Sunday, August 19, 2007
Today we decided to go to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park because it seemed to be a good thing to do with kids. The castle is right off of the highway so we passed it and then took the next exit and circled through the town to park. The castle was on our left and there was a parking sign and Mark said “I don’t know how close that is, let’s find better parking” and then we were back on the highway because the parking lot was the last exit before you were on the highway entrance. I guess he didn’t see the castle because it was so close! We circled back around and 15 minutes later we actually turned where the parking sign was and entered the park. We went to the castle first and it was a really nice castle, larger than most with many rooms on each floor. But it was so crowded with people trying to go back up and down the same spiral staircases that Mark eventually gave up. For some reason, Charlotte, who was with me, suddenly got curious about castlesand we went to every floor/ room. When we were finally done we went down down down and out. Whew. Mark and Genevieve were waiting. Then we saw the recreated farmhouses but Muckross did it much better. The kids liked the schoolhouse. We had tea and the apple pie we saw them making in the farmhouse, and Mark was pretty much done but there was still a lot to see. He hung out with Charlotte in the playground and I checked out the recreated village with Genevieve. McCarthy (the writer of McCarthy’s Bar) made a lot out of how ridiculous it was to have recreated houses that looked exactly like the houses in every village and town in Ireland, but unless you know someone Irish you’re not exactly getting invited into them, so how would you ever see the inside? It was interesting, although the “costumed townspeople” were nowhere to be seen unless you count the workers staffing the gift shops inside each house. Which probably is what they meant. Genevieve got an ice cream at the recreated H & B founder’s house and then we checked out the red deer with cool antlers and the mansion which was mostly closed because it was also a functional restaurant. By now I was feeling pretty guilty about abandoning Mark in the playground, so we headed back to get them. Mark’s arms were sore from pushing Charlotte on the swing for 45 minutes! Charlotte however was not done swinging so I took over. Right as I was trying to get her slowed down she slipped backwards and was clinging by one arm to the moving swing. I managed to catch her before she fell and she was pretty freaked out but we all made a lot out of how it was a cool circus trick to head off any nightmares later, and it seemed to work. We checked out the two mills and the potatoes they had growing, the old Traveler Wagons, and then got out of there. We headed into nearby Limerick for lunch. So there is a reason Limerick is not mentioned in many travel guides–it’s an industrial working town not set up for tourists! As it was a Sunday a lot of stuff was closed but we had lunch in Eddie Rockets, a diner, where the kids learned that the toy that comes with the meal is given to them when their parents pay the bill, not when the get their meal. We then went to a bookstore where I asked the clerk if they had a book of children’s limericks for sale. She looked puzzled and said “wow, you’re the second person to ask for that today”. Hmmm, book of limericks in Limerick, would have thought it was obvious but no, they didn’t have one. We headed out of Limerick and back to cute little Adare. We rested for a bit and then went out for a late dinner at the pub that served pizza by calling up the pizza place next door. Hey, it works for us!