The second day began fairly well. We actually slept pretty well, and from that point on, jetlag wasn't too much of a problem. Until we got home.
We did a bit of a wander in Dublin before leaving for Cashel, which was our random stopping point for the day. Beforehand, I was very confident, as I usually am, often wrongly, that we'd be there before we knew it, and could continue on as far as Greenland by dinner. But we didn't have a place booked to stay this night, so we had to be where we were going to be no later than 5 or 6, because it's hard to get a room after that at most bed and breakfasts.
For breakfast, we had a bit of a panic mode reaction, where we ended up stopping at an "American Style" bagel shop, for 2 of the most unenticing bagels we've ever eaten. When it's early, and you're hungry in a foreign country, along with not being the two most adventurous eaters, it's easy to make a bad call on a meal. Of course, within a half a block of the offending bagelry, we found the 3 most charming and delicious looking breakfast spots in perhaps the entire world. We ended up buying some scones to wash away the horrible bagel memories. Thus were the last bagels ever to be consumed outside the continental United States.
We then took a little walk around Dublin Castle, which is really more of the site where a bitchin' castle was once. There's really only a tower left from the old castle, and it looks a bit silly with a bunch of Volkswagens parked at its base, and surrounded by what look like office buildings. Still there were a bunch of Swanky buildings around it, built for the British to keep trying to rule the place after the real castle burned down. There was a neat garden area though, with little pools and tiling, which would have been better had it not smelled like a toilet in the immediate area. Overall, it was still an impressive collection of buildings, and a fitting start for what would follow, because things just seemed to get better from there.
Then it was time to be off. And by off, I mean, to drive our rented car on the opposite side of the road from which we are accustomed to someplace we don't really know, in a land where streets actually have no name. I hadn't realized Bono was speaking literally in that song. Consequently, they have no address numbers either.
Right after arriving at the airport in Dublin, we picked up our car, a 2007 Volkswagen Golf, which is basically a newer version of the car we have, but without the turbo engine (therefore less fast for which Lindsay thanks God), and that passenger and driver are of course switched. It's a fairly easy transition, because everything is opposite from what you're used to, so when you switch sides, it all still works the same way. From the airport into Dublin center was supposed to be the most difficult part of driving in Ireland, so we'd be getting it out of the way as soon as possible, and surely there'd be nothing but smooth sailing from then on, right? We acually found our way to the hotel without too much trouble. At that point, I was concentrating so hard that it would have been difficult to make a mistake. It was later, when I started feeling comfortable, and switched to auto-pilot that I made mistakes, or got confused. But into Dublin, there was some traffic, so we basically got behind some cars, and followed them.
But on day two, we were off on our journey. Lindsay was to navigate by map, and I was to avoid hitting the various sheep, ducks, tractors, and such on the road. It took me about 7 days to stop looking to my left to put the window down, and about 3 days to stop reaching to my right to shift. Conversely, I still haven't broken those habits in reverse order having been home. I found that for a day or so, I would drift towards the edge of the road, and when then Lindsay would reprimand me, and I'd correct the course.
We stopped in the first town we came across for lunch, because we figured that we might not see another town for a while, so we went to a local restaurant, which served sort of regular food (with chips). I ordered some pork sandwich thing, which turned out to be horribly deep fried, and not that great, and Lindsay maybe had a BLT. We were avoiding going for burgers, which is usually the standby when we can't find something we like. But at this point, we weren't sick of chips yet, so it was still fun. They had some badass looking cakes, but we started realizing that after they serve you food in Ireland, there's rarely enough room left for dessert, and either no one is eating all their food, or they have gigantic stomachs which don't show on the outside. Or people don't usually eat dessert with lunch, which is also likely.
It was at this place that we noticed something odd about Ireland. They have the cutest children anywhere in the world. Little Irish babies are inescapably cute beings. They don't necessarily stay that way, but we saw it all over the place. And now I don't rest as easily knowing that my own country is chock full of babies who are just not that cute by comparison.
We arrived in Cashel, which is the home of a great big castle on a hill (The Rock of Cashel as it is known), and took the tour. Basically, it's very old, and there are lots of people buried there, and the big St. Patrick's Cross outside is a fake. The real one's inside, but honestly, if they didn't tell you, you'd never know the difference, so who's to say with all the other antiquities in the world.
At this site we met our first friendly Americans. I guess we didn't meet any unfriendly Americans, buy you get what I'm saying. She saw us taking a picture of ourselves, which we do very often, and asked if we wanted her to take one. Of course, it's rude to say no, so we said yes. Then she talked to us for a little while about where to stay and what to eat and all that, and then some other dude from Ohio starts talking to me. Apparently, we can't keep away from one another. I look over at Lindsay and the lady is still going. Incidentally, she was giving Lindsay directions to a place we never found.
We take off into town to find a place to sleep, and the first one we try is booked, and they referred us to another one who had a spot with 2 twin beds. After a few loops through town, we found the place, which was originally built in the 1740's, and had a really nice little garden behind it, where we parked the car. She let us push them together, which Lindsay sighed at, because who really wants another night with me all spread out in the bed? She certainly doesn't.
Then it was giant Irish meal time again, and after walking the length of the town and back, the choice was pub food, pub food, expensive pub food, and chinese food (Irish chinese food). We went with pub food. It came with chips. After the pub food, it was clear that we couldn't move any more, as the restauranteurs of Ireland were clearly trying to fatten us up. So, there would be no Guiness that night for us, and we went to bed flicking through the 5 channels, one of which is in gaelic, and 3 showing American programming. I did see some show about giant boats being built at Bath Iron Works, which is where I grew up. I felt some small comfort in the accents of the men on the show as well. "Put it right ovah theyah!"
Honestly, not a lot happened this day, and we were pretty much fine with that, because we were trying to recreate after all. Yet I still managed to write all that.