Monday, September 25, 2017

Illinois, Part 3: Matthiessen State Park

When it comes to hiking in Illinois, it’s hard to beat Starved Rock State Park. However, Starved Rock is not the only game in town. Matthiessen State Park is just a few miles from Starved Rock, and it offers similar views on a smaller scale. It’s typically much less crowded, too, though that wasn’t the case when Mrs. Tires, Trike (our son Jacoby) and I visited on Labor Day in 2016.

We departed from Chicago on a beautiful but steamy Monday morning, and after a two hour drive, we pulled in to Utica, ready to hit the trail. The traffic coming off the highway was killer, and it took us a good ten minutes to get from the ramp to the first intersection. After driving past Starved Rock, we approached the entrance to Mattiessan State Park's Dells Trail. This is known as the best trail in the park. Unfortunately, the entrance was blocked off, and a sign informed us that it was over capacity. Surprised but undeterred, we continued on to the entrance to the River Trail. As we pulled in, we were greeted by a packed parking lot. It took us four trips around the lot, but we eventually scored a space. I was quite surprised by the huge crowd, as it flew in the face of the park’s rep. However, a sunny day over a holiday weekend is bound to bring people in, so we shrugged it off. We covered ourselves with sunscreen and bug spray, strapped Trike to my back, and headed out into the forrest.

Despite the crowded lot, the grassy straightaway that lead us to the trail was sparsely populated. When we reached the trailhead, we found pretty much everyone else that was visiting that day. They were all hunched over a wooden stand, checking out the trail map before them. When we finally got to the map, we figured out why there were so many confused faces. The map was disorganized and was nearly impossible to decipher. We gave it a glance but gave up on it pretty quickly, deciding just to wander in and see where the trail took us. We were getting a bit skeptical about this place as we trudged in.

You can't tell from the photo, but the map didn't match real life and made no sense

Fortunately, the dense forest filled with beautifully green trees and brush changed our outlook in a hurry. We were quickly encapsulated by the forest. The trail was rough, a bit muddy, and covered in tree roots, but navigable. Hiking with a baby on my back was a new experience, and it made me much more aware of each step. Still, the greenery was enchanting, and the light shown through the trees with a heavenly glow. It was a pleasant and gratifying trudge.

It wasn’t long before we came to an intersection in the trail, which was quite populated thanks to a different trail map, tattered and worn and even more confusing. We tried to make heads or tails of the map but we were just as confused by the incongruent markings on the map as everyone else was. We conferred with other hikers and decided to turn left.

Once we got past the trail map, we were seemingly alone in the forest. There were plenty of other hikers on the trail, but the thick forest made it seem like we were the only ones there. At about that time, Trike became enamored with the view of the tops of the trees. He spent most of the remainder of the hike with his head cocked all the way back, staring straight up at the tree tops and the sky. We could tell he was fascinated by it all. A hiker in the making, no doubt.

We didn’t see much wildlife during our hike, other than a small chipmunk at the edge of the trail. However, plenty of birds made these woods their home, as apparent by the frequent chirping and song present whenever we made a conscious effort to listen for it. At one point we heard the unmistakable tap tap tap tap tap tap of a woodpecker, though we couldn’t locate it among the trees.

As we kept going, the trail became more hilly, and more muddy. We worked up a good sweat as we proceeded, and we were extra careful at the muddy patches. Trike's presence made us much more cautious in that regard.

Fortunately, we successfully navigated the trail without incident, and eventually we arrived at the river’s edge. The river was prominent enough to draw attention, yet shallow enough to cross it if you had a good pair of boots. We were in sneakers, so we kept to the river’s edge. It made for a great place to rest for a while. It may have been the apex of the hike, but because of the shoddy map, we weren’t sure. It ended up being the apex for us anyway.

When we turned back, we took a different route. The tail forked, and we went in the direction that brought us uphill. This portion was even less populated, and we were seemingly alone in the forest for the majority of the stretch. It was more muddy than the trails we were on previously, but we avoided the mud well enough and stayed upright. All the while, Trike was cooing and kicking his legs in delight.

Our trail selection was a leap of faith, but it paid off, as we ended up back at the second trail map. From there, it was an easy hike back to the trailhead. We were happy about that, as we were sweating like crazy, and Trike’s face was turning red.

