Getting Ready to Leave

Trip Start Sep 10, 2009
Trip End Oct 10, 2009

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Flag of Ireland  , County Clare,
Friday, October 9, 2009

This morning was depressingly rainy--matching my feelings about it being our last full day here. Tomorrow would be an early wake-up and 9:00 flight.

We had pancakes for breakfast, then left to see a few more sights before coming back to pack. We did a quick run to the airport so John would know where to return the car tonight, then we headed to the village of Quin. Quin Abbey was beautiful from the road, but it was raining too hard to walk to it. It’s now on our list of things to see when we go back.

Because of the rain, we drove back into Shannon and went to the mall. Unlike our malls, this one is unheated and they sell everything there. The butcher was next door to the acupuncturist, Then there was a solicitor’s office, a botox provider, and a small food court in addition to a number of clothing and furniture stores. In the grocery store they had “Swine Flu Wipes”, which were just antibacterial wipes with a scary name. Interesting fact: the Irish have some very different products--in a restaurant rest room one could purchase chewable toothbrushes from a machine! They were little plastic brushes that were chewed to clean the teeth and then discarded. It was fun just to walk around and by the time we left the rain had stopped for a while.

We went back to Bunratty for lunch. Bunratty consists of a few hotels, several b&b’s, the Bunratty Folk Park of which the castle is the star, Durty Nellie’s pub, and a few shops run by Blarney Woolen Mills. We had lunch at the shops and did a bit of last minute shopping before going back to sort out our luggage.

We checked three bags on the trip over and knew we were going to be close to the weight limit on two of them, while the third was smaller and full of our dirty laundry and my rocks from the beach. While we were at the mall, we saw a small bag on sale and got it to handle our overflow. That was a good move, as some of the things we purchased were bulky, and we filled all four bags.

We went to Durty Nellie’s for drinks and an early dinner. The pub was established in 1620, and its small rooms are quite cozy. Badges from various fire and police departments line the walls of the bar, and in one room is a memorial to a New York firefighter who died on 9/11. A fire was blazing in the fireplace in one room, but we took a table in the room we had shared with friends five years ago. We drank to them then had a dinner of fish and chips.

A family came in and took the other table, and we found out that one of the women was from Texas and was visiting her sister and her family here. They were all originally from Pennsylvania, and the sister had come to Ireland ten years ago as a tourist and stayed. We had fun talking with them, then left soon after they did to return to the b&b.

John dropped me off and went to the airport to turn in the car. We thought that it would be one less thing to deal with early in the morning. They charged him for the hubcap he lost, but it was a wash because we had replaced the headlight. Now, if they don’t charge us for the scratches from all the sticker bushes that hung out into the road, we’ll be okay.

We’ll make an early night of it since 5:00 A.M. hasn’t been our wake up time in over a month.
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