Our castle is located just outside Thurles, a small farm town. In driving to Thurles, one sees beautiful farm fields fenced in by stone walls and hedges. These different shades of green, all squared off with sheep, cows and horses, gives me such a relaxed sense of calm. Lots of tourist are in the large cities (Shannon, Dublin, etc.) but we see mostly locals in these small towns.
Today we visited a totally refurbished fabulous castle, owed by the Butlers. As we started our unguided tour, 2 American couples were in front of us. There were signs posted everywhere that said "no pictures allowed in the castle." One of the men in this group began taking pictures in each room. People who live in Ireland are so kind and very polite, at least those that I met, but suddenly the castle docent wasn't so gentle in her verbage, but still very polite. "Sir, you have taken 3 pictures so far in the castle. One more and you will be escorted out of the property." The man mumbled some kind of feeble excuse and put his camera away.
We dropped back to look at another room and I heard the docent say, "You always have to watch those Americans. They love to see how far they can bend the rules."
I felt a tinge of sadness. Every American who travels is an ambassador of our country. Our image as "The Ugly American" is universal and that is because of incidenses just like this one.