As we reached the trail entrance, we witnessed an awkward and somewhat humorous scene. One of the children in a family made up of three kids and two adults informed his mother that there was a bug on her. This sent her into uncontrollable hysterics, and she swatted and shook to get the bug off of her. She called to her husband for help, and he came to her rescue, only to recoil when her flailing arms almost caught him in the face. His retreat made her even more upset, as she interpreted his hesitation as abandonment. Finally he got close enough for a good, accurate swipe, and he knocked the presumably poisonous insect to the ground. The kid ran over and inspected the bug. Much to his amusement, it was a caterpillar. Regardless, she launched into a deadly blame game, berating her husband for not rescuing her from the killer butterfly-in-training. We ran into them again when we made it to our car, and she was still laying into her husband for his egregious error.

On our way out of town, we drove through the downtown area of Utica, which brought back memories of our previous visit. Eager to relive our past and feeling a bit peckish, we parked the car and strolled down the strip. It was a small but charming downtown area, lined with shops and restaurants. At the end of the street stood Duffy’s Tavern, a bar and restaurant we were quite familiar with. Mrs. Tires and I spent a memorable afternoon there during our previous visit.

The place was packed when we walked in, but much to our delight, there was a table in the back with just enough room for a highchair. We instantly remembered the low key atmosphere and the Irish firefighter inspired decor. What’s more, the high chair came with a pack of animal crackers, a nice touch that Trike thoroughly appreciated. We snacked on thick, buttery onion rings and enjoyed some deliciously cold beers, then split a rueben sandwich. All the while, we reminisced, looked back on our hike, and eavesdropped on the loud, jubilant group of bikers on the other end of the room.

With our bellies full and our hiking goals fulfilled, we hit the road back to Chicago. On the drive back, we admitted to each other we were slightly disappointed that we didn’t get to go on the Dells trail, but we agreed that was reason to go back. As it was, Mattiessen State Park made for a wonderful one-day excursion, and we were thrilled to have taken Trike on his first hike.

More on Illinois:

Illinois, Part 1: Chicago
Illinois, Part 2: Starved Rock and Galena

Saturday, August 5, 2017

London, England

I studied in Stirling, Scotland in the spring of 2002, and my time abroad allowed me to travel around Europe. During the University of Stirling's spring break, I embarked on a journey that took me to London, Paris and Spain. My friend Jeremy picked me up at the train station in London. He was studying there at the time, and we caught up on our respective study abroad experiences as we made our way to Clink 78, the hostel I'd be staying at for the next two nights. After check-in, we hit the town.

That's where things get fuzzy. While I remember my arrival quite clearly, the details of where we went and what we did while wandering London are lost to time. I do remember noting to myself that London looked like an older version of any American city. This of course makes sense given the shared history of our great nations. I also remember seeing  (and drinking) a lot of Hoegaarden. This distinctive white beer was available everywhere, and could be found pouring out of custom Hoegaarden-branded taps into huge Hoegaarden glasses.

Jeremy and I met up at the London Eye the next day to kick of my only full day in London. This famous ferris wheel was brand new at the time, having opened shortly after the start of the new millennium. We intended to ride the Eye, but the wait was over two hours. That was too long for our tastes, so we decided to stroll down the Queen’s Walk, a walking path that flanked the river Thames. From the river's edge, we took in a great view of Big Ben and did some great people watching. We also encountered a few installations promoting a Salvator Dali exhibit along the way, which further enhanced the experience.

From there, we weren’t too far from Piccadilly Circus, so we wandered over for a peek and a pint. If you combine the blinking screens and advertisements in Times Square with the shopping at Faneuil Hall in Boston, you’ve got Piccadilly Circus. We perused some of the souvenir stands and stopped for a while to watch a street performer juggle swords blindfolded before finding a watering hole.

Once we settled into a pub, Jeremy produced two Cuban cigars. Cubans are illegal in the US, but were readily available in the UK, and with smoking allowed in London pubs, we eagerly lit them up. The smoking session didn’t last long, as it annoyed some patrons, prompting the bartender to ask us to snuff out our stogies. We took that as our cue to move on.

Our last stop of the day took us to an out of the way, but very famous destination - Abbey Road Studios. After riding from one decrepit tube station to another and wandering through a rather dodgy neighborhood, we arrived at the studio that recorded the Beatles and countless others.

