I woke up to monster dog crying this morning, on closer inspection it turned out that little dog had nicked his bed and he was trying to get comfy on a bed the size of a tea cosie whilst she splayed out on her back in the middle of his massive one. They really do need to learn to share better!
After the debacle yesterday we had a plan to follow which consisted of Blarney Castle, the beach at Ballycotton and ending with a rib ride in Cork.
We arrived at Blarney Castle for opening time in the hope of missing the masses. It worked really well and the girl at the desk told us to do the castle straight away as they were expecting three cruise liners in shortly (people off the cruise liners not the actual ship before anyone comments!) We left the dogs in the car and power walked to the castle (it reminded me of Disney when you're trying to beat the herds). Anyway as grandma is claustrophobic and is afraid of heights, plus she wouldn't be able to hang upside down to kiss the Blarney Stone it would be better if we parked her at the bottom and collected her (with our new found eloquence) once we'd kissed the Blarney. Unfortunately as there was nobody in front of us we'd got halfway up, had to stop for a break and noticed that Grandma was still bringing up the rear and we had indeed forgotten to place her safely before the ascent. Anyway, she was still in fine fettle so we proceeded - a lot more slowly but not for Grandmas sake, just because we'd completely run out of oxygen and none of us could breathe. The twins complained the whole way up - all of a sudden personal hygiene became very important to them and therefore they were absolutely not going to kiss a stone that people has slobbered on for hundreds of years. I did want to explain that the man cleaned it but I didn't have enough breath to live and speak - so I let them twitter on in silence. Sensing my weakness and determined to take advantage of it, they took the opportunity to moan about everything all the way up. When we got to the top and I had regained as much breath as I needed, I told them that the Blarney Stone also took away voices if not kissed correctly and that there was a leprechaun that lived in the walls, who's job it was to point out any naughty children. They didn't believe me, but it was a bit like Santa, they weren't going to risk it just in case. Last time we went to Disney, they asked about the rides that advertised child swap (it's where parents go one at a time on the rides so one of you can stay with a child that doesn't want to ride). I told them it was where you exchanged maungy, moaning kids with brave ones that enjoyed themselves and went on rides - yes I know it was mean, but they were absolute angels for the whole holiday.
Anyway, we were one of the first people at the top - there was no queue or anything so we were a bit unsure of where to go, but our detective skills kicked in ( and we saw some old chap who looked to be dangling his legs off the side).
Dh went first and the kids went next. Before I knew it, Grandma had removed her pump bag from her back and was getting into position. We all just kind of stood there and stared, open mouthed at her. She could have whipped out a broomstick, done a loop the loop and we'd have been less surprised. Anyway the chap was really good with her and made her take a moment before getting up in case she was a bit woozy, we had to give her a hand up but she was fine. I went last and I thought it was a bit weird, I wasn't even sure if I kissed the right stone, when I looked down it looked like it was a long way from my lips - anyway, I kissed some cold stone structure so that's going in the success bag.
As we left, the castle was already becoming really busy - dh went to get the dogs out of the car whilst I went to buy the photos. I bought all 6 of us, but it must be the most unflattering photo ever. I'm a hulk of a gal, so my belly had moved to my busters and my busters were round my ears somewhere - all very attractive ;)
My youngest twin complained that the stone tasted disgusting so she must have given the stone a proper snog - thank you little leprechaun.
We walked around the grounds for a little while including the poison garden which I found really interesting, and at about 10:30 we decided to move on as we still had a busy day ahead. Again, we spent a small fortune in the gift shop and it took us an extra half an hour to get out as people kept stopping us to pet/take photo/kiss the monster dog. I'm surprised small dog doesn't have a complex because nobody ever says anything nice about her.
As we have been so rubbish at finding places to stop for food, today we had a picnic. So we were really looking forward to the quaint seaside town of Ballycotton and the beach where we planned to eat said food. Now I'm sorry if you're a Ballycotton fan, but it was neither quaint nor picturesque. We ate the picnic perched on rocks on the beach surrounded by lots of litter and washed up plastic, I thought that the rock pools might redeem it slightly but we didn't find anything so we left pretty soon after eating.
