"Ireland, "Surrealism" in green!" Ireland by Upstate1NY
Ireland Travel Guide: 15,731 reviews and 35,366 photos
My "trip" to Ireland was born on the spur of the moment with an Internet Ad offering a "self guided, self drive" tour of Ireland 6 days, five nights in B&B's with a rental car for an unbelievable price, including airfare from JFK , under $75/day. Well the price actually worked out to be about half again that much but still a deal to stir my "get and go". (Talk about "Surrealism", I saw the Ad on a Monday morning, the next Monday I was in Ireland! Yes that is one BIG advantage of being retired, you can come and go as the mood "hits" you!)
I landed in Shannon, picked up my rental car, (I THOUGHT I knew what I was doing, I had asked an office employee from my car insurance company if I was "covered" outside the USA. I should have been MUCH more specific. It turns out (VERY LUCKILY, NO incidents) that I drove for 6 days in Ireland TOTALY UNINSURED!! Uninsured as in , no collision, no liability, NO NOTHING!!) I enjoyed the trip immensely, my horror about driving uninsured was not discovered until I was safely back home and was commenting to my insurance agant how nice it was to deal with a company that covers you "world wide". His reaction of SHOCK and PANIC was a lesson that no school of "Method Acting" could ever hope to dupicate!
The "lesson" about car insureance aside, Ireland is about 1000 miles further north in latitude than Syracuse, NY. Arriiving in late January I was not prepared to see lawns that needed mowing!
My first stop on my day of arrival was "Bunratty Castle and Folk Park" on the road from Shannon Airport to Limerick.
Yes, "a wee bit" of a "Tourist Trap" but it also has some American history in it's background. Admiral Penn occupied the castle in 1649 when it was besieged by Cromwellian forces. His son, William was an infant and was believed to be in the fortress at the time. While that was my first "brush" with off shore American history, it was not to be my last.
On my trek from Limerick south, I passed through the Village of Tipperary. To most Americans it would be a pleasent reminded of "earlier days" in Ireland but for some one from Syracuse, it is an icon of Irish "presence" in America. Syracuse has an area known as "Tipperay Hill". It was, and still is in many ways, an Irish Cultural Enclave in a city name for a city in Italy! In earlier days the Irish boys would use sling shots to smash the lenes in the traffic lights that had "red over green". To this day, now more by tradidtion than necessity, traffic ligfhts in the "Tipperay Hill" section of Syracuse have the distinction of being the only place in America where green is on top and red on the bottom in the traffic signals!
The photo of the row of stone houses predate Syracuse by MANY years I am sure, but the row of BMW's et al in front of them is FAR advanced form "Days of Yore"!
My stay at Bansha House B&B for two days allowed me to tour the area. Cahir Castle, the ruins of Cahir Abby, The Rock of Cashal and a drive up a vally known as the Glenn of Archlow. The Glenn was ment to be just a pleasent, senic drive but that is where I encountered a full sized tour bus with a driver who was seemingly determind to take his half of the road from the middle. On a VERY narrow counrty lane I could see him coming almost a mile away. He passed several areas where he could have swung to the side to allow us to pass with no trouble. Unfortunately there where no such "turn outs" on my side of the road. As it became obvious he was not going to accomodate the problem, I pulled to the side of the lane as far as I could without actually scraping the car on the hedge row, stopped, got out of my car and stood in front of it (on the side of the lane) with my arms crossed in front of me. He stopped, blasted his horn and shook his fist at me. I smiled "sweetly", waved, blew him a kiss and recrossed my arms. He finally climbed into the hedge row on his side of the road amind much snapping of twigs and screaching of branches scraping up the side of his bus, trearing up plants, throwing mud with his tires as he eased his way past me. That was the closest thing to a "bad experince" I had during the whole trip.
If the green lawns every where had not "done me in", the flowers in bloom growing along the lane to Bansha House "finished me off"!
- Pros:Almost "home" to half the world, yet different enough to be worth visiting!
- Cons:you need to drive on the "wrong side of the road"!!
- In a nutshell:green grass in the middle of WINTER!!! ???
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