Sunday, February 8, 2004
Top o' the mornin' from beautiful Kinnitty Castle. I caught up with four "Singles" at Shannon Airport and we spent the ride to the castle laughing and getting acquainted. Traveling "single" can be a somewhat daunting task. However, Kelly from Miami, and Ann and Dianne from Atlanta, Kirsten from New Bedford and I (Kathryn from Newbury, MA) immediately became fast friends and continue to enjoy the companionship of all of the other "singles."
Cross Country International, the company that arranged our trip, did a fabulous job arranging transport from Shannon as well as all accommodations at the breathtaking Kinnitty Castle. Driving up to the castle was incredibly awe-inspiring. We arrived as the sun was just breaking over the castle, which was originally built in 1209. The castle has undergone several rebuilds and renovations and is imposing, serene, elegant and comfy all at once. Each room has individual heating controls and modern baths blended with stone and mortar walls and heavy wood trim. The main rooms all have roaring fires and friendly Irish wait staff.
Our first day was spent unwinding from our flights by touring the castle, dungeons, Great Hall and stables. A few people went shopping, some napped and I dove into the deepest soaking tub ever! I looked around first to check for the "No Life Guard On Duty" sign. Finding none, I soaked and sipped and remembered what relaxation was.
After a fabulous dinner by candlelight in front of a huge fireplace, many of us adjourned to the library to continue lively conversations and a few more nightcaps! It is amazing that a group of total strangers could enjoy each other's company so quickly. Peals of laughter could be heard resounding through the "haunted halls."
The event coordinators have been working overtime to make this a fabulous vacation for everyone. And they are doing a great job!
Most of us retired early (before midnight in Ireland) to get a good start to the first day of riding.