Friends, whiskey, and Fishy Fishy

Trip Start Sep 10, 2009
Trip End Oct 10, 2009

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Flag of Ireland  , County Cork,
Saturday, September 12, 2009

We woke up to fog this morning, but were assured by Peg that “hoarfrost is a good sign.” After a breakfast of fresh fruit, eggs, bacon, sausage and toast in the company of a father and daughter from the States and two couples from Holland, we said our good-byes to Peg and her son and headed south to Lismore through The Vee. The Vee is a v-shaped gap in the Knockmealdown Mountains that has a beautiful valley. The fog, however, covered the beautiful valley so we just enjoyed the drive.

Lismore is a lovely and typical small Irish town. It had a beautiful park with fountain, waterfall, and an 18th century ice house. There is also a massive privately owned castle along the Blackwater River at the entrance to the town. We walked about the town for a bit before getting back in the car and driving the scenic route along the river to the seaside town of Youghal (Yawl).

Youghal’s fifteen minutes of fame came about when “Moby Dick “ starring Gregory Peck was filmed there. It, too, was a lovely and lively town. We walked along the waterfront for a bit before we left for our next stop in Midleton, County Cork.

In Midleton, we went to the Old Jameson Distillery to meet friends Bill and Michele. While we waited for them to arrive we had Irish coffees and checked out the gift shop. As soon as they arrived, we all went on a tour of the facility and learned how Irish whiskey is made. Bill got to ring the bell in the distilling room, and he was also chosen to be one of eight tasters. While we all got our ”free” sample of Jameson’s, Bill got to taste Johnny Walker Black Label and Jack Daniels in order to compare it to the Jameson’s. He grimaced when tasting the scotch, but enjoyed the other two. His favorite? The Jameson’s! Michele and I drank ours with cranberry juice, and found it to be quite refreshing!

We had an older gentleman at our table who was alone, so we introduced ourselves and got part of his story. He was 86, a Corkman now living in New Jersey, but preferring Cork. He was a plasterer, and he told us about his apprenticeship and the work he did. When we asked his name, he told us he had two: Redmond and Patrick. When he was baptized, the priest wouldn’t agree to Redmond and named him Patrick. He said in Cork, he’s Redmond, and in the States, he’s Patrick. He was a delight, and we enjoyed sharing our time with him.

Our next and final stop for the day was Kinsale. We had stopped there on our last trip and liked it, so I booked us in at the Rivermount House B&B. Claire O’Sullivan was one of our favorite innkeepers from our last trip, and she is still delightful and fun to talk with. The house has had a major makeover in the past year, and it’s absolutely beautiful. She showed us to our lovely rooms and informed us that she had booked our reservation for dinner at 6:00. Our rooms were large and luxurious. Claire had made sure they would meet every traveler’s need with American as well as European outlets, free wifi, and quite large bathrooms complete with bathtub.

We went to Fishy Fishy, a renowned seafood restaurant, and had a remarkable dinner with wine and dessert. Afterwards we walked through the quaint little town, looking in shop windows and talking. We happened upon a shop called Stone Mad, which had special meaning for Michele, so we had our picture taken under the sign.

The air was getting a bit chilly, so we went back to Rivermount and chatted for a while in the parlor. We then went to our rooms to call and Skype the children back home.

What a beautiful day, made even more so by sharing it with friends!
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