05/21/2015 - 05/22/2015 65 °F
Over the last two days, we have visited several cities and drove the Ring of Kerry.
Yesterday, we woke up and started driving the Ring of Kerry, fully expecting to be wowed and have to stop several times to take pictures. Toward the beginning of the ring, we stopped to see the Gap of Dunloe, but when we got there, we found out that it was either going to be a 6 mile round trip walk or a half-day tour (there would be too many horse buggies, bikers, and walkers to drive there at that time of day), so we opted to do neither of those things and continue on, expecting to go back later in the evening when we could drive the car there. We never went. Oops. The beginning of the Ring of Kerry was uneventful. As we kept driving on, we noticed that everything that should be wowing us just wasn't, most likely because we had seen it all already throughout the rest of the country. We determined that the Ring of Kerry is basically a compacted version of everything you see throughout the rest of Ireland if you only have a short time period in the country. So, if you ever come to Ireland, remember that! We found the Dingle Peninsula to be far more impressive. Ashley actually took a nap during part of the Ring of Kerry....
Aaaanyway...Jeremy found a brand new brewery in Killarney and went to sample a few of their beers. Then, we set out to find an early supper around 4pm. The evening before while we were in Killarney, we noticed that several restaurants had a rack of Kerry lamb on the menu, and Jeremy really wanted that, because we read that Kerry lamb was better than most lamb since those lambs eat herbs on the hillside all day long. Well, all of the resturants we had checked out weren't opening until 5pm or later for dinner, with inflated prices. It seemed that all of the restaurants in the town were either open or lunch or they were open for supper, and there was nothing open in between. We happened into a pub where the frustrated (yet hilarous) young Irish barkeep told us that we should just look for bar food because they serve food all day and they don't inflate the prices. We found a bar across the street where Jeremy was able to order his rack of Kerry lamb (although it was actually on the menu of the restaurant above the bar...but the waiter got it for him anyway). The lamb was everything it was cracked up to be, and during dinner, we discussed that we needed to tell Ashley's parents that they should start raising sheep, both for us to eat, and also to mow all of those yards (thats's a hint for you, Sandy!)
Yummy gelato was aquired for dessert, where we had a nice discussion with the owner, and suggested that he create a rhubarb flavor (we have seen tons of things made out of rhubarb over here), and he said he is always looking for suggestions, so he might try that. Would be nice to know if he ever tries it, but we will never know...
We found live music (not traditional Irish music) to listen to, and we sat next to a nice couple from Colorado. The guy singing was very good, and the conversation was nice, too. We eventually moved on to try to find traditional Irish music, but the pub we went to was too crowded, so we left. We never did find a good place, so we went back to the B&B and went to bed.
Our B&B for our two nights in Killarney was a riding stable, and the front yard was full of horses, sheep, a goat with 4 horns, chickens, an ostrich, and bunnies. The owners didn't really do anything to keep the animals separate from the B&B. It was a nice view out the windows, and luckily, we didn't have any crazy encounters except the 4-horned goat was laying on the edge of the driveway one night! Another note about the B&B -- on our first morning there, while we were eating breakfast, we watched three (legitimate) backpackers leaving for the day...no car or anything, and we were a few miles out in the country! We can't imagine that they would get very far here on foot!
Today, we drove to Kinsale, which was renowned to be the gourmet capital of Ireland. It is a coastal town, so we figured they would have good seafood. Well, we found the opposite problem that we found the night before, where not many places were open for lunch (which was what we were trying to eat), but they were open for supper. We finally found a place that had tons of good seafood. We had crab claws, a cup of seafood chowder (each), and we shared a seafood casserole thing with mashed taters. It was all really good! Kinsale was a nice little town, overall.
Next, we drove to Cork. The gelato guy recommeded that we go check out the English Market there. It was a really large city. We struggled to find a place to park, and after circling the English Market and its surrounding streets, we finally found a place to park. The market was really interesting; it was like the deli sections of the grocery store exploded. Raw types of every kind of meat, and that included fish in their full forms. We even saw some types of sea life's heads with the teeth still in them and everything. Yuck! Before leaving Cork, we did a bit of shopping outside the Market. It was a happening area! We had heard earlier in the trip that clothes are really expensive here (like 100 euros for a pair of Levi's). We found out that it was true. We saw a pair of Levi's for 116 euros. Insane!
We headed to our B&B, which is in Thomastown, about 15 minutes south of Kilkenney, and a half hour north of Waterford. We drove to Kilkenney for supper and music tonight. We saw Kilkenney Castle (pictured). Tomorrow, we will go to Waterford.
The pictures are just from this afternoon. Other pictures are on a different memory card out in the car. Don't worry, we barely took any in the Ring of Kerry anyway, so you aren't missing much. The scenery changed now that we are in the south. Less rocks. And the clouds and blue sky are just amazing! Oh, and it was warm enough to wear short sleeves and ditch the jacket! : ) Enjoy!