This is the final week of our vacation in Ireland, home of chips and beans, chips and sausages, chips and rashers.... You get the idea. Aimee is right at home, noshing on all her favourite foods that we can't get back in Washington State. (You may notice that some spellings are done in a different fashion. When in Ireland...) To date, I believe she has consumed three whole pigs, mainly in the form of Dunlavin sausages. Most dinners at home consist of chips, mashed potatoes, croquettes, roast potatoes, meat, gravy, and some sort of vegetable that most members of her family push aside for the dogs. I'm afraid that I may have to go nearly vegan once we're home to recover from consuming so much meat and rich food, but God I love it!!
I am also nearly stir crazy from doing absolutely nothing. Perhaps we'll go for a walk today to help pass a little time and get some fresh air, even if it is barely above freezing outside. The rest is doing us both good, I'm just not used to being so idle. Aimee is soaking it up like a sponge for fear that she won't get a day off in the whole month of January once she's back to work. She's got a good point.
Everything in Ireland really is green. Green grows on everything. It seeps into the cracks between stones, it slips up the sides of buildings, it even grows in the windows of cars left out in the rain for too long. This is my sixth time in the country, and I am still stunned at how green my vision goes after the first few days. In our first outing after recovering from jet lag, Aimee's mother took us into Kilkenny, a decent sized town not far from her family's home between Athy and Carlow in County Kildare. We walked through Kilkenny Castle and around the grounds, finding these lovely stones in the garden between the river and the castle.
The following week we departed for Cork, which is about as far south as you can go on the island. We stayed in Cork City, which is the second largest city in Ireland after Dublin. It reminded me very much of the streets of Dublin. There was plenty of shopping to do, and the little, bustling streets were lined with restaurants and pubs dishing out some of the best food we've had in a long time. We broke away from the main city for one morning to visit Blarney Castle, a short bus ride to the north. This is one of the better panoramic views of the castle and its grounds. There was more to do at Blarney than we realised, and none of it was boring. Little historic facts are posted throughout the grounds, many of them comical in their truth. And yes, we both kissed the Blarney Stone. I licked my lips immediately afterwards, and commented, "Hmm, tasty." The guy holding me by the waist to make sure I didn't fall a hundred feet to an untimely death responded in his thick Cork accent, "Tastes like chicken."
Upon our return to Cork around lunchtime, we dove into a pub for a fantastic carvery, then walked over to Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral. This was one of the many stained glass windows we saw. They were absolutely beautiful. Saint Fin Barre's is a protestant church in the heart of Cork City, and it is said to be the very place where the city was founded.
At its head rests a golden carving of the Resurrection Angel, but the sunset lit this side, which gave us a far better picture.
Sunset over the River Lee in Cork ended that lovely day of exploring. We took a bus out to Kinsale the following day, but it was a big disappointment. I'm sure it's a lovely destination in the summertime, but everything is shut down in the winter. It's one of those typical sleepy fishing towns on the coast. Kinsale has the reputation of the best gourmet food in Ireland, so I'm certain we'll go back on subsequent trips.
I miss the chickens and the dogs terribly, and my head is buzzing with all the things I need to do once we're home, but it sure is nice to get away from everything for a few weeks.