Our time in Galway was building up to an Irish Medieval Banquet, in the style of Oh Canada Eh?! Dinner Show, which was held several town over at Dungire Castle. We booked tickets in advance and, the day before, double checked which bus we needed to take to Dunguire. It left at 200. We double checked. Our plan was as follows: We would arrive at 145 for our 200 bus to Kinvara, the city that boasts Dunguire. It would arrive at approximately 230 in Kinvara, which would leave us 3 hours to enjoy the quaint town and tour the castle before the 530 banquet. Our day was perfectly planned; nothing could go wrong.
Now fast forward to the day of the banquet.
Although the bus people had told us which bus wee needed twice already, we triple checked at 1100am that morning.
"There is no 200 bus to Kinvara," the bus laady said, "the only bus going there leaves at 600 tonight."
We now had a 530 banquet and a 600 bus that would get in half way through our dinner show. Our hopes and dreams were shattered, and, one of us became moody and cranky.
It was looking dim: the closest town to kinvara we could get to could have still left us with a 4 hour walk to the castle. What were we going to do? Hitch-hike (with Gramma), of course! So we hopped on a bus going in the general direcion of Kinvara and started into uncharted territory (for us, anyway). I started chatting with the Irish lad next to me on the bus and learned Kilcolgan, the town the bus would leave us in, is a one-horse town: 3 stores, no gas station, no taxis, population about 200 (including sheep).
Unbeknowst to us, our conversation sparked the interest of a lady sitting a seat beyond. She made her way into the conversation. Whe was a tri-lingual Irish high-school teacher, was married to a man from Italy, had 2 girls, and was a traveller herself. She said her car was in Gort, a stop 30 minutes past our Kilcolgan stop. If I could convice the bus driver to let us stay on, she would drive us to Kinvara! I convinced him (with no extra charge!) and we were off to Gort.
It was a beautiful town full of beautiful people, much like our new-found friend/chauffeur, Pauline. Pauline didn't just drive us to Kinvara, she gave us our own private 1 hour tour of her region, the Burren, and told us the history and legends surrounding it. The Burren, we learned, has no dirt to bury a man, no tree to hang him, and no water to drown him; a unique landscape for sure! We are very thankful for her.
Until 530 we sight-seed (sight-sawed?).
The banquet was worth every penny! The actors/servers certainly knew how to entertain; and the cooks certainly knew how to cook! We ate like the 'Lords' and 'Ladies' we were that night. In the photo, if you see any looks of fear or pain on the faces of the banquet guest, it was probably because I had just finished serenading them with my rendition of Mull of Kintyre on stage. When the banquet,, filled with Irish culture, literature, and music, finished, we thought our night would start winding down.
Again we were wrong.
Half-way back to Galway, our bus driver picked up rowdy Irish boys, with beers in hand, from the Annual Oyster-Fest. They sloppily staggered to the back of the bus where our trio sat. Gramma soon became the apple of their eyes. We traded stories and accents and all were merry. At the back of the bus there were 5 steep steps leading down to an emergency exit. That staircase was out with a vengence that night: it claimed 2 Irish boys. One second they were in front of us, the next second: gone. They laid crumpled at the bottom of the stairs while their remaining pints of Guinness found a new home at the top of the stairs, sprayed across the windows. That was the grand conclusion to a rather eventful day in Ireland.
We have learned to expect the un expected when travelling Europe. Only now, we look forward to it.
ps. After that last photo was taken I was immediately informed that, apparently, it is very uncool to give the peace sign while having your picture taken. I will try not to make that same mistake again.