Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Our last day in Ireland...

Our busy time In Ireland is drawing to a close, but we have a few more sights to see before our busy bus tour ends.  Our last day here began with another early start, and new assigned seats on the bus.  Even though the seats change every day we are always sandwiched between the same groups.  We always have "The Magnificient 7" (the inspiring family traveling with their terminally ill mother), behind us, and then in front of us we have 2 young women that Ron has named "the Cucko Pidgin Sisters". This name comes from 2 giggly women on the old "Odd Couple" TV show.  These 2 Jersey girls (cousins actually) are giggly all day because they generally have a cocktail in their traveling coffee cup.  They have taken more selfies than I ever knew was possible...and since I have been sitting behind them, I have consequently photobombed more photos than I ever knew was possible!! We probably should have taken advantage of their skills in the art of taking selfies...because ours still look like this:

The entire group was moving a bit slower than usual, because we had a medieval banquet in King Johns castle, named Bunratty Castle.  This actually was quite fun...starting with goblets of mead (fermented honey wine)!  Dinner was served with a knife only...hands were used and nothing else!  Perhaps the most memorable thing that happened that night was walking through the castle grounds which were restored to be like a little village.  There were huge trees overhead  which were FILLED with the noisiest birds I have ever heard.  Suddenly Gary was the unlucky recipient of the contents of one HUGE birds digestive tract!  It was a direct hit right on his forehead!  Lots of laughter from everyone in our group, followed by offers of hand sanitizer from at least 5 other women on our tour!  

The servers, dressed in costumes of the times, also provided the entertainment.  They were accomplished madrigal singers and performed many songs for us...with a bit of humor thrown in. But darn it...they ended the show with a very nice version of "Oh Danny Boy". And now I have that darn song stuck in my head!!

Of course a king and queen from the group of guests and they presided over us during dinner.  One of the young men from our tour,  Michael,  was deemed by the king to be a traitor,  having been accused of the crime of infidelity, supposedly with one of the servers, Lady Sharona.  In order to be released from his sentence in the dungeon, the king demanded that the prisoner Michael sing a song.  Michael dazzled the crowd with his quick thinking accapella version of "My Theresa" sung to the tune of "My Sharona"! (It was a bit of a leap forward in time...but he was so in to it, he dazzled everyone!) 
 We actually got a second performance of his song, when he took the microphone on the bus ride back to the hotel!  Anyway, the mead, combined with the very late dinner...made for a slow start on the last day of the bus tour...we were ALL dragging a little bit.

Once in our seats however, and after tour guide Denis had counted to make sure all 47 of his charges were on board, we took off to see the Cliffs of Moher.  These cliffs rise straight up from the ocean over 700 feet above the water.
It was lovely and clear...the best day all summer it was might have been sunny, but boy was it windy.  At one point we all had to huddle to get out of the wind!

It is really hard to get a photo that shows the striations in the rock was really beautiful. I'm only bummed that we didn't see any of the puffins that supposedly nest in the cliffs.  

Back in the bus, we headed for Galway.  We did take a few stops for some sightseeing along the way though.  This is the town of Adare which has some amazing thatched roof houses.  This little town won the annual "Tidy Town" contest this year, deservedly so!!

This cute town of Adare, is where Lenore went into the pharmacy to get lactaide tablets.  She spoke with "Lizzie the Legend" who was not familiar with what Lenore needed.  However she did suggest baby colic drops for now when Lenore is about to eat cheese, she squirts baby colic drops into her the directions are "1 drop into baby's bottle"...we are not sure of the correct dosage...just 2 squirts seem to be working well!  Lenore will probably kill me for posting this, but honestly, it makes me laugh so hard...not sure if it the picture I find funny or the thought of Lenore using baby colic medicine...whatever, it IS funny!  (And the drops seem to work!,)

Lenore and I are ready to move into this little one!

A few more scenic stops along the way...that's our big CIE bus parked there!

The cows that have been making that delicious butter and cheese that we have all been enjoying! (I'm pretty sure the Irish cows are happier than the California cows on TV at home!)

This is an "Irish fixer-upper"!  

Green, green, and more green!

Eventually we made our way to Galway, where we had a private walking tour through the medieval part of town.  Our guide is getting his PhD in arche-astrology (archeology + astrology) studying how ancient cultures around the world have used the sun and stars to guide in placing churches, grave sites, etc.  he was very interesting...and probably too smart to just be guiding American tourists through Galway!

Those are banners in the window to support the local Galway Hurling team that was just in the Ireland finals (like the Super Bowl of Hurling). The entire town was decked out, as were many homes in the countryside.  Sadly, Galway lost...they have now gone 28 years without winning the title.  :-(

This was the home where the founder of the very first SPCA lived many many years ago.  He put forth a bill into the Irish Parliment making cruelty to animals be illegal.  He home was decorated with this cute rabbit sculpture!

That guy on the right with the short sleeve shirt and tie is Denis O'Sullivan our guide and driver...he was wonderful (and apparently very thirsty!)!

The banners above the streets are maroon and white, the colors of the Galway hurling team.

This is Connor Riorden, our arche-astrologer Galway guide...

The original claddagh ring store...first one to sell the iconic rings (made me think of Maureen!)

And it was here in Galway that Ron had "the best fish and chips EVER!"  But that deserves a post of its own!  Just a little teaser...this is the pub where he ate them:

1 comment: