a preponderance of punctuation marks (reedrover) wrote,
a preponderance of punctuation marks

Bunratty Castle & Folk Park

Today was a full day of driving up toward Shannon (and back) to get to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. The castle was really interesting, and our tour guide Sean was a trip. Unfortunately, there were far too many people in the castle, and far too many people didn’t speak English or bother to take turns on the stairs. As such, we bailed without seeing the whole castle because fighting crowds on spiral staircases was more of a pain than the castle was worth. Sigh. The folk park was interesting in a rather un-interactive way. We asked Sean about the obviously missing blacksmith (was he on break? gone for the day?) to find out that they don’t have one this year. According to him, it has been very hard to find a demonstrating blacksmith lately, though it is a resurging profession in Ireland. The weaver was no longer doing regular demonstrations either, so that was a bust as well. We did purchase some stuff from her, but it wasn’t quite the same feeling.

Wandering the streets and gardens in the park was fun. The buildings were set to demonstrate different classes and professions at different times in history. There were little cottages and huts that had peat burning fireplaces, then there were more modern houses with desks and lights. There were two mills – a vertical and a horizontal wheel – that were being run off of streams that didn’t look like they had enough flow to push the wheels, even though there was a bit of a drop for the horizontal wheel. Along the paths, we saw sheep, goats, deer (elk?), and a very friendly pony. Though we all ate in the same restaurant, we had to split up into smaller groups to be seated. Ladyinthetower joined our table, and I had a good time catching up with her. I had the Bunratty chicken, which was chicken in a mushroom cream sauce that was heavenly. Mmmm.

Back at Blackwater Castle, we settled in for an evening of fine camaraderie in full OTP style. We spread out through the living room and the bar to spin our tales and speak of times past and future. There was a little bit of excitement when JFranklin ran the glasses washer at the bar and blew a circuit breaker. That set off a scavenger hunt through the main floor of the castle looking for breaker boxes and checking those boxes for thrown switches. Unfortunately, that particular breaker was not one of the ones we could reach in the public parts of the castle, so we ended up concluding we would have to wait for Patrick to help us out in the morning. I headed for bed while CK geared up to conquer Europe in the first of many rounds of Ticket to Ride.
Tags: otp, travel

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