Good Gravy, I meant to post every day while I was in Ireland, but I underestimated the tenacity of the Escorted Tour. Nearly every night I arrived back at the hotel exhausted and unable to post, and every morning I awoke just time to go out on an exciting expedition -- often, a life-changing expedition. For example:
I have now kissed the Blarney Stone.
Technically, I head-butted it. But I figure that gives me the power to psionically trasmit waves of flattery at you out my pineal gland. And given the unpleasant climb up and back down, I'm not going back there. It's not dangerous anymore, there are lots of guard bars, and an irritated local who holds your knees while another less-irritated local snaps pictures of you "kissing" the stone (pictures you can buy later for 10 Euros). Neither of the locals cares if you kissed it, or if you head-butted it. If you heard that rumors that the locals pee on the Stone after the Castle closes for the evening, you can kiss the camera guy instead of the stone, which is supposed to be as "lucky." I wasn't tempted by option 3.
But so much else has happened! We rode the Escorted Tour bus around the Ring of Kerry, which really is spectacular, and went to two more "evenings," one a satisfyingly curatorial approach to Irish music and dance with just enough flash to satisfy the stupider tourists too, the other a rubber-chicken banquet in a ruined castle, with a harpist and two singer/actors doing poetry and songs from the Irish Renaissance -- worst-bang-for-buck item on the tour, don't check that box when you sign up.
More significantly, we went to Inishmore, site of the movie Man of Aran and the play the Lieutenant of Inishmore, and though we saw no cats, terrorists or shark fisherman, it was indeed amazing, as you would see from my photographs if I were any good at taking them or understood how to upload them from the camera. By the time I get home I should have that down.
We're currently in our last night in Belfast, which is a very different city from Dublin, but I won't go into details until I get home. Don't read much into that. My favorite thing in Belfast is the Leaning Tower of Albert, which I would totally have climbed if they let you.
Going to bed now, will be back with you when I land in England tomorrow!
PS I got my replacement Amex card! Thanks to Allie, greatest Escorted Tour guide in the history of ever!