After bidding a bittersweet adieu to Maire and Carl, it was time to head out on our own, with no real plan except to end up in Dublin for our flight to Birmingham in 3 days. We got our rental car in Shannon and started south. I had heard of the Ring of Kerry (who hasn't?!) due to it's incredible views of the water, steep cliffs and windy one way roads. But we'd also heard that it was packed with tour buses and people, and quite frankly, a pretty long day in the car. So we elected instead to enjoy the Ring of Dingle (or "Ringle" as we came to call it), which is a bit shorter, with fewer people and no tour buses, but also insanely beautiful.
|The view from our morning departure in Shannon|
|Scenes from the Ring of Dingle|
|Local haberdashery in Dingle|
|The aftermath of my hike through a pond|
We continued east, meandering through little Irish towns, stopped in Waterford for dinner (where Waterford Crystal comes from) and found an incredible little Polish restaurant, Koliba. We were the only ones there and when the Polish owner found out we had been there a few months earlier, I'm pretty sure she brought us a bit of everything they serve. It was a truly delicious and incredibly memorable meal. But enough stops! There's still a few hours to Kilkenny and we don't yet have a bed for the night.
We drove down the main street in Kilkenny (a charming medieval town) and saw a sign in a pub window saying "accomodations" so I stopped in to ask. For a mere $20 US we could have a charming private room above the empty pub. Yes please! And by charming, I mean the walls and ceiling were peeling and the heat was broken, but it was ours and it was cheap!
After a cold sleep, we had a few hours to see the town before we needed to be in Dublin for our flight, so we went straight for the biggest draw in town: the Round Tower at St. Canice's Cathedral. Although it was windy and positively freezing outside, the nice church lady opened the tower up for us and we made our bone-chilling way to the top, up the wooden staircase that ladders across the inside of the tower. The view from the top was excellent, until my nose froze and it was time to come down.
|The Round Tower at St. Canice's Cathedral|
Overall Costs: The costs for our Irish adventure aren't really accurate, because our friends were so incredibly generous with us. These costs are only for the 4 days on our own, where we stayed in hotels and rented a car (again, Ireland has some expensive gas, but we saw so much of the countryside, we would absolutely do it again!). Average daily cost was $160, split between housing ($59 for two small inns, a night in Dublin, and a night in a hostel above a bar in Kilkenny), food (usually cold cut sandwiches from the supermarket) ($55), transit ($56) and other expenses ($5).