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Bantry by Ann Treacy
May 16, 2010, 7:07 pm
Filed under: Cork | Tags:

We visited Bantry a few times. One night we had a great meal at O’Connor’s. Kate had seen it on TV last time we were in Ireland and we had heard from several people that it was good. And it was. We learned that mussels made with breadcrumbs, garlic and butter are even better than regular mussels.

One day we went to the market – and we were super lucky because there was also a horse fair happening. The market was great. The older girls got some jewelry made by Zulus in South Africa – Lily made sure that the artisans were paid well for their work. Aine got a Barbie. You could buy just about anything – from dead fish to live ducks and of course the horses. The most interesting sight was the busker – he had a piano on wheels and was playing it. That was a first for me. Also although it was chilly I saw one barefoot shopper.

Bantry seems like a nice little town – not as touristy feeling as Kenmare, although I spent a short time in Kenmare so it’s not really fair for me to say that.

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Give Cork City a miss by Ann Treacy
May 2, 2010, 8:00 pm
Filed under: Cork, Uncategorized

I have friends from Cork so I feel a little bad about saying this, but if you an opportunity to go to Cork City, think about it before you say yes too quickly. I remember the last time I was there (with Anita & Darla) that we had a terrible time finding our hotel in Cork and that once we were there we didn’t see that much.

This time we stopped for brunch. We got a great parking place under a sign that said parking and went to find a place to eat. I needed a camera and went into 4 places where folks were kind of helpful. (Naturally I left an essential cord to my camera at home.) The last place he said he had a camera for €99 and proceeded to show me one for €129. I hate that sort of thing. (I ended up buying the €99 for €90.)

Then we had breakfast at some place where they could not have been nicer. They just kept bringing out the toast.

Then we went to the car to see that we had been clamped! (That means they lock your back wheel.) Apparently you can’t park under the big sign that says parking unless you “have a disk”, which I think means they do it to get income from visitors because having disk doesn’t mean that much to me and of course only the locals would have one. We weren’t the only clamped car we saw on the street and we weren’t there much more than an hour – if even that long.

Luckily we had a phone so we were able to contact the “vehicle immobilization” people quickly and within 30 minutes we were €80 lighter and on the road.

Next time, I’ll just be avoiding Cork city.

Y’all should go to Youghal by Ann Treacy
May 2, 2010, 7:59 pm
Filed under: Cork

So we’re on our way to our big vacation in Glengarriff. We decided to make the drive in two days so we spent the night in Youghal (pronounced Y’all). It’s Aine’s new favorite town name. In fact she said the name about 4 billion times en route.

Grandpa did a great job driving, which if you’ve driven in Ireland you know isn’t easy. We stayed at a nice place where Grandma & Grandpa could stay in the hotel and we got a whole house.

We had fun skipping stones on the beach in the back of the hotel.

Wednesday is for Castles by Ann Treacy
April 14, 2008, 8:03 pm
Filed under: Cashel, Cork

On Wednesday we headed straight to Blarney Castle. Anita and Darla wanted to kiss the Blarney Stone – having been up there before I knew there was no way in heck I’d be doing a backbend off the top of a castle for a key photo op.

Blarney is beautiful. The Castle seems huge – partially because it is huge but also because the walls on the highest side lean in a bit, which apparently gives the impression of being even taller than it is.

We started with the dungeon entrance in the back. The dungeon was super creepy! I went into about the first 3-4 chambers – to use a term loosely. To get into the next chamber I would have had to wiggle like a snake into the next section. It was more like a wormhole entrance into the building. I had flashes of how creepy it must have been to be locked in there as I crawled around.

Next we shot up to the top of the castle. The stairs are windy, slippery, rickety (if you can call stone steps rickety) and narrow and lead up to a roofless top. The rooms along the way are dismay, if you picture actually living in one. They’re kind of cool if you know you’ll never be locked in and stuck to let your hair grow long to escape.

The girls did a great job kissing the Blarney stone. Then we climbed down. We walked around the estate, which was really nice and saw the Blarney House, which is the much more modern version of the castle.

Then we headed to Castle Number Two – the Rock of Cashel, another very cool castle! (Normally one castle a day would be enough for me but it was genuinely fun to see these two.) From a distance, it is like a huge castle in the sky.

There was a brief video on castles, which we watched and again I actually liked. It was interesting to learn that the statues that are kind of bleak looking (blank faces, very limited detail) were created during and soon after the Black Plague. So the bleakness mirrored the mood of the times.

After Cashel we headed back home. That turned out to me a good idea as I woke up super super sick (and sad) on Thursday.

Tuesday Road Trip to Cork by Ann Treacy
April 14, 2008, 5:14 pm
Filed under: Cork, Dingle, Galway

Woke up in Galway on Tuesday. The hotel was directly across the street from the Spanish Arch. We took some pictures but what really struck me was the number of men drinking cider by the arch at 10:00 in the morning. I’m pretty sure they would have remarked at our beauty even if they hadn’t been drinking, but it was just something I noted. Actually I noticed quite a few morning drinkers in Galway. I can’t say that I felt like they were all on vacation. And I felt like we were in a lively but not at all risqué neighborhood.

We walked around Galway a little bit. I really liked the city. I had been there before but didn’t remember much. We took a few pictures as you can see below.

Mostly we drove on Tuesday. We covered a ton of ground. We went from Galway down to Dingle. We had lunch in Dingle. We didn’t see the dolphin, sadly. (Rumor has it you can swim with Fungi the dolphin in the Dingle Bay.)

Dingle was nice – but as we headed down to Cork we drove past Inch, which has a beautiful vista. I actually took picture without people in Inch. It was amazing.

Then we headed to Cork. It was interesting to see the different terrain from the day before. The area towards Cork seems so vast in the same way that the Iron Range in Minnesota seems vast to me. Also the natural borders suddenly changed from stone walls to bushes.

The drive into Cork was hellacious. We actually had directions but it didn’t matter much. We saw a Jury’s – got there easily only to find it was the wrong one. Back into the car we ran into a billion one way streets – none of them going the way wanted to go. It took us 40 minutes to get into the hotel and Cork just isn’t that big. We got into the hotel too late for dinner. The garage was full. The Internet wasn’t working. And they didn’t have any decent lager in the pub!

But we got some Chinese take away. I found an Ethernet cord. And the cider was good. So, all’s well that ends well.

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