Preconceived Ideas About Auto Transport And Irish Castles
Auto transport and Irish castles have something in common
Our first night in Ireland was almost magical. So many thoughts drifted through my head I thought it was going to explode. Our new granddaughter had stolen our hearts; we were half way around the world in a foreign country…the land of my husband's family. Our new auto transport business was waiting at home. Upon our return we would launch the business. Who could forget about that adventure?
Looking back in retrospect, my preconceived ideas about both were very immature. It is hard to believe that I am admitting it, but the truth is the truth after all. I would later discover that owning your own business, even an auto transport business, is hard work. Yes, the rewards are incredible, like being able to travel to see our family anytime we wanted to. It does not mean that I could sleep in dragging into the office whenever I felt like it. Customers and owner-operators alike depended on me to serve their needs.
The Irish castles were nothing like the preconceived idea I had in my head. The Travel and History channels cannot even come close to providing the feeling of actually being near or in one of those ancient monumental castles.
All I know is the lessons I have learned from traveling to foreign destinations to building our auto transport business have been the most rewarding lessons I have ever had. What lessons have you experienced to share with others?
Let the tour begin…
Our first day touring the local area was incredible. The private Kilbritain Castle above set back off the lane surrounded by trees and wide-open, green fields. I could envision a young girl, in a warm woolen dress sitting on a stool, painting a picture of the castle and surrounding area just like in the movies. It was the most breathtaking site we had ever seen and at that moment, all preconceived ideas of castles flew right out the window.
The small minivan barely held all of us with Maebh's car seat. Our son, Daniel crawled in the very back, which was uncomfortable and cramped. Being together was the only reason we all put up with being like sardines in a can. Who wants to travel around the world only to take separate cars to tour the area? To top off the small van, the roads were very narrow, windy and bumpy. We concluded though, that this all added to the adventure of the backcountry of Ireland.
Next came the Timoleague Abby set right on the bay. The ruins were quite spectacular and allowed our imaginations to run wild. The inside of the abbey, ruined long ago by attacking marauders had burned. The second floor was missing but you could get the sense of it from the protruding leftover beams above the main floor.
The residents of the abbey must have been small in stature as the doorways were short. All of us had to duck to enter the interior rooms. We could only imagine what it must have been like back in the day of the active community.
Weather gets in the way of touring
Taking our time touring the various castles, manors and communities of southern Ireland was very relaxing. Due to the narrow roadways and rural nature of the landscape, the average speed limits were 50 KM (approximately 31 MPH) although it seemed like we were flying.
Would you know that a once in a lifetime trip would include a once in a century snowstorm. That is right, it rarely snows in Ireland yet we woke to a beautiful blanket of white snow on our third day in the country.
We enjoyed the morning with our family relaxing and sipping hot Barry's black tea with milk and biscuits. At first, I thought my daughter was crazy for putting milk in her tea, and then she told me to try it. She was right it was quite good. The milk took the bite off the rich tea and it seemed smoother. The biscuits were cookies called "Digestives" which fit nicely with our vitamin caplet. When we returned home, we missed them so we shopped and found them at the local "World Market".
The weather cleared and the snow melted so we all piled in the van and headed for our next destination ~ Cahir Castle. This castle had been renovated somewhat. Huge chains on a manual wheel raised the gates. No wonder men in those days were strong; it appeared it would have taken a team of horses to raise that solid steel-bar gate!
The solid rock walls towered over the inner courtyard. The recently groomed gardens were a stark contrast to the gray stones lining the walls. From the deep, dark dungeon to the guard towers, the reality of darker times for the inhabitants of Ireland came to life. From the crests adorning the great hall walls to the six-foot swords it did not appear that "those good old days" were so great.
As for the spiral stairwells in the fairy tales, well let us just say you will not find any princess with a sweeping gown running up or down one. Each step was no more than maybe five inches deep, barely wide enough to allow the balls of our feet to lift us to the next step.
Thankfully, none of us was prone to being claustrophobic. The walls rose straight up and inside were no more than three feet wide. This stairwell had no handrails (made me wonder if there were such things back then) and was no place to be if you had vertigo or had a fear of heights.
Oh, by the way…share your thoughts below…
Here to Serve,
Carla J Gardiner