Ireland 2009 Road Tour Day Two:

After a night of much needed sleep, we had a wonderful Irish breakfast at the hotel before getting a cab to the rental care depot. The car rental was a bit too far of a walk, and it was not even an option since it was raining that morning. The cab driver was a pleasant enough person who seemed to enjoy talking about current events in Ireland. Specifically, he (and the rest of the country) were up in arms over a recent soccer match between Ireland and France, which had a bad call causing Ireland to lose. He stated that they had done everything short of declaring war on France. My comment to him was "they (france) probably would have surrendered if you did that". That made him laugh for quite a bit, so points for making an Irish caby laugh. We were also updated on the recent flooding issues in areas we were intending on visiting. As I understand it, the floods in the Shannon river valley, Galway, and Cork had never happened before in recorded history. There was an option on our route for a trip the the Blarney castle in County Cork, but being unsure of the road conditions, I opted to stick to Cashel and Killarney. After getting the rental, I found it actually quite easy to slip back in the mode of driving on the left side of the road, it was not nearly as bad as our first time Ireland.

We arrived in Cashel after a couple of hours and spent a good portion of the afternoon wandering around St. Patrick's Rock of Cashel and the actual town of Cashel as well. The Rock had a lot more scaffolding up then the last time we visited (efforts to preserve the site), and several major features were unfortunately closed off for the season while they renovated. Since we had seen the site before, it was not a great loss. We took some photos and walked down to the town to find some lunch. There is another great ruin site as well right in town, something we did not get a chance to see last time, the St. Dominic's Friary (see photo album). In addition to that, there are several other historic sites right in town, which we may nothave had an opportunity to see with a tour bus group. We had lunch at a local pub and stopped at a local grocery store for misc items before heading out to Killarney. The remainder of the drive was an uneventful couple of hours. The afternoon's excitement came when we went to check into our hotel in Killarney. We were booked by our tour company at the Killarney Towers hotel and leisure center, but when we came to the main door, it stated "Closed for Season". We were both somewhat surprised by this new development, and decided to go around to the leisure center door which was open. A desk clerk there did confirm the hotel was closed for the winter season, but was kind enough to call their sister hotel, the Plaza which was less then a block away, who confirmed our reservation had been switched to there. Not a big deal, I would have slept in the car if I couldn't have found a hotel room. The Plaza was also a very nice hotel, and very conveniently located on the main strip in Killarney. We walked around for a few hours after checking in, made a few purchases from the Aran Sweater Market (should be here any day now) and had dinner at a nice little Pub. While out walking, we noticed a Pub less then a stone throw from our hotel had a couple hours of live traditional music lined up for that night (come to find out, it's almost every night they have live traditional music, but it's all good). We both had a few pints before crashing for the night. Coming up, Day Three: The Beara Penninsula, The Ring of Kerry, and heavy, heavy rains