It's now just past 11 PM and I only got back from this evening's show about half an hour ago.
This morning I decided I'd just treat today and tomorrow, my last two days here in Killarney, as kind of St Augustine days. When I go there, my usual schedule is have breakfast, wander around town looking for somewhere to have lunch & have lunch there, go back to my hotel, hang out there most of the afternoon, head back out an hour or so before dinner to have a pint somewhere and then find somewhere to have dinner.
I decided not to try and make the trip out to Blarney & the Castle today and probably not tomorrow either. My decision to not go today was based on a couple of things, one being that today was a day off for most offices and many shops (the Spring bank holiday) so there might be more tourists at Blarney than usual. In order to avoid the crowds, especially inside the castle and on the stairs, you need to get there very soon after they open. Well, I didn't fall asleep much before 2:30 AM last night and when I woke up before 7 I wasn't very happy about it or feeling rested so I was very glad when I could fall asleep again until 9:30 or so.
My plans for today were to have lunch somewhere before walking on over to the Cathedral and then finding somewhere to have a pint or some coffee and kill some time, maybe coming back here to my mini apartment for a bit, before finding somewhere to have dinner about 6 so I could come back here, use my own bathroom and leave my cane before my 7:40 PM pickup for tonight's show. And that's what I did.
I didn't feel like having lunch at most of the places nearby since I'd be eating dinner at a couple of them tonight and tomorrow. I also knew that a branch of Eddie Rocket's is on one of the routes from here to the Cathedral. As I was walking along the street I was passed by a woman who was wearing a jacket and knitted cap that were exactly the same color; I complimented her on her ensemble and she complimented me on my hat.
Although you can see the cathedral from the street downstairs and it's not very far as the crow flies, you have to take a roundabout way to get there since no streets go directly from here to there. Anyway I had a very nice fish sandwich and sweet potato fries for lunch at Eddie Rocket's and made my way to the Cathedral afterwards along the edge of Killarney National Park.
I love St Mary's cathedral. Oddly enough the only official web site for it I can find is that of the parish and that doesn't have many pictures or information about it there. It was originally designed by famed Victorian Gothic architect & designer Augustus Pugin although I have no idea how much of his design survived subsequent renovations. And like many churches here in Ireland, construction was begun before the Famine but completion was delayed until after. Also somewhat odd is that the cathedral has its own 24/7 web cam and not just when there are services going on or even just when it's open.
I took the shorter way back to the main street instead of retracing the way I'd gone. There were some buskers out today, mostly young. I passed a young woman who was just sitting there with a fiddle but not playing. I then stopped for some sorbets at Murphy's ice cream, which is based in Dingle where I went to both their shops when I was there last week. I also asked if I could get my change back in coins since I was out of 1 and 2 Euros to give as tips to buskers.
A little up the road were two younger boys and their sister. The guys were excellent and played a couple of instruments each and the girl played pennywhistle. The younger brothers switched off with an older one who played guitar. These kids were all very good and very impressive.
It was about 4:30 PM when I left to come back here. About once a week I normally copy my pictures from my camera's memory card to my laptop and back that up to my external USB hard drive as well and hadn't done that since the night before I left Dingle over a week ago so that's pretty much what I did before leaving for dinner at 6 PM, reading something on the Kindle reader app on one of my iPhones.
While wandering around I usually check out any menus posted outside restaurants that look interesting and had seen that a place called Salvador's, which is right down the street, had bangers & mash on their menu so that's where I went and had a lovely serving of it with another of the Killarney Brewing Company's fine products.
I got back here just after 7 PM which gave me plenty of time to use my own restroom and leave my cane before heading back downstairs about 7:20 to wait for my ride. I wasn't sure what my shuttle would look like but was pretty sure when I saw a smaller tour company's van go past and turn around and stop.
Tonight's show was Celtic Steps, which I had seen when I was here this past July, and enjoyed a very great deal. The show takes place most of the time in the facilities of the Killarney race course, which has an enclosed grandstand and a club house and the races are run on the grass. The night I went to the show last summer was a racing night so the show took place in the Malton Hotel, its other home, instead.
The show was excellent as it was last summer. It's very well done as a show, with clever, atmospheric use of the lights. There's a very good mix of instrumental music, a singer, four female Irish dancers and three male dancers and most of them have been world champions at least once recently. There are four musiciansa woman on electronic keyboards; a guy who plays bodhran, emcees, and can still keep up with the male dancers at least for short bursts; a guy on accordion, flute & tin whistle; a woman who plays fiddle and sings beautifully; and a guy who plays banjo, guitar, and bodhran. There was also a good mix of the three main types of Irish dancing, competition, sean nos (old school or old style), and modern step dancing. And as I remembered from last summer, there were also two couples doing a few rounds of the Kerry set polkas.
There was even a special, unexpected guest dancer. After the break the MC/bodhran player announced that they had been told that a young American woman in the audience belongs to an Irish dance school back home called Celtic Steps and she had recently been competing in the World Championships in Dublin so they had asked her to do a short performance for us. She, too, was excellent and rather lovely as well.
My plans for tomorrow are similar to what I did todaygo have lunch about 12 or 1 PM, try and find an extra large Irish zip front sweatshirt of jacket that would fit me, take some stuff over to the Mailboxes Etc to ship home, have a pint at the Shire, come back here before dinner, have dinner somewhere new, maybe have a pint and listen to some trad music at Danny Mann's before coming back here to run a small final load of clothes in the washer/drier early enough to set it out on the weird metal folding drying rack so they'll be dry Wednesday morning to pack.
Wednesday I drive back up to Shannon airport to return my rental car and spend the night at the hotel there before flying home on Thursday. One thing I want to do tomorrow is figure out where I might want to go between here and Shannon. I think I'll probably skip Adare again but I'll probably go to the Flying Boat Museum at Foynes and maybe Bunratty and maybe Blarney depending how far they all are from each other and how far out of the way they are from the route from here to Shannon.
And it's now just shortly after midnight, and that's it for today.