Ireland · travel

Ireland from West to East: Rock of Cashel

We made an unexpected stop at the Rock of Cashel on our way to Dublin. “It’s raining and, anyhow, I like it,” our guide stated.

I clamored into the front of the bus. Unlike some tours, as I would later find out, we didn’t operate on any sort of seat protocol whether assigned or rotating. It was old-fashioned first come, first serve…er seated.

Apparently, there’s a thing about riding shotgun on tours. In that people get really obsessive about it. Or they get really obsessive about the tour guide. It was hard to tell. What was my deal? The driver sang funny songs in a gorgeous, soft brogue, I didn’t get carsick, and I got to hear the jokes and the stories from our blue-eyed guide.

“You’re in my seat,” a girl said.

The night before, most of the girls had piled into a room to discuss ol’ blue eyes. Hannah and I had relayed and expanded upon my tiny towel situation until it was a long, bawdy, totally ridiculous scenario more in line with the “Hey, Pizzaman” adult movie “plots.” But this one thought we were serious and she liked it. “You should totally do that,” she said, leaning in with a sort of menacing stare.

“Yeah, maybe,” I laughed. I totally would not be doing that. There would be no random “Hey, I got locked out of my room in a tiny tea towel again, ha! And, whoops! Lost my towel! Oh, you don’t have a key and it’s probably too late to go back to my own bed??” over-the-top-even-for-Marilyn-Monroe shenanigans.

“No, you have to,” she inched forward. “And you have to tell me how it goes.”

“M’kay…” I said, making my exit with Hannah whose eyebrows had hit the ceiling.

“I’ll be finding you tomorrrooooow!” she sang. “Let me know how it gooooes!”

And now tomorrow had come and tomorrow wanted my seat. “That’s my seat. I always sit there.”

“Well, we can’t call seats and I got here this morning so I wouldn’t get a migraine in the back of the bus.”

“You just want to..to…” she began to fume and balled her hands into little fists. “LOOK AT HIM! And it’s not fair because…because I WANT TO.”

“Whelp, you’ll just have to look at ‘im from right there,” Hannah said as she slid beside me and pointed to a seat two rows back, ” ‘Cause these seats are taken.”

“FINE!” She spat before leaning in. “But you just have to tell me one thing – did it happen yet? Was it good?

Hannah burst out laughing. “Oh my god, she didn’t Mrs. Robinson our tour guide!”

“Well if you won’t, I will!” She stormed off to glare at us from a few rows back.

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At Cashel, a light mist was beginning to fall. We were ushered into room to watch an excessively boring video about Cashel. It was incredibly campy and full of terrible re-enactments. But after twenty or so minutes and a few snores from the back, we were released into the wilds of Hore Abbey and the Rock of Cashel.

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The Rock of Cashel dates back to the 12th and 13th centuries and was primarily built in a dry stone fashion with limestone. The interior had been covered in frescoes but these were damaged over the years from limestone’s porosity and ability to hold water. The castle and abbey were home to many important historical events – some more legend than fact but all contributing to its rich history.

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In the distance was Hore Abbey. We could either get lunch or visit the abbey. Overwhelmingly, we chose lunch as ultimately, it was the pavlova that won out. “There’s only one slice left but it’s generous,” the woman behind the counter informed us. She lifted up the glorious slab, like a glistening sugary bird’s nest, brimming with slices of kiwi, grapes, apricots, and strawberries loafing about on a bed of whipped cream.

“We’ll take it,” Hannah and I said in unison.

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The face you make when you agreed to share but you really want it all for yourself…
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