Limerick, Ireland – August 2008

Day 6 – Knoppogh Castle

Friday 8th August

I collected Darren, Nyree, Jasmin & Tony from the airport this morning. Let’s hope their first impressions of the Emerald Isle aren’t confined to the layout of the local shopping centre that Sandy immediately took them to for supplies. Since looking after the kids thusly fell to Tony and me, we decided a quick stroll around to the castle would be a good idea. We had arranged for Sandy to meet us there but she evidently took a different route around the grounds and we ended up missing each other.

By the time everyone was back at the house, Darren, who had evidently not slept at all last night due to trying to organise things was, perhaps somewhat predictably, fast asleep. Since he was going to be out for the count for some time, Tony and me set off for the University to catch up with Ree-Ree. Missing each other seemed to be the order of the day, as it took a while before we eventually found each other.

Tonight was to be an organised evening of fun and frivolity with a dinner and performance at Knoppogh castle. Sandy and me did did something similar at Bunratty castle during our tour through the country a few years ago and so I knew that everyone would enjoy the evening immensely. Getting there was ‘interesting’ to say the least. The directions we’d been given were not exactly ‘precise’ and we were traveling through some very narrow and winding back roads for quite some time wondering whether we were even heading in the right direction at all. Nevertheless, we made it in the end, albeit as the very last guests to arrive, and the whole evening of song, dance, food and wine was every bit the fun and merriment I’d anticipated it to be. The four-course meal was very nice, the dancers were lovely and the songs & music were tranquil and pleasing to the ear. Even the kids enjoyed themselves and were well behaved the whole evening.

With everyone safe and sound back at the house, Tony and me drove Ree-Ree back to the University. Shalina was already in bed but managed to rouse a little to acknowledge our presence. Once back home, and suitably knackered (again), there was neither time nor energy to complete this last blog entry (which I’m now writing retrospectively some six weeks later)!

Ireland was a fun trip but not a holiday as such. That’s OK, though, since it was never intended to be that way to begin with. The purpose was to watch Shalina perform in the World Baton Twirling Championships and from that perspective, it was a success.

PS: The 14 hour journey home was one of the worst and most miserable in our history of traveling (and that’s saying something). Poor weather conditions, poor driving conditions, lots of road works, long hours on the road, dodgy and expensive motorway service station food and screaming kids for most of the journey. Need I say more?