(Cashel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland)
I’m sure that a hundred other travel bloggers have announced their arrival in County Tipperary with such a title. But it really is a long trip from Kingston to Tipperary and I’m going to keep the cliché in the title. After all, music is a theme of this trip and that song is probably in your head right now!
Why am I here? The simple (rather than existential) answer is that there are simply too many places in the world to see…even with an entire year to explore. Accepting the fact that I’ll have to miss out on a few things, no matter how many trips I cram into my schedule, I decided to let fate dictate where I would go. Upon returning from Italy a couple of months ago, I took my “short list” (really a rather long list) of places I want to visit and vowed to visit the next one that had a worthwhile seat sale for late May. Sure enough, Aer Lingus was promoting its direct Toronto-Dublin service and quoted a fare that I could not refuse. Ireland it is!
My selection of Cashel was similarly whimsical. Yes, there is a top-flight sight here, but I’m really here because my flight was scheduled to arrive at 5:20 a.m. in Dublin and that’s far too early to stick around (especially with luggage). Since I would be jetlagged anyway, I chose an initial destination that had relatively mundane scenery en route and still got me close to the highly desirable west coast of Ireland. All signs pointed to Cashel and I think it was a good choice. Quiet, yet not totally off the beaten path, it allowed me to make up for the 30 minutes of sleep I had on the overnight flight to Ireland while also letting me see one of Ireland’s most famous attractions. My next blog entry will undoubtedly feature some content from tomorrow’s visit to the famous Rock of Cashel.
With a mid-day nap obliterating any hope of lunch, I decided to go for a 4-course prix fixe dinner. I was so hungry by then that I chose the heaviest possible options: Buffalo chicken wings (yes, in Ireland!), Chicken Roulade with lots of whipped potatoes, and hot apple pie for dessert. The fourth course was tea, but it too was served in industrial quantities. I’m now quite ready to sleep, as you can imagine.
During my two weeks here, I will be spending every night in a Bed & Breakfast (B&B). While some B&Bs are run by offsite owners, I believe that the owners actually live at every B&B that I’ve chosen. I booked ahead, as this is a bank holiday weekend and early June is also an increasingly popular time to visit Ireland. As I am relying on public transportation, I also thought it was important to ensure I had a place to stay in each town I visit. If I had a car, it would be easier to drive on to the next town if there were no vacancies. Public transportation in Ireland radiates out from Dublin like spokes: it’s relatively easy to get to/from the capital, but not so easy to travel between different spokes.
I’ve already noticed that there is a lot more interaction between guests at a B&B than at hotels. Just like in youth hostels, guests are more likely to talk to each other and to exchange tips on places to go and things to do. I’ve already picked up some new ideas for my next destination after Cashel. This trip should be a lot of fun!