Mount Juliet was one of only a handful of hotels that I've ever been sad to leave for the hotel itself. I loved it there. Still, we had many more days ahead of us, and a list of sites to see that was longer than we could possibly fit into the trip, so we had to get our arses on the road. Jerpoint Abbey, a Cistercian Abbey likely built in 1180, was our first stop of the day. Initially the curator wasn't going to allow us to visit the abbey because of the weather and flooding, but a docent walking around inside said that it wasn't entirely flooded and we could visit if we wanted to. We essentially had the entire abbey to ourselves as we roamed around looking at the 13th century carvings while trying to avoid any nasty puddles.
From Jerpoint,we drove to the Rock of Cashel - also known as Cashel of the Kings and St. Patrick's Rock. Prior to the Norman invasion of Ireland, it was the seat of the Kings of Munster who St. Patrick converted to Christianity in the 5th century. Damn St. Patrick and his meddling ways. Alas, before we could actually get to Cashel we had to drive down every country road in counties Wicklow and Tipperary. (Side note: this is the point in the trip where we thought, "maybe we should have gotten that SUV instead." The roads are lined with shrubs that are about 6 feet tall and their paving leaves a lot to be desired.) At one point the roads were completely flooded, but not impassable. This was our first glimpse into just how bad the storm really was as at this point we'd only heard it was going to be major, and hadn't really experienced it for ourselves.
The weather in Cashel was TERRIBLE with rain that was coming down sideways and winds up to 80 mph . I don't know if it was because of the weather that other tourists stayed in their hotel rooms nice and warm, or if this particular area was pretty much bereft of tourism at the moment, but we essentially had the Rock entirely to ourselves. From what I've read, this is pretty unheard of.
After stopping in Cashel for some pot pie and salads, we made our way to Cahir to visit Cahir Castle - or so we thought. Because of the high winds and flooded River Suir the castle was unfortunately closed to visitors for the time being. Foiled!
The road out of Cahir was also flooded, however, because this time it was an actual river that had jumped its banks, the water wasn't still - it was running and rather quickly. There were a couple of cars that were ballsy enough to try to drive through this water but most everyone - including trucks - were turning around and finding a new direction/route to use.
By the time we made it to Cobh in County Cork it was pretty dark and the rains had continued to fall. Unfortunately, our GPS (guided by Bing maps) didn't actually know where the Knockeven House was so after finding ourselves in a subdivision outside the town and then driving up and down the streets of Cobh, we were completely frustrated as to where we were and how we needed to get to the inn. What's more, the website and the directions didn't really give a street address (we found this to be the case with many of the places we stayed). Toward the end of the main drag in Cobh I managed to steal some WiFi access to find someone who had visited before describing how to find the inn since it's not immediately obvious. If that hadn't worked, I was going to email one of my colleagues at work and have them send me back very explicit instructions based on their full screen web searches. After what seemed like forever, we finally found our inn, where the owner - Pam - was waiting to greet us with freshly made scones and tea. Ahhh, hospitality.
That night, after walking up and down the streets of Cobh in the rain saying, "this doesn't look good" or "I don't want that" about the 4 food options, we found ourselves back at the original place Pam recommend, the Trade Winds Inn for what was one of our favorite meals the entire trip. This was also our introduction to Murphy's, which is another stout that is brewed in Cork.
And again, like all the nights before it, when we were done with dinner I crashed, and hard. At least this time it wasn't only 9 p.m.