County Meath, Ireland, Kenmare, Rock of Cashel

Tuesday, May 15, 2012: Heading south

We meandered to the south on Tuesday, nearly a full day of driving. In County Meath close to Newgrange, we stopped at a spinner/weaver’s farm and shop, Boyne Valley Wools. Her work was beautiful and inexpensively priced, and if she had taken credit cards or if I had had cash I would be the proud owner of one of her scarves. Her farm was also interesting because it was in view of Newgrange and had an old cemetery on it where the lambs played. There was also an old stone bridge that no longer crossed water.

After that, we briefly visited the Battle of the Boyne site, but since we were out of cash and had to get going to arrive at our destination in time, we headed to Drogheda in search of an ATM. We were tempted to explore this pretty riverfront town, but we had enough discipline to instead drive a few hours on the fast motorways to our next stop, Cashel, famous for the “Rock of Cashel,” a group of medieval buildings that began as a fortress in 4th-5th century A.D. and became a cathedral in the 12th century. It is said to be the place where St. Patrick converted the King of Munster to Christianity. Cormac’s Chapel is undergoing some work, but it was a lovely place, not only for the grand ruins and the cemetery, but for the view. It is one of the most visited heritage sites in Ireland.

Of course I love that this monument to St. Patrick featured a library.

Here’s the part of the monument that broke off. I wonder how that happened?

Sandy really wanted to kiss the Blarney Stone, so we detoured to Blarney just outside of Cork. We ended up only kissing the outskirts of Cork, because by the time we got there it was late and I was only doing it because Sandy wanted to do it and then he didn’t want to pay the admission. He already has the gift of blarney anyway. Instead of that, we stopped in Muskerry Arms to use the restroom and ordered drinks when the bartender noticed us, because we are easily motivated by guilt. I’m glad that we did though, because we met Tigh, a retired Irish/English teacher, who talked to us about education (”The boys don’t want to learn Irish. ‘Will it get me a job?’ they say.”) and taught us how to properly pronounce our name. Tigh also remarked that “We talk about weather all the time because nothing ever happens here.”

We had to keep moving because the fast highways were behind us. It would be mostly narrow country roads for the rest of our trip. We arrived in Kenmare at Davitt’s around 8 p.m., where we booked a room in their bed and breakfast above the pubs. I was surprised at the beauty and comfort of the room, and the only noise that bothered me was a dog barking next door. The hotel and restaurant was decorated with early 20th century prints and decor, which is my favorite art period. The bedroom had skylights looking over the rooftops. It was clear enough that night that I could see the stars. The food was wonderful. It was not a traditional pub, although they did have a couple of local musicians playing traditional music for a couple of hours. I regretted almost immediately that I had booked only one night here. It was definitely one of the nicest places that we stayed.

Next post: Wednesday, May 16, 2012: Shopping in Kenmare

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