Republic of Ireland - Round The World Tour 2 2003 Day 174

Bunratty

Tuesday 2nd September

Another welcome slow day greeted us this morning with nothing on the agenda until this evening. Accordingly, we lounged around in the brick for most of the day and even found the time to take an afternoon nap. Other than I quick jaunt to the local supermarket in nearby Shannon, the only thing we did do today was to explore the castle and the folk park grounds. Having seen much of the castle last night, there was little new for us other than a few rooms that were out of bounds during the banquet.

This evening, however, was another matter and we attended the planned Irish Night for an evening of song and dance. This time, the festivities were held in one of the folk park buildings instead of the castle itself. It was a fun evening but I think the food was better last night. The singing, music and dancing was worth the cost of admission and it was an evening of fun.

The last course of the evening was a current sponge cake. One person on each table would find a golden ring baked into the cake. I was the lucky recipient on our table of eight – but quickly lost the ring to Sandy.

We learned a couple of interesting things today. Whilst at the castle, one of the guides was explaining to a group of people why the castle windows were so small and narrow. It wasn’t just the defensive windows through which bowmen would aim their arrows at potential enemies, but also the living quarter windows that are small and narrow. Apparently, windows and glass were very expensive back in the sixteen hundreds and a sure sign of wealth. Accordingly, a dwelling was taxed according to the number and size of the windows. Since this was considered a form of robbery of daylight, this is where the expression ‘daylight robbery’ comes from. Every other day it seems that we learn about another modern day expression that originates from several hundred years ago. Yesterday at the start of the banquet, for example, we were all given a drink to start the evening with called Mead. This is basically fermented yeast with honey added. Hundreds of years ago when a couple got married, they would drink this Mead, as it was believed to be good for fertility and virility. They would drink the Mead for a full month or a full moon – hence the expression ‘honeymoon’.

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