It's the last day of August and school has been in session for a week already. The pandemic is still going strong, although they report that the numbers in Ohio are going down. I don't mind saying that I have been stalled, unable to get much of anything productive done much less blogging. When I realized that this time last year we were getting excited to depart for Ireland, I decided that it was time to finish the blog about the trip (and the pair of socks I began on the trip). Finally the streak of super hot and humid weather has broken and it is pleasant enough to turn off the air conditioning and open some windows. The sound of crickets and the slight breeze and sunny skies are beginning to hint of autumn.
The Last Leg of Our Ireland Trip
After leaving Kinsale we headed to Kilkenny with a stop along the way at the famous Medieval Rock of Cashel in the town of Cashel in Tipperary County. The Rock of Cashel is known as the seat of the high kings of Munster. It is said that St. Patrick came here to convert King Aengus. It is here that the legendary Brian Boru was crowned king. It's a majestic ruin, parts of which are under reconstruction and preservation work. The famous high cross of St. Patrick is also located here. The Rock of Cashel stands high above the small town overlooking miles and miles of green fields where sheep and cows graze. We were lucky to see it on one of Ireland's sunny and unusually warm days.
|The Rock of Cashel above the town|
|The view from the Rock of Cashel|
|The Rock of Cashel graveyard|
|The Cross of St. Patrick|
From here we drove on to Kilkenny where we stayed two nights at the Bridgeview B&B. True to it's name the B&B was located directly across from a footbridge that crosses the River Nore. We could watch the local sculling team practicing on the river. From the front of the inn we could see Kilkenny Castle and the old town of Kilkenny. The original Matt the Miller's Pub was just at the other end of the block within easy walking distance from us.
|Across from the B&B - Rowing on the River Nore|
This little detail was important for Rich because this was one of the pubs on his must see list ever since he had seen a picture of it in it's namesake pub, Matt The Miller's, in Dublin, Ohio, one of our favorite places to eat! Of course, the first evening we had to walk down to the corner pub and tip a Guinness or two and dine on fish and chips. As we sat in a little window snug drinking in the atmosphere, we were taken by a portrait of John Smithwick of Smithwick's ale fame. It was a very modern portrait of an historical figure and as we sipped, my peripheral vision fooled me into thinking that John Smithwick winked at me! Closer inspection revealed that the portrait was, in fact, a digital image and the subject periodically changed position and with an ornery looking smile did indeed wink. This was almost as fascinating as the old pub itself.
|The Original Matt the Miller's at Night|
|Rich sipping a cider at Matt The Miller's|
|Kilkenny Castle gate|
|Flowers from the Castle garden|
|Kilkenny Castle side entrance|
|The fairy door in the tree beside the B&B|
|St. Canice Cathedral|
|The Round Tower, St. Canice Cathedral|
|The Round Tower|
|Rich Climbed the Round Tower|
|Doorway on Church Lane|
From here we took a meandering drive to Bunratty, located near Shannon. We had decided to spend the night a bit closer to the airport to lessen the chance that we would miss our flight home the next day. We had booked a room in the Bunratty Castle Hotel, a modern hotel across from Bunratty Castle. The original plan had been to tour the castle while there but, alas, it was not open on that day. No problem, there was a Blarney Woolen Mill store and two pubs within walking distance of the hotel. We had planned on lunch at the famous Durty Nelly's pub but it was so crowded that the wait for a table was too long for a couple of hungry travelers. So we had lunch at The Creamery Bar just across the street and conveniently located near the small shopping area containing The Blarney Woolen Mill store! After a quick lunch, it was time for shopping. I had already purchased a sweater for Amy along our way, Christmas gifts for members of the family at Cushendale Woolen Mill, and skeins of yarn at several different places, but I did find a lovely soft sweater for Susie's birthday and a couple more skeins of yarn! Ireland is a great place to find lovely woolen items and yarn.
|The Creamery Bar|
|Dessert at the Creamery, Irish Coffee and Sticky Toffee Pudding|
|Some of my "loot" spread out on the kitchen table.|