Published: July 1st 2012July 1st 2012
Day 4 - Mike G.
Waterford to Killarney via Cobh and Blarney
3 nights at Killarney Towers Hotel 4 www.killarneytowers.com
After the usual fine breakfast, we found our bags securely stored in the belly of our coach. We boarded in an orderly fashion, each selecting our “seat of the day” and like a great ocean liner of the past, Alan slipped the coach away from the quay and entered the swarm of wee cars and monster trucks, heading down the highway, westward on the N-25, across the southern side of Ireland for new adventures in Cobh, Blarney and Killarney. It was a rainy, grey, drippy day. The fields we were passing were so green, set off by the drab grey stonewalls and the leafless shrubs, that they almost seemed fluorescent. The gorse was blooming in its yellow splendor.
I had been to Cobh a few years ago and it was jammed with tourists and buses. The streets are so narrow and crooked that it was a true nightmare to drive, even though my rented car was very small by our standards. The city council
had boldly painted dashed lines down the middle of very narrow 2-lane streets, and then permitted parking on one side. When I finally found our way out of town, with my nerves somewhat shattered, I silently swore that I would never return. Today, I was eager to see Cobh again under more pleasant circumstances and was extremely grateful that Alan was driving our 49-passenger coach.
We missed seeing the sign directing us to the coach parking and ended up in the rabbit warren of narrow, cliff-clinging streets that make up the very scenic Cobh. After some extremely masterful driving, squeezing between a stone wall and parked car with barely a quarter inch to spare, time after time, we finally found the coach parking area for the Queenstown Exhibit.
The Queenstown Exhibit provided a great deal of very well presented information about Irish Emigration and trans-Atlantic Ocean travel in the years when ships were the only way to cross the ocean. After examining the exhibits, we wandered up the street to find a suitable place to eat. We stopped a young man on the nearly deserted street and inquired if he was local and could
recommend a good place to get some fish & chips. It turns out that he was a chef in the Quays Bar and could recommend their food rather enthusiastically. We followed his suggestion and had a very enjoyable lunch of seafood chowder, cream of leak & potato soup, and a shared toasted ham & cheese sandwich.
After a short trip we arrived at Blarney Castle in a dripping rain. Judy, Heather and several others headed toward the castle to pay homage to the famous stone while Mary and I retreated into the Blarney Woolen Mills store for some shopping. I mostly just looked at things and tried to stay out of the way while Mary did some serious shopping. After the allotted hour, the crew reassembled at the bus. After a last minute dash by Heather to purchase some earrings that Mary had found for her, we set off for Killarney. The earrings were a match to a necklace that Heather had purchased in Dublin.
The journey to Killarney was very quiet and peaceful, mostly because I fell asleep only to awake as the coach pulled into Killarney. We were quickly settled into the
hotel after a warm greeting from the friendly young desk clerk who met with us over a complimentary cup of tea in the pub, as she explained the schedules for breakfast and dinner and gave us our room keys. Our bags were delivered to our rooms and, since most of the shops were closed, we retired to the pub where others gradually joined us over pints of the brown stuff and glasses of wine. After dinner, most of us adjourned to the pub again, where we engaged in serious craik while waiting for the music to start. The band, Tintean, that had entertained us the previous June, kept us all clapping our hands, thumping the tables and occasionally singing along until by ones and twos we drifted off to our rooms for a bit of rest.
There are more photos below