This is the latest I've started typing my notes up from the day so far this whole trip. It's now just past 1 AM and although I've been home for about an hour now I wanted to take care of some minor domestic chores and check my email and Facebook first. Apparently I've only looked at my email on m iPhone and Kindle for the last couple of days, which doesn't actually delete them from my inbox on my email server.
Today was an excellent day, even though the weather was mediocre for most of the day with rare breaks in the clouds and some drizzle late in the afternoon. I wore only my fleece vest under my rain jacket when I left and often felt like I could have worn another layer as well.
When I was typing up my notes last night I forgot that tonight I was going over to the High Kings concert at 9:30 PM at the INEC and intended to have dinner there, so it's a good thing I checked my schedule this morning. Since I wouldn't be leaving here for dinner & the show until 7 PM I wasn't in a hurry to get moving this morning. I made a reservation for the 2:30 PM sailing of the Pride of the Lakes from Ross Castle, had a Slimfast for a late breakfast at about 11, and left here around noon.
Before leaving I took my clothes out of the dryer. Even this much smaller load was still kind of dampish so I took the odd folding metal clothes drying rack and set it up to let my clothes finish drying.
Besides a dryer that doesn't seem very efficient I have another minor complaint. The bed is only a double which is OK since it's just me but it is against a wall in the bedroom which I'm sure makes it kind of difficult when two people are in it and makes it a bit hard to straighten out the covers in the morning.
I took the long walk over to Ross Castle, going over past the Cathedral and into the Killarney National Park at that entrance then walking through the woods to come out on the lake right at the Castle. It was rather beautiful and for some reason I was in a very good mood and rather happy and just enjoying the walk. I lost count of how many times I had to get out of the way of an oncoming pony or horse cart, though.
I had thought of going on the guided tour of the Castle but gave that idea up when I was looking at the model of the building in the exhibition room next to where you buy tickets. I decided I really didn't want to climb up and down four floors of stairs. Instead I went back outside to a picnic table in a somewhat sheltered area near the closed tea room to wait for the boat. The wind had picked up quite a bit on my walk and you could really feel it in more exposed areas.
I sat out on the covered but open deck at the rear of the boat and enjoyed the trip and the scenery quite a bit in spite of a couple fidgety kids, one of whom kept kneeling on the seat next to me and kicking me every time he leaned to look over the side of the boat.
There is a large parking area at the Castle and I'm sure I could have called a cab to get back here which would have been cheaper but instead I took a horse carriage. It wasn't cheap, but once again it was just me so I didn't mind the 30 Euro standard charge. I enjoyed my driver's company and he told me that he originally had his own carriage but sold it when he left Ireland to spend a year and a half driving a carriage in Austin TX. He's back and driving one of his dad's carriages until he can save up to buy one of his own again.
I've seen carriages on the streets of town near the Park many times before on each of my trips here, but I was interested and surprised to learn that although drivers can take routes through the park to get to the Castle they have to stick to the city streets to get back into town.
I got off at the carriages's central hub down at the statute of Christ the Redeemer across from the International Hotel where I stayed eleven years ago and just down the street from the Shire pub. I was going to go by for a pint but decided that might not be such a good idea at the time because I hadn't actually had anything for lunch except for a Slimfast.
There were several buskers out between there and here but I only stopped to listen once. At a busy corner there were two women playing. One was an excellent fiddler and the other played guitar. It was interesting and amusing listening to the fiddler announcing the key changes to her friend. I'm very bad at estimating the ages of women and these two could have been anything from early 20s to early 30s, sisters or friends or even mother and daughter. There was also a much younger girl who could have been a sister or daughter of either musician who at one point just started dancing along, nothing very fancy or even recognizably traditional but very energetic. I spent about 15 or 20 minutes there.
I got back here about 4:30 and had another Slimfast before just hanging out here until it was time to walk on over to the INEC for dinner and the concert. Wben I left I could tell that it had been raining or drizzling fairly recently so I wore all three layers, vest and sweatshirt and rain jacket on top. I didn't take my big, real camera since I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to use it at the concert (although they didn't say anything about no photography or videos then) and I was going to be in a bit too much of a hurry to stop and take pictures along the way. There is, however, plenty to take pictures of between here and there since it was along the main road into and out of town with lots of very nice looking B & Bs and hotels.
The walk took less than 45 minutes to get there and it was all quite flat but I was relieved when I started seeing places I knew were close to the venue.
The INEC or Irish National Entertainment Centre is the conference/event/banquet facility attached to the large Gleneagle hotel which has several different restaurants. I had a very nice dinner and dessert in the OD restaurant there including a very good duck pate for an appetizer and lovely fish dish for the main course.
I finished about 9 and went back down the hall to find a seat for the concert and I'm glad I didn't wait much longer. I had noticed that my ticket said the seating was unreserved but I hadn't seen the venue itself yet. The concert was in a very large room set up for a banquet rather than a concert with seats along tables that were perpendicular to the stage. The room was almost twice as long as the stage with tables on either side with a limited view and had another room next to it with an even worse view of the performers from there so basically there the music was a background to conversation and drinking. I was able to find a seat at the end of a table three away from the left side of the stage facing it.
I'm not very familiar with the High Kings although I've heard a few of their tunes on the Irish & Celtic music podcasts I listen to and the library at home has a couple of their later CDs. About a third to a half of the songs they did were ones I'd never heard before. The whole show was excellent. All four of the guys played multiple instruments and sang very well and their arrangements and song selections were very well done.
A feature of the concert I know many of my musician friends would have envied is they have a stage manager who was constantly taking their instruments off stage to tune them and bring them back out again.
The Kings played straight through from 9:30 PM to a bit after 11 which is when I caught a cab to come back here.
What am I going to do tomorrow? Well, considering it's now almost 2 AM I'm not going to be in a very great hurry to do anything early on. And I have another show tomorrow evening with a ride from here to there and back.
I've also decided I'm probably not going to make the trip out to Blarney and the Castle there since the drive is about an hour and a half each way and I'd need to leave early to beat the crowds. Tomorrow (Monday) is also the Easter bank holiday so the schools and many offices are closed so Blarney will probably be busier than usual tomorrow anyway.
I still want to wander on back to the Cathedral but I can do that Tuesday if not tomorrow.
And that's it for today.