Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Leah and I parked downtown Limerick so she could get some morning coffee. We had originally planned to drive a coastal route, but weren’t feeling more car time, so we decided to tour a local castle. However, that plan changed too at the coffee shop when we saw lots of kids and parents in parade gear. Strangely, the streets didn’t really get full until about fifteen minutes before the noon parade began. It lasted a little over an hour, and was mostly a small town feel with local boys and girls clubs, police and fire departments, military, etc. There were a couple of bands with bagpipes or drums in kilts, and more authentic redheads than I’ve ever seen anywhere else! Ireland really is home to redheads. Mostly, we were impressed by the lack of craziness we expected for celebrating St. Patrick’s day in Ireland. It was very family oriented and friendly.
Afterward, we headed toward Portlaoise, which is where we are staying tonight. We went and toured a ruined castle/fortress called the Rock of Dunamase, built in the late twelfth century. It was open access to the public and we had the place to ourselves. I have really enjoyed touring all of these amazing places without the flocks of tourists. There is something so magical about touring history quietly, being able to imagine how it may have been hundreds of years ago. It comes at the price of crazy, pot-hole filled, one-way roads with rock walls or hedges where there is normally a shoulder and the worst blind spots on hills and turns. But hey! We’ve only had one bad scare, so very much worth it. My camera lens got a few water spots in the photos; today was the first time in our trip that we’ve really encountered rain (not including the driving/transit day from Scotland to N. Ireland).
I continue to be interested in the way things work here. The electrical outlets all have switches to turn them on or off, so they aren’t live until you switch it on. The showers usually have these little pull strings that you switch on the water heater. It makes me wonder if the heaters are tankless. I don’t think you can buy sinks or showers this small in the US. At home, I normally flip my head upside down when I do my hair in the shower. I can’t here because there isn’t enough room. It is literally about 4-6 square feet. None of the small sizes have bothered me, probably since I am smaller. We’ve only had one top sheet the entire trip. I think most people just wash the duvet covers.