The building itself was a lot smaller than I anticipated. One might walk right by it without noticing it if it wasn’t for the swarth of tourists taking photos. Between the tourists and the studio sat a long, low wall covered in Beatles lyrics, provocative statements and a sea of names. It was a fascinating piece of living art.

We didn’t have access to the studio itself, so after marveling at it from the street, there was only one thing left to do - try to replicate the Abbey Road album cover. The famous photo on the cover of the Beatles album that bears the studio's name was taken at the crosswalk closest to the studio. All of us tourists had the same idea, so we all waited patiently for the opportunity to cross without being smacked by a tiny but vengeful British car. It seemed the touristy hubbub the studio brought to the neighborhood annoyed the locals. They zoomed through the intersection with little regard for the lives of the tourists crossing the street.

I was so excited to cross when it was my turn, and I couldn’t wait to develop the photo Jeremy took so I could see myself in the most famous crosswalk in history. Of course it’s just my luck that the photo came out blurry - and I’m walking the wrong way!

Jeremy and I went out for dinner and a couple of drinks after that, and when I returned to my hostel, I realized I wasn't quite ready to call it a night. I opted to visit the nearest night club, which, conveniently, was located in the hostel's basement. Not long after I bellied up to the bar at the club, I struck up a conversation with a good looking young lady who was also visiting from America. I was single then, as I hadn't yet met the love of my life, the awe-inspiring and breathtakingly beautiful Mrs. Tires. The American gal and I flirted and joked over drinks for more than an hour. Eventually we parted ways, and I was sure I'd never see her again. As it turned out, I saw her when she descended the ladder attached to the bunk above me the next morning. Without knowing it, we had slept on different levels of the same bunk bed. Awkward!

After a delightful breakfast at the hostel, I met up with Jeremy for one last day in London. We were joined by his cousin, an ex-pat who played for a semi-pro rugby team. Jeremy and I gladly accepted the invitation to join him and his mates for a pick-up rugby game in the park. To a man, every single one of his friends was huge, stocky, and strong. By comparison, I was a twig. As such, they made me out to be a speedster. That couldn't have been further from the truth, but I didn't let on. Neither of us had played rugby before, so they explained the rules and promised to go easy on us. We played a non-contact game, which was convenient because these men could have flattened me with ease.

Despite the casual setting, the action was fast and intense. The game took some getting used to, especially because forward passes weren't allowed. At some point during the game I managed to score a try, the rugby equivalent of a touchdown. Everyone was cracking wise while we played, and I matched them quip for quip, so we were all friends by the end of the game. This friendliness came in handy, because after the game, Jeremy's cousin offered me, Jeremy and two of his mates a ride, and the five of us crammed into one of those tiny British cars. Despite the sardine can ending, the rugby game was the highlight of my stay in London.

Jeremy and I said goodbye shortly after that, and off I went to the nearest station that would get me on the Chunnel to Paris.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Ireland, Part 4: Cork, Kinsale and Carrigaline

Our Great Irish Road Trip was in full swing when we woke up in Cork. After a day in Dublin, two days in Galway, and a day checking out the Cliffs of Moher and the Dingle Peninsula, we arrived in Cork sometime past midnight the night before. Despite the late arrival, we woke up early, ready for another jam-packed day of in Ireland.

Our morning started with a wonderful Irish breakfast, courtesy of Breeta, the owner of the Higgins B&B. We chowed down on eggs, sausage, beans, toast, tomatoes, cheese and coffee while we chatted with Breeta and a German guest who insisted on drinking Guinness with breakfast.

With our stomachs full, we hopped back into the car and headed to Blarney Castle, one of the most anticipated stops on our journey. We successfully arrived right at 9:00 AM, a full hour before the tour busses showed up, meaning we beat the crowds. We marched towards the castle with the hope of getting some time at the Blarney Stone, the castle’s signature feature. According to legend, kissing this stone grants the visitor “blarney,” which is essentially the gift of gab.

The process of kissing the Blarney Stone was quite involved. We entered the castle, wove our way through its narrow passageways and hiked a series of tight steps.

Eventually, we reached the top of the castle, where we encountered a line that wrapped around the perimeter of the roof.

It took us about 20 minutes to get through the line - not too bad a wait considering a 2+ hour wait is common. We didn’t mind waiting, as the castle’s features were fascinating, and we encountered great views of the expansive and beautiful surrounding area.

