Ireland – Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

We got off our plane, and it was a little chilly outside, but nothing too nasty.  Picked up our luggage, and I changed some dollars for euros, too bad the exchange rate is downright shitty, I got about $140 euros for my $200 dollars.  Got our bag, we had 1 checked between eh 2 of us, and then headed to Hertz to pick-up the rental car.  Everything had gone great up until this point, and this is where I found out the Hertz does not let you rent a car until you are 25 years old.  So we had to get a car from a different rental car company – which sucked because we already paid for the Hertz car when we booked the trip.  So this was our first, and really only problem in the trip, except for a few issues on our way out of the country.

So we dropped a few hundred more euros and got a car from Budget rental.  We went with an automatic – I can drive a stick, but I haven’t had that much practice.  I did practice with Dave’s car back in Charleston, but Jen just felt a lot better with me driving an automatic – and so did I.  Wed went out and found our car in the snow covered parking lot – that had the car numbers written on the pavement, under the snow.  We finally found the car, and I tried to open what I thought was my door, but it was frozen shut.  Jen got in her side and help kick my door open.  When it opened, something didn’t look right, and Jen laughed – the steering wheel was on the right side of the car.  So we switched sides, and started to defrost the frozen car, a car without a scraper or brush, and soon to find, without washer fluid.

We took out the Garmin and plotted a course for Kilkenny.  The roads were a little tough, but everyone was driving really slowly, but we just figured everyone was being cautious.  We got rolling out of Dublin; we got the fudge out of Dodge, so to speak.  We got out of Dublin and the roads got better and I could cruise 100-120 kph.  We changed our destination for the Rock of Cashel – a castle just north of Killkenny.  We rolled through Castlecomer, a small town that Tim and Mary Kay (Jen’s parents) said they had stayed at, and we saw the Avalon house just off the main drag, and that’s where they said they stayed.  We didn’t stop though, but continued on our way, with Jen continually reminding me “Stay Left,” and having to stop occasionally to clean out windshield with the water from our otter bottles, because the car had no washer fluid – which we needed because of the snow.

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Ireland 008

We got to the rock, and found some parking just down the road, and then walked up to the castle.  It was a nice morning with frost on the grass.  There were only a few other people at the rock, a nice quiet we enjoyed everywhere we went – a perk of touring in the off-season.  The castle was cool, and they had some cool old artifacts, so we browsed around there for nearly an hour, and then we made our way back to the car, and then tried to find the Dunmore caves, but sadly the Garmin led us astray, and we ended up driving down some really small roads (only a car width wide instead of 1.5 car widths), and we ended up at someone’s driveway.  So we forgot the caves, and made our way to Kilkenny and find a place to stay for the night.

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Ireland 035
Lots of these kinds of pictures since there weren't many other people around (too cold)!

We used our trust Ireland Travel Book by Lonely Planet, and found the Tourist Hostel, and Jen and I got a double room for $42 euro.  We got there, and had our first experience finding parking – so we found the parking ‘disc’ that we had to pay for and display in our car, and then walked around Kilkenny and tried to find some dinner.  We walked down the main street and stopped into a few shops.  A very nice town, lots of families walking around and kids.  We decided on Pam’s deli, I had a nice sandwich, and my beautiful girlfriend just had a hot chocolate – at this point she had not eaten since our sandwiches in Atlanta.