Bunratty Castle

Have fun storming the castle!

Work was annoying yesterday, so I decided to take an impulsive trip for a break this morning.  Maybe I’d bump into Kate Winslet. “Board the Bus to Bunratty” doesn’t exactly have the same alliterative, romantic quality as “Meet me in Montauk” but it’s what I have to work with. So I got up a little early to take the 7:05am bus to Bunratty, which is just over 2 hours away.  The destination of choice: Bunratty Castle.  Because if you don’t make spontaneous trips to castles when in Ireland, then what’s the point.

Bus Eireann has free wifi on their buses, which is awesome. During the ride I was able to get some annoying busy-work done that is seemingly built for bus rides and distracted work settings. Don’t worry, I looked out the window plenty too.

I arrived in Bunratty at about 9:10. There was this cool little bridge thing near the entrance:

Bunratty old bridge
A troll lives here

I thought I was just going to a castle, but it’s more like a museum castle. It’s supposed to be a an old, traditional village type setup of what used to be around the castle as well. Fisherman cottages, blacksmith sheds, a church, animals (they had sheep, donkeys, chickens, etc), gardens, stuff like that. They even had a pair of Irish Wolfhounds wandering around with the people working on the grounds.

Thatch house
Typical traditional Irish house. All you needed to take over Ireland was a matchbook and a little ambition.

And then there was the actual castle. It’s old and made of rocks, like most castles.

Bunratty Castle
I think this is where they film that Nathan Fillion show.

I wandered through it. It had all the bells and whistles – pretty much the same as the end of each Super Mario level for NES. Even a dungeon with a fake (I assume) guy chained up.  Here are the Tudor-style guest quarters I took a picture of:

Guest Room
This is probably where the guests died during sieges.

And you could also go all the way to the top and look out to the ocean. If you looked in the other direction, there were trees and stuff. Probably rock walls and sheep, too. But either way, I took a picture of the view.

View from Bunratty Castle
The castle is similar in color to trees for camouflage purposes

I had to go to Limerick before turning around to take an Express Train back to Galway, and just as we got to the bus station we saw someone get hit by a car. Pretty bad too. Like rolling-around-in-the-street, call-the-paramedics, block-off-the-road type bad.

It was right next to People’s Park across the street from the bus station, and I had about 30 minutes until the bus came, so I walked through the park a little and monitored the commotion surrounding the befallen pedestrian. Ultimately, I don’t know what happened to him, but I assume he was ok because they didn’t turn him or anything to look at the park.  If I were dying in the street right next to a park, I would hope the paramedics would at least have the decency to prop me up and let me look at daffodils for my last few breaths.  Anyways, I took a picture of the park.

People's Park Limerick
A sea of daffodils

And then I jumped back on the Express train to Galway (much faster since it doesn’t make any stops) and ended up back ready to work at 1:30 (9:30am EST). Not too bad.

The rest of the day was pretty normal.  I worked.  And by worked, I mean I watched 10 Things I Hate About You.  Whatever happened to Julia Stiles?  I miss her.

Last night was my last night in Galway, so I went to pubs I enjoyed the most that played Irish music the most.  First was The Crane Bar.  I was able to get a seat as it started to get busy.  They played very traditional la-di-dah music on the accordion, banjo, piccolo, and fiddle.  One guy sang an a capella version of Humors of Whiskey which silenced the bar except for the occasional ring of the register, which was really cool.

Next I went back in to Taaffes. This was really busy, but again I got a pretty good spot standing and listening to them.  These guys got really into what they were doing on their acoustic guitars, with a fiddle accompaniment.  They played a little more “rock” style, mixing in Irish versions of a few American tunes.  I took a couple short videos of them.

A little good old American Green Day:

I think it was a good way to spend my last night in Galway.