Rocks Everywhere

It was raining when I got up yesterday morning. And it rained as I hurried down to the tourist office where the tour bus was leaving at ten to seven. And it rained all the way to Cashel. Joseph, our driver, was awesome, keeping up a fun running commentary, peppered with singing songs1 and telling jokes and stories.

By the time we got off the bus near Cashel, the rain had stopped.

Our first view of the Rock of Cashel from the road. I had an almost overwhelming urge to say, "It's only a model."
Our first view of the Rock of Cashel from the road. I had an almost overwhelming urge to say, “It’s only a model.”

You can see that there’s some restoration work being done on one section of the chapel, but the majority of the site was open. We didn’t have time for a guided tour, but it was enough time to see pretty much everything there.

It's not a huge site, but it is imposing. With the number of folks on our tour, it was a bit of a challenge getting a wide shot with only a couple of people in it.
It’s not a huge site, but it is imposing. With the number of folks on our tour, it was a bit of a challenge getting a wide shot with only a couple of people in it.
Like a lot of old churches, abbeys, etc., the site was in use as a graveyard long after the buildings fell into ruin.
Like a lot of old churches, abbeys, etc., the site was in use as a graveyard long after the buildings fell into ruin.
Looking through the doors in the main chapel.
Looking through the doors in the main chapel.
In the main chapel.
In the main chapel.
Some of the tombs and markers date back to the 10th century.
Some of the tombs and markers date back to the 10th century.
The round tower is in pretty good repair - at least on the outside - but we're still not allowed to climb it.
The round tower is in pretty good repair – at least on the outside – but we’re still not allowed to climb it. See that little bit of blue in the sky? It’s turning out to be a nice day.
This is a big piece of wall - part of one corner - that has fallen off the front tower. Not recently, though. It's been there a long time.
This is a big piece of wall – part of one corner – that has fallen off the front tower. Not recently, though. It’s been there a long time.
A little ruined church down the hill from the Rock. No time to go see it closer, though.
A little ruined church down the hill from the Rock. No time to go see it closer, though.
The tower above me does not look as if it's pleased that I'm there.
The tower above me does not look as if it’s pleased that I’m there.
In the gatehouse that makes up the official entryway to the site, they've restored a couple of rooms to give you an idea of what the inside of the various buildings would have looked like. This is the kitchen.
In the gatehouse that makes up the official entryway to the site, they’ve restored a couple of rooms to give you an idea of what the inside of the various buildings would have looked like. This is the kitchen.
The high table, with a nice tapestry hanging behind it.
The high table, with a nice tapestry hanging behind it.
The loft facing the high table, and the decorative roof.
The loft facing the high table, and the decorative roof.

Then it was back on the bus and down to Blarney Castle. It was far more busy there than at Cashel, and much busier than the last time I visited. I had been trying to decide if I was going to climb to the top and kiss the stone again, but by the time I got to the castle, there was a line-up of about twenty people waiting just to get in to the castle, never mind waiting at the top to kiss the stone. I decided I didn’t need to wait in that line, so I went to see other stuff on the grounds.

But I did need to take a picture or two of the castle.
But I did need to take a picture or two of the castle.
You can see that the weather has really lightened up.
You can see that the weather has really lightened up.
But yeah, very crowded.
But yeah, very crowded.
It being summer, rather than fall like last visit, things are far more colourful. Except the poison garden, which was not at all colourful so I didn't take a new picture of it.
It being summer, rather than fall like last visit, things are far more colourful. Except the poison garden, which was not at all colourful so I didn’t take a new picture of it.
The Rock Close in summer has a lot of little waterfalls coming out of cracks in the rocks.
The Rock Close in summer has a lot of little waterfalls coming out of cracks in the rocks.
The woven tunnel of willows is also far more impressive when its green, rather than just bare branches.
The woven tunnel of willows is also far more impressive when its green, rather than just bare branches.
People have started leaving coins on the Witch's Stone. Last time I was here, there was just a red berry in her mouth.
People have started leaving coins on the Witch’s Stone. Last time I was here, there was just a red berry in her mouth.

After Blarney2, we headed back towards Cork City.

I have a number of pictures of Cork from my last visit, but I never did get a good picture of this monument. So I did this time.
I have a number of pictures of Cork from my last visit, but I never did get a good picture of this monument. So I did this time.
I never made it to the English Market on my last trip. It's a huge enclosed market that runs every day. Lots of fresh meat, fresh fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh bread, fresh (and aged) cheese, and so on. Had lunch in a little cafe upstairs - a couple of slices of roast pork loin with applesauce and lettuce on a fresh roll.
I never made it to the English Market on my last trip. It’s a huge enclosed market that runs every day. Lots of fresh meat, fresh fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh bread, fresh (and aged) cheese, and so on. Had lunch in a little cafe upstairs – a couple of slices of roast pork loin with applesauce and lettuce on a fresh roll.
The market was pretty bustling. Lots of locals, lots of tourists.
The market was pretty bustling. Lots of locals, lots of tourists.

This was the point where I got a call from my brother and we arranged a meeting place in Dublin to go do some sightseeing together. That’s what today’s agenda is.

And then we were on the road back to Dublin. We had a brief rest stop in Cahir, where there was another castle. Because there are close to 3000 castles in Ireland, so you’re never far from one.

Not much time here. Just enough to get a picture or two of the castle...
Not much time here. Just enough to get a picture or two of the castle…
...the Abounding Fish statue...
…the Abounding Fish statue…
...and the very cool cenotaph in the garden of remembrance. The cenotaph is made of locally found stone - you can even see carvings on some of the pieces.
…and the very cool cenotaph in the garden of remembrance. The cenotaph is made of locally found stone – you can even see carvings on some of the pieces.

And then straight back to Dublin.

Now, time for breakfast, and then go meet Al, Daph, and the kids.

  1. As he was carefully maneuvering the little tour bus through the narrow, windy streets around the tourist office, he started humming the theme from Raiders of the Lost Ark. []
  2. And a bit of an adventure trying to track down the seven people who didn’t make it back to the bus at the appointed time. []

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