Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Ireland 2007 - Days 8 & 9 - Bunratty, Shannon, and Killarney again
Day 8 -
Finally the group has dwindled to just two cars of McGranaghans. My family and my Aunt Mary’s family now have the next few days to discover parts of Ireland we missed before.
We drove back from Bunratty to Killarney where we knew we could find those large rooms at a good price again. The drive back was uneventful. We crossed a ferry and stopped off at Inch beach. I’ve been to Inch Beach on the Dingle peninsula before when our family visited a couple of years ago. It’s still pretty much the same. There’s sand. And water. And a little gift shop. And seashells all over the beach that look like butterflies.
My cousins and I were all gathered in the gift shop avoiding the cold and rain for a few minutes when who do we see but the Annoying Cackling Lady walk straight through the shop. Incredible. She didn’t laugh this time, thank goodness, but we were amazed that we could see one person in so many different places when we weren’t even traveling together.
We made it back to Killarney in the early evening. I’m not sure why it took us so long to make a drive that should have only been 2 hours, but somehow it took us the whole day. Actually, I forgot that we did make a couple of pit stops. We stopped off at a hotel sometime in the morning to book a room in Shannon for the night before we leave. As we pulled into the parking lot, we saw this crowd of American soldiers. Evidently, they were on their way home to Hawaii from Iraq, but their plane broke down over Ireland. We stopped and talked to a group of them who were walking back from the mini golf course. Sidebar: nobody in my family needed to kiss the Blarney stone. We were all pretty much born with the gift of gab. I have it to a certain extent, but my powers pale in comparison to Aunt Mary who can talk to a stop sign, know its life story and walk away leaving it confused but happy. She put these powers to use with the soldiers and it was so much fun watching them all respond to such an exuberant character. They were such nice guys, and clearly very happy to be heading home after 14 months away.
Later, as I was waiting for my dad to work out details for the room reservations, I started exploring the hotel. As I passed by the pub, I saw the mini golf soldiers sitting at a table and they called me over to talk to them again. Ireland’s not such a bad place to have your plane break down, but these soldiers were a little put off since they weren’t allowed to drink any alcohol while they were there. If our family hadn’t been on its way out the door, I’m pretty sure I would have had free drinks for the rest of the afternoon.
I think I slept a lot during the rest of the drive. I generally hate the “driving days” when you’re traveling around a foreign country. Being a passenger in a car makes me sleepy, so I end up missing out on most of the scenery, and I just feel like it’s a waste of my day.
That being said, I think I’d slept enough by the end of the trip that I was completely awake during dusk. We were driving on a back country road with leaves from the trees scraping against the left side of our car and to our right were the mountains. Well, large hills. But looking at those hills, it was not hard for me to understand why Ireland is so rich in fairy tales. The fields leading up to the base of the hills were still glowing from the setting sun and the hills themselves were silhouetted against a gold and purple sky. It was stunning in an almost scary kind of way.
We’re staying in the Quality Inn again tonight and we’ve stocked our kitchenette with food from the grocery store across the street. No more pub grub for me today.
Day 9 –
Danny didn’t leave the hotel room today. The poor guy is so ready to go home.
It was a pretty lazy day for all of us, actually. I walked off by myself to find a place in town with wireless internet and couldn’t find anything I wouldn’t have to pay for. I spent all day walking around Killarney, which is a really touristy town and I found a café I could sit and write in for a while. Other than that, I didn’t have any adventures and the day was largely uneventful. I didn’t even meet any interesting characters, which was disappointing. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that we wasted a whole day doing nothing. But in our defense: YOU try spending a week with 19 McGranaghans and tell me you aren't exhausted beyond reason. That is all.
I headed back to the hotel for dinner and let me tell you how downright white trash our dinner was. The hotel kitchenette is stocked with a random assortment of plates, silverware, a tea set and a cork screw. My dad picked up two and a half rotisserie chickens, some pasta salad, some bread and some wine for the seven of us. We didn’t have enough sharp knives for the chicken and the bread, so most of the chicken was just torn from the bones with our fingers. Classy. And there weren’t enough glasses for us all to have our own for wine so I ended up drinking wine out of a tea creamer. Double classy. And my roommates make fun of me for drinking wine out of coffee mugs at home.