We had many colorful conversations in the car that day, but I'll leave those up to your imagination. And it was all worth it, which you'll understand when I show you the hotel photos.
Anyways, we were totally self-guided on this trip, which had its positives and negatives. The "wandering around lost" part? Kinda negative. The doing what we wanted, when we wanted? That was pretty good. And we saw some things that may not have been on a typical tour.
Like the Irish Museum of Modern Art, which had a former life as a military hospital.
|Inside the IMMA in some kind of chapel room. Not exactly modern art, but you know how I'm drawn to anything with stained glass. Like a moth to a flame...|
And there were tours that we thought we had to take, but in retrospect, we could have passed on them. For instance, the Guinness factory tour. Total rip-off. The come-on is this: At the end of your very self-guided experience through what was a media show rather than a factory tour, you go up to The Gravity Bar and get a "free" pint of Guinness. So basically you've just paid 12 Euros to walk through a slide show, see some memorabilia, visit the gift shop, and have a Guinness. Pubs are far more entertaining and now I know we should have just gone to a pub and bought our own beers.
|But I did get a cute picture of this fellow.|
|Guinness is good for you. I didn't need any lunch after this pint...|
We really enjoyed our tour of Dublin Castle. It was one of the few guided tours and our guide was very, very good.
|Excavation under Dublin Castle. While renovating part of the building for office use, they found evidence of an early Viking fortress. Really fascinating.|
We visited some monastic ruins in Glendalough. It was quite an adventure getting there. We traveled up over the mountains, encountering narrow roads, rain, tour buses and very brave bikers. But it was so beautiful.
And soon we arrived at the monastery, and learned about Celtic monastic life and how important it was to the health and welfare and growth of the region. Monks fascinate me.
|Cathedral at Glendalough|
|Bell tower and graves with Celtic High Crosses|
|There's that cute man again.|
And the next day, although the town of Kilkenny was our real destination, we visited some churches and Kilkenny Castle. Although I don't have a good photo of the Kilkenny Castle grounds (dark and rainy day), they were also very beautiful.
|Inside St. Mary's Church|
|The Black Abbey. Sadly, it was closed by the time we arrived.|
We stayed at the Ritz Carlton Powerscourt hotel, which was right next to the Powerscourt Gardens and...oh, is this just a coincidence?...right across from one of the nicest golf courses in Ireland. So one day, Dave went off to play golf. And he didn't even have to beg all that much. Just a little. And it all worked out, because this is where he left me:
|In the garden behind the hotel, in the sun, with my book. If you could enlarge the photo, you'd see a huge smile on my face.|
And look here! If nature called, I could go into the bathroom and watch TV. On a TV that was somehow, some way built into the mirror. Don't laugh. One night I took a bath and watched TV at the same time. Pretty amazing stuff.
So that was it - our trip in a nutshell. Or more like three nutshells. Except to tell you that for those 5 days, everyone I encountered called me "madame". "Yes, madame?" "Thank you madame." "What will madame be having tonight?" So we arrived in Pittsburgh and we were walking through the exits where a security guard was sitting. I walked right by him, and looked at him and smiled, to which he responded, "Hey babe. Have a nice night."
"Madame" on Monday morning. "Babe" on Monday night. My life is good.