. when i got out of the car i noticed a slight whooshing sound and a rather large hole in our tyre! there was a nice big stone stuck in it which i'm guessing we picked up in one of the many potholes caused by the snow and floods. luckily we'd pulled over on someones driveway, luckily that person was in their open garage and luckily he was a bit of a car enthusiest and had all the professional tools for a wheel replacement (since none of us could confidently put a new wheel on the car, and wouldn't have been able to even if we knew how since he had trouble undoing the screws and getting the tyre off, another passerby stopped and had to use a crowbar to get the wheel off the car!) unfortunately we only had an emergency tyre which allowed us to travel 50km at 80km/h to get to the nearest mechanic, unfortunately it was a sunday which, in ireland, means absolutely nothing is open! so we headed for kinsale and hoped for the best. about halfway there we passed a sign warning us to slow down because road bowling was in process, i thought it was a bit strange that they'd be doing roadworks on a sunday but when we came round the corner we all got much more confused! there were men in fluro safety vests and a whole group of people stopping and waving through cars. we asked what was going on and they told us to pull over and have a look. so we did! and a very kind lady explained to us the rules of road bowling, a very serious, high speed lawn bowls style sport that takes place on the highway. there's two players who throw a metal ball with a cricket style run up at tufts of grass on the road, getting as close as possible and avoiding the ditches on the side of the road, when it went in the ditch a group of older men would bring out the metal detector to find it in the water. and they just work their way up the road from the pub for about a mile or so, apparently its played all over the country, there's even girls competitions if we're interested! after a while we decided we should go back to the car since we left it on the side of the road with the windows down (not intending on joining the spectators for so long) but i think the whole town was following the game so it was fairly safe
! we got into kinsale, found the only hostel, conveniently located next to and owned by a mechanic who gave us the number of a tyre repair place for the next day.so we settled in, adjusted our plans and walked around town, Rach and i went to the local pub, first ones there at 9pm, even the musician was outside having a smokw! monday morning we drove out to the tyre people and our car had such an odd sized tyre that they didn't even have anything close and wouldn't be able to get one in til lunch time the next day. so we went back in to town, bought some books and spent some time in a cafe, alana got a hair cut, i got a manicure, we bought some more books and souveniers and some propper food for dinner!
after enjoying the hostel's free breakfast we drove out to blarney castle. it was nice and frosty and we enjoyed a chilly walk around the gardens on the way to castle. there were a couple of hundred tiny winding stairs up to the top and the blarney stone. to kiss the stone (and supposedly receive the gift of the gab) you have to lie on your back with your waist on the edge of the ground and a man sitting beside you to stop you from falling down the gap, then you lean backwards holding the railings and kiss the wall. the actual blarney stone is about 30cm below where most people hit which explains the t-shirts in the gift shop that say "I k(m)issed the blarney stone". it was a bit scary but not as bad as before they removed a section of the floor when they'd hang people over the other side of the wall by their feet! after that we had a frolic in the druid's garden before driving back through cork towards kinsale, a small fishing village. about 12km out of kinsale we pulled over on a little rural road for a river/ruin photo stop