Day 144: Cork to DublinJuly 9, 2017 in Ireland
Up and out for our last day in the Irish countryside. We had a surprise breakfast from our host, Angela, who provided breakfast even though it wasn't included in the listing. She seems a bit vague, as she was surprised to see Schnitzel yesterday, and also didn't realise that we were only staying the one night, not two. Like I said, a bit vague, but nice in a grandmotherly sort of way. Though it took a minute to convince her that we weren't leaving because we were unhappy!
Again not much planned for today, other than the long drive up to Dublin 200 kilometres away. There's two main landmarks between Dublin and county Cork: Blarney Castle, and the Rock of Cashel. We'd investigated both online and decided they seemed like gimmicky tourist traps, plus we've seen an awful lot of castles over the past couple of months! So we decided to skip on Blarney Castle, and visit just the Rock of Cashel.
Not too far to drive thankfully, only an hour or so which passed quite quickly. Doing a bit of research online, we'd found that merchants in the town of Cashel would give you a voucher for free entry to the Rock when you spent more than 15 euros in store, and that the voucher was good for two tickets. Since entry was 8 euros each and we'd probably have lunch in town anyway, it was too good to pass up!
So we grabbed lunch at a pub (actually a breakfast since it was 11:45 and the kitchen wasn't doing lunch yet), filled up and then headed for the Rock. Amusingly, our brunch was only 13 euros, but the waitress gave us the voucher all the same. Interesting little scheme to bring business to local merchants, rather than presiding over empty shops and cafes while tour buses clog up their roads (the deal isn't available to coach tour passengers).
The Rock itself was quite good - a ruined cathedral on a rocky outcrop above the grasslands here. It's quite flat, and you're clearly on the highest point for miles around. I'm not too sure on the history of the place, but the oldest parts still standing dated from not long before the Norman conquest and I think fell into ruin (like many religious buildings) during the Reformation of Henry VIII. As a side-note, it's amazing how often his name comes up in discussions of history in the UK and Ireland - probably more than any other monarch. Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, Charles II (first monarch after the civil war and Cromwell period), William the Conqueror and maybe Edward I as well are the only ones who come close.
One of the chapels here had some very intricate murals and detailing inside, though very little still remained. It's nice as well to be able to easily (albeit roughly) date churches and religious buildings after having seen so many of them. We can pretty quickly tell our Romanesque from our late Gothic and so on!
Left Cashel and drove the remaining couple of hours to Dublin and checked into our apartment around 4pm. It's cosy and compact, but will be comfortable enough for a couple of days. Only problem is that the wifi signal is terrible, the router must be downstairs in the corridor or something as none of our four devices get more than one bar of signal.
It was a bit miserable outside and we had to park about 5 minutes away to find free parking, so after a trip to the supermarket we decided to stay in for the afternoon/evening. Supermarket pizza for dinner as per usual!Read more