Days 9 & 10 - (August 30th & 31st, 2014)
Understandably, I slept through breakfast again since we were up until 5ish. However, its frustrating that I paid $250 a night at this beautiful manor yet did not have the fortitude to go to breakfast either morning and therefore missed out on what probably would have been the best Irish breakfast of my trip!
Apparently the manor is used to wedding debauchery and made sure to call every one of us to remind us of the 10:30 am checkout time. Therefore, a major portion of the wedding party crowded the reception area a solid 30 minutes after that cut-off. It was a good thing they got us motivated early though as Stover, Kosh and I all had to kick rocks so we could do a little sightseeing on the way to the next wedding event in Kilkee 110 km away.
After an uneventful drive, we arrive at Bunratty Castle to do some site seeing. However, we decide to grab lunch at the local pub instead as it is filled with rowdy Gaelic football fans. Apparently it’s the playoff and we came to the right place to witness this game firsthand.
Sadly, I had to limit my Guinness intake to one as I was driving while Kosh and Stover drank their fill. While we ate, we were treated to some beautiful Irish melodies played by three young students. Amazingly, none of them every discussed what they were going to play, rather, one would just start in on some tune while the others joined in only after they understood where he was going. They must have played 10 songs like this.
We arrived at Kilkee with a few hours to spare before the Texas BBQ that TJ’s parents were putting on. All rooms were sold out that night so I just tossed my stuff in Kosh’s room and we headed to the bar. Surprise surpise, Kelly’s side of the family was already there, watching the 2nd Gaelic football match of the evening.
This game was even closer and, armed with our newfound love and respect of the sport, cheered heartily as either side of the bar yelled for their respective teams. Unfortunately, we had to leave just as the 1st overtime started since there was a Disneylandesque train/tram outside waiting to take us to the BBQ.
During this train-ride we all realized how tiny Kilkee is. There are only 2 or 3 main streets in the town and just as many bars, perfect stumbling size for this motley crew. The BBQ was held only steps from where TJ proposed to Kelly and had a wonderful view of the ocean and city as it was perched on the side of a cliff. Just like any respectable Texas BBQ, we played corn-hole (or bags depending on where you are from in the US) all night long.
While I could imagine that most of the party was still licking its wounds from the savage night before, everyone rallied. After the BBQ we went directly to the nearest bar where there was quality live music. The dance party that ensued was arguably even more ridiculous than that the day before.
What did almost all of us in was the Team American versus Team Ireland drinking games… While most of Team Ireland previously thought they had a W in the bag before all the wedding shenanigans started, their confidence was waning. After 3 straight boat race victories on the backs of Team USA All-Stars Ben Reitz and Shawn Dryden, the competition degraded into just a bunch of yelling and singing. I had a great time with the Irish contingent of the party, including Rebecca Shanahan, John Alford, Barry Dennis, and Greg Clarke to name a few… On our way back from the bars though, we had to partake in some Curry Chips!
The next morning I woke up on the floor of Kosh’s room to the sound of his alarm going off. He and Stover had an early morning flight in Shannon so I said my goodbyes and walked down the street to have breakfast with the family.
After an amazing breakfast, we all headed out for a dip in the frigid tide pools. Apparently this is the quintessential Kilkee hangover cure as we were all hurting badly from the 3 straight nights of heavy drinking.
While swimming in the ocean off the coast of Ireland was not something I originally looked forward to, this was just what the doctor ordered. If anyone is travelling to Kilkee any time soon, I highly recommend taking this plunge!
After an hour or two in these frigid waters, we head back to our respective houses and hotels to get ready for a great meal in town for those who haven’t left for the airport yet. We all had a great meal at Naughtons and I retired early for the first time in 3 nights.