Day 7 – British Isles:  Killarney, Adare, Limerick, Kildare, Dublin

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 Permalink

 

We woke up in Killarney and went to bed in Dublin.  On the road to Dublin, we stopped at a few places for sightseeing and shopping.  Tourism is a biggie in this country.  We exit and often enter every attraction through a gift shop. It’s good though.  We need to help Ireland’s economy.  We’ve seen a lot of vacated buildings and places for sale.  And the locales have told us about the hard times.  Plus, another advantage of the gift shops is plentiful and clean restrooms.

Adare is a sweet little village. It has a line of thatched cottages.  The park was also  lovely with a restored washing pool.  Back in the  day, women did laundry on spittle stones with wooden beetles.  Following Adare, we drove through Limerick.  In the recent past, Frank McCourt has made Limerick famous but not in a good way.  He described his poverty-stricken childhood in Angela’s Ashes. The town looks grim and we saw it on a sunny day.  I imagine the traditional grey clouds and rain make it even drearier.  We only stopped for a photo op.  I stayed on the bus and took this picture of St. John’s castle on the River Shannon.  

Next, we went to the Rock of Cashel.  St. Patrick preached Catholicism there to the pagans.  The imposing ruins are perched on a steep hill.  There is also a statue of Brian Boru, King of Ireland from 1002-1014.  He is legendary for ending the domination of the High Kingship of Ireland by the UI Neill. We left the Rock and headed to the Irish National Stud Farm in Kildare.

I’m not an animal person so I wasn’t anticipating enjoying this particular activity.  I was wrong I found the tour quite interesting.  First, it was an hour walk in a nicely landscaped area and the weather was lovely.  Second, our guide was charming and the process of breeding racehorses fascinating.  We first saw four retired champion racing horses.  One was called Beef or Salmon.  His owner named him that after attending several weddings.  All horses should retire to Ireland. These four are revered.

We saw miniature horses, foals, and mares.  The main feature is the 5 stallions.  The stallions each have their own doubled fenced yard.  They are separated because they are territorial.  They would fight each other to their death.  Our guide’s favorite stallion is the farm’s current stud of studs.  Invincible Spirit will have 120 ‘covers’ during a season.  Because he has had 35 winning offspring, his ‘services’ fetch 70,000 euros.  He is worth 60 million euros.  They have security cameras to protect the farm but the best deterrent to a kidnapping is the stallion himself.  He would bite or kick to kill.  None of the stallions have back horseshoes to protect the staff.  In addition, each stallion has three staff assigned to his care.  A relationship ensures their safety.  Fascinating, right?

Leaving the studs behind, we headed to Dublin.  Tonight’s activity was an Irish cabaret at Taylor’s Third Rock.  The dinner theatre featured Irish dancing, Irish singing, harp playing, fiddling, and comedy.  Noel V. Ginnity is “the most renowned and best loved of all Irish comedians.”  He has been in showbiz for over 53 years.  We were all laughing but me da and ma were laughing the hardest. Hysterical craic!  

As we drove back to the hotel, the sun was just setting at 10:15pm. 

 

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