I was really looking forward to the rib ride but unfortunately dh's planning skills proved to be getting worse. He knew it went from Cork. Great. It helped a lot. He didn't know where from in Cork, it could be the city or it could be somewhere else in the county. But he was pretty sure it would be the city. This time he had a leaflet and it gave an address, but only like a one line address and because our sat nav is as much use as a chocolate fire guard, it didn't help. Our data is hit and miss here, unfortunately we were on a miss at this point in the day and when we tried to ring the number the call kept failing. So we spent just over an hour, driving round Cork harbour/port area as lost as lost could be and by this time I was back to muttering expletives under my breath. He eventually admitted defeat mid afternoon and we decided to return home as there was no plan b.
I saw a sign for Cobh and was convinced I'd read good things about it so we agreed to give it ago. This was more like it, it was lovely. We stopped for icecream on a lovely promenade with sculptures and an old fashioned bandstand. Teenagers were busking (they were fab) and the place had a really good vibe. I saw a sign for a self drive boat tour, we've done these a few times but usually in hotter shores and we always enjoy it. Plus it was a gorgeous day, just ripe for spending time on the water with the wind blowing through your hair. We parked Grandma and the dogs on the promenade and went to get a boat, you got them at a restaurant and I made a mental note to stop for tea when we got back as it looked lovely. The first thing you notice is how very small the boat actually is, but no worries we set sail and the world was a happy place. There was a safety boat that followed behind - just in case. We were following the shore line for a while and then the man in the boat told us to sail straight across so we could go round the whole way. What a great idea - sailing into the waves. It wasn't so much of a splash it was more like being stood under a never ending bucket. Literally it felt like someone was throwing a bath tub of water into your face, over your head and down your back at the same time. The boat had taken in so much water that we were sat in shin deep puddles. We couldn't have been wetter if we'd have swum the bloody harbour. This lasted about fifteen minutes and when I couldn't stand it a second longer, we asked the man in the safety boat if we could go back to shore. It wasn't as if you could see anything because you couldn't keep your eyes open. Weirdly, the kids didn't moan as much as I expected, apparently seeing me in such a state of unhappiness had worked wonders on their mood.
We made our way back through the restaurant, literally leaving puddles of water in our wake and the whole restaurant just stared at us aghast. I think they must have thought we'd all fallen in because there was no other explanation for us being so wet from head to toe. The opportunity for tea was a distant memory...
We made our way back to the car, too cold and shell shocked to even speak. I kept trying to cheer myself up by thinking that one day I'd find it funny, unfortunately, today was not going to be that day. Dh was in good spirits though - something else that really irked me! More arguments ensued when I announced that everyone had to remove sopping wet clothes before getting into the car. We had two towels with us so eldest dd removed all her clothes and climbed into the sleeping bag that dh had used. She walked mermaid style into the car. Luckily the twins had both bought hoodies from blarney castle so they were able to wear those and keep the towel on as a sort of sarong. Dh had his shorts and his fleece that he hadn't worn so was ok. I had a light raincoat (in hindsight it would have been prudent to wear these instead of leaving them parked with grandma!) which I wore on top of my underwear. Have you ever worn a rain coat directly against wet skin? Yes, it was that bad. We set off home, everyone (well nearly everyone) was now in good spirits and dd announced that dad was indeed correct about the sleeping bag because she was as snug as a bug in a rug. I turned the music up and muttered expletives much louder.
The girls didn't want to go out to dinner so they stayed with grandma whilst dh and me went out for a meal in Killarney centre. We went to Hannigans, which was lovely and they had live music, it was a shame we were eating through it as I'd have loved to join in with the singalong. We had a wander around the town centre and it looked buzzing, fiddles could be heard from most bars and I'd've loved to have a good knees up but it's another early start tomorrow.
Before leaving I bought a cd from a gift shop. Irish traditional pub songs, I intend it to to replace One Direction in the car tomorrow. Now I'm in a much better mood, just at the thought of it :))