HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY TO EACH OF YOU!!! Today on the 17th of March, I will think about all the beautiful memories I made in Ireland with my amazing Momma just a month ago. If you ever get the opportunity to travel to Ireland, you will see that there is MUCH MORE TO THE IRISH than beer, although BEER does seem to play an important role in their social settings or in their day to day unwinding. They are a genuine people, an enduring people, welcoming and kind. Their country is one of the most beautiful I have seen in my life so far.
So today, may your cup runeth over with Beer, or Whiskey, coffee or whatever else makes you as Jolly and Friendly as the Irish!!
Clearly, we had a Castle-filled Day last I wrote… and after such an eventful day we had both FOOD and our new destination city on the mind (we settled for on-the-go scones we had left over from breakfast). Not too far a drive from Cashel, we were headed to Cork for our 2 night stay. Not much to report about the drive… More gorgeous scenery and faster speeds on the Motorway (120KM at minimum… or was it maximum? too late to figure out now) We were getting more and more comfortable driving in this country, and it was only day 3 for me. We checked into our second B&B, Creedon’s:this one as cozy and welcoming as the last. Our room was up 2 flights of stairs though, so a bit of a workout lugging our luggage (host helped too).
We got a great recommendation from the B&B owner for dinner at Market Lane, a highly recommended culinary treat of a restaurant just up the street. We had to make a reservation for later than we wanted though because they were that busy. Didn’t mind it too much because it gave us a chance to stop in a pub for some music and booze (mom’s idea I swear). I made my way to the adorable little coffee corner inside the pub, but it wasn’t my night apparently. I read the menu wrong and ordered an Espresso Whiskey and a Bailey’s with Espresso. The attendant scoffed and shook her head in confusion, or was it protest? I don’t know. When I explained further what it was I wanted to order, she proceeded to crush my spirit by saying…
“That’s not a thing here” … (Finally, the first unkind Irish person… And she was supposed to be giving us coffee and booze. She could have been my Favorite Irish person that night)
Just as I suspected, she new what I wanted to order… “You mean an Irish Coffee? And a Bailey’s Coffee?” I had not the energy to argue; I was on vacation. . . Yes I said. She then took about 20 minutes to make them. I stood there the entire time wondering how many drinks a Starbucks barista could make in that same allotted time? 5? 7? but I had to remind myself… Different continent … Different pace of living… And when my mom and I finally threw back those drinks “unkind Irish Girl” was old news. We warmed up from the inside out. I must admit I ordered the Irish Coffee for myself, but one taste and I knew I couldn’t take it. We were quite starved. We only had a brownie to accompany the drinks and hold our stomachs off until our Late Dinner res… No worries, my mom drank it like a true champ. She didn’t flinch actually. I enjoyed the Bailey’s coffee… and **bonus the single most delicious brownie I have ever had in my life (swear I could not lie about this heavenly brownie that floated like air and made me forget about all that was wrong in the world). Must be the ingredients, the amazingly fresh ingredients on this Emerald Isle.
We enjoyed our late dinner at Market Lane, and I have to praise both the service and the taste of the food. Not serving your traditional Irish cuisine, it was Top Notch Eating for this culinary capital in Ireland! We turned in for the night with full stomachs and happy hearts, as our mother-daughter trip was shaping up pretty nicely. . . Next morning, we ate a traditional breakfast again and headed straight for the open roads leading to Killarney National Park. Although I had intended for us to see several of the sites within the park, we ended up spending most of our time at the spectacular Muckross House. Now, it’s misleading calling it a house because it’s a true Victorian Estate/mansion tucked between the beautiful natural backdrop of the national park (there are 65 rooms afterall in the building and 11,000 acres of land). I don’t know what we were more impressed by actually, the magnitude of the estate or the vast gardens and grounds of the property, a treat for any nature-lover.
Now I am a pretty big Downton Abbey FAN (because it’s Period Piece TV show you all should be watching), and being in Muckross was like living in Downton Abbey for a day. It felt as fantastical; it was a real look into one of Ireland’s great estate’s of the 19th century. No photography allowed inside, but the house is pristinely kept to how its final owners had it. Muckross House was built in 1843. The most famous visitor to the estate would have been Queen Victoria, who stayed as a guest in 1861, and the most famous owner would have been Arthur Guinness, who purchased and owned the property for a short time when it was run as a hunting lodge.
We did see plenty of snow on the surrounding mountains, GORGEOUS, and had to keep each other warm on our hour walk to Muckross Abbey (pictured below). The abbey is from the 15th century and is in pretty good shape considering Oliver Cromwell attacked it in the 17th century. I found myself walking down the corridors of the ruins singing “How do you solve a problem like Maria? How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?” from The Sound of Music. I wondered about the religious people that lived in the abbey so long ago. (If I could be a character from any movie, it would have to be MARIA from the Sound of Music. I probably have watched the movie over 50 times in my life so far). Enjoy the free admission to the abbey and make sure to snap pictures here, it’s quite beautiful, not to mention peaceful.
I actually regret not having spent a few more hours at Killarney National Park. We did not see Ross Castle (just a short drive away), or beautiful Torc waterfall (just a short hike from Muckross), and dozens of scenic walks/trails around that lead to beautiful lakes. If you don’t want to brave the colder temps, visit in springtime or summer when it is guaranteed to be a breath-taking day trip. From Cork or from the Ring of Kerry, it’s an easy enough drive to Killarney, and you will not be disappointed. Until the next…
Sláinte !!! (pronounced Slahn-che. . . it means CHEERS in IRISH!!)