The Blarney Stone was located below the level of the floor, so a couple of castle staff members were situated there to help visitors deliver their smooch. Mrs. Tires went first. The attendant supported her as she laid on her back, grabbed the support bars and extended her neck. The other staff member snapped her photo while she puckered up and kissed the stone.

I followed suit and gave the stone a big, juicy kiss. During this process, we both conveniently ignored the rumor about the staff routinely pissing on the stone during off-hours.

With the gift of gab bestowed upon us, we set off to explore the castle and the grounds. As it turned out, the grounds around the castle provided lots to see. We had access to several gardens, a few miles of hiking trails, and some interesting areas around the castle, including the dungeons. We strolled the grounds and took it all in while snapping some photos and enjoying the perfect weather.

We were drawn to the Poison Garden, an eclectic collection of plants that were poisonous. Some plants had signs warning visitors not to touch, eat, or even smell them because of the various ailments the poisons could cause.

No plant was more heavily guarded than the lethally dangerous marijuana plant.

We also visited Badger’s Cave, where Mrs. Tires did her best Gollum impression.

In lock step with an unfortunate reality of our fast-paced road trip, we didn’t have as much time as we would have liked to explore the grounds around the castle. Nonetheless, Blarney Castle was a lot of fun to explore, and it far exceeded our expectations. We were sad to leave.

We had a date with some of Leanne’s relatives, so we headed towards Carrigaline, a small town about an hour outside of Cork. Pete and Jenny O’Leary resided in Carrigaline…or at least they used to. They had long since passed, and we were going to see if we could find any trace of them in this small Irish town.

Upon arriving in Carrigaline, its charm impressed us right away. Many of the destinations on our Great Irish Road Trip were rather touristy, so in comparison, this town seemed more authentic, and it was clean, comfortable and welcoming. We parked and strolled down the main drag, not exactly sure what we were looking for. The town bookstore seemed like a good place to start, so we went there and chatted with the shop owner about our search. She half laughed at us as she delivered some unfortunate but totally logical news - there were hundreds of O’Learys who resided in the area, and our chances of tracking down Pete and Jenny were pretty slim. She did, however, provide a couple of relevant clues. She advised us to visit the town church, which had more extensive records than we’d find in the bookstore. More importantly, since Pete and Jenny owned a farm, it was likely that the farm was on Kilmoney road with all the other farms in town.

We found the church and entered, hoping to find someone who could help. The stately and ornate church was impressive, but no one was home.

We had a similar experience when we went to the Carrigaline Library, which was closed for lunch. Disappointed but still upbeat, we grabbed a bite at a local grocery store and had a beer at a nearby pub before settling for a cruise down Kilmoney road, the closest we’d get to tracing Mrs. Tires’ Irish heritage.

Rolling fields flanked the road, one of which must’ve been Pete and Jenny’s farm back in the day. We tried to imagine visiting said farm and meeting her relatives, an amusing exercise that enhanced the experience.

Ultimately we didn’t find whatever it was we were looking for, but we did get to check out the town Mrs. Tires’ relatives lived in, and that was good enough for us.

On our way back to Cork, we followed Breeta’s recommendation and stopped in the seaside town of Kinsale. After struggling to find parking for a time period roughly equal to the rest of our time in the town, we strolled along the waterfront marveling at the docks, which seemingly went on for miles. From there, we found a seaside restaurant, where we devoured a plate of oysters and enjoyed a couple of tasty Irish beverages. After a quick stop in a gift shop, we were on the road again, headed back to Cork.

After a much-needed nap back at the B&B, we changed and got ready to go out for the evening. All of the driving around left us just one evening to visit downtown Cork, and in true Rayman fashion, we intended to make the most of it.

We started our evening at Sin É, a pub loaded with character and known for live music, delicious stouts, and an eclectic mix of decorations. The music, literature, and sports-inspired decor covered the walls and the ceiling, and made staring at the walls an exciting and surprising experience. The whole vibe of the place was brought together by tables lit by candlelight coming from wine and whiskey bottles turned candlestick holders. We sat at the bar initially, where we talked to a friendly regular of the pub. He recommended we go to St. Anne’s Church, where tourists are invited to ring the gigantic Bells of Shandon at the top. Unfortunately, our schedule didn’t allow for it, so that’s another destination for the Next Time list. We spent the second half of our time at Sin É sitting at a small table tucked away in the corner of the bar, where we enjoyed some whiskey and beer and toasted our time in Cork.

