July 5, 2016 - Kilkenny, Rock of Cashel, Kinsale
Ok so picking up where we left off yesterday- we crashed pretty hard after being up for so many hours. I also decided to give myself a break on running as I was afraid I wouldn't have any energy. Our first morning at a B&B and we we treated to our first breakfasts. Now Mena House had a variety of options and knowing that some of our stops would be in more remote spots I opted for something different than the traditional irish breakfast. Jon on the other hand embrace it whole heartedly and ate them for 10 days. Phew. My banana and chocolate crepe pancakes were delightful and a good choice if I do say so myself. As part of their breakfast spread- you also were treated to a yogurt, fruit and cereal bar and a basket of soda bread. A great start to our day!
We had a couple of hours before we had to get on the road to our next location and so hit up the castle for some exploration and views of the town. It was incredibly ornate inside with lush rooms and paintings. We beat most of the crowds in for the day and so got to explore by ourselves and take our time. Our last stop in Kilkenny was back over to the cathedral but visiting inside. They gave us little maps explaining all the stonework and tombs. It was a very very old place with so much history. Jon was in his element. :)
Then we had to say goodbye to the sweet medieval town of Kilkenny and head south. We would stop for the night outside of Kinsale in Innishannon but first we had to visit the Rock of Cashel. It was a little often our path but so worth it. Jon's Aunt Pat had been there many many years ago and told us we had to visit. It did not disappoint. We were able to take a tour of the ruins, cathedral and the choir house. We also saw the original cross of St. Patrick. Pretty cool stuff. And of course I took a ton of photos! It was so pretty up there! We were up on a hill and the scenery just seemed unreal. The pictures don't do it justice but I had to try and capture the view! The sun even made a brief appearance while we were there.
Our check in for our next B&B was at 2pm so we had to go ahead and get back on the road to get there in time. We passed around Cork on the way there but then after stalking road signs we finally found Grey Gables, our second stop. Our host here was Victor, a character of an older gentleman who had run the B&B for 40 years with his late wife. He was so nice and convinced us to change our plans from Cork for the evening to Kinsale. He told us Kinsale was where to eat and enjoy good music. And well so far our hosts hadn't let us down so we opted for Kinsale that evening.
What more can I say other than- we loved Kinsale. We had heard from Cara & Eric (who spent their honeymoon in Ireland as well) that we had to eat at Fishy Fishy and so that was high on my list. But we wandered up and down their little streets, stopping in shops, buying yummy chocolates, stumbling upon a sign for a craft brewery nearby before making reservations for what would be one of our favorite meals the entire trip. Jon got oysters (that were brought in from the bay that afternoon) that he claims are the best oysters he's ever had in his life. Not my thing- I nibbled on yummy bread and tasted their rose. But the main course did not disappoint either! I had a pan-fried hake over a pesto risotto with a sweet potato crisp... it was heavenly. And I haven't been so full in a long time. Perfect recommendation for dinner!!
In wandering around the town earlier we had found a place to stop in for a drink while using their wi-fi! Had to get the photos dumped off the phone. :) I had my first Guinness. It really does taste good over there. Closer to a porter than a stout. Delicious. After all the photos were uploaded we decided to walk around and find some local music to listen to. We stumbled upon Dalton's where a group of older Irish gentleman were making amazing music. One was even playing spoons. This was the best traditional music we heard the entire trip. It was very organic and the men worked so well together. The bar was packed and everyone was listening. A magical experience.
That capped off our 2nd day! As it was starting to get dark (mind you- 10pm) we decided to call it a night and headed back to Innishannon for some shut eye. Many things on the next day's itinerary!