Ireland: Day 4-Friday
We woke up bright and early to a dark sky and rainy weather, but by the time we’d eaten breakfast and had headed out towards Old Midleton, Cork had put a cork in it, and while the clouds were still heavy, the rain had stopped.
Old Midleton is the home to the Jameson Distillery, where the famous Jameson Irish Whiskey is made. Cole was fascinated by the process of turning malt, barley, and water into whiskey. The whiskey is now made in a modern factory next door to the old distillery, but you can still tour the 1825 structures, all of which have been carefully preserved.
At the end of the tour, Cole toasted his dad with a taste of his first Irish whiskey. I toasted my mom for driving to Chicago to take care of my precious furs and my dad for taking care of the Albuquerque home front. I still like coke best!
Next we went to Fota Island Wildlife Park, where most of the animals roam freely with no obvious barriers. They also interact freely with visitors.
Ring tale lemurs loved to jump down and welcome visitors before scurrying away.
Naturally, I encouraged Cole to pat one — other kids were patting kangaroos!! (despite the warnings of big teeth and strong claws) — and he was surprised by how soft their fur was . . . I would have patted one, but I was too busy snapping pictures.
Optimistically, Cole and I have frequently stopped and asked for directions, and then we have listened attentively as the kind Irishman or women gave us there full attention and time “showing us the way” in an Irish brogue: “First, you go out the door, to your car, and turn left — come here and let me show you — turn left, and do you see those trees up ahead? Well, first, you go to the second roundabout and take the third turn to the left; next, you are not going to turn again until you get to the bridge, which may be before the tunnel on your right. Cole would then try to trace the route on his map and would be told, ”No, no, they don’t have it right, just follow me, and we’ll get you there the right way. Before the tunnel on the left will be another roundabout . . .” Fifteen minutes later, we would be ever so grateful for the help, as we were sent on our way with, “You can’t miss it . . . nobody does.” In the car, Cole and I would burst into laughter and both admit that we had not understood a word of the directions. Cole would then find a highway on the map — in the general direction of where we wanted to go — for us to follow and somehow we found ourselves traveling the right roads.
Traveling the right road out of Cork, we moved toward the rolling, green fields, long sweeping seascapes and colorful little towns towards County Kerry. Since we had made it to Killarney by 3 p.m., we decided to start the Ring of Kerry when most tourists would be calling it a day.
I did not make any hotel reservations in advance after leaving Dublin, so we were free to stop when and where we wanted. It’s true, we could have been left without a place to stay . . . but you know me, always planning for the best. I just knew we would find the perfect place to spend the night.
We left Killarney and went through a little town called Killorglin. In the center of the town is a goat, in honor of the town’s love for Puka, a mischievous sprite of Celtic legends.
The cars lined up behind me as I went 50 kph, which feels like a very fast 31 mph as you wind around cliffs and the edges of mountains with nothing but the sea below. However, we stopped frequently to admire the view and let the cars behind us pass.
Glenbeigh was next on the Ring. A little seafront town, complete with palm trees and beaches. We decided to stop for the night in Waterville, and as planned, found a Bed and Breakfast with Internet. We were given a charming room with an outstanding view of the bay and mountains.
Waterville was the favorite retreat of Charlie Chaplin; they honor him with a statue.
Tomorrow we will hop on a ferry and visit Skellig Michael if the water is a little calmer than it was today. This lassie does not handle rocking boats at all well.
Our B & B internet went out at 10:30pm and so did we. We sunk into plush beds with soft sheets covered in a fluffy white comforter surrounded by pillows. We opened our window a bit and fell asleep listening to the bay water rolling up on the shore below us.
Home is where my heart is but Ireland has captured our imaginations and overwhelmed us with her beauty. Thanks for dropping by Odd and keeping me company as I muse our way through Ireland. See you tomorrow!