Castles and Driving Misadventures

Let me just start off by saying that today's journey was only supposed to involve about 4 hours in the car. Instead, it was closer to 5 1/2 hours.

It started not more than 100 meters (I'm so European now) from the driveway of our B&B. The trunk wasn't shut and actually had to be unlocked before it would close. Then I killed the car trying to start it quickly as another car had come up behind us. I might have used a swear (my first of a couple for the day).

After stopping for part of our lunch and gas, we headed out of town, following a driver going about 20 KPH below the speed limit. Christine and I blame him for our car almost overheating. Well, him and the rental car company.

Once we realized how to open the bonnet (re: hood), we found the engine coolant below the minimum line. We waited for a few minutes at a turnout and headed down the road with the heat blasting and windows down.
Castlemain Beach, minutes before we were running for cover from the downpour.
We made a quick stop at the beach to give the car a break and to get drenched, then headed on down the road to find a gas station. Two stops later, almost an entire liter of coolant was added to the tank and we were on our way.

Our first planned stop was Killarney. I got a little turned around on the way, flustered, and ended up on the wrong (a.k.a. the right) side of the road. I was already back in my lane when a van a few hundred meters away honked at me for a good 30 seconds. It was a lovely moment. (I think this was the second swear.)
Defending Ross Castle from marauders, the wind has been doing lovely things to my hair.
After lunch in our car and a tour through Ross Castle in Killarney, we headed off to Blarney Castle (and the untouched-by-our-lips Blarney Stone).
Blarney Castle and the sun, a little known commodity.
This castle was tour-free, had extensive grounds, and some crazy staircases. We set off with our maps and cameras to hike through the castle. We could name different areas of the ruin thanks to the Ross Castle tour and made it to the top where the Blarney Stone is.
Stone spiral staircases.
Kissing the Blarney Stone involves acrobatics, contortion, and a willingness to embarrass yourself in public. We opted out. Neither Christine nor I are going to be eloquent public speakers.
After maneuvering our way back out of the castle, we checked out the poison plant garden and the horse graveyard. There was a lot more to see and do around the Blarney Castle grounds, but we still had to make it to Kinsale and didn't want to be any later than we already were.
A horse gravestone, for Tullig.
The last leg of our drive went through Cork during rush hour, a fun experience with huge roundabouts and a complete lack of signs related to our destination. Thankfully a local gas station attendant provided Christine with enough information to get us safely down the road.
Kinsale, charming but hard to drive around.
The real trouble started when we reach Kinsale, a tiny, charming, waterfront town. We didn't know the exact location of our hotel in the town, the streets aren't clearly marked, and the roads were tiny and wound about with no seeming rhyme or reason.

A local woman finally took pity on us (I can only imagine the expressions on our faces as she drove past) and led us straight to the hotel where we proceeded to drive straight past as I was freaked out about holding up traffic. The man at the hotel told me that he saw us drive by, "like a bat out of hell, like Thelma and Louise."

We made quite the impression.  

A meander through town.
Our first course of action was dinner. Then we took a quick stroll around town before retiring to our hotel for showers, internetting, and reading. Now it's time for some sleep. Tomorrow will hopefully only involve a few hours of driving. But who knows what will actually happen.
Home, sweet home for tonight.


  1. This is laugh-outloud funny: You and Christine, the new Thelma and Louise!

  2. wowwww you are cracking me up, you are having a hilarious time already!

  3. Wow! That's quite an adventure! I'm glad you made it to your destinations though!