We could have spent all evening at Sin É, but we had reservations at Greene’s, a fancy restaurant famous for fresh, inventive food and a secluded outdoor seating area accented by an actual waterfall. Mrs. Tires made our reservations well in advance of our stay, which afforded us a seat on the romantic outdoor patio. We enjoyed a wonderful bottle of wine, and I had the Skeaganore Duck, which was easily the finest duck I had ever eaten. As nightfall crept in, the restaurant lit the waterfall with colored lightbulbs, which added to the allure.

We were going strong after our delicious meal, so we sought out some nightlife in downtown Cork. It was Monday night, so the town was pretty quiet, but we didn’t let that deter us. After closing down a bar that shut its doors at 11:00, we sought out a late-night establishment, which was unexpectedly hard to find. Fortunately, we stumbled upon the Old Oak Pub, a huge, soccer-obsessed pub that was not only open late, but also offered karaoke. Mrs. Tires and I love the stage, and we rarely pass up the opportunity to get behind a microphone and belt out a tune. Only a couple of people had put in songs by the time we made our song selections, and we feared our karaoke experience would be a dud. Nonetheless, when our names were called, we went up and give it our all. I sang Can’t Take My Eyes off of You by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and it was one of my best performances ever. The crowd cheered like crazy when I left the stage.

Not to be outdone, Mrs. Tires belted out an amazing rendition of the Beatles’ Oh, Darling, which was met by equally enthusiastic whooping and applause.

As soon as Mrs. Tires sat back down, our server approached with a round of drinks on the house because of our performances. It was the first and only time our singing produced free beer. I couldn’t believe it.

The karaoke enthusiasts came out of the woodwork after our performances, and we were treated to some fantastic karaoke. It was an outstanding evening that left us walking five feet off the ground when we made it back to our B&B.

After another delightful breakfast the next morning, we were on the road for the final full day of our stay in Ireland. We couldn’t take the radio anymore, so we bought some discount CDs at a gas station and rocked out to them while we drove back to Dublin. After a smooth and pleasant cruise, we were assessing our lunch options when we saw a sign for the Rock of Cashel. Breeta recommended we stop off at this Irish castle. We weren't entirely sold on a visit, but with lunch in mind, we took the exit.

We planned to poke our heads into the Rock of Caschel and see if it was alluring enough to check out further before fully committing. We walked in the front door to a room overlooking the castle's courtyard, but the view didn't sell it well. Still unsure, we took a few steps into the courtyard for more, and upon looking back, we realized we walked right by the cashier and had actually inadvertently snuck in without paying. Whoops! Since we no longer had cost as a barrier, we rocked the Cashel.

This castle was scenic and sported some intriguing installations, but didn’t live up to the castles we visited previously, and we didn’t connect with it. Besides, we’d be staying in a castle that night, or rather a castle-turned-hotel. The hotel is described in the post on Dublin, and it perfectly capped our Great Irish Road Trip.

Ireland was a wonderful country to explore. The fields were as green and lush as we had imagined, the people were as welcoming as we had hoped, and the beverages were delicious. We got everything we wanted out of our trip, and we’d gladly go back again.

For more on Ireland check out:

Ireland, Part 1: Dublin
Ireland, Part 2: Galway
Ireland, Part 3: The Cliffs of Moher and the Dingle Peninsula

and check out #craicandcapriccio on Twitter.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Ireland, Part 3: The Cliffs of Moher and the Dingle

The first three days of our Great Irish Road Trip included a tour of Dublin and two days wandering Galway. Mrs. Tires and I met Pia and Masha of Slovenia during our last night in Galway. They were headed in our direction the next day, so we offered them a ride.

Smiling despite the early hour and armed with cupcakes, Pia and Masha hopped in the back seat of our tiny rental car, and off we went towards the Irish countryside.

Our companions made for great company. They knew a lot about the surrounding area, and they were more than willing to act as our personal photographers at scenic stops along the way. We joked and laughed as we passed by Ireland's flatlands and swamps, which eventually gave way to more hilly and dramatic terrain.

Our drive brought us by the adorable Dunguaire Castle, a great place to snap a few photos and stretch our legs.

