First Things First
First of all, I must start by saying The Blarney Castle itself is no disaster. We had a glorious time on the property. Getting to the castle, on the other hand, was quite the disaster for our family.
We flew Aer Lingus from JFK to the capital of Dublin. We got our rental car and were given the Yank Tank. If you don’t know, the Brits, Irish, and Scotch lovingly refer to Americans as Yankees or Yanks. We called it the Yank Tank because it was a ginormous Ford beast of a car. Pretty normal sized for America, but on European roads, she was true land yacht.
After passing out in the backseat, my dad drove to Adare Manor in County Limerick. Apparently, we missed some good stuff on the drive because my mom was holding on for dear life (or so she claims).
Trip to County Cork
Our first full day, we decided to drive the Ring of Kerry. The hubby & I navigated in the backseat and attempted not to get motion sickness while Dad drove and Mom tried not to freak out. Please note this was also my first experience with Irish Breakfast tea, a delicious caffeinated black tea. At breakfast, I was unaware black tea is caffeinated and drank an ENTIRE pot of tea. And I added sugar. As a result of my stellar decision making, I was bouncing up and down in my seat during the entire journey. While my mom's blood pressure spiked, I babbled and bounced for 2 hours. If you would like some of this delicious tea, you can get it here: Barry's Irish Breakfast Tea, 80 Count Tea Bag
As we approached a roundabout, going to the left, mind you, Dad jumped the curb and blew out a tire. After much cursing and swearing, the tire was changed and we were on our way.
Fast forward a wee bit and as we approached the town of Killarney, we hit a pothole and blew out yet another tire. With the spare on the first wheel, we had to find a shop to help us out. Usually, this would not be a problem, but it was Sunday in the very Catholic Ireland and no one was open. Since the Irish are a friendly group, a helpful gas station attendant called the mechanic of a repair shop to come and help us. Two plus hours later, we were ready to ride again.
Dad, being a bit more shaken than usual and not trusting the car, the roads, or himself, we decided to skip the Ring of Kerry and head down to the Blarney Castle. Why? We could get there on main roads and few roundabouts.
Blarney Castle, Finally!
The Blarney Castle was awesome! We climbed the castle, kissed the stone, took pictures, and rejoiced in our new found eloquence. If you didn't know, kissing the Blarney stone will give the gift of eloquent speech to all who kiss it.
The ride back to Adare proved to be interesting, probably because we had to drive back in the late twilight hours. While we all may have gotten the gift of eloquence, Dad did not get the gift of driving well in Ireland.
Somewhere in the biggest roundabout in Cork, Dad merged into traffic and hit another car. Really, he gently nudged it and there was no damage to the other vehicle. That being said, the driver of the other car started crying and yelling at us. We pulled into the parking lot of a pub to assess everything. Then, the Garda (cops) came. So, we gave the rental car insurance info to the driver and the officer and hoped to get home without further incident.
Then, the owner of the pub came out to yell. And boy, did she yell. Luckily, her anger was directed at the Garda who were in her parking lot “driving off her patrons.” I’ve never seen someone yell at a cop who was not subsequently arrested. The Irish don’t take shite from anyone.
We finally got to our home for the week and Dad promptly called Tim, a local driver, who drove us all around his beautiful countryside for the remaining week.
Moral of the Story
Bring extra money in case you need to hire a driver.