July 6, 2016 - Blarney Castle, Cork, Kinsale
One of things I had promised myself I would do while we were on vacation was run. I packed clothes that could be worn both out and running as well as my shoes. I had looked up run routes in many of our spots and I was really hoping I'd be able to keep a good grasp on my training while we were over there. Well I can at least say I got in a couple of runs- then the weather and general fatigue kept me sleeping in but at least I tried! Plus we walked so much that I did still get some exercise in. My first overseas run took place outside of our B&B. Since it was on a sleepy irish road in the country we felt pretty safe going out for 4 miles. We got up early to do a nice out and back. I have to say even though I didn't do as much as I wanted, running in a foreign country is really nice. You're distracted by your surroundings that these miles fly by! After our run I felt much better about chowing down on our irish breakfast. It is basically protein and carbs and really does last a long time before you get hungry again. We had a nice breakfast and then it was time to hit the road for more sightseeing!
We had two nights in Innishannon and so decided to make the trek over to Blarney Castle. We were interested in the gardens and the castle but definitely not into kissing the germ infested stone. haha. Anyway we arrived pretty early that morning trying to beat the crowds as much as possible. The castle is really run down and almost just seemed like a vessle to hold lines of people trying to get to the stone. We walked a little bit up in the building but stopped when we encountered the line. The gardens were actually a better view and more worth the money! They have some really nice stone structures as well as druid ruins and what feels like mythical sections. We had a nice time walking around (dodging drizzling rain) and even did the good luck wishing stairs. So hopefully between that and the witches stone one of my wishes will come true!
Our next stop was Cork City. We just wanted to see the sights before spending the rest of our day in Kinsale. We found a place to park (city driving on the wrong side of the road is even crazier than the old country roads), and then wandered around by foot. Water runs through the middle of the city so we crossed back and forth over various bridges on our journey. We stopped by a pretty church and attempted to visit a local brewery. Unfortunately HERE maps let me down as it had been bought out by Heineken and there wasn't a tasting room or tours. So after a couple of hours and exploring we decided to head back to Kinsale for the afternoon.
Our first stop was to Blacks of Kinsale. We had seen a sign for brewery tours the day before and knew we had to check it out. Apparently the craft beer scene in Ireland is just beginning and this was one of the first places! We got a tour of their facilities and then were treated to a tasting. As nice as it had been to have really good Guinness it was also really great to have homegrown local brews too. Our tour guide also gave us a map of other craft beer spots that had been popping up all over Ireland. I was excited that some were on our itinerary!
Next we visited Charles Fort. It's a star fort in Kinsale that's incredibly well preserved. We got some nice photos of the town as well as the fort ruins. It was a nice place to walk around (in the drizzle). Afterwards we stopped for a break at Bulman Bar (Wi-Fi) and I dumped all the pictures of our adventures online.
We went back downtown for dinner and finished out our evening watching soccer and having delicious dessert! Kinsale- we loved you. I hope at some point in our lives we will get to go back. So much fun.