Here is the lovely Bunratty Castle in all its splendour.
Spending yesterday at home and relaxing was just the cure that I needed for my road weary bones. Even though we stayed up late last night watching this movie called “Buying the Cow”, we were still up at a decent hour and out of the house. We drove to Killarney first so I could catch up on posting my blogs and reading emails, etc. The auto parts store was the first stop so I could order the rest of the gifts that we are taking home for our friends/family. We were at the internet café for about an hour and a half. Our money from different sources finally paid into the checking accounts so we’re sitting good now. I had to do some catching up on our geocaches and the different geocoins and travel bugs. My boss also emailed me yesterday to call him ASAP but that’s a little difficult from my position so hopefully he is understanding, besides, I’m on fricking vacation!!
The destination for today was the Bunratty Castle just south of Shannon. It is an old restored castle that is surrounded by a Folk Park that they have built to resemble an Irish village in the 17th
Baa Baa Black Sheep
Erika's nursery rhyme black sheep
century timeframe. I made the reservations for the banquet dinner over the phone while we were driving up. I hadn’t realized that it would be so popular during the off season and on a Thursday night. It was roughly a 2 ½ hour drive up to the Shannon area so I brought a book along for the drive and Robert was behind the wheel.
We tried to take a detour along the route and view a ringfort but after driving 14km, we discover that it is closed. You’d think that they could be so kind as to place up a closed sign on their highway adverts. We finally found our way to the Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. Since we had dinner reservations, we got a discount on admission to the Folk Park. It normally runs €13 each adult but we were able to get it for €8 each. Every penny counts when you are already shelling out so much money for the banquet dinner, €51.95 each!! The Folk Park was set up beautifully and it was fun to walk in and around the castle and its surrounding buildings. In one house, there were even two ladies paring apples
These ladies were preparing apple pies in one of the restored houses.
and preparing apple pies, it smelled delicious. I took pictures of the one black sheep for Erika…ba ba black sheep, have you any wool?....she knows that nursery rhyme quite well.
The banquet dinner was well worth the price. We were greeted at the entrance to the castle with a goblet of mead, a drink made from honey and other stuff. It was a strong and sweet drink but not too bad. There were two ladies in period dresses playing the harp and violin for entertainment during the reception. A couple tour buses pulled up and the great hall filled up quickly. We were next shown upstairs to the banquet hall and directed towards our assigned seats. Wouldn’t you know that we’d end up sitting next to another American family from New Jersey, darnit all.
Four “removes” or courses were served. The only utensils on our tables were steak knives that they called daggers and goblets with pitchers of mead, wine, and water. We started with brown bread and parsnip soup that we drank straight from the bowl. Next we had pork spare ribs that we ate with our fingers and threw the bones into a large wooden bowl.
The Minstrels and Ladies
Our entertainment for the evening, I loved their costumes and mannerisms.
The food is served on platters and set in the middle of the table for everyone to grab from. Then we had chicken breasts with vegetables and baby potatoes with brown gravy. Our last remove was a dessert called the Lover’s Kiss that was supposed to be fed to each other. Throughout the dinner, we were entertained by the minstrels and ladies with songs and music and much laughter.
It was a lovely evening that we won’t soon forget and well worth the price. It was a long drive back home where we relaxed in front of the television to watch “AI” and plan for tomorrow, our last day in Ireland before we fly home on Saturday. We’ll try to drive back up to the Shannon area and see Dromoland Castle and the Cliffs of Moher.
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