ahhhh - day 3 - driving day!
we were up early to grab a quick breakfast at the hotel and hop on the hotel shuttle bus to head to dublin airport. we arrived at the airport and prompty stood in line for over an hour to get our rental car. we had rented ahead of time with dan dooley and we had no complaints with our experience. everything went pretty smoothly. we eventually got the keys to the car and ventured out into the wild green yonder.
our first stop outside of dublin, was powerscourt gardens in county wicklow. it took us about 45 minutes to reach powerscourt. we didn't tour the house, but spent a good hour walking around the grounds. there are some lovely gardens and views here. i was a huge fan of the japanese gardens and the cove that looks like it's covered in moss that's really covered in tiny clover. very cool. we were also amused by the pet cemetery on the property. there are actual, large tombstones for the cows, horses, and dogs that the family owned. as we were leaving, we stopped in the avoca store and picked up a couple of ham sandwiches and a box of yummy looking cupcakes to go. all were delicious!
from powerscourt, it was another 45 minute drive to glendalough. glendalough is a huge gorgeous area and i would love to go back another time and spend a day or two just doing some hiking and walking around. on this trip however, we spent a couple of hours touring the monastic ruins by the lakes. loads of great pics from here!
after our fill of glendalough's ruins, we were on to kilkenny. we arrived at our b&b, carriglea, around 5:30, checked-in, and headed out to walk around the town a bit before dinner. i have to say that i loved kilkenny. it's such a great little town. i will definitely put it on my list to return to on our next trip to ireland. carriglea is perfectly located right across the street from kilkenny castle, so we headed over the castle park and walked a bit, taking pictures of the castle. we headed further into town, taking some exterior pictures of st. canice's cathedral, the black abbey, and a few other places. eventually we stopped for dinner at kyteler's inn (yes, the old witch's house) and had a great dinner (complete with our first harp's beer). by the end of dinner, it was time to turn in so we'd be rested for our next day's adventures.
here i would like to interject just a couple of important points.
1. the heritage island touring guide. most people know about the heritage cards that you can purchase for around 21 euros that will get you into public works sites, however, i'd like to plug the heritage island touring guidebook that is only 6 euros and offers discounts throughout the country as well. we saved a ton of money with the discounted admissions and two-for-one deals. it earned its price many times over.
2. driving in ireland. remembering to stay on the left isn't nearly as difficult as i had imagined it would be. (although it's easy for me to say this, as my wonderful husband was the one who did all of the driving, ha). the trickiest part of irish driving is the state of some of the roads. there are some TINY roads in ireland and you really need to take your time and be mindful of oncoming traffic. also, i would add that a GPS system is invaluable if you are traveling by car. we purchased the irish maps for our own garmin and took it with us. we also had the ordinance survey road atlas for ireland along with driving directions printed from aa roadwatch. (what can i say? i was determined not to get lost.) while our gps did take us on some, shall we say, adventurous? routes, it was a needed tool and shaved quite a bit of time off the estimated times i had from the aa roadwatch site.