Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ireland, Day 7

Well, Day 7 was a bit of a repeat of Day 6. Upon not having found the perfect piece of crystal at Waterford, we decided to set off for Tipperary Crystal, which is in County Tipperary, in the town of Carrick-on-Suir. Less than an hour's drive from Waterford, where we were the day before, I decided that we should take a different road to get there since we had already been on the other road the day before, and that road hadn't been all that terrific. We did take the other road...but construction on the motorway in Dublin took us on a detour and the waits were ridiculous. It took us about an hour just to get out of Dublin, which should have taken only 15-20 minutes.

Today's drive was to take us through Kilkenny and Cashel, where the Rock of Cashel, a very old castle, sits atop a very high hill in the center of town, and an abbey sits in a large field at the foot of the hill. I had heard that it was a nice sight to see, so we went. It was indeed beautiful. We took a few pictures and continued on.

Leaving there, we drove on to Carrick-on-Suir. We were expecting to see the crystal factory and take the tour, and as we drove through town, we completely missed the crystal store, tucked back into a little strip mall. But that wasn't really what we were after...we wanted to take the tour. But after a drive back into town and no factory, we were confused and agitated. The road markings were signature Irish: lousy. As we drove back out of town, I noticed the store in the little mall, and so we turned back around and decided to ask the people in the store where the factory was.

I went in, and asked one of the clerks, a goth-looking woman of about 25, where the factory was. With a bit of tourist comeuppance in her voice, she replied, "Oh, that's not been here for almost six years. It's moved to Northern Ireland." Thanks so much, fracking Frommer's useless travel guide that has been a piece of shit since the first day we opened it! By the way, don't ever buy a Frommer's guide. I certainly won't any longer. Arthur Frommer hasn't written these guides for years. That makes a BIG difference, because Arthur did his homework - it became painfully obvious to us that this woman hadn't. I especially loved one of the pages early on in the book suggesting that a great way to explore County Kerry was on horseback, and there was even a picture of a woman on horseback riding there. But reading the story, she writes that she didn't ride the area on horseback but thought it might be a great way to do it. Uh, yeah. For this particular guide, the writer couldn't even be bothered to get proper number addresses for many of the noted sites; there would only be a road listed. That doesn't help much when the road is long and winding. So, fellow travelers, forget about Frommer's guides. There are better options out there.

At any rate, we wound up buying a couple of very nice pieces, a vase and a wine decanter, which we were quite happy with. But Jess really wanted a piece of crystal with color, and as we explored another store in the same mall that had Waterford, we decided to go back over to the Waterford store in Waterford, since we had just enough time to get there before it closed, because they had some John Rocha pieces that were colored and we thought we had seen some red shot glasses there that we now thought might be nice. So we drove back over. Unfortunately, no red shot glasses, they were red wine goblets. They were nice but not over the top, so we didn't buy. There were several nice pieces there, but nothing we thought we HAD to have, given our limited space for such things, so we left there with nothing and headed back to Dublin.

Fortunately, it took us less time to get home than the day before, and we got back in time to hit the Chinese restaurant across the street from the hotel. We had seen it a couple of days before and noticed that the prices were reasonable, so we went. What we didn't know was that we were looking at a takeout menu, and that the takeout was cheaper than the eat-in food! We were a little surprised when the menus came and the prices were higher. By the time we left, we had spent over €80...over $130US...on Chinese food. It was good, but I've had Chinese that was a good or better for a lot less money. In Wichita, no less!

And so our Ireland trip had come to an end; we packed our bags for the trip home and went to bed.


At 12:21 PM, June 26, 2008, Blogger Greg said...

Jeez, this is starting to feel like LOST. Did you and Jess end up in different time zones on the return trip? He's posting images from Ireland: Day Three, and you're just blogging about Day Seven.

How'd your own garden fare in your absence? I hope you didn't miss too many pretty things while you were gone!

At 6:51 PM, June 26, 2008, Blogger Marc said...

Greg: :P~ I wanted to finish my entries but didn't have time because I was too busy cooking and cleaning for the relatives from the minute we got home. But I didn't want to leave the trip log unfinished, so, better late than never. As for pictures, Jess got his uploaded already and I haven't yet had a chance to upload mine. But soon, my pretty, soon.

As for the garden, we got plenty of rain while we were gone, so the tomatoes grew like least 12 inches. But the mountain laurel shed all its flowers, and my new lobelia plants didn't do too well...the squirrels are attacking them almost daily. However, when we got home, some of the pink astilbe were starting to bloom...pretty. But only part of them...those on the shadier side of the yard aren't blooming, but dying, which is odd. They were doing great before we left.

At 12:11 AM, June 27, 2008, Blogger Greg said...

Oh, noes! I wonder what's up with the shady astilbe. I've always had them flourish in such locations! Sounds like a job for the plant detective....

Damn this the little lobelia we're talking about, or something more grand, like the cardinal flower? Little gray bastards...what about some hot pepper spray on them?

Sorry to hear you are hosting/slaving so soon upon your return! Of course I was happy to hear the rest of your travelogue, in your own time! I just thought it was a fun contrast to the time zone at Splenda...

At 7:52 AM, June 27, 2008, Blogger Marc said...

Greg: the lobelia are indeed the cardinal flower variety - Queen Victoria, to be exact. I haven't grown them or even seen them as far as I know, except in the book I ordered from. They looked beautiful. I presume they are?


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