A slower paced day (much needed!)

Trip Start May 16, 2013
Trip End May 26, 2013

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Where I stayed
Kilcaw House Kinsale
Read my review - 4/5 stars
What I did
Cobh Cathedral Cork
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Ireland  , County Cork,
Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hello again world… Paul at the keyboard again. After yesterday's marathon we purposely decided to take today a bit easier. We slept in until around 8:00 and then had breakfast at the house. We then packed up our overnight bags and headed on a course towards Cork. We decided to take a more scenic route that took us up the Eastern Coast. It’s kind of nice being in a country that is so narrow that you can get from the west coast to the east coast in about 3 hours.

Our first stop was in the town of Ardmore. This town was right on the coast and even has a decent sized sandy beach. I’m not sure as to how much it gets used. Today, I saw two people walking along it since it was very windy and only around 50 degrees out. I still haven’t figured out the whole Celsius thing. While at the beach, I saw another tall tower similar to Glendalough and decided to head off into that direction. The tower was easy to find. It was a little bit shorter than Glendalough, but still very impressive. It was built in the 12th century and stood about 90 feet tall. It was in very good shape considering that it is only a few miles from the Irish Sea and probably gets hit by steady winds 75% of the time. It had a smaller graveyard around it and I saw headstones dating back to the 1700’s.

After leaving Ardmore, we then headed to the port town of Cobh (pronounced "Cove"). Cobh is an amazing city. It is the last city that the Titanic was in before it headed to America. There is a small museum there commemorating the victims. We decided to skip the museum since Diane saw the Titanic memorial in Las Vegas last year. Cobh also has an amazing cathedral in the center of the town. We decided to stop and take some pictures of the exterior and interior. I have been in some pretty impressive cathedrals, especially the ones in New York and this one was right up there with those. There was a wedding rehearsal going on in the front, so we stayed towards the back out of respect for the wedding party.

After leaving Cobh, we decided to bypass Cork and head to Kinsale. Kinsale is another fishing village that is also known as the culinary capital of Ireland. Like most Irish towns, the streets are narrow and the buildings are colorful. There are plenty of pubs and restaurants throughout the center of the town. Diane had identified a B&B on trip advisor that she was interested in and we headed in that direction. It is customary to arrive by 4:00 PM so the innkeeper knows how much food to have on hand the next day. The B&B was booked for the night so we asked the lady to recommend another one. She gave us the name of one called the Kilcaw house. We called and they said that they had rooms available. It also was highly rated on Trip advisor, so we went in there blind. The innkeeper, who is the son of the owner was very nice. He showed us the room, showed us the breakfast menu and asked if was acceptable, which it was. The room is “en suite” meaning that it has its own private bathroom. Its clean and quaint, just what we were expecting.

Once we were checked in, Diane decided to take a little nap and I decided to take advantage of the free wifi here and check in on my work email . I got caught up on what is happening on my projects and also took care of paying our bills that are due in the second half of the month. For some reason, creditors don’t care that you are on vacation, so I felt a little less stressed knowing that the bills are paid. While online, I also got harassed by a couple of my coworkers for being online while on vacation. I tried to explain that I felt less stressed being back on the grid and knowing that everything was OK. They think that I am crazy… in a way, I think that they are probably right. I’m sure that it will be a long time before they stop yanking my chain about it.

Diane felt a lot better after her nap and we decided to head into town for dinner. We parked in the center of town and decided to walk up the street parallel to the town harbor. After looking at a few menu’s posted on various restaurant, we decided on a place called “Vista” because it had a few awards posted on building and it also had some chicken and beef items since I don’t eat seafood. We shared a nice cheese board that had 4 different types of cheeses, all made in Ireland including Diane’s favorite, blue cheese. We also shared a potato and leek soup that warmed us up (did I mention how cold and windy it was today?). All of the seafood served there was caught locally, in fact, we saw a number of fishermen leaving their boats while we ate. Talk about fresh!  Diane had Hake (a fish that I have never heard of before, but she really liked it), and I had Guinness and Beef stew. The meat was so tender and flavorful… I definitely did not regret that choice. For dessert, we shared what they called a double chocolate pudding, but we thought it was very similar to a chocolate lava cake. It was served with fresh whipped cream on the side. We inhaled it. The whole meal was excellent and we would definitely return there.

After we ate, we walked back into town to find a real traditional music session. The sessions start up around 9:00 PM, so our timing was just right. We ended up in a pub called Kitty O’Se’s (Pronounced O’Shea’s). The musicians were all younger and they were playing more “modern” tunes. The Bodhrain player was really good and his drum sounded amazing. While they were on a break, I asked him a few questions about the drum and told him that I have been playing for about a year. He immediately offered me the chance to sit in. I hesitated, but figured what the heck. I played two songs with them and held my own. They were all very nice to me and told me that I did very good. Did I mention the Irish people are extremely nice? So anyway, we decided to head out around 11:00. On the way back to the car, we stopped in two other pubs that had music and they were both packed. We decided to head back to the car and drive around the harbor. The full moon reflected on the water that was now as smooth as glass since the wind was no longer blowing.

Upon returning to the B&B, we spoke for a minute with a couple from the northern part of Ireland that were watching  TV in the small sitting room. They had very strong accents that were hard for us to understand, so we excused ourselves to head back to the room.

So that about wraps things up for this “easy” day. We’re trying to make the most of our dwindling time here. It’s hard to believe that it’s almost time to head home. Like they say, all good things must come to an end.

As always, we hope that everyone is well and we wish you could all be here with us. We’re already starting to talk about our next trip here (More west coast from Dingle up to Galway, but we could go back to Cobh as well!). Anybody have a winning lottery ticket that they’re not using right now???

See you soon… Slainte!

Paul and Diane
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