The exit for Tipperary was at the town of Cashel. I hadn't researched it, but it turns out that Cashel is an important Irish site and popular destination. The Rock of Cashel is a large limestone outcropping upon which various kings had had their castles, prior to 1100 A.D. From that high ground (rock) you could observe potential enemies and defend your kingdom. After 1100 the Rock became church property and various churches, chapels, and abbeys were built there. Our first clue was when we saw this sight just before we pulled off the motorway:
As you can see, there is a major renovation under way - they're re-roofing what is called the Cormac's Chapel, after an early bishop.
Here's the countryside seen from the graveyard adjoining the church on top.
This round tower is a structure of some renown - for its shape and because it is not held together by mortar.
A couple more scenes.
Next stop Tipperary.
I guess there wasn't enough of a village there for us to stop and take a picture.
It was still early afternoon, so we set our sights on Adare. We had found a book before we left home called the Ten Most Beautiful Villages in Ireland, and Adare was one of them -- known for its thatched cottages. We stuck to R roads going through the villages of Emily, Ballyhone, Bruff, and Croom, among others. As we neared Adare, but not knowing how near we were (actually, we should have known because we have our GPS with us, and it's been invaluable) we passed a couple of B&Bs that had vacancies. We were looking for something in Adare, but as we got there we got into a traffic jam - bumper to bumper traffic creeping through town. Couldn't turn around, so we went on through town until we happened to see an arrow pointing to a B&B. The vacancy sign was out, but when we knocked and the owner came to the door, she said Sorry, just let my last room. We told her about the traffic and asked if she had any suggestions for us. She said, Follow me, I'll take you the back way to a friend who I know has vacancies. She essentially completed a triangle and took us to the B&B we had seen earlier. The lady there had had a group of 15 cancel suddenly, so she was glad to see us.
A little later the traffic had died down, so we went in for dinner at Aunty Lena's - that's not us in front -
and to see the thatched cottages.
Tomorrow, on to Kenmare.
Susie and Rob