Weekend Wanderer

WWW Day 24: The Bus Tour That Almost Killed Me.

You guys, YOU GUYS, I’m going to NEW YORK CITY this weekend!! I wrote an extra long post to tide you over in my absence – it’s one heckuva story!

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What better way to get out of the house and see more of Ireland than a bus tour? Safe, predictable, easy travel, right?

Wrong.

First, choosing a tour out of the dozens of pamphlets was a chore, but we finally settled on one that looked promising -“Extreme Ireland Tour” to Rock Cashel, the Blarney Stone, and on to Cork, PLUS, the pamphlet promised us a “charming, sexy tour guide.” Sold!

We arrived bright and early to see rows upon rows of shiny new tour buses, like this:

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Look at all that luxurious space! I bet they even showed movies..

We stopped at each one and asked if they were the Extreme Ireland tour, until finally someone smirked and pointed out our “bus” hiding behind all the other mammoth beauties:

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Our “bus” was actually a glorified hippie van.

We should have known, right then and there, to throw out all expectations, yet foolishly we clung to the hope of our “charming, sexy tour guide.”

“Welcome aboard ladies!”:

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Thank you Google, for helping me find a close substitute for our tour guide, who might not have been as attractive as this gentleman.

Strong foreboding warned us to walk away, but our down payment was non refundable, naturally.

At the first rest stop, driver man blatantly hit on Sus and I (which we narrowly avoided).

Back on the road things deteriorated quickly: our driver was a maniac, swerving all over the road, and rolling down his window to shout at a runaway horse:

"Run Donkey, RUN!" Umm..sir? That's a horse.

“Run Donkey, RUN!” Umm..sir? That’s a horse.

Rumble strips meant nothing to this man, let alone the center line! Let me tell you, getting off that bus again was a blessed relief. This was our first stop:

Welcome to the Rock of Cashel! Not pictured: the construction covering the WHOLE front side.

Welcome to the Rock of Cashel! Note the scaffolding in the corner..

Unfortunately for us, the castle was under construction, so we were limited in what we could see. Also, the weather was FREEZING, and our driver creeped on Susie and I hardcore:

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Friendly driver Dave took this picture for us, after assuring us that “Irish men are gentle…”

Once we ran away from Driver Dave, it was pretty beautiful there:

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I’m incredibly proud of this picture!

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I call this “View of a Castle, from a castle”

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We are SO excited to be back on that bus…notice how close we had to sit. Also, the wind is not a friend to my hair.

Blarney Castle came next, and was far and away my favorite stop. The wind had died down a little, nothing was under construction, and we successfully evaded Driver Dave! Plus, it looked like this:

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How imposing!

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Isn’t it gorgeous?

Here is the unique thing about our visit to the Blarney Castle: Susie and I didn’t kiss the stone. Not only was the queue an hour’s wait, an Irish friend told us a rumor that locals pee on the the stone at night to laugh at tourists. Next.

Instead we went to the magical gardens, called the Rock Close. I can’t think of a better way to spend our brief hour there: not only did we avoid standing behind a French couple who were making out the whole time (in line to the Blarney Stone), but we found a gorgeous tropical oasis that swirled with misty magic, where the legends were as dense as the undergrowth.

I don’t have the room to post all those pictures here, but I will give you a guided tour of the lush garden in a separate post.

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This view has doubtless inspired many artists

Back to the bus we trudged, not eager to re-enter our cramped-bus reality. On the ride down to Cork, our driver talked nonstop through a garbled mike that rendered us incapable of deciphering his stories anyway. Here’s Cork, where Driver Dave recommended a bar for us (no thanks Dave!):

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A bridge in Cork – inclement weather inhibited my picture-taking, but you get the idea!

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Cork did have some great buildings and indoor market that I loved!

And with that, we made the long trek back to Dublin. Driver Dave sang us Irish love songs, which was a nice change, and before we knew it, we were stumbling off the bus, dazed, amused, and shocked that we were home in one piece. I’m pretty sure I lost a couple pounds laughing all day, leaving my shoulders and abs equally sore!

Would I reccomend this tour?

Absolutely.

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2 thoughts on “WWW Day 24: The Bus Tour That Almost Killed Me.

  1. Both hilarious and informative.

    “Kissed the Blarney Stone, surprisingly salty. There must be a lot of natural iodine.” -Tourist

    You make it sound like it was just you ladies and suave, debonair Dave. I just imagine him answering a classified ad a day earlier: “Local driver wanted for charming, sexy tourists. Must be able to keep the van between the ditches and sing Irish love songs.”

    Adventures like that are what make life fun though. Glad it ended up being enjoyable!

    • Well, Driver Dave was pretty “friendly.” I can imagine those trips are the highlight of his year! It was definitely worth all the crazy fun and near death experiences!

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