Limerick, Ireland – August 2008

Day 3 – St. John’s Castle

Tuesday 5th August

Despite the full-on past couple of exhausting days, my body clock got me up earlier this morning than I might have expected. I’ve come to expect this phenomenon and have put it down to not knowing what the time is. I had another rough night, what with barely being able to swallow because of the tonsillitis but I wasn’t awoken by constant screaming from the kids at least.

Some provisions I picked up whilst in Shannon yesterday morning served as this morning’s breakfast (save for the one egg that Joey failed to turn into an omelette on the kitchen floor – a nice surprise that awaited me) and there’s now a definite sense of having settled in a bit more with the kids showing signs of being used to their surroundings (note aforementioned egg on kitchen floor). Indeed we’ve found that they both quite quickly acclimatise to wherever they are on holiday (we always make sure there are more eggs than needed) or to whatever the nature is to the change to their routine.

We set off to collect Shalina from the University for an afternoon visit to St. John’s Castle in Limerick town centre. She was duly sitting there at the car park near her dorm waiting for us at just after noon. As it turned out, the two other friends of hers that had originally planed on tagging along had in the end decided that they were too tired from all the training they’ve had to endure this week ahead of Friday’s competition, so it was just the three of us and the two kids in the end. The kids’ late-morning nap was cut short somewhat but they at least slept for most of the car journey to the university and subsequently onwards into town.

The castle itself was interesting enough but it wasn’t the one that I had remembered from our previous tour with the campervan. There were a couple of video presentations that we sat through to set the scene but it was the open courtyard and some ‘ye olde’ exhibits of blacksmiths’ works and the like that kept the kids entertained in the end. There were what can only be described as some spectacular panoramic views of the city and the raging Shannon River from atop one of the castle battlements.

The visit to the castle was never going to occupy more than an hour or so and since Shalina needed to be back in the dorm by late afternoon ready for her next round of training, we decided to wander into Limerick town centre for some lunch and retail therapy. Penny’s (otherwise known as Primark in the UK) was a particular hit with the girls. We lunched at a fast-food restaurant before dropping Shalina back at the university and heading off home to Bunratty.

The evening was a relaxing one, by and large, as we’ve slowly left the stress of getting here behind us. We had dinner on the veranda and got to know the neighbours, as the kids ran around outside playing with some dozen or more other kids of varying ages from the surrounding houses. I wandered over to the hotel bar for about an hour or so, as they have free wireless Internet access there to catch up on e-mail and whatnot. There was a brief half an hour of work-related phone calls but that was soon forgotten.

The kids were in bed at a reasonable time this evening and with a bit less fuss this time too. We even had a chance to relax and unwind a bit in front of the TV before getting off to bed. A few more nights of this is just what the doctor ordered I think.