Thursday, September 27, 2012

Emerald Isle Day 4

We opened our hotel door this morning and Bob the dog was sitting right outside, as if he'd been waiting hours for that very moment to greet us and say good morning. Our fantastic hostess, Yvonne, gave us the skinny on getting to all our destinations today and even sent us off with a few postage paid postcards. Today's weather was chilly and overcast and to our delight, not a drop of rain! Driving through the countryside gave us the privilege of seeing all facets of the color emerald.

What we did today: We were off to an early start and were on the road by 9:00 am. Our first stop was 45 minutes by car to the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary. The preserved and partially restored ruins were, in a word, fascinating. The Rock of Cashel first gained it's importance as a fortress. It's origins as the center of power date back to the 4th & 5th centuries. It also contains a chapel and a cathedral. Restoration work has revealed small glimpses of the colorful paintings once present on the walls of the chapel. The graveyard was full of intricately carved Celtic cross headstones. Some headstones with Celtic knots and others were so large bible stories were carved into all four sides.

In the second photo below, notice the long, skinny opening on the top of the tower on the right side. Archers used these spaces to defend the fortress and they are accessed from tight, round staircases inside the cathedral.

After this we drove 1.5 hours south to Waterford and toured the famous crystal factory of the same name. Waterford is clearly a port and industrial town, yet it still holds that same charm we've seen true-out (throughout) Ireland with the colorful doorways and varied storefronts. What's the crystal worth you ask? Here's a small clue of what the handcrafted masterpieces cost: the clock value is $323K, the small football trophy value is $2K and the globe $8,600.

We are here ... yes Ireland is an island.

We arrived in Kinsale, known Ireland's gourmet capital, just in time for dinner. We were not disappointed as dinner was deelish!

What We Learned Today: Crystal is hard, brilliant and made from sand, potash and red lead, which gives it the sparkle.

And we also learned . . .

Word for the Day It's a construction phrase. Today was the first day we actually experienced anything significant in the way of road construction. A mile or "tree" (3) prior to reaching the construction zone there are signs which say "Traffic Calming." They slowly reduce the speed until you reach the construction (calm) area. We also noticed they don't always have flaggers to manage traffic when it's reduced to one lane. They use portable traffic signals to move cars through the construction zone.

Tomorrow we're off to Kiss the Blarney Stone and then head to Kenmare for 2 days.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Kinsale, Ireland

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