Sunday, May 29, 2016

May 28

Blarney Castle today on another beautiful, dry day!

(Photo by a friendly Wisconsin retired couple who recognized our Midwest accent. We took their photo as well. No selfies!)

View from the top of the castle after emerging from an extremely narrow spiral staircase with stops to explore several side rooms.

John declined to bend over to kiss the stone and designated himself the photographer. So the photos are on his phone and we are lacking wifi this evening to share them to my phone, so will have to wait to share them. 

This huge red cedar was on the castle grounds. This was a very close second to the castle in terms of interest and excitement. We had to drag them away and they only agreed because the next stop was caves. (No photos in the dark cave!)

View from the gardens

From there we headed for Cobh (pronounced Cove). We had a little trouble navigating through Cork because my printed Google directions listed some street names that weren't marked visibly. We turned on our cellular data briefly to confirm we were on the right route--we were. Score one for instinctive navigation!

The road to Cobh was another narrow one and we were relieved to find a sign pointing to free parking behind the Cathedral (whose name I can't recall at the moment and can't look up without Internet.)

We were ravenous so we quickly walked down to the waterfront and sat to eat in the first restaurant we came to. 

Then on to The Titanic Experience, a well-done museum sharing the Cobh perspective as the final point of departure for the doomed ship. 
This pier, viewed from the deck of the original White Star ticket office, is the original from that time. Passengers boarded small tenders out to the big ships, which actually dropped anchor behind the island visible ahead. It was faster this way rather than trying to maneuver the huge ships in the harbor. 

This would also have been the pier and the route my grandparents took to board ships in 1925.

Third-class Titanic passengers. 

Happiest they've ever been to be in church. Edward said, "If this were our church, I'd come every day!"

One casualty of the day--Daniel's blue sweatshirt. He realized he's left it down at the pier after we'd climbed all the way back up to the cathedral. Given that it had been worn by both boys for the last 3-4 years and was a size 6/7 that Daniel simply refused to give up when I told him I thought it was too small this year, we decided it was time to say goodbye to his long-time favorite. Hope a small Cobh child will find and wear it against the sea breeze!

From there we hit the first glitch in my travel plans. A little too much driving for one day. It was a lot to ask of John--1.5 hours Kilarney to Blarney, 45 min to Cobh, and a little over 2 hours to our B&B, which I selected based on its location about halfway back to Dublin, but which turned out to be quite difficult to navigate to. 

John was too exhausted to eat dinner at the town we stopped in just before arriving (Graiguenamanagh.) Kids and I had take-away and John ultimately are part of the pizza that Daniel didn't finish. 

We used more cellular data to navigate the rest of the way to the B&B where we were warmly welcomed by both the proprietor and her three dogs, who the boys romped with to enjoy the stretch after the long ride. 

Gorgeous views to share tomorrow--difficult to capture as we are looking into the setting sun.