After about two hours of driving, we reached a town near the Cliffs of Moher, where we bid Pia and Masha farewell. The car was much quieter during the final stretch of the drive.

We arrived at the cliffs, where we were greeted by a huge, jam-packed parking lot. As it turned out, the cliffs are one of the most popular attractions in all of Ireland.

The Cliffs of Moher impressed right away. The huge cliffs combined to present a dynamic jagged edge to the shoreline. They were amazingly tall, with the tallest point more than 700 feet above the water. We spent most of our visit admiring the cliffs while we walked up and down the shoreline, and we enjoyed photographing them from different vantage points.

Eventually, we made our way to the O’Brien Observation Tower, which acted as a bookend on the other end of the public area that encompassed the cliffs.

We couldn't believe how close we could get to the edge. While we couldn't set foot on the cliffs themselves, the shoreline we walked along also stood quite high up. In the US, guardrails aplenty would prevent visitors from getting too close to the edge, but at the Cliffs of Moher, some comedic signage acted as the only safety precaution. If our experience disappointed, we easily could have ended our misery by jumping to our deaths.

On the way back to the visitor center, we stopped to listen to a harpist strumming for the pleasure of the visitors.

After a quick perusal of the exhibits and a snack in the expansive visitor center, we hopped back in the rental car and hit the road. We had our sights set on Cork, but we still had plenty of driving ahead to get there. That left us with a decision to make: drive right to Cork, or stretch our time on the road and head to the Dingle Peninsula? We knew the detour would make our already busy schedule that much more jam-packed, but after acknowledging that life is short, we decided to go for it. Off we drove to the Dingle.

After passing through Limerick (which is nicknamed Stab City), we made a bee line to the peninsula, which is known for its beautiful scenery, winding roads and beaches. When we reached the Dingle, we immediately fell in love with our surroundings. Rollings fields of various shades of green and yellow popped up at every turn, and the view changed frequently as we drove. The narrow roads were a thrill to navigate. We also ran into a few surprises along the way.

Inch Beach was a highlight, as it stood in sharp contrast to the surrounding fields. We stopped off to have a look, and the beach awed us with its beauty. Ireland isn't really known for its beaches, but this one was gorgeous, and its surroundings elevated it above the norm.

Eventually, we reached the town of Dingle, a quintessentially Irish town featuring beautifully colored buildings and loads of charm. We only had time to grab a quick bite, but we instantly connected with this lovable little town and fretted over not having more time to explore. The town of Dingle is now on the “Next Time” list.

We had some reassessing to do after dinner, with the hour getting late and lots of driving still ahead. The main roads of the Dingle Peninsula made up a mangled figure-eight, with the town of Dingle serving as the crossroads between the two rings. The western-most ring was called Slea Head Drive, and it housed the most impressive views on the peninsula. Sadly, we realized we didn’t have time to make it around Slea Head, having already pushed our arrival time at the Cork B&B back twice. We continued on the east ring.

Our drive brought us through Conner Pass, a famously narrow road flanked by an exposed cliff face. This road supposedly accommodated traffic in both directions, but it seemed barely wide enough for our tiny car. Fortunately, we didn’t encounter any cars driving in the opposite direction, though we did have to stop for an intimidating sheep making its way through the pass.

A quiet, contemplative mood took over the car as we concluded our cruise around the Dingle Peninsula. We smiled as we sat in silence, enjoying the setting sun while looking back on our day on the road, the highlight of our Great Irish Road Trip so far.

We had no regrets over our choices that day, but we definitely paid the price for our extra long journey. We left the peninsula as darkness set in, and we still had over two hours of driving before we would arrive in Cork. The roads we traveled were heavily wooded and not well lit, so driving became quite difficult, especially after fatigue set in. We white-knuckled our way through, but we weren’t sure we’d ever make it. All the while we knew the owner of our B&B sat waiting for us, and we had to call two more times to push our arrival back some more.

We made it to Cork at about 1:00 AM and found Higgins B&B. Despite the late hour, Breeda, the B&B’s owner, met us at the door and cheerfully showed us to our room. We hit the pillow that night and instantly fell into deep sleep. It had been an exhausting but wonderful ride, and there was more in store the next day.

Coming soon: Ireland, Part 4: Cork, Kinsale and Carragaline

See also:

Ireland, Part 1: Dublin
Ireland, Part 2: Galway