Slainte Ireland: Day 2 in the Green Isle

Top of the mornin’ to you all! Day 2 started off with Mike and I heading out bright and early, as everyone else was still sleeping. After hitting the hotel breakfast (The Malton has some fabulous coffee), we ran to the market for some apples, brown bread, jam and peanut butter for the remainder of the week. Upon our return, after having told the gang we’d be back shortly, the house was empty. Without an international phone plan or wifi, I got my first taste of group travel: waiting to meet up with people on a different schedule.

After about an hour, we all finally found each other and headed out to Ross castle, a medieval ruin that has been renovated to give you a view into a chieftons life back in days of old. The property sat within Killarney national park, and a beautiful lake lay at the base, with steep mountains rising around it. You can see why they chose this location many moons ago. The tour was fascinating and we all learned life in a castle was quite difficult; cold, drafty, and constantly being bombarded with enemy. It’s no wonder many had respiratory problems and the average life spanned only 35 years!

Guinness in Kenmare
Guinness in Kenmare

After soaking in the history, we drove to Kennmare a cute seaport town with colorful buildings, cute shops and lots of pubs. The castle had made us ravished so we headed into ODonaughs restaurant, a quainte little Irish pub. The food was warm (veggie soup with brown bread) and fresh (seafood cakes, fish and chips, salmon & mash potatoes). Lunch had revived us and we headed out and about, wondering in and out of the little shops. Mike amused us and played dress up, trying on all the golfer caps and even an Irish wool vest. He looked the part and had to make the purchase.

Mike playing Irishmen
Mike playing Irishmen

Meandering about came to an end and we headed back on the Ring of Kerry towards Killarney. Stopping alongside the road, we got out in what’s known as the Ladies view vista. Overlooking an inlet of ocean, the scene was breathtaking. The weather was quite wet and while it wasn’t raining, it definitely was damp and the ground squished below our feet. Totally worth the views though! A bit down the way from this stop was an old church next to a babbling brook. Quintessential Ireland.

Our last stop landed us in the Killarney brewery. The whole experience was lovely and we got to see a video about the brewery, meet the owner and head brewmaster and taste some of Ireland’s finest microbrew. It technically wasn’t a bar, so while they couldn’t sell us beer, we were able to sample after our ‘tour’. Mike and I got the IPA (rare in Ireland) and Sarah and Alan tried the Amber. The second round samples of Killarney stout tasted similar to a left hand milk stout and in my humble opinion, better than a Guinness. Such a cool spot and we were all glad to have discovered it.

Killarney Brewery
Killarney Brewery

The evening had gotten away from us, with the late start, forty minute drive to Kenmare, and brewery sampling and we headed to the hotel bar for a pre dinner drink. Holy hell, it was almost a quarter to nine pm! We ended up eating at the bar, as many of the shops in town were said to stop serving food at nine. So, we bellied up to the bar and had a meal and a night cap. A long day, so straight to bed!

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