Well, our Dublin pub night meant that we didn’t get our early morning start…instead it was about noon before we finally got out of the hotel, to the rental car and got Juleann pumped enough to take on the responsibility of driving. Our plan was to drive along the southern coast of Ireland from Dublin to eventually get to Cork for the night. Looking at the map it should have been about 3 hours. We didn’t take into account that none of us had ever driven on the wrong side of the car or the road. So it was a bit slower driving, but the countryside was beautiful. Crumbly old buildings, quaint towns, lots of cows and sheep and beautiful weather.
We drive to Cobh, the port where the Titanic set sail from. Then on to Kinsale, a beautiful town on the water and ended at Cork.
I loved Cork!
Probably because I loved the English Market, one of the oldest commercial markets in the world, dating back to 1788, filled with stall after stall of local products like blood sausages and fresh chickens, beautiful cases of cheese, big bundles of fresh vegetables, delicate pastries and chocolates, and the most amazing stand of Italian and Mediterranean products like olives, tapenade, pesto, tomatoes, mozzarella, feta and peppers and so much more, presented in big wooden owls and barrels.
We had breakfast there at the Farm Gate, where I had probably my favorite meal of the trip….an Irish Cheddar, Portobello and tomato sandwich (I recreated when we got back…for the recipe click here.) So good. And filling enough to give me the energy to kiss the Blarney Stone.
We make the short drive to Blarney Castle and I am in a historical heaven because I like big castles and though I never knew I had the desire to kiss things that millions and millions of people have kissed before, you kind of get into the whole “kissing the Blarney Stone,” which as it turned out was pretty scary. I am not the most coordinated of girls and when you climb 5 stories high and are asked to lay down on a mat with a hole that leads straight down to the ground, and then lean back as far as you can to kiss the stone, and learn the stone is actually about 2 feet under that (so you are quite literally halfway in the hole with a garden underneath, but not any garden…the poison garden) it is a bit scary, and also a bit of a rush….
Thankfully a nice man is there to make sure you don’t fall (far) and help you up.
Next stop the Rock of Cashel, which as it turns out isn’t a rock but a castle which for several hundred years was the seat of the kings of Munster, but now is mostly in ruins.
We had grand plans for dinner that night at a cute place I had read about, but got into Limerick early enough to stop in a local pub right by our hotel for a pint. Well…enough said as this turned into our “pub night.” (My one request to the girls for this trip is that we find a night or day and just hang in a pub and this was a great one to do just that.)
Dolan’s Pub changed as the night went on as the early evening crowd was very much the dinner crowd there for platters of fish and chips, Irish stew, heaping bowls of mussels and locally caught smoked salmon all served beside a cold Heineken or Guinness draught, which our new friend, bartender Marc, drew shamrocks in for us.
At about 7 the evening dance class came through and went to the back to practice. When venturing to the ladies room we were able to catch a bit of their rehearsal, which this week was the Texas line dance, complete with cowboy hats and boots. I felt inclined to lend them a hand (or a foot) but was lured back to the bar by the Irish jig that started by a group of Limerick students, the Monday night band, entertaining the crowd with a song or two.
Many, many pints later we agreed this pub night was one of our most fun of the trip.
Next morning off to the amazing Cliff of Maher.
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