Ginger count: I gave up. There are way too many gingers to count. It’s like a ginger army over here.
The day’s agenda: travel to Ashford Castle in County Mayo while stopping in Adare to take in the cuteness of the town.
I had every intention of getting up and running around 06:00. Dani ended up catapulting me out of bed (again) around 08:30 or so so we could get breakfast and have an early start. I was in sloth mode, so we left a little before 11:00. The drive was excellent, except we hit stop and go traffic on the far side of Killarney. And it continued to Adare, which is about an hour away. I was not a happy camper when we got to Adare. The road rage was real. Although Dani has learned how to be a top-notch navigator! Although our stupid Garmin navigator thing has brain farts more often than she decides to give us decent directions.
Adare was cute; there were thatched cottages everywhere and a castle right by the road. I parked in what might have been the jankiest spot I have ever found. Getting poor Seamus back out of the spot later made me break out in sweat and mumble nasty words. We both had delicious food at a local cafe, which always makes the Dani and Miranda Show happy. We opted to travel on instead of exploring the town more since there was a metric butt-ton of tourists around (I know, that’s the tomato calling a melon fruit).
The rest of the drive was mostly uneventful, although I struggle in roundabouts with more than a single lane running through them — a lot. Actually, I hate roundabouts here in general. They are everywhere. I have driven stretches of the road less than 3km long with at least five roundabouts in them. Why, Ireland, why????
Once we arrived at Ashford, we drove through a gate and were greeted by some adorable old Irishmen in green suits. Then we continued through the grounds until we saw the castle. I wasn’t expecting a real castle, but holy guacamole it’s a real castle. We went over a bridge where we found yet another man who directed us to the valet. I didn’t know what to do with myself. We went to grab our bags, and the guy got offended. Dani was losing her tacos at this point. I worried she would start foaming at the mouth in her excitement.
We got all checked in (I just stood there dazedly with my mouth hanging open, to be honest) and then shown to our room by a hilarious concierge. He was great! He’s close to our age and has beautiful greenish-hazel eyes and a sharp wit. Maybe Dani or I will complete our “kiss an Irish guy” goal here. I think Dani is dragging him out drinking at some point (she’s a force to be reckoned with, that one).
Upon walking into our room, the first thing I said was “It smells like pot in here!” The room totes smells of marijuana. The concierge apologized and said they couldn’t find the source of the smell. I’m not convinced there isn’t a secret pot garden somewhere (Just kidding. I think.) Everything is also automated, the lights, the door key, everything. So naturally, I had to go around and push all the buttons. The bathroom lights don’t turn completely off. They turn blue. So strange.
I decided to go for a quick run and Dani wanted to explore the grounds, so we parted ways with the intention of meeting back in the room around 18:30 to head to our 18:45 dinner reservations. I ended up running through beautiful woods by the river (I took no pictures today, I promise there will be many tomorrow) and headed back to the room early to shower. I couldn’t figure out how to close the shower door (because there isn’t a shower door, only a useless screen thing) and then could figure out how to turn the water off. There were two shower heads and a standard tub spigot. In my struggles, I may have gotten water everywhere and almost fell out of the tub at one point. The struggle is real.
Dani didn’t show up at the appointed time, so I tried to get a hold of her. She called me saying something about getting lost in the woods and hurrying back to the restaurant. I decided to head down to find the restaurant only to realize that I couldn’t remember a) the name of the restaurant and b) where it was. I might have wandered around the hotel confusedly until one of the staff finally asked me if I needed directions. Here is the following conversation:
Valet: “Can I help you with something?” (thick German accent)
Me: “Where is the not fancy restaurant that’s not the dungeon?”
Him: “The George is our formal dining.”
Me: “I want the not fancy one.”
Him: “The dungeon is downstairs…” (we were standing in front of the sign pointing to the Dungeon)
Me: “No, the other one! I think it starts with a C.”
Him: “The cottage?”
Me: *nods enthusiastically*
Him: “It is over on the other side of the bridge outside of the castle.”
I may have yelled thanks and run off in the other direction because I realized I wasn’t wearing shoes. I finally got to the restaurant and Dani and I enjoyed a delicious meal. She also told me how she got lost in the woods while talking to her mom and wandered around for three-quarters of an hour before ending up in Cong (the little village near the estate). Then she made her way back to the restaurant. I’m getting that girl a homing beacon for her birthday…
On our way back to the castle, she also attempted to run back off into the woods. I found out that the hoods of jackets make for good leashes! Now she may have coerced me into going out drinking again…what could go wrong?
Since I don’t have any pretty pictures to share today, here’s a blonde moment:
The first night in the Sheen Falls Lodge I think I mentioned something about there being a pathetically shallow lake. Well, the next day I went back to reception and the lake was full! I stood there confused until I asked the receptionist about it. He said that the tide had come in, at which point I looked at him with a shocked expression and exclaimed, “wait, it’s saltwater and not freshwater??” He looked at me like I had an alien sprouting out of my head and slowly said, “no, it’s a bay…” *facepalm*