Monday, September 30, 2013

Waterford to Killarney

We started off this morning planning to drive to Killarney via Cork and Blarney. It was the first day that we've really had rain most of the time. It has never been heavy, but it rarely stopped completely today. On the way we saw the Old Jameson Distillery and decided to take the tour. They've been brewing there since about 1775 and moved into newer quarters nearby in 1975. But all the old buildings are there and the guided tour was very interesting. The old buildings and cobbled courtyards were charming. I'm sure it was much better than the tour we passed on in Dublin.

Inside a grain storage building

Old water wheel for grinding the barley

Tasting to compare Scotch, Irish, and American bourbon whiskeys
After that stop, we decided to skip Cork. The guidebooks say it is a great city with lots to see, but we have decided that we are much more interested in the smaller towns and the countryside. So we took a detour around the city and stopped at Blarney Castle. We knew we didn't want to kiss the stone; for one thing, you have to bend backwards over a wall and practically turn upside down. There are bars to prevent falling out, but my back doesn't really bend that way. I thought we'd see the stone, but the line to enter the castle was long and very slow, and there was a spiraling stairway up five flights inside -- not a great place to be standing and waiting for an hour or more. So we wandered the grounds, had tea in the carriage house, and looked at the Poison Garden, full of poisonous plants and signs saying "Do not touch or smell."

Approaching the castle

Looking into the dungeon

View from the battlements

Poison Garden -- the marijuana was protected by a cage!
From Blarney we had a bit more country driving, then back on a highway. We came into Killarney and drove right through the middle of town. Our B&B is near downtown, the first time we've been able to walk to the business district. After some tea and a rest, we headed down to find a place for supper. There were many pubs and restaurants all along the way, and we ended up at Mac's. We've been sharing two entrees at dinner and it has worked well so far. And I was able to order a double salad with the cottage pie (hamburger stew topped with mashed potatoes and cheese) instead of salad and chips.

Cottage pie and salad

Excellent light fish and chips and mushy peas

Apple rhubarb crumble for dessert

Our B&B host suggested we might prefer coach tours of The Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula, our plans for the next two days. Given what we've heard about the roads, the prediction of more rains, and the opportunity for Dan to see something beyond the road he is driving on, we will be doing that. In general, we don't go for bus tours and being herded around, but this might be a good time to make an exception. I'll let you know tomorrow!

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