazy busy town with its crazy busy roads with no road signs. Heaven forbid they have any signage in the town pointing the way to the biggest tour attraction. Finally, after finding it then passing it twice in search of parking (they aren’t big on parking lots in Ireland) we made our way back and did a lovely self guided walking tour of the castle.
There were some cute shops near the castle and we were able to spend a little time (and money) wandering around before needing to head out for the drive to Dublin. I found an adorable black sheep to match the white sheep I had already picked up for the girls. Rose chose the black one. Is this a message?….
On our last minor road to Dublin we finally were stuck at an animal crossing like they seem to always have in the movies of Ireland. It was even complete with an old Irishman in his wellies with a walking stick and herding dog. lol!
Once we got on the motorway we tried in vane to find a petrol station to fill up before returning the car. This is where we really missed the states. Unlike in the US where there is a gas station at every exit, we drove quite a large number of killometeres never finding one. So we got off at the airport and started looking for one there. Nope. So we drove past the airport and looked. And looked. And looked. Finally we found one, filled up and after getting a little lost looking for the out of the way Sixts car rental return we gratefully turned in the keys. This is where I was confirmed in my feeling that you should never trust a car rental company when they say “oh ya, don’t worry about the little dings in the car. We don’t need to come and look.” when you pick it up. I walked around the car, taking pictures of everything before we drove it out of the lot. I even made sure you could see that we were in the lot when I took the pics. What do ya know, when Laura was doing the check out the guy didn’t believe her that we didn’t put the dent in the bumper. Luckily, she told him about the pictures and he dropped it. Shesh!
Taking the Airlink bus into Dublin, we checked into our hotel and wandered down to the Temple Bar area to find some dinner. Ending up at the Turks Head bar we discovered the fabulousness of Cashel blue cheese when it was placed on what would have been a just ok salad. Now if only we could find it in the states! After watching a football game on the tv for a bit it was back to the hotel for bed.